The differences between an online and on-campus MBA

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Earning a master of business administration degree is a powerful step forward for career-minded professionals. This degree is often a requirement for higher-level management positions at a variety of different businesses across many industries. Beyond the need to have such an achievement on a resume, the MBA program gives students with a variety of backgrounds a strong grasp of important financial and economic skills mixed with an education in managing behavior, attitude, motivation and other critical elements of successful individual workers and teams.

Understanding the differences between online and on-campus MBA degree programs is vital to make an informed decision that leads you the best possible outcome for your unique needs. Let’s look at the differences between an MBA online degree and earning one on campus.

Business professional holding an ipad with the text, MBA on the screen.

An MBA online program vs. the on-campus experience

Many professionals earned their undergraduate degrees in an on-campus program and likely have some fond memories of the immersive experience this approach provides. For full-time students, living among their peers and sharing an educational timeline are very positive experiences. It’s easy to access physical resources at the library and meet professors in person for office hours, as well as form study groups with fellow students and track down a classmate to ask a question about a class.

These are all powerful advantages of such an experience, but this approach requires something many professionals can’t do when managing a variety of existing career and personal responsibilities: living on or near campus on a full-time basis. Relocation is a difficult, time-consuming and expensive process, especially considering the relatively short amount of time – two years – a student needs to complete an MBA. Additionally, many of the advantages gained by being a full-time student during the undergraduate experience, such as learning how to study, budget time and process information, are already in the toolboxes of working professionals. There’s little need to return to campus to strengthen these skills when they’re already well-understood and in many ways reinforced by your current job.

The value of past experience is one of the clearest reasons for pursuing an MBA online program, but it’s far from the only one. There are many advantages that come along with working toward an MBA digitally.

Is an online MBA worth it?

An online MBA, once earned, is identical to one conferred to a student attending classes on campus. There’s no qualifier on the physical degree nor in university records, because both programs are structured to be totally equal in terms of quality of education and the demands placed on students. Students who earn an MBA online can even attend the on-campus graduation ceremony if they wish, to celebrate their achievement.

The lack of any distinction between the two avenues of pursuing an MBA and the equivalent requirements and overall experience means students studying online receive a high-value education. Experienced, competent, full-time faculty offer learning experiences focused on the modern world of business, from cutting-edge technological considerations to long-standing, relevant management principles. Optional concentrations allow students to focus on the areas of the economy that matter the most to them, including finance, marketing, management information systems, health services or a general track for added flexibility in creating a personally relevant curriculum.

One area that professionals considering an advanced degree need to keep in mind when finding a great MBA online program is accreditation. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business has maintained accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a distinction bestowed on fewer than 200 universities worldwide for their undergraduate and graduate business degree programs. The combination of a dedicated full-time staff and the assurance of a competitive accreditation process mean students can receive an excellent education, from their first class in the MBA program to their last.

On a practical level, UAB’s online MBA degree is flexible and able to easily fit into the busy, responsibility-filled lives of modern professionals. The asynchronous nature of the program means students can participate in classes and complete coursework as time allows, whether that means on breaks at work, during evenings after the kids are put to bed or on weekends. Learners progress at their own speeds, but can finish the program requirements in as little as two years, with material spread across six semesters total. Our MBA program also takes the work of active professionals into account, waiving GMAT requirements for students who can demonstrate three years of progressive professional experience. Learners also have the chance to build their professional networks through their work with fellow students and professors, an important distinction that can lead to a variety of benefits in the future.

The MBA online program simply makes sense for modern professionals

A high-quality program and a flexible format are two of the most important qualities when it comes to an effective, productive and valuable MBA degree program. UAB’s MBA online degree combines convenience and high educational standards to ensure all students have access to a degree pathway that serves their best interests and provides strong value in return for all of their hard work and dedication.

As you consider furthering your education, make sure any MBA program you come across offers exclusive accreditation credentials, an excellent, committed faculty and the ability to work toward your degree without drastically altering your current schedule or your life in general. UAB is proud to offer an MBA online program that does exactly that. To learn more about the benefits of studying for your online MBA at UAB, get in touch with an advisor today.

Recommended Readings:
5 Things to Know Before Enrolling in an Online MBA Program
Is an Online MBA Degree Worth It?