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Are There Any Good Alternatives to Online MBA Programs

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Compared with traditional MBA programs, online MBA programs offer a variety of benefits, such as greater time flexibility and affordability.

If you have an extensive travel schedule or a busy working schedule, earning an MBA degree online is a good option. However, online MBA program may not be suitable for you if you’re not self-disciplined to complete all course work on time.

Many students do not take the online MBA work seriously. If you cannot always complete your assignments independently, give up the idea of earning an online MBA degree as soon as possible. In addition to online MBA programs, there’re many other MBA programs that you can enroll in.

Full-time MBA Programs

Just as the name indicates, full-time MBA programs require students to enroll in the program as a full-time student. If you prefer full-time MBA programs, two options will be available: two-year MBA and one-year MBA.

If you’re attending a two-year full time MBA program, it will take you about two academic years to complete the coursework. Depending on your program requirements, you may be always asked to earn 12 to 15 credits each semester. Just like regular on-campus students, almost all classes can be taken during weekdays. Two-year full time MBA programs often give students a three to four month summer break between the two academic years. The summer break can be used for internships to get specialized training.

Some students also choose accelerated one-year full-time MBA programs. One-year MBA programs may have stricter admission requirements. Let’s say, applicants must take prerequisite graduate or undergraduate courses in business. Since the program can be finished in less time, graduates can enter the workforce much more quickly than those who’re taking 2-year programs.

However, one-year full-time MBA programs often have no internships because of the program’s intensity. All courses must be taken within one academic year, resulting in a higher course load with more intense class and examination schedules. Due to time limitations, many specialty and core curriculum courses will be eliminated in a one-year program. That’s why one-year MBA degrees are not accepted for promotions or career advancement in some companies.

Full-time MBA programs are best suited for students with clear career objectives. Since you won’t work while in school if you’re registered as a full-time MBA student, make sure you have income sources to fund your education. Full-time MBA programs are not a wise option for students who cannot afford the costs without working.

Part-time MBA Programs

Perhaps due to the high costs, only 20% of business school students are enrolled in two-year, full-time MBA programs. More than half students are willing to take a part-time MBA program. The program is a very popular option for those who want to keep their work and advance their current career.

The main advantage for part-time MBA programs is flexibility. Classes are always arranged on weekday evenings after normal working hours or on weekends. Then students do not have to give up their job while taking classes. By spreading the course load over a longer period of time, part-time MBA programs will take a bit longer to complete. A typical part-time program requires 3 years or more.

The major drawback for part-time MBA programs is fewer networking opportunities. Students taking part-time MBA programs do not have time to attend social events and professional organization meetings, which are excellent opportunities to meet and know more people. In addition, career placement services of your business school won’t be available for you after regular business hours.

Executive MBA Programs

Executive MBA programs, always referred to as EMBA programs, are specially created for busy executives and managers with ten or more years of professional experience. With EMBA programs, candidates are expected to acquire the latest business management, finance and marketing techniques and strategies. To accommodate students’ busy working schedules, EMBA courses can be completed in evenings or on weekends in two years or less. Executive MBA programs also allow students to earn an MBA degree while working full time.

As opposed to other MBA programs, EMBA programs come with various benefits. You have the ability to stay current in your fast-changing career while earning an MBA degree. Then you can practice new innovative ideas and classroom experience in your job immediately. What’s more, you’ll be shifted from functional to broad-based leadership after the completion of the program. Graduates of EMBA programs will qualify for various positions, such as sales manager, CEO, director of operations and management consultant.

Distance Learning MBA Programs

Distance learning MBA programs allow students to take classes off-campus. If you’re seeking to have greater flexibility and freedom while earning an MBA degree, a distance learning MBA program might be best suited for you. Classes of distance learning MBA programs are always offered in various formats, including:

• Correspondence courses by postal mail or email

• Non-interactive broadcast video courses

• Pre-recorded video courses

• Courses through live teleconference or videoconference

• Offline or online computer courses

It’s obvious that these courses can be taken at anytime, anywhere you wish. However, students will have little interaction with their peers and professors. Communication is only limited to chat rooms and e-mail. Due to the lack of interaction, some companies do not accept distance learning MBA degrees. So your MBA degree earned through a distance learning program may not help your career a lot.

Blended Learning Programs

A blended learning MBA program will be a nice alternative for working professionals who cannot take a traditional part-time MBA program because of frequent travel or family obligations. By attending a blended learning program, you’ll earn your MBA degree via taking distance learning courses and face-to-face courses. Blended MBA programs offer the combined benefits of online and in-house instruction.

Generally, hybrid learning MBA programs can provide face-to-face interaction with your classmates and professors. That’s one major advantage of blended learning MBA programs over distance learning programs. Why not take advantage of this flexible approach to an MBA degree?

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