By Sarah Stevenson
One of the primary advantages to online MBA programs is the fact that they offer rigorous, in-depth education from an accredited institution—just like a traditional program—in combination with the increased flexibility of online learning.
But don't expect to just sit at home in your pajamas and let the As roll in without putting in the effort to succeed! You'll need discipline to get the most out of an online MBA program, and you'll also want to stay up-to-date on the latest education news that concerns today's business graduate students.
Here are just a few of the most recent developments in the world of online MBA education:
Promising Job Prospects for Graduates
Recently released data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) indicates that employers still value the skills that a highly-trained MBA graduate brings to a job—the percentage of employers planning to hire MBA grads is up this year. Consulting, health care, marketing, sales and finance are anticipated to be the hot job markets.
Online Programs Increasingly Accept GRE Results
Following the lead of Stanford's Graduate School of Business, more than 800 MBA programs worldwide now accept Graduate Record Exam (GRE) results as an alternative to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), including online MBA programs like those at Strayer University, Brandman University and DeVry University. The GRE has a greater focus on vocabulary and an easier math portion than the GMAT; it is also accepted by a wider variety of graduate programs. The GMAT has a more challenging math requirement and focuses specifically on prospective business and management students.
Accreditation Agency Praises Innovation
In a recent report by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the new Task Force on Business Schools and Innovation advocated that schools focus more explicitly on the idea of innovation, both in curriculum content and design. The possibilities are wide-ranging, whether it's training managers to create a business environment that encourages innovation, or incorporating innovations in educational technology, such as the cutting-edge tools offered by online MBA programs. "The Task Force recommends that business schools develop and regularly evaluate their contributions to innovation and society through teaching, scholarship and outreach."
Online MBA Programs Can Offer Dual Degrees
Is a dual degree for you? Will online MBA programs with a dual degree option increase your job marketability? If you plan to work in a specialized area of business that involves expertise in another subject area such as medicine or law, then the answer may be yes. A dual degree can provide a bridge between your business knowledge and other industries, opening up a range of high-level employment opportunities. Not only that, a dual degree can impress upon potential employers that you're diligent and highly motivated. Common dual degrees include the MBA/MPH (Master of Public Health), MBA/MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) and MBA/JD (Juris Doctor).
Green MBA Degrees are Growing
From traditional in-person schools such as the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School to online MBA programs such as those offered by the University of Phoenix, MBA degrees that focus on sustainability and the environment are springing up everywhere. These "green MBA degrees" integrate coursework on topics such as ethics, environmental management and clean energy markets. Graduates of green MBA programs use their knowledge to improve the business environment and the natural environment, addressing issues like urban food production, renewable energy resources and sustainable business practices.