Online MBA?

Discussion in 'Community' started by MacDawg, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #1
    OK, I've tried to search the threads using "MBA", "MBA programs", "Masters business" etc. and haven't found much, so I'm asking the question:

    In your opinion, what are the top online MBA programs out there, and why?

    I know there is a lot of discussion about classroom v. online, etc. and even the value of an MBA to begin with... but I'm interested in pursuing additional education (I already hold a B.A., M.Div. and D.Min.).

    Anybody currently working on an MBA online? What is your experience?

    I appreciate any input you have.

    (Sorry if I have missed a thread in my search that addresses this... just post the link for me please if there is one)
     
  2. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Why do you want an MBA? Why do you want to do it online?

    The best MBA in the world is the Harvard MBA - it takes two years full time and costs $100k, but it's like a porsche - there's no substitute. (Well, Wharton, but you get the idea.) You'll have the world's best instructors, you'll work with the world's best students, and you'll have the world's best business credential on your resume. You'll probably earn at least $1m more during your career than you would have without it.

    But since most people can't get in/don't have the time/don't have the money/can't handle the workload/etc, they have to compromise. So what are your required compromises that makes an online MBA worthwhile? What aren't you willing to compromise?

    Answering those questions, and using the best "bricks and mortar" MBA as a benchmark will help you decide what online program you want and whether it makes sense for you.
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #3
    This is one of the few I know of from a big name in B-schools:

    http://www.fuqua.duke.edu/admin/cc/cc_home.html

    It seems to have changed somewhat since I looked at it last. Semi-sidestepping what you said about ??? on value of an MBA etc, why exactly do you want one? I don't mean that rhetorically. What I mean is, are you looking for specific business skills to embellish your performance in something you do now, or are you looking for enhanced career opportunities in your current field, or are you looking to change fields, or do you want to learn some interesting things?

    I think the answer to that question impacts the answer to your question. Meaning, if its one of the middle two, then the name of the school is *VERY* important. If its the first or the last, maybe much less so, and you may have more opportunities. If it is the last, it may not even be the MBA that's the best choice...you might find more intellectual stimulation in an econ dept....

    Also, here might be a better set of forums to look in than MacRumors (not that you're not welcome here... ;))

    http://forums.prospero.com/usnews_grad/start
     
  4. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #4
    Hmmmmmm...
    Harvard? Well, yeah, I'd love that... but the time and $$$ aren't feasible. So, yes, I have to downgrade from there. Why online? Flexibility for one. Evening classes here locally (Atlanta area = University of Georgia/Gwinnett, GA State, etc.) are a definite possiblity. Partial online with some meetings is OK too. I am not in a position to go to school full time anymore, I have to work around my schedule, so online/evening are my apparent choices. I am not young/starting out in my career. I am older, and trying to compete in a very competitive environment.

    Why do I want to pursue an MBA?
    1) The increased knowledge and exposure to business thinking. My educational background didn't favor the business environment I am now in. I am currently a Project Manager for a major legacy airline in the Customer Service department. (Am pursuing Project Management certification with PMI).I want to advance my career, so I need the additional knowledge and skills an MBA could provide.

    2) Because of my career change, my resume would be enhanced with the inclusion of an MBA. I have a lot to overcome in a career change, and every edge is important in this competitive enviroment. It would show initiative, accomplishment and I would obtain additional knowledge/skills that were lacking in my previous path. It would be a tangible way of addressing what I lack in previous business experience.

    Maybe that gives a little more perspective to my original question.

    Thanks for the suggestion for other forums, and I will probably check that out too... I just spend a lot of time on Macrumors and was interested in your opinions.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  5. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #5
    I'm currently getting my BS in CS from ACCIS. They offer an online MBA program. Certainly not as good as a Harvard degree but... yeah. I gotta work full time and I loathe going to class. So this fits the bill for me. You have to be self motivated though. There is no schedule to follow. You go at your own pace (you have to turn in one assignment minimum every two months or else I think they think you're dead... you'll typically do many more than one a month). You have teachers you can ask questions to if you like but some of the easier classes I never ever talked to a teacher.

    Anyhow... it works well for me. Plus it's even listed on Apple's Edu store (thanks to some phone calls I made to Apple and my school) so it's very easy to get your student discount. ;)

    If you have any more specific questions feel free to post 'em here or PM me. Not sure if I'll recheck this thread or not.
     
