MBA Formats

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What Employers Think of Your Online MBA Degree...

When Michael Urtiaga goes on job interviews, he regularly gets asked the question, “How were you able to balance an MBA education at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business with your previous full-time job near Cincinnati?” The answer: The 36-year-old, who’s now in between jobs, pursued his MBA online through the Kelley Direct program – not by traveling to the school on the weekends, as some interviewers initially assume given that he lives about a two-hour drive away from the campus. Urtiaga says interviewers generally seem accepting of his online degree given the strong reputation of the school. Still, he sometimes needs to answer questions about the pros and cons of online learning and the real-world benefits the online program offers. “Oftentimes, you can see their faces change as you go through the conversation,” says Urtiaga, who completed his MBA last year and is now pursuing an online master’s in strategic management as part of a dual degree program at Kelley. There’s still a bit of a stigma, he says, but people usually come around when they hear some of the format’s virtues. Recruiters say most employers accept job candidates’ online MBAs from respected schools, especially now that the quality of an online MBA education at many institutions is equivalent to one on a physical campus. But in some cases, experts say, there’s still the need to educate companies about the legitimacy of many online programs. A significant portion of employers won’t even ask about the format in which the degree was earned, says Adam J. Samples, regional president of Atrium Staffing in New Jersey. Others will only dig deeper if they have a specific reason to – as in Urtiaga’s case, where they see he worked while pursuing...

Cheap MBAs: Costly for some

THERE’S no such thing as a free lunch. That maxim should be ingrained in the minds of business-school students, attuned to the notion of opportunity cost or Milton Friedman’s economic theories. Yet to believe the American non-profit University of the People (UoPeople), run by Shai Reshef, an Israeli entrepreneur, something close to a free lunch could soon be available to prospective MBA students. On March 15th the university opened applications for an MBA without tuition fees that it plans to launch in September 2016. That much is admirable, and certainly should be applauded. But don’t prepare to burn Friedman’s 1975 tome yet: there’s still no such thing as a free lunch. One hundred successful applicants will be enrolled onto the 15-month distance-learning course, and will be asked to pay just $200 for each of the 12 courses they will take as part of the programme. That is still a pittance, and a minuscule fraction of the cost of an MBA at the sort of business schools ranked by The Economist. “The cost of an MBA today is so expensive that many people who are qualified to achieve it cannot afford it,” Mr Reshef said when announcing his plans. Certainly, business schools can be rarefied places. So the development of a legitimate MBA at a low cost could be beneficial. Russell Winer, professor of marketing at NYU Stern and the leader of the MBA programme at UoPeople, told The Economist that the establishment can offer a cheaper programme than most by being online-only and lean-staffed. It also has the backing of faculty members from other big business schools, including INSEAD, Wharton and Oxford, all of whom have helped develop the curriculum. And yet the devil is in the detail. Some...

What is a free MBA worth in the marketplace?

Coming soon: a tuition-free MBA. It was announced this week from University of the People, which already offers no-tuition bachelor’s degrees. The idea of its new degree is to extend advancement opportunities to people who can’t afford graduate business education. The question is whether an MBA from an untested new program will be worth their time, as many employers may be skeptical of a new degree from an online program. Tuition alone for an MBA from an elite school typically tops $120,000 over two years. A University of the People graduate will pay only about $2,400 in fees. Expenses stay low through online classes and support from foundations. University president and founder Shai Reshef is realistic when it comes to competing with other business schools. “People who can get into great universities which will cost a great amount of money, if they can do it and afford it, they should do it,” he said. The idea is to create a space where people who could never afford any MBA can pick up skills that’ll advance their careers. University of the People’s program is accredited and professors from top global business schools are supporting it. But despite its credentials, it’s still hard for managers who might hire these graduates to gauge the value of a degree from such a new and unusual program. “I’ll be curious to see how employers look at that,” said Russ Poulin, policy and analysis director at WCET, a nonprofit that tracks online higher education. “It is not a brand that is well known.” The value of the degree could increase over time if the program’s reputation grows. University of the People’s undergrad program has already attracted thousands of students from around the world. Reshef said...

World’s first smartphone-based MBA launched...

The London School of Marketing has launched the world’s first ever MBA that students can study on their smart phones. The UK based educator has invested in a unique interactive online learning platform. It allows its learners direct access to course tutors, all the essential books and learning materials they’ll need, via their mobile phone. There’s also a community forum where students can chat directly with other students studying on their course and thereby learn from each other. This innovative approach to education means its learners can study when and where they want without being tied to a time or location. Since its launch, hundreds of students have already signed up to use the technology with more expected to follow. The courses it offers via smart phone include an MBA in business studies, a Masters and two undergraduate courses in the same subject. Its professional marketing course can also be accessed via smart phones. These courses are proving popular with international business executives who prefer to study from their home country rather than live and study in the UK. CFO of London School of Marketing, Anton Dominique explains: “They can study at a time and place to suit them and we’ve adapted the technology we use to make that happen. Everyone has a smartphone now, so it makes sense to run courses which our students can access while they’re on the move… Read full story: Khaleej...

