Students who are contemplating pursuing an online MBA program usually have many questions before they start. What will an online experience be like? How will the online education differ 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 see my education as credible? 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 online MBA graduates some of these important questions in order to give our readers a unique perspective from students who have been through the program.
Katie Willert recently graduated from the Professional Online MBA program at the University of Texas at Dallas. This 53-credit hour online MBA program is offered by the AACSB-accredited Jindal School of Management that was established in 1975 and is the largest of UT Dallas' eight schools. This program offers 15 concentrations including Leadership in Organizations, Accounting, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Internal Audit to name a few. Located just 20 miles north of downtown Dallas, the University began in a North Texas cotton field as a collection of research stations and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019. It now provides bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees to over 27,600 students. UT Dallas is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The University holds the #22 spot in Quacquarelli Symonds's ranking of the Best Distance MBA programs in the World. It is also ranked the #11 Best Online MBA in the nation by the Princeton Review, and the 6th Best Online MBA Program in the Country by U.S. News & World Report. Online MBA Today has ranked this program #7 in the Top 50 Online MBA Programs in the country, #1 Top Online MBA Program in Texas, and #29 in the Top Best Value Online MBA Programs.
Online MBA Today: Overall, how satisfied are you with your online MBA education?
Katie Willert: Extremely satisfied – very rewarding experience.
Online MBA Today: What do you wish you had known before you started your program that you know now?
Katie Willert: How diverse the UTD MBA program is. They do a fantastic job of recruiting and attracting a diverse student network that truly enriches the entire MBA experience. I was able to gain so much more from being exposed to others with completely different backgrounds than myself.
Online MBA Today: What was your experience in the job market after graduating? Did employers show any reservations about the fact that you earned your MBA online rather than on-campus?
Katie Willert: The company I work for encouraged me to go get my MBA – and they were very supportive of online classes as I was working full time while getting my MBA. The company I work for is a large global fortune 500 company and they place a lot of value on being able to work with a team virtually.
Online MBA Today: What advice would you give to a prospective student trying to decide on a program?
Katie Willert: Do your homework on programs! Look at reviews/rankings online, visit the campus, visit with the faculty, and visit with current students in the program. Since you're investing in yourself make sure you're choosing the right program; one with credibility, one that will challenge you, and one that will carry some weight and make you stand out.
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?
Katie Willert: Obtaining this degree has already been beneficial to my career. Even while I was going through the program I received a promotion. UTD's MBA program provided me diverse experiences of situations and examples I was able to articulate during the interview like working through challenging situations, working with diverse teams, going above and beyond, and time management. Even though it was online I was able to grow a bond with some of my professors and used them as references on my application. I have no doubt I will continue to reap the benefits of my MBA through UTD long term. Education is something no one can ever take away from me, and I am proud of the experiences and knowledge I gained at UTD.
BIG TAKE AWAYS
Diversity: When a student receives their education on campus, they are limited to the culture of people around them. Although you can find diversity on many university campuses, it is nothing compared to the amount of diversity you find in the online classroom. As one online program can incorporate students from all over the world, it helps to give every student a diverse, global influence and experience. This gives online MBA students a great advantage in learning from and working with all different kinds of cultures to prepare them for the business world that strives to make a global impact.
Virtual Experience: When a student pursues an online MBA, they have to incorporate computer skills, grow in computer knowledge, and increase their ability to virtually work and communicate. An online MBA student has to communicate with professors, submit assignments and projects, communicate with classmates, and work as a team-all online. This gives a great advantage to the student as the world of business functions heavily through virtual communication. The large global fortune 500 company that Katie works for appreciated, acknowledged, and valued her virtual education.