Online MBA

What to Look for in Online MBA Faculty

When Audrey McLaughlin was looking into online MBA programs, the Cleveland, Ohio, native cared a lot about overall prestige and program rankings. But she also paid attention to something more granular: the instructors. “I wanted the same faculty as the residential program,” says McLaughlin, who ended up enrolling in Indiana University’s online MBA program in 2013. “I wanted access to the same classes that I could have in person.” Vetting online MBA faculty is key, experts say, since instructors not only shape a student’s academic experience, but can also serve as helpful connections down the road. As a result, they suggest students follow in McLaughlin’s footsteps and research instructors, as well as the overall structure of a program’s faculty. “There are all kinds of models out there, and these are things that students should be aware of,” says David Sylvia, director of academic affairs for graduate programs at Pennsylvania State University—World Campus. One marker of a reputable online MBA program is shared faculty with the residential division, says Phil Powell, faculty chair of the online business programs at Indiana University. If an online MBA program outsources instruction, it’s a sign that school officials aren’t prioritizing the educational experience as they should, he says. “It’s a very quick and dirty way to differentiate whether the online program is seen as a strategic asset for the school or whether it’s just a quick way to make a buck,” says Powell, whose program, ranked No. 1 among online graduate business programs, uses the same faculty as the on-campus program. “All schools see their residential MBA programs as a strategic asset.” McLaughlin, who now works in North Carolina as a business support consultant, says online students benefit from instructors who teach the same...

Forget the MBA

When Luis Ochoa wanted to make the leap from investment banking analyst to corporate strategist, he didn’t follow the usual path of getting a master’s of business administration degree. Instead, the Stanford University graduate took a few free strategy and financial accounting classes on Coursera, one of the major providers of so-called MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which have grown in popularity globally over the past few years. “I gained a foundation with those courses that helped me transition into corporate strategy” at Oppenheimer Funds, the 29-year-old New Yorker said. “Now, I’m not interested in an MBA because I’m where I want to be.” Like Ochoa, a growing number of people are hoping MOOCs will be a ticket to a new job or promotion —without the cost and time required to secure a traditional university degree. The challenge is to increase employers’ awareness and appreciation of the value of online courses. “We still get questions from companies about how good MOOCs are, but we’re finding that businesses are more and more willing to consider them to help fill skill gaps,” said Sebastian Thrun, chief executive of the MOOC platform Udacity, based in Mountain View, California. “For some jobs, companies are looking for specific credentials that MOOCs can provide, and not necessarily a degree.” For some jobs, companies are looking for specific credentials that MOOCs can provide, and not necessarily a degree. — Sebastian Thrun A Bainbridge Strategy Consulting study of US human-resource professionals found that only about a third were aware of MOOCs, while about half of the managers and directors in a global survey by CarringtonCrisp said they are “uncertain of what a MOOC offers.” “There’s a generation gap between those doing recruiting and the younger people taking...

The Online MBA Salary Blues

If the Kelley Direct online MBA program is any guide, graduates of Kenan-Flagler’s new MBA@UNC program shouldn’t expect a salary windfall The rap against online MBA programs has always been that the benefits, in terms of career advancement, can’t compare to those enjoyed by students in full-time MBA programs. Critics of online programs say that recruiters consider the programs educationally inferior and that as a result, the job offers, salaries, and other benefits that derive from the programs are smaller. Most online MBA programs offered by top business schools cost less than the institutions’ full-time programs, so a salary at graduation that’s a few thousand dollars less is not the end of the world. But all this changed in November, when the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School announced MBA@UNC, an online program with an unquestionably full-time MBA price of $89,000, Can an online program, even one offered by a top-ranked business school such as Kenan-Flagler, ever prove a bargain at that price? What can the inaugural class of 19 students in the MBA@UNC program expect when they graduate in two years and begin looking for jobs? Predicting is always dicey, especially when it comes to MBA salaries, which are influenced by the fates of national and regional economies, industries, and even the fortunes of specific companies. But information can be gleaned from online MBA programs with a bit more track record. WEB PIONEER: INDIANA’S KELLEY DIRECT Consider the Kelley Direct online MBA program at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Launched in 1999, it has graduated nearly 1,300 MBAs, making it one of the longest-running online MBA programs offered by a top-ranked business school. The schools’ full-time MBA programs are comparably ranked: Sixteen for UNC and 19...

Maximum flexibility for unconventional MBA students...

An online business programme designed for working professionals Several years ago administrators at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School noticed a gaping hole in their MBA offerings. There were large numbers of talented candidates who would like to earn a graduate degree at the school but, for a variety of reasons, could not uproot their lives and come to Chapel Hill. “We wanted to meet the educational needs of a broad spectrum of people who are qualified to get an MBA, but for whatever reason are unable to matriculate,” says James Dean, dean of the school. The answer was an online business programme designed for working professionals, known as MBA@UNC. The programme, which will start in July, is targeted at students who require maximum flexibility. Perhaps they live out of state or even outside the US; perhaps their jobs require extensive travel or frequent transfers; perhaps they are members of the military, or are juggling young children or ageing parents…Read full...

Online MBAs heading to the ivory tower

While online MBA programs are nothing new, elite business schools are starting to offer the option to students, with UNC’s Kenan-Flagler school the latest to join the party When the dean of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School first broached the idea of launching an online MBA program, his faculty and students were highly skeptical. “Many of our full-time MBA students are not convinced this is a good idea,” says Dean James Dean. “They underestimate the challenge of what it is for people to remain in their jobs and work and study for the degree.” Even Dean concedes that he had doubts. “To be honest, I was initially skeptical,” Dean says. “I wondered: Can you really do an MBA online that you could be proud of? I came around to the idea that this was a great opportunity for us and could change the nature of business education at the top schools.” The upshot: This July, Kenan-Flagler will be the highest ranked business school in the U.S. to offer an online MBA program. The school expects to enroll 50 students in its initial class at a cost of $89,000 each, a price tag that includes up to four weekend residencies at different locations around the world. UNC is partnering with 2tor Inc., a company that provides the technology platform and instructional design to deliver courses online…Read full...

British Business School Offers M.B.A. Courses on Facebook...

Facebook has changed the way students, faculty members, and administrators communicate outside the classroom. Now, with the introduction of the London School of Business & Finance’s Global MBA Facebook app, Facebook is becoming the classroom The Global MBA app”introduced in October”lets users sample typical business-school courses like corporate finance and organizational behavior through the social-networking site. The free course material includes interactive message boards, a note-taking tool, and video lectures and discussions with insiders from industry giants like Accenture Management Consulting and Deloitte. This may be a good way to market a school, notes an observer from a business-school accrediting organization, but it may not be the best way to deliver courses. Unlike most online business courses, the Global MBA program will not require students to pay an enrollment fee up front. Instead, students can access basic course material free of charge and pay the school only when they are ready to prepare for their exams. School administrators hope that letting students “test drive” the online courses before actually shelling out the tuition money will boost graduation rates. While the school offers a large collection of study material on Facebook”including 80 hours of Web video”students seeking formal accreditation must qualify for entrance into the M.B.A. program. Once enrolled in the paid course, students are given access to additional content on the business school’s InterActive course management system, and are required to sit for examinations”like they would if they were enrolled in more traditional distance-learning or brick-and-mortar programs. The Facebook MBA program is accredited by the University of Wales and costs a total of £14,500″about $22,000. Steve Parscale, director of accreditation for the Kansas-based Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs, said sample classes offered through social-networking sites could provide...