Prospective students of an online MBA program usually have many questions filling their minds before they start. What will the MBA program be like? Will I benefit from an online experience? Will I receive the same education as a residential student? Will employers respect my degree and see my education as credible? Will my job prospects expand? Will the program be worth all that I put into it?
Online MBA Today is sitting down with Raj Echambadi, the Dunton Family Dean of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, to help answer some of these important questions. The university was established in 1898 as the Evening Institute for Younger Men. They became Northeastern College in 1916 and began enrolling women students in 1948. It now carries over 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate through doctoral level degrees. Northeastern receives its regional accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The AACSB accredited D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers a 50-credit hour online MBA program with specializations in Finance, Healthcare Management, High Technology Management, Innovation Entrepreneurship, International Management, Marketing, Supply Chain Management and Sustainability. Quacquarelli Symonds has recognized the D’Amore-McKim School of Business as offering the 17th best online MBA program in the world, along with the 13th best in the U.S. by Financial Times, 17th best in the country by the Princeton Review, and the 42nd best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Online MBA Today has ranked this program #2 in Top Online MBAs in Massachusetts, #1 in Top Online MBAs in Environmental Sustainability, #2 in Top No-GMAT Online MBA programs, and #5 in Top Online MBA programs.
Online MBA Today: What are some key differences between an online MBA and a residential MBA that prospective students should be aware of?
Dean Echambadi: The D’Amore-McKim Online MBA program is compressed, enabling students to complete the degree in two years, while also offering the flexibility of a five-year maximum completion period. While both our online and residential programs attract high caliber students, D’Amore-McKim online MBA students tend to be older, with an average age of 34 years. These students are further along in their career, as the majority of the population has an average of 10 years of post-undergraduate work experience.
Online MBA Today: What do you think are some advantages of an online MBA program versus a residential program?
Dean Echambadi: Considering our average student profile referenced above, the required meeting times and structured schedule of an on-campus program would be challenging, and in some cases impossible for many of our students. The online modality offers more flexibility as to when students do their work, as long as they meet the structured deadlines for weekly deliverables. Additionally, the nature of the evolving global business world has equipped our students with a head start in applying the critical virtual soft skills necessary to engage classmates for group projects spanning 11 countries and many time zones.
Online MBA Today: What makes your program unique among online MBAs?
Dean Echambadi: The D’Amore-McKim Online MBA program offers eight concentrations, including Finance, Healthcare Management, High Technology Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Marketing, Supply Chain Management, and Sustainability. We also offer an optional International Field Study course that enables students to engage in person with their classmates and a faculty member while traveling internationally. Students have deliverables and meetings prior to, during, and/or after the course. While they are abroad, they meet with C-level executives from multinational corporations. The networking experiences and perspectives gained from this course are quite remarkable. We also offer an optional Campus Residency course where students engage fellow online students and faculty at one of our campus locations for intensive face-to-face course work.
Online MBA Today: What do you look for in successful applicants to your program?
Dean Echambadi: Successful applicants have five or more years of professional, post-undergraduate work experience, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, an ability to write professionally, and a work history demonstrating career progression. The nature of the online program also requires strong self-learning discipline. Application materials demonstrating ‘grit’ stand out to our Admissions Committee.
Online MBA Today: What has been the experience of your graduates in the job market?
Dean Echambadi: Our students are already in the workforce at the time of application and in many cases established in their careers. We recently conducted an alumni survey, which revealed that the D’Amore-McKim Online MBA:
Helped students become more competitive in the marketplace (85% of respondents answered strongly agree or somewhat agree)
Prepared students for a leadership role (73% of respondents answered strongly agree or somewhat agree)
Developed strategic business perspective for students (89% of respondents answered strongly agree or somewhat agree)
Online MBA Today: Anything else you’d like to say about your program?
Dean Echambadi: The D’Amore-McKim Online MBA was among the first in the U.S. to offer a fully online AACSB accredited MBA program. Since our launch in 2006 we have graduated more than 1,500 students who collectively work in almost every industry.
Also of note, credits earned in our Online MBA program are transferable between modalities, and residential program students often take advantage of the ability to take courses online if their jobs or personal life require a hiatus from campus. The faculty members who teach in the residential program also teach the same courses online.
Big Take Aways
ENHANCEMENT OPTIONS: As the D’Amore-McKim School of Business has an all-around excellent online MBA program, they have gone a step further to provide some additional options for students to enhance their experience and perspectives. One of the options is an International Field Study course. In this course, while a student travels internationally, they gain incredible multinational experience, interact with multicultural C-level executives, interact in person with their classmates and have face-to-face time with a faculty member. The other option also allows for online students to have the opportunity to interact in person with other online classmates and faculty through the Campus Residency course. You can see how these unique options can greatly enhance the education experience for online students.
PIONEER EXPERIENCE: Dean Echambadi stated, “the D’Amore-McKim Online MBA was among the first in the U.S. to offer a fully online AACSB accredited MBA program.” Being one of the first, a pioneer, to have a fully online accredited MBA gives Northeastern a great advantage over many other MBA programs. The 12 years of experience this program carries gives it a depth of knowledge, wisdom, perspective, ideas, expertise, improvements, reputation, awards, and success that is beyond other programs. It has produced over 1,500 successful, well-prepared, fully equipped graduates who work in most every kind of industry.