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Find the Right Online MBA Program for You

You know you want to earn your MBA online, but how do you decide from the many program options available? Do you want your MBA to have a specific concentration? Have you weighed the pros and cons of full-time versus part-time learning?

Here are six factors to help you choose the best MBA program that fits your life and supports your goals.

1. Be clear on your education goals

“The first question you should ask yourself when choosing a program is, ‘What are your professional development and career goals?’ In other words, what are the skills and knowledge you want to develop through the program and how will these help you take the next steps in your career?” says Mary Carr, senior vice provost and dean of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University. For example, if you want to learn how to start or operate a business, an MBA may provide you with the knowledge and skills to pursue that goal. Check specific MBA program curricula to ensure classes are geared toward teaching you what you want to learn.

2. Know your MBA program options
Some MBA programs are more general — covering fundamentals like communication, leadership and management skills — while others include options for specialization. The Strayer MBA program offers 16 MBA concentrations so that you can tailor your program to your unique interests and goals. These concentrations include accounting, business data, health services administration, sales and many more.

3. Determine what works with your schedule

Evaluate whether you have time in your current schedule for this type of commitment,” Carr says. “While talking to the enrollment counselor, ask about the time commitment and think about how you can schedule that time commitment given your current family obligations and work obligations.”

Many MBA students juggle priorities at work and home, which makes flexibility key for them to consider. Some more flexible programs allow students to take classes when they have time, compared with real-time courses that students must attend at a specific time each week.

Consider whether a full-time or part-time MBA program works better for your schedule. A full-time MBA might require you to take more classes at once but is usually completed in a shorter time frame than a part-time MBA, which allows you to space out courses over an extended period.

4. Check your MBA admission criteria

Admission criteria can vary from program to program. For example, some MBA programs require students to take exams like the GRE and GMAT and submit their scores as part of their application. Other MBA programs, like Strayer’s, do not require applicants to take a GRE or GMAT to apply.

5. Know your costs

Understanding the costs of any MBA program you apply to is essential. Research the tuition of each program and additional fees for textbooks and other necessary supplies. Also, consider whether you'll need to take time off work to pursue your program, and if so, how you'll pay for necessities, like housing, during that period.

Some schools offer scholarships or partner with employers to offer assistance and help students offset costs. Strayer University offers a variety of scholarships and tuition discounts for eligible students, including transfer students, master’s students, active-duty service members, international students and more. Strayer University partners with more than 500 organizations to offer discounted education programs to their employees.

6. Consider available support services

A graduate degree is about more than the courses you take. It is essential also to consider the type and quality of support services available. Is academic help offered? Will you have access to a career center that can help with career counseling and your job search? Is there a supportive alumni network? All of these factors can play into your long-term career trajectory.

Reflect: Is an MBA worth it?

If you're still considering whether you want to pursue an MBA, that's okay. Take your time evaluating whether an MBA's costs are worth the skills you want to learn and apply toward your career.

If you decide they are, an MBA can teach you skills like relationship-building, problem-solving and project management that apply to various careers and even personal situations.

"Whether it be interactions with business partners, suppliers, bosses or associates at work, there are always opportunities to apply management or business principles," Carr says.


Learn more about Strayer University’s online MBA offerings.

Category: Value of a Degree

Published Date: MAY 6, 2024