Students who are contemplating pursuing an online MBA program have many questions. What will an online experience be like? How will the online education be different from being a residential student? Will I be as successful online as I would be in a classroom? What does the MBA program entail? Will future employers respect my online degree? Will my job prospects expand? Will the program be worth the time, money, and effort I put into it?
To help put prospective students at ease, we are asking students in online MBA programs some of these important questions in order to give our readers perspective from students who are currently going through the program.
Kristin Bass is a current student in the online MBA program and a Graduate Assistant for the College of Business Graduate Programs at East Carolina University. ECU started in 1907 as a teacher training school and has grown to nearly 29,000 students and more than 5,800 faculty and staff and now offers a broad range of traditional and interdisciplinary majors. It is a public, doctoral/research university located in Greenville, North Carolina. The ECU College of Business is one of the 15 accredited business schools in North Carolina and has the highest enrollment than any other business school in the state. ECU's online MBA program is highly reputable and has been ranked in many Online MBA Today Rankings, including the Top 50 Online MBA Programs, Top 50 Best Value Online MBA Programs, Top 10 Online MBA in Hospitality Programs, Top 50 Online MBA in Management Programs, and the Top 100 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs.
Online MBA Today: Overall, how satisfied are you with your online MBA education?
Kristin Bass: I would have to say that I am highly satisfied with my MBA education. ECU's College of Business has made the online MBA program one that I thoroughly enjoy.
Online MBA Today: What do you wish you had known before you started your program that you know now?
Kristin Bass: Although it seems like common sense, I would say procrastination is not your friend. Students, like me, who are procrastinators at heart and believe that putting a project or case study off until the day before it's due are in for a surprise. Procrastination at the graduate level does not work out quite as well as it does for undergraduate students. You end up stressed and hoping that you do well enough to maintain your 3.0 GPA.
Online MBA Today: If you have graduated or looked for employment after starting the program, what was your experience in the job market? Did employers show any reservations about the fact that you earned your MBA online rather than on-campus?
Kristin Bass: I have yet to come across an employer who has expressed reservations due to completing an online MBA. Most employers never ask. I have yet to interview with a company who discriminates against an online program.
Online MBA Today: What advice would you give to a prospective student trying to decide on a program?
Kristin Bass: My best advice would be to find a program that fits in with your current lifestyle. Students really should focus on how the program will accommodate them and their situation. Not everyone has a chance to be a full-time student, so finding the program that allows you to continue living your life in conjunction with earning an advanced degree is extremely important.
Online MBA Today: How positive of an impact do you believe obtaining your degree from this program will have on your career in the immediate future? Long term?
Kristin Bass: ECU is a well-known university and I believe obtaining my degree from here will have a large impact on my career path in the immediate future. When searching for jobs on sites such as LinkedIn I've discovered many ECU alumnae scattered throughout all industries.
BIG TAKE AWAYS
Do Not Procrastinate: Many people procrastinate for many different reasons, but it is highly recommended to not procrastinate in a graduate program, especially in this online MBA program. As Kristin explained, it adds an incredible amount of stress in addition to the other life and professional stressors that you have. When you take the time to prepare, you are much better off and can get through this program with as little stress as possible. Also, much of the learning in an online MBA is done communally with online discussion boards. The work that you and your classmates do, directly impact your learning experience. Thus, the more you put into your projects and coursework, the more you and your classmates will learn and grow.
Find the Best Fit: There are so many different majors and so many different programs out there in the online world. It can be overwhelming to figure out what to do and what to pursue. After you have decided to pursue an online MBA, you need to fully think through your current lifestyle and schedule and priorities to help you figure out which program to get into. Some factors to consider are: whether you need to be a full-time or part-time student, if you will be working full-time or not, how to juggle your family commitments, and when you would like to be done with your advanced degree. There are programs in the online world that can assist you with reaching your degree quickly or taking a longer, more flexible route while working full time. As Kristin advised, it is good to find a program that best fits your lifestyle so you can earn your degree successfully.