Five Things To Know Before Enrolling In An Online MBA Program

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Master of Business Administration students may be mid- or senior-level professionals looking to earn more money, switch careers, or gain new skills in areas such as leadership, communication, and management.

Because many potential graduate students are employed full time, an online degree program, such as the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) online MBA, can offer them the flexible, work-friendly format they need to complete their master’s degree.

Online MBA Student.

Why Earn An MBA?

An online MBA degree can provide graduates with credibility among business peers, improve communication with colleagues, deepen technical expertise, and polish written communication skills.

The “Best Business Jobs” for 2017 that require an MBA include Accountant, Medical and Health Services Manager, Financial Manager, Business Operations Manager, and Compliance Officer, according to U.S. News and World Report.

In addition, the best-paying jobs for MBA graduates include Chief Financial Officer (CFO) ($168,000), Vice President of Information Technology ($165,000), Marketing Director ($133,000), CFO in Accounting ($125,000), and Sales Director in international business ($116,000), according to

UAB graduates have used their business degrees to land leadership positions at major companies that include Microsoft, Coca-Cola, AT&T, and Johnson & Johnson.

Industry trends from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate an increased demand for employees with graduate degrees in business. For example:

• IT Manager positions are expected to grow 26 percent by 2024 as firms expand to digital platforms and face risks to cyber security.
• Accountant careers are anticipated to grow 11 percent by 2024 because of the continued impact of globalization.
• Marketing Manager positions are expected to grow 9 percent by 2024.

Plus, more than 146,000 new jobs are expected due to an increase in top executive positions.

What To Look For

As in any major investment, prospective students should be sure to do their research before pursuing an online MBA degree at any college or university.

Here are five things to pay attention to when considering a program:

1. Technology —

Because many online MBA students aren’t able to attend classes in person, a reputable, dependable, and easy-to-use online learning environment is important to their success.

UAB’s learning management system features interactive learning, peer-to-peer learning, and always-available technical support. The platform also allows students to interact with their courses through an app on their mobile devices, as well as on traditional desktop and laptop computers.

In addition, as part of its commitment to providing quality education, the University of Alabama at Birmingham subscribes to Quality Matters and the Online Learning Consortium, which provide resources, training, and other tools to help faculty develop online and blended courses that meet both organizations’ high standards. The university also systematically builds and evaluates its courses based on the rigorous, research-supported standards of Quality Matters.

2. Curriculum —

When selecting an online degree, be sure to look over the program’s courses carefully. Are all of the courses the same for online and on-campus students? Do online students earn the same degree as on-campus students? Do online students have access to the same resources (career counselors, for example) that on-campus students do?

At UAB, all of the MBA courses are the same, whether students attend classes on campus or take them entirely online. The degree is the same too, and online students are even welcome to participate in graduation with on-campus students.

Online students have access to academic advising, libraries, technical support and tutorials, and many other student services. Additionally, UAB’s Career and Professional Development Services provides resume, interviewing, and job-search tips, as well as networking and professional experience opportunities.

3. Faculty —

Faculty members who teach courses online should be well versed in the technology of the online learning system. In addition, they should be as available to online students as they are to students who attend class on campus.

At UAB, faculty members have access a variety of tools to help them create their online courses, which include course development, teaching support, and design services.

Through UAB’s online platform, students have a direct line to interact with their professors — and classmates — through instant messaging, discussion boards, and email.

4. Accreditation —

When it comes to business schools, the oldest and most prestigious accreditor is the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

According to the U.S. Department of Education, accreditation “is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal is to ensure that education provided by the institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.”

Some companies may not hire employees who have degrees from unaccredited colleges and universities. In addition, students who attend unaccredited schools may not be able to receive financial assistance or transfer credits.

Since 1982, the UAB Collat School of Business has maintained accreditation by the AACSB, a seal of excellence afforded to only 176 universities worldwide for undergraduate and graduate business degree programs.

5. Self-Motivation —

One last thing to take into consideration before starting an online MBA program is self-motivation. While online students don’t necessarily have to follow the regimented class schedule of their on-campus peers, they do need to have the motivation and discipline to complete all of the reading, research, and assignments on their own — and on time.

Before committing to an online program, prospective students should ask themselves: Can I be productive at home? Am I organized? Do I have good time-management skills? If students can answer yes to all, they should be well prepared to begin their online degree.

University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Online MBA Degree

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s MBA online program provides the benefits of a traditional university education combined with the flexibility and convenience of online learning. The MBA degree can be completed 100 percent online in as few as two years and offers concentrations in finance, health services, management information systems, marketing, or a general track.

Course topics include accounting and finance, management and organizations, economics, quantitative analysis, strategic cost analysis and decision making, information technology and business strategy, corporate finance, operations and supply chain management, marketing strategies, and strategic management.

Students can round out their expertise with financial and economic knowledge, as well as skills in behavioral management, emotional intelligence, and promotion of organizational excellence.

For more information, visit the University of Alabama at Birmingham online Master of Business Administration website.

What an MBA can provide

“Best Business Jobs”

Best-paying jobs