Is An Online MBA Worth The Money?

More business schools are offering online MBA programs, but do they offer the same value as a traditional, full-time MBA?

Business schools are taking more of their learning online. In the past five years, the number of AACSB-accredited business schools offering fully-online MBA programs increased by 83%.

Juliane Iannarelli, chief knowledge officer at AACSB, says COVID-19 could accelerate this trend as many MBA programs have shifted from an in-person to online format in recent months. 

"We expect the impact of the pandemic on MBA programs to vary, with some offered fully online, others offered on-campus with strict safety guidelines and testing, and others a blend of both delivery methods,” she says.

The University of California Davis, University College London, and Michigan Ross have recently joined the ranks of big-name schools offering online MBAs. For business schools, going online is a way to reach a global market and diversify program portfolios to meet demand.

For students, it is about flexibility; the opportunity to work, travel, and study at the same time. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 50% of online MBA programs recorded increased applications in 2019 compared with just 21% of full-time, two-year MBAs.

So, is an Online MBA worth it?


Online MBA vs Full-Time

Patrick Gettleman, a student on Birmingham Business School’s 100%-online MBA program, says he could not have studied an MBA without the flexibility it offered. “Online was the only option that would work for me outside of quitting my job to become a full-time student.”patrick

Patrick is one of over 400 students who have enrolled on Birmingham’s online MBA—the first fully-online MBA to be accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA)—since its launch in September 2015. AMBA accreditation requires at least 120 real-time contact hours.

Birmingham splits its online MBA class by time zone, delivering fortnightly ‘live sessions’ to groups of up to 25 students, to meet this requirement.


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