  6. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    Jul 9, 2000
    #6
    if money and time are no object, i totally agree that the harvard business school mba is the gold standard...they are the most prestigious, one of the oldest, and the largest on campus program in the nation with a student body three or four times larger than most of their closest competitors...it is networking heaven and networking and entrepreneurial connections and partnerships is half of the mba experience

    they invented the harvard case study method which is the standard most mba programs are built upon and the philosophy i studied in undergrad and grad school

    most mba programs will not really help your salary that much in your lifetime, but the really good ones can make a difference...but all mba programs will give you more knowledge and while all that knowledge is not applicable, some of it is worthwhile

    so i say go for your mba since it really can't hurt you since it's also an unofficial workingman's credential/certification as well as a graduate degree...and one thing will save you time...it's the only major graduate degree that is all undergrad level courses in the first year (which would include some of all of the following: management, financial accounting, managerial accounting, micro/macro economics, statistics and quantitavie ananlysis, finance, hr management, basic computer skills, and marketing) and requires no master's thesis...holder's of real graduate degrees who had to write and defend a thesis/dissertation often have little respect for the mba, but you already have the traditional, rigorous grad degree where you had to go through that rite of passage with a thesis/dissertation

    but don't expect the mba is be as easy as a bachelor's degree, either...there is a higher mix of lengthy papers to tests as opposed to tests to lengthy papers as it is in the undergraduate realm...so expect way less rote memorization/multiple choice/true-false questions and more developing full ideas, with facts, and defending them...and having teachers and classmates vie against you...expect some unwarranted abuse, especially in the introductory class...it's mba bootcamp *first management class, and i don't know how they would approach that time honored tradition online ;)

    in your second year, expect advanced courses on operations management, finance, marketing, and probably four courses in a specialty like entrepreneurship, telecomminications management, further topics in general management, hr management, accounting, taxation, entertainment management, public policy management, or any other specialty that can be married to a advanced business education

    for online mba programs, the gold standard is definitely duke university and last i heard, it's 75k for the full online program...at least it's the best online mba unless someone like harvard, stanford, or wharton, of the ivy league school university of pennsylvania, gets on board with a full online mba

    today there are so many online mba programs so if it's knowledge and skills you are after, as opposed to a world class, career enhancing mba, then just about any accredited mba should fulfill your purposes

    either way, go for it

    i hope this helps
     
  7. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I'm a little skeptical of the online MBA because I think the MBA environment is essential to the learning process - the group work, the face to face interaction, meeting your professors, etc.

    You probably want to do it online because you want to reduce the cost (not just financial, but total cost) of the MBA - but I think you're looking at it the wrong way. Look at the benefit side, and what a degree from a top school will get you over your career. Then just pay the cost to get the benefit. The cost may be two rough years financially and a bunch of debt, but compared to an extra $1m of lifetime earnings and more enjoyment working at top jobs, that's nothing. (What's two years next to 25?)

    And if two year is just too much, there are a lot of other options: part time MBA, executive MBA, etc. Some schools also have twelve month programs which require less time off work. Why don't you consider an exec MBA?

    Think like an MBA - if online is so easy, then everyone will do it. Then what's the value? The harvard (or wharton, stanford, NYU, Georgetown, London Business, etc) brands will always have more value.
     
  8. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #8

    i wouldn't say everyone...let's think mba and get "quantitative"

    around a quarter of the american workforce has a bachelor's degree...three quarters do not have a level of education that high

    and the majority of those people with a bachelor's do not go onto graduate school at any point in their life

    it just seems that there are a lot of mba types out there since there are over 700 mba programs in the usa alone ;)
     
  9. bryanc macrumors 6502

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    Fredericton, NB Canada
    #9
    The first university to offere degrees through distance ed was Athabasca University in Alberta (Canada) (back in the mid '70s). They were also the first to offer an MBA on-line, and it is one of the most respected programs in the world.

    Given that their tuition is in CDN, you might find it less expensive as well.

