Prospective students of an online MBA program usually have many questions filling their minds before they start. What will an online experience be like? How will the online education be different from being a residential student? 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 online MBA graduates some of these important questions in order to give our readers perspective from students who have been through the program.
Monica Boggan recently graduated from the online MBA program at Lamar University. Often referred to as LU, this Beaumont, Texas University started in 1923 and became the first college in Texas to receive Texas Department of Education approval during the first year of operation. It is currently home to more than 15,000 students and a member of the Texas State University System. The College of Business was established in 1972 and is accredited by AACSB International. They also offer some of the best online programs in the nation. LU's online MBA program has been ranked in many Online MBA Today rankings including: Top 50 Online MBA Programs in Healthcare Management, Top 50 Online MBA Programs, Top 50 Best Value Online MBA Programs, Top 100 Most Affordable Online MBA Programs, and Top 50 Online MBA in Management Programs.
Online MBA Today: Overall, how satisfied are you with your online MBA education?
Monica Boggan: I am extremely satisfied with the MBA education I received at Lamar. The program is thorough in preparing you for real world scenarios and situations. As a professional both before and after the completion of my MBA, I was able to apply the knowledge gained immediately, and better navigate complex business areas, increasing my efficiency at work even before graduation.
The relationships I have built with professors at Lamar have served me well, and they are always there to answer questions, or help guide you in making professional or career decisions in ways I do not believe larger programs can offer.
Online MBA Today: What do you wish you had known before you started your program that you know now?
Monica Boggan: I wish I had known how intensive the last semester of the program would be. I unfortunately timed my exit exam program concurrently with my current work "busy-season" and it was the most I have been tested in my adult life. Lamar's exit exam process is actually a simulated MBA consulting engagement, where teams analyze and offer business strategies and solutions to a real company considering the external and internal environments. It was just as thorough as any real-life engagement I have contributed to, and it required just as much thought, analysis, and work to complete the required deliverables. I would recommend to anyone entering the program to give careful thought and consideration to when your final semester will be and extend it if necessary so that you do not completely stress yourself out right before graduation.
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?
Monica Boggan: Thankfully I was employed before and during my continued education, but I can attest that the many calls and emails I have received from corporate recruiters would indicate there is not a reluctance from employers regarding Lamar's online MBA. I am not actively seeking new opportunities, but I receive an average of 3-5 emails per week from human resource recruiters seeking new talent. For some looking to give their resume the extra edge in the job market, I can wholeheartedly recommend Lamar's online MBA to jumpstart your career, and open new doors of opportunity.
Online MBA Today: What advice would you give to a prospective student trying to decide on a program?
Monica Boggan: I believe I had an added benefit of perspective, being familiar with the program and professors, because Lamar is also where I attended school for my undergraduate studies, in a traditional on-campus setting. This said, Lamar's online option is most definitely equal to the education you would get on campus, and your education is as rigorous as it would be in the classroom. While no program will be the magical solution to all career issues, committing yourself to the Lamar online MBA program, committing yourself to the journey instead of the end result, will ensure you are able to apply the education when needed to better evaluate real life scenarios.
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?
Monica Boggan: As previously mentioned, in the current timeframe, this program has given me additional skills in navigating the business environment that translates to tangible improvements in efficiencies with my current employer. Lamar's online MBA better positions me for management roles in the future which require higher level insight into business operations considering the entity when developing enterprise-level strategies. I feel confident in speaking with other business professionals whether administrative or C-level executives, as I have the education needed to understand complex business requirements and offer solutions to add value to any organization.
BIG TAKE AWAYS
Relationship – It is always helpful to have people in your life that you can ask questions of; that are more knowledgeable and experienced than you that can give you advice. This is beneficial especially in your line of work. As you are learning and navigating through a new degree, a new role, a new job, these relationships can help you tremendously. It is important to take advantage of the time you spend with professors, to learn as much from them as you can, and to build the relationship that can carry into your professional world. Monica explains how this has been largely beneficial to her and how her professors are "always there to answer questions, or help guide you in making professional or career decisions in ways I do not believe larger programs can offer."
Equal Education – It seems to be a popular concern for prospective students that receiving an online degree will result in a lesser education or a degree that companies will not take seriously. This is being proven untrue over and over again as online degree programs are showing to be an education equal to their in-class counterpart. In Monica's experience, she has seen this first hand as she received her undergraduate degree in a traditional on campus setting at Lamar University and then received her MBA through their online degree program. Monica states, "Lamar's online option is most definitely equal to the education you would get on campus, and your education is as rigorous as it would be in the classroom." She also feels there has been no hesitation about Lamar's online MBA degree from companies who are looking to hire.