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?
Online MBA Today is sitting down with Paul Russell, the Director of Graduate Programs for the College of Business at East Carolina University, to help answer some of these important questions. Located in Greenville, North Carolina, this university is home to nearly 29,000 students and more than 5,800 faculty and staff. They are committed to student success, public service, and regional transformation. There are more students enrolled in the East Carolina University College of Business than in any other business school in the state. The ECU College of Business is one of the 15 accredited business schools in North Carolina. Also, it is one of only two institutions in North Carolina – and 12o worldwide – that has been continuously AACSB accredited since 1967, receiving its most recent five-year AACSB re-accreditation in 2015. There are more than 1300 Graduate Business Programs nationwide and only 454 are AACSB accredited. Out of 23 North Carolina business schools, ECU is 1 of 4 GMAC members. The online MBA program consistently ranks as a Best Buy for online education and is ranked in Online MBA Today’s Top 50 Best Value Online MBA Ranking, Top 10 Online MBA in Hospitality Ranking, Top 50 Online MBA in Management Ranking, Top 100 Most Affordable Online MBA Ranking, and many more.
Online MBA Today: What do you think are some advantages of an online MBA program versus a residential program?
Paul Russell: An online MBA program allows students to pursue a degree while continuing to work full time. Students in online programs do not have to put their lives on hold while they take classes. They are also able to put what they learn in to practice immediately at their jobs.
Online MBA Today: What makes your program unique among online MBAs?
Paul Russell: Our MBA program is extremely flexible. Students do not have to follow a prescribed path through the various courses. They can also specialize in an area of interest by completing a graduate certificate at the same time.
Online MBA Today: What do you look for in successful applicants to your program?
Paul Russell: We look for students who had good undergraduate GPAs, good GMAT/GRE scores, and/or students with extensive professional experience. We also welcome students who hold other graduate degrees into our program.
Online MBA Today: What has been the experience of your graduates in the job market?
Paul Russell: While the majority of our online MBA students are already employed, most report receiving promotions as a result of their degrees…many before they ever graduate. Others go on to careers in new fields.
Online MBA Today: Anything else you’d like to say about your program?
Paul Russell: We strive to keep our program as flexible and affordable as possible. We are committed to providing a highly quality graduate business education at a reasonable cost. Our admissions requirements value professional experience as well as past academic accomplishments. We encourage anyone who is considering an MBA to reach out to us.
Big Take Aways
Applicability: One of the biggest advantages to an online degree, like this ECU online MBA program, is the flexibility that allows a student to attain a degree while working full-time. To expand on this advantage, a student who is working while pursuing their online MBA can immediately apply what they are learning in their course work to their current job. Another way a student can find this beneficial, is when they work on an individual or group project, they can use a real situation in their workplace to help find an applicable solution while using the knowledge, expertise, and man power of classmates through the process.
Specializations: The ECU Online MBA program exposes students to a range of subjects, including economics, marketing, accounting strategy and operations management. In addition to the basics of business administration, ECU gives students the opportunity to pursue certificates that are created to provide knowledge and prepare students for a specific industry. These certificates are in the field of Business Analytics, Finance, Health Care Management, Hospitality Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Project Management, Security Studies, and Supply Chain Management. Since MBA programs are so popular, specializations are a way for students to not only tailor their studies to their pursuits, but also to help them stand out in the job market and become more marketable in their field.