Should I attend an online MBA program?

The attraction of an online MBA program has been growing as prospective students weigh the benefits that online MBA programs offer.

The greatest benefit of course, is the flexibility an online MBA program brings. Online business programs offer the utmost flexibility for those with difficult schedules. In addition, often the cost of an online MBA program is lower than an on-campus program, not to mention that there are no moving costs, meal costs, or commuting costs.

An online MBA program offers professionals the option to maintain their current employment, and can even allow them to implement their new skills learned immediately in their current positions.

Program Features

Emphasizing ingenuity, innovation, and thought leadership, George Mason University School of Management offers a highly flexible online Executive MBA program. All online students earn their degree in just 18 months, in an innovative and dynamic format that meets the needs of today’s busy executives.Online MBA students atttend the U.S. Capitol

When weighing an online MBA program, it is important to make sure that you have the same great features that a traditional program has. At Mason, the online Executive MBA program offers two areas of specialization: Global Business and National Defense. The Global Business track includes an eight–day global residency in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, or South America during the second half of the program to broaden international business exposure. The National Defense Track includes several national defense residencies to key U.S. government agencies and contractors. Features such as these, will help you make the decision about which online MBA program to pursue.

Reputation and Accreditation

Once deciding that an online MBA program is right for you, the next challenge you will face is determining which online program to pursue. Location is no longer a limiting factor, and reputation becomes even more important.

But how do you know if the online program you are considering will have the quality you anticipate? One standard for measuring the quality of a degree program is to consider whether the school is accredited.

For nearly 100 years, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) has set the standards for business education. Established in 1916, AACSB is a global, nonprofit membership organization of educational institutions, businesses, and other entities devoted to the advancement of management education.

Throughout the years, the standards have been continually revised to reflect the ever-changing needs of business and its students. Today, the AACSB Accreditation Standards are used as the basis to evaluate a business school’s mission, operations, faculty qualifications and contributions, programs, and other critical areas. Seen as the gold standard of accreditation bodies for business schools, only AACSB business schools are considered for U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Finding an online business school accredited by AACSB will help ensure that the education you are receiving is top notch. George Mason’s School of Management has been AACSB accredited since 1991 and is one of only 10% of business schools worldwide accredited in both business and accounting.

George Mason’s Online EMBA program is also ranked #59 of “Top Online Graduate Business Programs” by U.S. News & World Report.

In addition to the top standards that the school will have to face, by attending an online business school accredited by AACSB, you can expect that your degree will have greater value in the business community. It’s also important to know that cost is a factor. An online business school accredited by AACSB tends to be a bit more expensive than a non-accredited program.

Finally, it is important to know that some corporations, who are offering tuition reimbursement, will only offer it for an online MBA program accredited by AACSB.

As always, it is important to weigh all of your options when considering a new degree program. An online MBA program is a great way to enhance your skills, with limited disruption in your current responsibilities. Just be sure to choose the program that best suits your needs and career aspirations.


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Jackie Buchy

Since 2011, I have served as the assistant dean for graduate enrollment at George Mason University's School of Business. In my role, I work with prospective graduate students to identify and select the best graduate program to meet their career goals.

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