The 19 best online MBA programs

An MBA can be a shortcut for ascending the career ladder and boosting your salary. While attending one of best b-schools in the world can be an attractive option — Business Insider published its list of the world’s 50 best business schools in December — for some working professionals it’s not feasible, making online programs a great alternative. U.S. News & World Report recently released their ranking of the best online MBA programs, evaluating schools based solely on data related to their distance education MBA programs in five categories: student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology. (You can read a full breakdown of the methodology here.) Note that because of multiple ties, the ranking only goes through No. 15. Temple University’s online MBA program took the top spot, followed by Indiana University at Bloomington, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Read on for the rest of the 19 best online MBA programs in the country, according to U.S. News.Read full story: Business...

How Jack Welch Is Reinventing the MBA

The former GE CEO’s online MBA program has a laser-like focus on customer service. When legendary General Electric CEO Jack Welch hired a headhunter to search for new deans of curriculum and faculty for his online management institute, he had an unusual requirement. “Jack didn’t like pie-in-the-sky academic types,” says Michael Kirkman, a search consultant with Lochlin Partners. Despite that limitation, Kirkman had little trouble rounding up an impressive portfolio of higher ed candidates. “Everybody was very interested, particularly with Jack’s name attached to it,” Kirkman says. “A lot of them are just tired of the bureaucracy and garbage that goes on in traditional academic environments.” Welch ultimately hired Craig Clawson, former managing director of Duke Corporate Education, as dean of curriculum, and Mike Zeliff, a faculty member at George Washington University and a former marketing director for the U.S. Marine Corps, as the dean of faculty. Both hires go a long way in telegraphing the fact that the four-year-old Jack Welch Management Institute is one of the very few business schools that is run like a business, with a laser-like focus on customer service. The school is closely managed on student surveys that measure the impact of the education as well as the likelihood that a student would recommend the institute to a friend or colleague. At JWMI, every administrator and faculty member understands that students are customers. In fact, the incentive pay of the core leadership team—up to 25% of their annual base salaries—is based on satisfying those customers. Net Promoter Scores (NPS), the metric Welch is using to monitor student satisfaction, are widely discussed among the leadership team, even down to the scores on the 12 courses that make up the MBA curriculum. “We’re running this...

Looking for an Education Bargain? University Offers Tuition-Free MBA...

Getting a master’s degree in business administration can catapult your career. It can also saddle you with serious debt. But students entering Arizona State University’s MBA program in 2016 won’t have to worry about those pesky tuition costs: They’ll get the advanced degree for free. The W.P. Carey business school at ASU has announced a scholarship for “exceptional full-time MBA candidates who exhibit creativity, ingenuity and innate leadership” that will essentially give the entire class a free ride. The business school says it’s hoping to draw a class that’s more economically and demographically diverse. “MBA programs do not have the same type of diversity that you see in undergraduate programs,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the business school. While nearly half of her business undergraduate students are female, “the number drops off precipitously when you think about having to go out into the workforce for another five years, and then quitting and coming back after a two-year full-time MBA,” she said. Image: W.P. Carey business school at Arizona State University The W.P. Carey business school at ASU has announced a scholarship for “exceptional full-time MBA candidates who exhibit creativity, ingenuity and innate leadership” that will essentially give the entire class a free ride. W. P. Carey School of Business The free degree is courtesy of an endowment made by from businessman William Polk Carey in 2003. Until now it had been used to hire faculty, said Hillman. This year ASU’s full-time MBA enrolled 86 students, up from 70 last year, who paid $54,000 in tuition if they were Arizona residents, $87,000 if they moved to the state from elsewhere in the U.S. to go to school and $90,000 if they came from other countries. Hillman said the school is...

Want An MBA For Free? Check Out These Illinois University MOOCs...

Massive Online Open Courses, better known as MOOCs have long been known for their silly name and idealist view on democratizing the college education. This week, one Illinois university gave MOOCs a little bit more cred. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announced it would offer all its MBA courses online, for free. That means you can essentially get an MBA from UIUC, ranked in the top 50 nationwide, without paying a dime. Unless you actually want the degree– that will cost you about $20,000, the university said. Regardless, opening up their MBA program as a MOOC is a great way for you to gain a lot of knowledge, on the cheap. And UIUC is not the only Illinois university offering popular online courses for free. Whether you’ve got some extra time on your hands, or are just looking to gain a new skill, MOOCs from a top university can be the way to go. Here are the top MOOCs from universities in Illinois: iMBA from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign The flagship University of Illinois school made headlines for offering its MBA program online on Coursera, and rightfully so. Starting in June, MOOC-only students get to sit in on classes such as managerial accounting, and focus on specializations such as Leadership and Management, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation. What’s even better is that you can actually get a degree from the university via Coursera, but you will have to be admitted to the certificate program and pay about $1,000 per course. That’s a total of $20,000, which may seem like a lot, but the on-campus price ranges from $50,000 to $100,000. You also get special support from faculty and advisors that students who don’t pay won’t get. Right now UIUC is only...

Students feel benefits of an online MBA – even before graduation...