    Here's a link:

    http://www.mba.athabascau.ca/

    Cheers
     
  10. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #10

    Actually, the cost isn't the number one factor in considering online, but rather the flexibility. I realize that it is not ideal, and I would prefer the Harvard type route, but as I said, I am not beginning a career. I have had a career change. I don't have a lifetime of earning left either... I'm nearly 50 now, competing with younger, more savvy individuals for jobs and earnings. I am looking for the knowledge/skills (as well as the certification of them) to be able to at least compete.

    I don't have the option to go full time to school... I can't quit, go to school and start over again, I don't have that kind of time left in my life. I can go online or I can do night classes or modular type work. I am willing to pay, but I have to be able to keep my current job.

    I realize that there is some skepticism about online degrees and their value, and maybe it wouldn't be beneficial. I guess that's why I'm asking for input.
     
  11. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #11
    Thanks!
    I'll check out the Duke program along with the others!

    Anybody have any personal experience with the Duke program or other online programs?
     
  12. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #12
    Interesting... they have an MBA in Project Management. This might be worth looking into. I really appreciate the link! I had never heard of this program.
     
  13. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Ahh - OK, I thought your situation was different. Yeah, you definitely need a program where you can work at the same time, so that's either PT, executive, or online. But executive programs (aka "weekend MBAs") are really made for someone with your career experience. But it may be too expensive, given the return. Tough call - I'd probably do the PT or exec over the online program though. The PMI cert is definitely a good idea, I think.

    FYI from personal experience, an MBA+PMP does change the way people view you and the responsibilities you get, so I think it's a good combo. My pay hasn't increased since I've gotten the two credentials (I blame the bush economy), but my work is definitely higher level. I really waanted to transition to finance or VC or something, so for me it's been a bit of a disappointment in terms of getting where I've wanted to be, but there's no question that it's made me more marketable in a down economy and given me more options and better responsibilities.
     
  14. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #14
    In automotive project management, PMI is pretty highly regarded too, although nowhere near a good MBA. But again, that's good according to the brand philosophy others have stated....

    I also think you're going to get a much better experience with evening or exec programs, for what you want, than online. Especially cuz you'r not in such a tech-centric field. If your future argued for a lot of distance business and international working online, I think you could make a powerful argument that thriving in an online MBA environment *proves* that you're cut out for the work. But if you're in the traditional desk/office/telephone/fax world more, not so much....

    FWIW also, I once applied to, was accepted to, and eventually rejected the University of Michigan's evening MBA program. UM is another traditional blue chip MBA program, although slightly below NWU/Stanford/Penn in some areas. My concerns had to do with career path, and I'm now much more happily pursuing something *very* different, but one of the big concerns is quality of students and instruction.

    I think these things are really important to consider. And my experience has been that while in any metric sense, a school's evening students are roughly as good (GMAT, GPA, etc) as the day students, the attitude is markedly different. There is a "let's get you out of here so you can get dinner" kind of feel to evening classes at big universities, which I don't find appealing. And that attitude is contagious.

    Also at UM it was the case that the best professors -- the famous ones like Noel Tichy and C. K. Prahalad -- rarely if ever taught evening programs.
     
  15. MacDawg thread starter macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #15
    Good advice... that's why I posted here, I can always count on good information from the Mac fellowship.

    Makes me think harder about evenings/weekends over online. My work does require a lot of travel though, usually in chunks. That's the only drawback, because my pursuit will be "on my on" and if my work suddenly requires me to be gone 5 out of 7 weeks and I miss my classes... oh well...

    Weekends would be easier to work, and from you are saying, the Executive programs are geared that way. I was not familiar with that type of program. I have seen the title, but never really looked at it. Food for thought.

    I am just about ready for my Project Management certification at work (not through PMI), that is our Level 1 program. I was just promoted to Project Manager 8 months ago, so that's pretty good. I took every opportunity I could get for our classes, etc. My next step in that track is certification through PMI. I am looking forward to that.

    Anybody familiar with the programs through the University of Georgia, Georgia State or something else in the Atlanta area?

    Thanks for all of the great feedback so far. It has been extremely helpful to me.
     
  16. Account macrumors newbie

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    Jul 12, 2004
    #16
    I will be starting Indiana University's Kelley Direct Online MBA Program this fall. Penn State, Arizona State and University of Florida are others that come to mind. I considered Duke, but cannot afford 9 weeks away from work during the 20-month program.
     
