The ROI of a Traditional MBA Degree vs. an Online MBA Degree

Considering an MBA program but not sure if you should go for the traditional MBA degree or an online MBA degree?  There are many factors to consider including cost, convenience, learning environment, networking opportunities, career outcomes, degree value, ROI, and MBA program reputation.

Advantages of a Traditional MBA Degree

At George Mason University, we offer a professional MBA program with courses delivered two evenings per week in a classroom setting. It provides an opportunity for face-to face interaction without having to leave your full-time job. The students move through the program in a cohort, a group of peers with similar interests and goals, all pursuing their MBA degree. This cohort provides an expansive professional network for life. The students support each other throughout their experience in the program, learn from one another, and develop strong relationships from spending quality time together both inside and outside the classroom.

If you are someone who needs a classroom environment to focus and maintain the discipline needed to complete the degree, then the traditional MBA degree is the route for you. Face-to-face interaction with faculty members and fellow students drive many to stay on track and succeed.

Consider the different experience you will have enhancing your presentation skills. If this is an area you are looking to improve upon through your MBA program, there is much greater value in standing up in front of a room full of your peers versus presenting to a computer screen in an online environment.

Career results and ROI from the George Mason University traditional MBA program graduates in 2014 at the time of graduation can be seen in the attached info graphic.

Advantages of an Online MBA Degree

There is a lot to be said for the convenience on an online MBA program. We all lead busy lives with jobs, families, and school. For some, the added time it takes to get to class is especially valuable. Maybe you work best early in the morning before the kids are up and the typical day starts. An online MBA degree allows you the flexibility to complete the lectures and work on your own time.

Technology for online MBA programs is advancing allowing more interaction among classmates and increased networking opportunities. This technology improves the networking opportunities and relationships you can form in an online environment.

Often, the cost for an online program can be less than a traditional program. It’s important to conduct a cost benefit analysis when researching the right program for you.

MBA program ROI

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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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