For ambitious executives looking to make the next step in their career, an additional qualification can seem like a good move. And with an ever-growing number of courses available via distance learning, their goal is now closer than ever. Most business schools offer a range of courses online, from the classic MBA to more specialised masters’ programmes in fields including marketing, finance and HR. While some involve the option of a face-to-face segment of the course, many can be completed without the need to physically attend the university at all. But for those considering this option there are several key questions. What does distance learning involve? How do the courses differ from those taken face-to-face? Can it fit in with a busy, and sometimes unpredictable, working life? And, crucially, is it worth it? For Travis Callaway, the answer to that last question is unequivocally yes. Callaway, who graduated last year, took the global MBA at Durham University while working in sports advertising in his native Canada. And already he has seen the effects. “I’ve been given more responsibility and a pay bump, and had I not taken the course there’s no way that would have happened,” he says. And he is not alone. Research from the Forte Foundation published last year suggests that MBA students can expect an average pay increase of 35-45 per cent on graduation, rising to 55-65 per cent five years later. Callaway, 29, has been working in sports advertising since completing his first degree at 21. But although he had been promoted several times, he thought an MBA would give his career the boost he was looking for. “Career progression was the main factor for me, and it’s always good to get new skills,” he...

Harvard B-school opens the flood gates with online courses...

After a pair of highly successful pilot runs, Harvard Business School is now opening its online program in business basics to students worldwide. The school is also inviting admitted MBA students to enroll in the program as a pre-MBA boot camp experience, particularly for non-traditional admits or those who need more basic quantitative work before showing up on campus. All told, slightly more than 1,100 students have now taken the primer on the fundamentals of business called CORe (Credential of Readiness) program. In the first beta starting last June, the trio of courses—Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting—were open to only undergraduate students attending colleges in Massachusetts and alumni. Some 600 students took the $1,500 two-month program. Harvard then tested the suite of courses on 500 managers at nine different companies in a B-to-B experiment. For the first time, HBS is now opening up the program—based on case studies and videos—to applicants worldwide, including adult learners who have been out of school up to 10 years, and students admitted to the school’s full-time, on-campus MBA program this fall. Initially, the program was designed largely for non-business undergraduates who needed the business basics to give them a leg up on the job market when they graduated from college. These latest changes could put the program in competition with more expensive Executive MBA programs, which demand a greater time commitment from managers with 10 or more years of work experience. EMBA programs cover a lot more ground, but Harvard’s imprimatur on this program of business basics could make it appealing to managers who otherwise would attend second-tier EMBA programs. CORe more directly competes with summer business programs for undergraduate students from schools like UC-Berkeley and Dartmouth College’s Tuck School...

10 Most Expensive Public Online MBA Programs

Students looking to earn an online MBA may have an easier time getting into some of the top programs. But that doesn’t mean they’ll have an easier time paying the bills. Tuition at many online programs isn’t necessarily a deal when compared with the costs at some on-ground MBA programs. Online students don’t have to pay commuting costs, and if they’re working while in school, they don’t lose wages, either. But when it comes to tuition, their options run the gamut. [Explore the top 20 Best Online MBA Programs.] Total program costs at public online MBA programs range from just above $2,000 at the low end to more than $95,000 at the high end in 2014-2015, according to U.S. News data collected from 69 public online MBA programs. The University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, which tied for No. 1 in the online MBA rankings, had the highest total costs. Students in that program will pay a total of $96,775, according to data reported to U.S. News. Online MBA students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University are at the other end of the spectrum. The total cost for that program is $2,066. Students at UNC and the other nine most expensive public online MBA programs pay significantly more than most of their peers. On average, students attending public online MBA programs in 2014-2015 pay $25,525 in total program costs. [Discover what to look for in online MBA faculty.] Below are the 10 public online MBA programs with the highest total program costs based on 2014-2015 rates. The list does not include schools not ranked by U.S. News. Unranked programs do not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked. U.S. News did not ask schools whether these rates...

Why part-time MBAs are undervalued

Three cheers for the part-time MBA! It is not a refrain you are likely to hear every day, I have to admit. But why does the full-time MBA receive all the accolades while part-time programmes are met with a rather embarrassed silence, even though the degree received by graduates is often the same? This might seem an odd thing to write about in a magazine dedicated to the full-time degree, but I think it is worth asking the question. Why has the part-time MBA always been the Cinderella of the MBA market, and can and should that change? It strikes me there is a real case to answer here. For what everyone has learnt in the past decade is that the MBA market has to offer more flexibility to students; it has to make better use of technology; it has to be more affordable; and participants need the security of a job at the end of the process. A further point is that there are too few women on traditional MBA programmes, and there is evidence that part-time programmes might help redress that balance. But the one thing that has convinced me the part-time MBA should be revisited is a comment I heard some years ago from Kim Clark, the former dean of Harvard Business School, whose MBA is ranked number one in the world by the FT this year. He said that students do not turn down a seat at HBS to go to another business school; they do so because they have great opportunities at work. As economies recover around the world, this is clearly going to become a bigger problem, as corporations bid to retain talented staff. They may even be persuaded to sponsor part-time MBA...