What Do Employers Think Of An Online MBA?
Ten years ago, there was a prevailing premonition when it came to job interviews; traditional degrees ultimately always trumped the newfound online variety. The stigma was real, partially nurtured by the proliferation of less-than-reliable online diploma mills. While that wasn’t terribly long ago, the idea of an employer flat-out disregarding any online degree feels like a distant memory. So, what do employers think of an Online MBA in 2017?
Last year, US News & World Report writer Jordan Friedman gave a short-hand update on how employers felt years after the Online MBA became much more formal. Interviewing Michael Urtiaga, who earned his online MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, Friedman found that “recruiters say most employers accept job candidates’ Online MBAs from respected schools, especially now that the quality of an Online MBA education at many institutions is equivalent to one on a physical campus.”
The distinction laid there may lead one to assume that employers aren’t exactly accepting all online MBA degrees. Rather, they’re keying in solely on the kind that come from recognized institutions, such as the Online MBA from the Kogod School of Business at American University.
Part of the acceptance, however, isn’t just with more recognized Online MBA programs coming from reputable institutions. Friedman also reported that the average Online MBA student has acclimated around eight years worth of professional work experience before joining a program. Keeping in mind that more than 90 percent of Online MBA students work full-time while they earn a degree, there’s a distinct advantage when it comes to employment: a plethora of real-work experience.
Part of the upswing in Online MBA programs, some feel, has been contributing to a slightly lingering decline in how employers view the MBA overall. Last year, the Economist argued—bluntly—that “MBAs are no longer prized by employers.” The response may have been a bit rash, however. Numerous Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) surveys find that employer demand for business school graduates has been steadily increasing for years. The Economist article didn’t argue against this, necessarily. Rather, it enforced the notion that MBA degrees may not make potential employees stand out quite like it did before.
But with the number of MBA applicants is indeed increasing (which we pointed out last week) and more Online MBAs graduates are getting hired than ever, it can be argued that the standard for potential employees is increasing. Considering many students do not have the open kind of schedule needed to earn a full-time MBA and employers frequently value skills more than academic history, the argument for getting an Online MBA now is stronger than ever.