Although institutions of higher education around the world now offer MBA programs, this degree is of pure American origin. The first graduate school of management, the Tuck School of Business, was founded in 1900 at Dartmouth College.
According to the school's website, it was the original graduate business school to award the Master of Commercial Science degree, which later became known as the Master of Business Administration. This idea of a graduate business education quickly caught on and in 1908, the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration enrolled 80 students in the first ever MBA program, according to its website. Throughout the years, MBA programs have grown in number and range of subject matter.
Once you've decided that an MBA is what you need to get your career to the next level, it's time to decide what type of MBA program would be the best choice for you. Online MBA programs offer a unique learning experience that can often be customized to meet personal preferences, schedules or goals. These types of programs can be a great choice for independent learners who prefer self-directed study in which they set the pace for course completion.
It's easy to find an accredited online MBA program nowadays, but it wasn't always that way.
Aspen University, in Denver, was an early pioneer in online education. In fact, Aspen was the first University to offer a 100% online MBA program – back in 1987. Since then Aspen University has taught over 4000 students, bringing classes to learners via the internet.
Why the explosive growth? PayScale crunched the numbers for Fortune and identified the online grad degrees that lead to lucrative careers — and those that lead to high stress and low pay.
Salary may not be the sole motivation for pursuing a graduate degree, of course. But it makes sense to know the outlook for someone on your educational pathway before ponying up – or, taking on a huge long-term debt (in the U.S. today, average tuition for a graduate degree runs $36,000 to $63,000 a year.)
To determine the best and worst graduate degrees for jobs, Fortune consulted the careers site, PayScale. The site considered the full-range of graduate degrees, including Ph.D.s, master's degrees, and law degrees.
The ranking is based upon these factors:
Long-term outlook for job growth. For that, PayScale drew on the Bureau of Labor Statistics latest Employment Projections data (2012-2022). Average rate of employment growth for all occupations is 10%, making anything higher a fast-growing field.
Median salaries, at mid-career or at 10 years in (based on the three jobs most commonly associated with each degree).
Job satisfaction scores: the percentage of degree-holders who said they were "highly satisfied," in one of PayScale's surveys. Job-growth outlook and salary were double-weighted. Perhaps not surprisingly, PayScale's analysis finds the best graduate degrees are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. But online MBAs were not far behind.
One of the key factors in choosing to pursue an online MBA is the chance to earn that degree part-time This is particularly good for working adults.
Some of the best business schools in the world now offer MBA degrees online. Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business enrolled its first class in 2013. Online MBA programs are flourishing at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, IE Business School in Spain, Babson College's Olin School, and Arizona State University's Carey School. Every other week, it seems, a new business school announces the launch of yet another cyber-MBA program. At several schools, including Indiana and Arizona State, incoming online MBA classes outnumber the new full-time students enrolled on-campus.
What follow are some of the benefits on getting that online MBA:
- An online MBA typically consists of 10 to 15 courses
- Takes the average part-time learner three years to complete
- A distance MBA can cost as little as $4,464 or as much as $135,555
- Is offered by 85 AACSB business schools
- Is offered by elite, traditional B-schools, such as Babson College Graduate School of Business, and Indiana University's Kelley School of Business
- $23,918 average cost at a regionally accredited university
- $36,166 average cost at AACSB online business schools
- $11,972 average cost at nationally accredited online business schools