When students and working professionals decide to expand their skills and knowledge, one of the main questions to answer is whether to participate in an on-campus degree program or one that takes place completely online. Both types of programs have their merits, and the decision typically comes down to elements like scheduling, distance, and the time students have available to dedicate to their higher learning.
It is worth noting, though, that online education is on the rise. According to an article from Inside Higher Ed contributor Doug Lederman, about one-third of all students enrolled in postsecondary education in 2017 took at least one course online. What’s more, there was a nearly 15% increase in the number of students enrolled in exclusively online degree programs.
Online vs. on campus: What’s the difference?
There are a few distinctions and elements students should be aware of when weighing the differences between an online and on-campus program.
On the one hand, an online education provides more flexibility, especially in terms of scheduling. While students will still have to complete tasks and assignments according to specific due dates, learning takes place more at students’ own pace. Online degree program participants can engage in learning according to their own schedule, as opposed to having to travel physically to attend classes.
On the other hand, an on-campus program may provide more opportunities for students to network with their peers and partake in other activities. Many online programs support students through discussion boards and real-time messaging platforms, enabling communication between students, as well as with professors or instructors. On-campus students, though, may have more opportunity to engage in campus clubs, job fairs, and other networking and experiential gatherings.
Online MBA: A highly respected degree program
This is not to say, however, that the online MBA provides any fewer educational or hands-on learning opportunities for students. Earning a degree from an online programs like the MBA degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is a highly respected achievement. In fact, as the program website notes, there is no distinction in diplomas awarded to distance learners or those who take part in an on-campus program. Students of the online MBA at UAB participate in a program that has held accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business since 1982. Graduates of the online MBA can even attend the on-campus graduation ceremony if they so choose.
Benefits of an MBA: Program details and advantages
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the online MBA offering, and how a program like this provides key personal and professional development advantages like those provided by any other traditional full-time degree program.
In addition to being accredited, an online MBA also enables students to select from different concentrations, ensuring that their chosen path of higher education provides the type of return on investment that will support their career.
The program includes a general track for those looking for experience across numerous key business administration areas, as well as concentrations in finance, marketing, management information systems and health services.
These concentrations, coupled with the required functional core curriculum, exposes students to topics including strategic cost analysis, decision-making, business strategy, information systems, corporate finance, supply chain management, marketing approaches, and more. In this way, students graduate with the skills and expertise needed to successfully function in business management and administration roles and achieve key milestones in their early careers.
In addition to being a flexible degree program that can support students seeking an advanced degree while maintaining their current employment, an online MBA program like that of the Collat School of Business also provides a GMAT waiver for applicants with previous academic and professional experience. This means those with a background or experience in business administration can begin their higher education journey as quickly as possible.
Overall, a 100% online MBA program can be completed in as few as two years. However, students can choose to extend the program and complete it on more of a part-time basis as they maintain outside employment.
In this way, an online Master of Business Administration program is an ideal choice for busy professionals looking to expand their experience, skills, and career opportunities without stepping away from their current role. Additionally, a full-time online MBA is a logical choice for undergraduates looking to make their mark with potential employers and propel their career.
To find out more about the advantages of an online MBA degree and how this type of program can benefit you, check out the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business, and connect with an enrollment advisor today.