There are so many online MBA providers out there that it can be difficult to know which one to choose. How do you know which ones are the best and whether they will suit you or not? Here are some guidelines to help you choose an online MBA provider.
Look for Accreditation
You should only look for accredited MBA courses as these have been vetted to ensure that they teach relevant material using the latest information available and that they comply with the latest directives in terms of industry standards, technology, and training methods. That way, you know you are choosing the best MBA provider possible. This may help to narrow down your options from the outset.
There are three top governing bodies for online MBA courses, which are:
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- The Accreditation Council to Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- The International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
Consider the Timing of the Course
Deciding on the best time in your life to get an online MBA is not an easy task. You could commence your studies shortly after graduation so that studying is still fresh in your mind and you have a good study routine. On the other hand, you may find you are too busy trying to get your career off the ground to worry about studying as well. A couple of years into the world of work may suit you better as you are more settled at work. You could even leave getting your online MBA until you are unable to go any further up the career ladder without one.
However, with the changes to the workplace that have been brought about by the global pandemic, now might be a better time than any to get studying. If you are working from home, you may find yourself with more time on your hands which could be put to better use. And, with companies having to quickly adapt, they are looking for leaders that can turn challenges into opportunities - a skill you will develop when studying for an MBA. Check this blog from Suffolk University on Why now is the Best Time to Get an Online MBA.
Do You Meet the Entry Requirements?
Each MBA program could have different entry requirements depending on how many students have enrolled in the course and where their emphasis lies. If you have a lot of great experience but were not top of the class when you did your bachelor’s degree, this might matter more to some providers than others. If you have any concerns, speak to the college, and see if they are happy to offer the course to you. Usually, it is easier to enroll on an online MBA course than a classroom-based one as the number of students is more adaptable, so take the time to talk your options over with the admissions department if you are unsure.
Check the Reputation of the Provider
Look at the reputation the provider has and how it was earned. The better this is, the more you should want to study with this provider. Look at how they are ranked among their peers, and what the quality of the faculty is like. Don’t just look at the provider website for this information; instead, look at review sites too. This is often a more obvious guide to how well the course has been run and how happy previous students were with their experience. If you are able to, contact one or two of the previous students on social media and ask questions about the course or their experience of it. This way, you will get a more honest opinion than what the sales information on the website will provide you with.
Look at Pass Rates
A good indication of how good the course is will be to look at the percentage of people who have passed it year on year. The students will be diverse, but the faculty isn’t as quick to change, so this will give you a great indication of how able the tutors were to explain their subjects and help the students pass the exams. Of course, previous performance is not necessarily an indicator of future performance but as long as the faculty hasn’t changed too much and you are prepared to put in the required amount of work, you should do well with a provider that has a high percentage of students who have passed the course.
How Will You Interact?
Consider how much interaction you would like to have with your MBA provider and find one that matches your requirements. Most providers will offer some real-time learning, whether this is done in a virtual classroom or a residential course. Think about which option you would prefer. If you choose a provider at the opposite end of the country, for example, you might need to consider how often you would need to make the trip if residential courses are compulsory. However, it is also worth considering that residential courses are a great way to get to know the rest of the class and make business contacts that could last for the rest of your career. There are so many providers to choose from, that finding one that matches your requirements will be possible for you.
Request a copy of the course timetable if you have to take residential or real-time courses and make sure that this doesn’t clash with anything else you have going on in your life. If you find that one provider has a course that runs on a night you have to work late, or a residential course that clashes with your sister’s wedding, then you might want to reconsider your options.
Check the Length of the Program
The length of the MBA program is an important factor. Some MBA programs are spread over a couple of years. This means that it will take you this long to get your qualification, which may not be a good thing for you if you are impatient to complete the course. However, it does mean that there is less work to do per week than there is with a shorter course and this could be very useful for you if you need to work full time as well. The shortest courses around take about ten months to complete. This is brilliant if your next promotion depends on you getting this qualification, as the next step on the career ladder isn’t too far away. However, if you have a lot of other commitments, you may not be able to commit yourself to as much study as necessary to be able to complete the course in such a short time. Consider how much free time you have and plan your schedule accordingly before you sign up for the course as this will make it less likely that you will run into time management problems once you have started.
Consider Your Budget
You will probably need to consider your budget and payment options before you embark on an MBA program. The first thing you should do is speak to your company’s HR department and see if they will offer you any financial help for the course. Some companies will pay for an employee to study for an MBA as they recognize it is in their best interests for you to achieve this qualification. However, there may be certain stipulations if they do, such as how long they will give you to complete the course and which online MBA provider you can use.
If you need to pay for the course yourself, you may find that you can either make a one-off payment or pay in installments. This may have a bearing on the length of the course you decide to undertake as you may have longer to pay the installments if the course is longer. Some providers charge you more to pay in installments though, as they factor in the interest on the payments, so if you are able to, making a one-off payment might work out cheaper for you. There are plenty of loan companies who will offer you a loan to undertake this qualification, so it is worth shopping around to find the best cost option for you.
The cheapest option might not be the best one as the price may make a difference on the amount of material that is provided for you and the amount of study support from your tutors. You should compare the course first and consider the cost second to make sure you have the right level of support you need to pass.
These tips should help you in your search for the best online MBA provider for you. Take your time and weigh up your options carefully before you make a decision and make sure that it is the right time for you to undertake this qualification, as it will involve a lot of work. However, once you have passed the course, it will certainly be worthwhile as an online MBA will give your career a boost.
Finding Your MBA Provider – Concluding Thoughts
The tips included in this article should help you in your search for the best online MBA provider for you. Take your time and weigh up your options carefully before you make a decision and make sure that it is the right time for you to undertake this qualification, as it will involve a lot of work. However, once you have passed the course, it will certainly be worthwhile as an online MBA will give your career a boost.