Online graduate business degrees becoming popular

Ten years ago, taking Master’s of Business Administration courses online was uncommon.

But with the increasing popularity of distant learning, more than 11 percent of MBAs are now being earned by students taking online courses.

Many questions can arise when it comes to deciding between attaining an MBA in the traditional manner or online.

Questions regarding the disadvantages and advantages of getting an online degree are questions that many prospective MBA students may ask.

While some employers find no problem with getting an MBA online, other professionals have not quite hopped on the online MBA bandwagon.

“From a teacher’s point of view, it takes a lot of time keeping up with students through technology,” said Sondra Drumming, associate professor of accounting at the Florida A&M University School of Business and Industry. “There should be interaction between teachers and students.”

A big reason people are choosing to earn MBAs online is the increased time flexibility it allows.

With the increased flexibility, working professionals do not have to rush to class after a long day, and they can study on their own schedule.

Florida State University has had an online MBA program for three years, said Patrick Maroney, associate dean of graduate programs at the FSU College of Business.

“Many students take classes online because they can’t relocate because of family and work,” Maroney said.

In addition, tuition for graduate studies at online universities tends to be lower for online universities than at traditional MBA programs.

According to University of Phoenix Online, graduate courses are $612 per credit hour.

Since online programs are not on a campus site, expenses associated with a traditional MBA offer students a degree at a lower price.

Online MBA students are also able to communicate with other students across the world.

Documents, transcripts and live discussions are all recorded so they can be retrieved via mail, e-mail or the school’s Web site.

Despite the many advantages, online MBAs have their disadvantages as well, some students said.

Students in online courses will receive some sort of educational support from their professors, but some students feel that nothing beats the support professors can give in the traditional classroom setting.

“I wouldn’t take MBA classes online because it is certain things that you need to learn that you won’t be able to experience online,” said Gregory Bradley, 25, a graduate business administration student from Indianapolis.

Some students are deterred from earning online degrees because of the lack of motivation from professors.

Tawanna Johnson, 21, a visual communications student from Tallahassee, attends American InterContinental University Online.

“I keep myself motivated by reminding myself that getting a degree is important if I want a good career,” she said. “I don’t want to end up like a lot of people I know who chose not to get a college education.”

No matter what advantages or downfalls are associated with online degrees, they carry the same weight academically as traditional degrees.

But the admissions processes for online MBAs vary depending on the university.

“Requirements for applying for the online MBA are the same as campus requirements,” Maroney said in regards to FSU. “Recruiters look at grade point averages, GMAT scores and work experience.”

Maroney suggested prospective students call the school in which they are interested and make sure it carries the Associated to Advance Schools of Business seal of approval.