  17. kasei macrumors 6502a

    kasei

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    #17
    Take a look at Thunderbird Executive MBA and MBA programs. Thunderbird has been ranked #1 for 9 years for its International Business program. I am currently working on my Executive MBA at Thunderbird and let me tell you it takes a lot of time, passion and money to do. Make sure this is something you really want to do. An MBA isn't the magic key to the big chair.

    http://www.thunderbird.edu
     
  18. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I've heard good things about Thunderbird, but I believe it is ranked about #60 world wide - it's not first or second tier. For international business, the best bet is a top US program or top international (INSEAD, London Business School, Ivey, McGill). I don't think any of these have online programs.
     
  19. Biagio macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Just food for thought

    I recently graduated with a Law degree and I thought that was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Possibly this may be a route to choose..then again it is much, much harder and takes longer.
     
  20. kasei macrumors 6502a

    kasei

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    #20
    Perhaps this will update your information on Thunderbird's current standings.

    http://www.t-bird.edu/pdf/about_us/PR_BW03rankings.htm

    http://www.thunderbird.edu/exec_ed/why_tbird/rankings_accred.htm
     
  21. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #21
    there are many different rankings but i have often seen thunderbird ranked considerably higher than number 60 in the 1,000 or so internationally ranked programs...though not generally known for all college majors as a whole as let's say stanford or nyu, thunderbird is a big name in the world of business

    casual mba rankings include us news and world report and business week and they rely mostly on popularity and name recognition among non business majors (who are often the hiring managers), and more detailed rankings can be found at petersen's, princeton review, and the gourman report and those rankings rely more on academic content and strength or curriculum (which helps if you want the best of the best in business education or are pursuing academia)...of course some schools, like harvard business school, sometimes places first in all of the rankings on any given year for "overall" mba program

    london business school does have an online program and they were one of the first good mba schools to tackle cyberspace
     
  22. plus_c macrumors member

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    #22
    Hi,
    I'm currently doing an undergrad degree at Wharton, so I see a lot of MBA students. MacDawg, it sounds like you need an EMBA program. You might also want to have a talk with your employers - many are really generous about continuing education, and they might even subsidize an EMBA program for you. You mentioned that you live in the Atlanta area, so I would start locally - when I was looking at business programs, UGA had a good reputation (2 years ago, so that info is fairly current). They're not Wharton or Harvard or anything, but they're a good respectable second-tier. If your employer is generous, go whole hog - Wharton's MBA program is excellent indeed. As for HBS being the business school "gold standard"...as a Wharton student, I take exception to that ;). The most recent rankings I remember seeing put Kellogg (Northwestern University) at the top, followed closely by HBS, Stern, and Wharton.

    Maybe I'm being a snob, but I'm a little distrustful of the online programs. Yeah, they're useful for getting those three letters...but how strong is the academic program, really? Think about that before you drop large amounts of money on the online MBA program...and if you choose that route, make sure that the school is reputable in the offline world. Someone mentioned Fuqua at Duke...that would be a pretty good choice, if you decide that online is the way to go.

    Good luck!
     
  23. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #23
    I would think the real draw of an MBA program (besides the resumé line) would be the networking, as some others have said.

    Harvard, Kellogg (which I walk by everyday during the school year), Wharton, MIT, etc., are great not necessarily just because of what you learn, but because of who you meet. Distinguished alumni provide distinguished interview opportunities and the hand-shaking that all you business types so desperately need to get ahead.

    However, in addition to time and money to attend those programs, you've also got to be very good to get in.

    If the primary goal is to learn something, then maybe the online MBA will be just fine. But if it's to meet people and build contacts for the future, a campus-based one might be better.
     
  24. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

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    #24
    if you want the education, the public cal state (cal poly, hayward) and public uc system (cal, davis, ucla, irvine) have excellent mba programs but that "elite" connection/networking stuff is so looked down upon in any state funded school...too bad since it limits one's job prospects for the future...my friend at cal berkeley (haas b-school) had professors and students willing to infiltrate american capitalistic business/infrastructure to take it down so the "workers" could get their "power" back...the hippies are still alive at cal but have shorter hair and bathe more often ;)
     
  25. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

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    #25
    haha...My roomie's all about getting into one of the big 5 b-schools. I think it's awesome, though, that you've got liberal, dare I say socialist, businessmen in cali. That's great. :D
     

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