Prospective students have many programs to choose from, when vetting potential Online MBA degrees. With each program, there are many factors to consider. What will the online classroom be like? Will future employers respect my degree? Will my online experience be advantageous for my current situation and future career? Will my job prospects expand? Will the degree offer me a return for my time, effort, and money?
Online MBA Today is sitting down with Michael Tarantino, the Director of Recruitment & Admissions for Graduate Programs at Lehigh University, to help answer some of those important questions. Lehigh University is a four-year, private, nonprofit university located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Their College of Business and Economics offers a prestigious AACSB-International Flex MBA. This 36-credit hour program is available on campus or online. The curriculum consists of 21 core credits and 15 credits of electives in which students have the choice to pursue a concentration. Concentration options include: Corporate Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Marketing, Project Management, and Supply Chain Management. Lehigh University was recently ranked as #4 in our Top Online MBA programs in Supply Chain Management. All Lehigh Flex MBA students will explore a dynamic curriculum that covers the important business management topics, such as cultural intelligence, organizational leadership, sustainability, crisis management resolutions, social consciousness issues, and ethical decision-making.
Online MBA Today: What are some key differences between an online MBA and a residential MBA that prospective students should be aware of?
Michael Tarantino: A major difference is self-motivation. In an on campus program, you have to drive to campus and prepare for class each week and you start to get into a routine. In an online program, since you attend from home/work, you may need that extra boost in motivation to get yourself prepared for class each week.
Online MBA Today: What do you think are some advantages of an online MBA program verses a residential program?
Michael Tarantino: Some advantages of online are that the world has gotten smaller. People travel more often with work or leisure and people also switch jobs frequently. Having the flexibility to continue your program while life changes around you is very important, and that is something that only an online program can offer.
Online MBA Today: What makes your program unique among online MBAs?
Michael Tarantino: Our program is very unique, because it is not only an online program. Our Flex MBA can be pursued on campus or online and that decision can be made by students each and every week. Therefore you really aren't selecting between going on campus or online with our program, you get to make that choice throughout your time here. This offers an additional layer of flexibility that other programs can't, and it really sets us apart.
Online MBA Today: What do you look for in successful applicants to your program?
Michael Tarantino: We look for highly motivated, team players for our program. Our program is very collaborative and there are many team assignments, so having individuals who are here just to go through the motions tend to be unsuccessful here and they also water down the experience of their classmates.
Online MBA Today: What has been the experience of your graduates in the job market?
Michael Tarantino: Our students have had no difficulties in obtaining jobs once they graduate from the program. The majority of our students are working full-time while pursuing the degree, so there are also a lot of students who receive promotions/raises/larger responsibilities when they are graduating as well.
Online MBA Today: Anything else you'd like to say about your program?
Michael Tarantino: Our Flex MBA is the #8 ranked online program by U.S. News and World Reports. We are located in the Lehigh Valley which is between Philadelphia and New York City, and our program is one of the most affordable/highly ranked programs in the northeast. Please feel free to connect with us in our office to learn more about our program, as we would be happy to meet you and assist you with your application questions.
Motivation – While some Online MBA programs, like the Lehigh Flex MBA, go to great lengths to make sure their distance students do not travel through their program isolated, online MBA students must have a deep commitment to their education. Each online student must have the self-motivation to genuinely interact online with their professors and peers, do their individual reading and assignments, and stay on track. While all master's students must have this to a certain degree, online students must understand that they need to have steady self-motivation without a professor or team members on a consistent face-t0-face basis. It does take work and it can be difficult at times, but this practice in self-motivation can be a great life tool to have. And if online MBA students can persevere through the tough times, this experience can prove to reap many rewards in the years to come.
Choice – The attribute of flexibility is one that is consistent in the online MBA world, and is one of the major draws to an online degree. It allows professionals to fly around the world, change jobs and locations, and even deliver babies while engaged in an online classroom. The Lehigh Flex MBA, though, expands on this important factor and offers a flexible program that is very unique with a high degree of choice. The Flex MBA offers their program online and on-campus, which other schools do, but Lehigh gives students the choice to move in and out of either format. Students just don't get to change format by semester, but by the week. While this choice is more accessible to local students, any Flex MBA student can choose to work online one week and travel to campus for a face-to-face class the next. This can be helpful for many students based on if they need more individual attention one week and are traveling the next. It lets the student drive their experience. It is a unique attribute, and one that can be very advantageous for many students.
Check out more in-depth program information, check out our other Online MBA interviews.