|The (Online) B-School Advantage|
By Alexa Apallas
In a tight job market, job seekers need to find ways of making themselves attractive to employers. And in this “jobless economic recovery” where more and more jobs are being shipped overseas (many call center and IT jobs may be lost to India forever), an advanced degree offers some protection against being outsourced.
By earning an MBA degree, candidates can demonstrate: their willingness to learn, their entrepreneurial drive, and their commitment to a career in business — qualities that most employers are eager to find. And holders of an MBA gain skills that can help them launch a new business enterprise or move several rungs up the corporate ladder.
An MBA degree offers monetary benefits, as well. According to a 2003 survey by Salary.com, those with a professional degree earn an average of $81,000 a year, compared with $43,000 for those who have only a bachelor’s degree. BusinessWeek’s 2004 survey of 30 MBA programs turned up similar figures. Starting salaries
for graduates ranged from $74,000 at the low end to $100,000 at the high end, for an average of $84,031.
But despite the many benefits that earning an MBA can bring — increased job security, a higher salary, better business skills, prestige and better job qualifications — some potential students have been reluctant to enroll in traditional B-schools. The Graduate Management Admissions Council found that 78 percent of business schools suffered a drop in applications to their traditional full-time programs for the 2003-2004 school year. Tuition has been rising across the board, and adult students are finding it difficult to take on additional debt while at the same time giving up their full-time jobs. They may also have family obligations or other commitments that would make it difficult for them to enroll in a full-time, two-year program, especially if they would have to relocate to do so. That is why online MBA programs have been increasing in popularity.
For many prospective students, online interactive programs are an enticing option. Students learn at their own pace, so they can continue to earn income from a full-time job and maintain a family life while taking classes when it’s convenient for them. They don’t have to travel to campus or arrange for childcare. They can even receive financial aid, just as they would with a traditional program. With online MBA programs students receive all of the benefits of traditional instruction, with none of the drawbacks. Case in point: Regis University’s online MBA programs.
Regis University is a traditional, ground based school that offers four MBA degree programs 100 percent online. And not only is Regis University regionally accredited, but U.S. News and World Report rated them in the same category as the Ivy League schools: in the top-tier. So as you can see, students who choose an online education instead of going on campus do not have to sacrifice quality of education for convenience.
But perhaps the greatest advantage of earning a degree online is the fact that classes are open 24 hours a day, so even the busiest person can make time to learn.
“My biggest regret about my participation in the Regis University Online MBA program is that I did not enroll sooner,” says Chuck Jaape of Florida. “Why did I wait? I was too busy to go to school. Did my load suddenly lighten, allowing time for studies? Absolutely not! It simply occurred to me that I would always be ‘too busy,’ so I jumped in. I work 55 hours a week, have two small children and a wife who works. I found the program to be manageable because I could go to class anytime, day or night. I found the program to have more depth, because my fellow learners were all as committed as I was.”
Most online programs typically offer MBA degrees in two years. At Regis University, students can take the 12 course program one class at a time and still finish in the standard 24 months. Or the driven student may look for an accelerated program, like Regis’ MBA Fast Track — taking their first four courses one at a time, then doubling up on their classes to earn the degree in only 16 months.
Online students should expect to receive just as much support as their on-campus counterparts, if not more. At Regis University, they have a full virtual-campus – including multi-media courses featuring streaming video, access to Regis University’s Dayton Memorial Library, and a dedicated academic advisor. And if any technical problems should arise, Regis University’s partner, University Alliance, is on hand to offer technical support. And if that weren’t enough, after graduation students can join the alumni association and make networking connections that could help them find their next job. Keep in mind that all universities do not offer all these benefits – so make sure you ask plenty of questions.
MBA holders make more money and move up the career ladder faster. And programs like Regis University’s online MBA have taken away all the obstacles to earning that advanced degree. So there are no more excuses – you can learn at your own pace; on your own time. And in the case of Regis University, you have all the resources of a traditional campus to back you up. There’s nothing stopping you now.
About the Author
Alexa Apallas is a writer for http://www.searchforclasses.com To read more of her articles and to learn more about online education visit http://www.searchforclasses.com/newsletter/
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