You are not alone in your quest for continuing education. Smart professionals are updating their skill sets with the help of online programs, for better employability and earning potential. Online MBA programs are ideal for busy professionals cannot or do not want to join a traditional college program for a MBA degree.

What are the different types of online MBA programs?

You can choose from between two types of programs to earn a MBA online - combination programs and completely online programs.

A combination program combines online coursework along with regular classes. Part of the courses can be pursued online and the rest must be completed in a traditional campus program.

A completely online program does not require you to attend classes in a brick and mortar campus. All the required course materials are available online. This is an option that many working professionals find convenient and flexible enough to suit their existing schedule.

Both these programs usually work out to be cheaper than a regular classroom program. Online programs are flexible and save not only on tuition fees, but also on commuting cost. Many online universities also go out of their way to ensure opportunities for students to interact and network with each other.

Difference between online and traditional MBA programs

As far as the quality of coursework and curriculum are concerned, there is not much of a difference between online and campus based programs. In a classroom, the professors assist the students with their learning, but in an online program, the onus is largely upon the student to be proactive and to study independently.

Just as a campus based program, an online MBA course also includes regular lectures, assignments and discussions. Latest advances in videoconferencing have made it possible for professors to deliver lectures live and for students to interact with each other. Students can also download video lectures and podcasts.

Online and traditional students spend almost the same amount of time on the program and on studying. Online programs just happen to be more flexible and relatively easier on the time and money that you will have to spend.

How do you choose the best online MBA schools?

Search online for popular online MBA courses and universities that offer this option. An online MBA degree from a reputed and accredited college will earn the same kind of respect as a traditional program does. Watch out for diploma mills that have no qualms giving out paper degrees.

Business Week rankings of top business schools will give you a fair picture of the various options available. You may also seek the services of college advisors who are knowledgeable about different programs all over the country and can help you find one that is most suited for your needs.

Once you shortlist a few schools, you may want to go through their program brochure in detail and talk to their alumni if possible.

How long will it take you to earn a MBA online?

It depends on the school that you have chosen to enroll for the program. On an average, the duration of online MBA programs vary between one to four years. If you decide to specialize in more subjects, it will take that much longer for you to pass out. Most colleges will allow you to follow the program at your pace - you can either speed it up or work leisurely at it.

Accredited online programs will demand the same kind of commitment as a traditional program. If you pick the right program, an online MBA degree can give a much needed boost to your career.

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