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"Degrees & Programs"

Is an Online MBA Worth It? 10 Reasons It Is and How to Start One

By Brian Fairbanks
June 24, 2021 • 9 minute read

At a glance

  • Learning outcomes are the same for online and traditional MBAs, with the online version offering added flexibility for working business professionals.
  • Hiring managers often view online MBAs the same as that from an in-person university, as long as the university is accredited.
  • An online MBA can prepare graduates for careers as business managers, operations directors, consultants and finance managers.
  • University of Phoenix offers an online MBA as well as a competency-based MBA that can be earned in under one year and for under $10,000.

What Is an MBA?

An MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is a graduate-level program (meaning, one must already have achieved a bachelor’s degree) that “teaches students technical, managerial and leadership skills,” according to MBA.com. “Earning an MBA gives you valuable business acumen, expands your professional network and creates new opportunities. It’s an ideal option to consider whether you want to accelerate your career trajectory, transition to a new industry or become an entrepreneur.”

Going back to school for an MBA can be a great way to enhance your career, whether you’re working in the business world or as an entrepreneur. But in this interconnected world, many people wonder: Are online master’s degrees taken seriously?

The good news is that yes, many are. An online MBA can be just as impressive and effective as an in-person MBA. There is a growing recognition around the quality of certain online master’s programs. Another benefit is the motivation and self-discipline required to complete an online program while also working full or part-time.

Let’s take a look at how online MBA degree programs can help support a work-life balance while you pursue a Master of Business Administration.

How Can an Online MBA Program Help Me?

While we are going to touch on each one of these listed items specifically, here’s a brief overview of how an MBA program can help you and why they may be right for you:

  1. An online MBA is just as impressive and effective as an in-person MBA
  2. MBAs are becoming more and more frequent in the professional world and in some instances are required to advance in your career
  3. Depending on your career path, MBA graduates make more money than those without them (see our section called “what jobs can an MBA prepare you for”)
  4. They’re more flexible to your needs and most offer support for full or part-time students
  5. Benefit a work-life balance since you can work on earning your degree from the comfort of your home
  6. Reduced costs associated with in-person universities such as gas, parking fees, tolls, etc.
  7. Digital books are often a fraction of the price of physical books
  8. Online MBA programs are often faster than their in-person counterparts
  9. You can cut down on how long it takes to complete your program by joining an accelerated MBA
  10. All MBA degree programs at UoPX are available online 24/7

Why get a Master’s in Business Administration

Coworkers discussing business topics in the officeAn MBA is one of the quintessential calling cards in business these days. Suppose you are hoping to be an entrepreneur or an executive at an established corporation, or you want to compete against millions of business school grads. In that case, an MBA degree may be able to help you.

Furthermore, an MBA could lay the groundwork for your future business-related endeavors, such as starting your own business. An MBA could also potentially help you improve a company you might already own. You can become a better business owner or lead a group of employees at an already established corporation by applying the skills you gain in economics, accounting and marketing with an MBA degree.

The best part is that in as little as 18 months, a student can earn an online MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) from University of Phoenix. Here’s what you can hope to compete for in the world of business administration and beyond once you graduate with your MBA degree.

Will I Learn the Same Way Online as I Would in a “Traditional” MBA?

While online and traditional MBA programs may not share the same format, they do impart the same skills (when comparing reputable and accredited programs). Both online and traditional programs emphasize collaboration. Although, in-person programs require students to attend classes and lectures on a fixed schedule. While online classes generally allow greater flexibility with regard to where and when the material is completed.

According to U.S. News & World Report, “Online education not only provides essential workplace skills and student-faculty interaction, but also allows students to apply course material directly to their job, and vice versa.”

Each school puts its own spin on the MBA program when it comes to length. Some offer “full-time” programs, usually completed in one to two years. Some offer “part-time” programs that take a little longer (three or more years). Which program you pursue depends on your situation. Are you able to devote yourself to your studies full time? Or do you need to complete your MBA while you hold down a full-time job?

Other options include an Executive MBA (EMBA), which is ideal for experienced working professionals. There are also accelerated MBAs. These ramp up the course load to cut down on the time investment. As well as distance-learning MBA programs, which are like online programs except students are required to occasionally meet in person.

Do Employers Respect Online MBAs?

MBA graduate leading a business meeting in a boardroomIn a culture where almost everything is available online and many Americans freelance or work remotely, businesses have adapted quickly and do recognize the validity of online MBAs. But are online MBAs respected in most places?

According to one online MBA degree holder featured in U.S. News & World Report, “Interviewers generally seem accepting of [my] online degree given the strong reputation of the school.” This is especially true, he’s found, when interviewers are familiar with his school or if the perks of an online (vs. traditional classroom) education could be identified and explained to the hiring company.

Recruiters tend to agree, noting that many employers believe online MBA degree programs have increased in quality to the point where they are typically just as effective as their traditional, in-person counterparts. Some hiring managers move on to other topics as long as the degree is from an accredited university.

Skills learned in a Master of Business Administration program are both valuable and transferable. These include communication, decision-making and leadership, all of which help develop effective managers. Business professionals can utilize the skills across industries and roles.

What Jobs Can an MBA Prepare You For?

Careers as a Business Manager

Business managers or managers of administrative services (and facilities managers) play crucial roles in the business world. These exciting career paths can provide many avenues to explore, especially for managers who are effective planners or trusted coordinators in charge of essential activities that keep corporations running at peak efficiency. Plus, you’ll potentially develop the necessary skills to run your own business.

Administrative services managers can earn a median salary of about $98,890, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. It is important to note that salaries are not specific to University of Phoenix graduates but reflect national trends. Please be aware actual salaries depend on experience, location, competition, and experience, among other factors.

Careers as an Operations Director

An operations director (or director of operations) is usually in charge of implementing new procedures and overseeing departmental functions. He or she also makes sure business operations are running smoothly, staying on or under budget, that the company is growing at a rate that earns profits for the business and shareholders and that employees are meeting implementation targets for new product offerings in manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. An operations director might even research new revenue opportunities to boost their company’s profits.

The average salary for a Director of Operations is $92,591, according to PayScale. However, as noted below, salary ranges depend on the company’s location and your city of residence.

Careers as a Consultant

Consulting can be a great way to get in the door at a major business or embark on a long-term, independent freelance career. As the BLS notes: “Although some management analysts work for the organization that they analyze, many work as consultants on a contractual basis.”

MBA degree holders working in the consulting field may help companies strategize to reach goals, offer advice on major and minor business decisions, foster collaboration, look over the books for the finance team and conduct research on the company’s competition. They also have a median salary of $87,660 per year, according to the BLS.

Careers as a Finance Manager

Finance is a competitive industry. As a finance manager or financial manager, you can be right in the thick of it. You could potentially work at an insurance firm, bank, investment company or on Wall Street. Financial managers, of course, often keep tabs on a company’s current financial picture. They generate frequent reports, monitor investments (especially stocks) and craft strategies for the company’s financial future.

What Online MBA Programs Are out There?

Female student earning an online MBAMasters of Business Administration

University of Phoenix (UOPX) offers an online MBA degree that helps students hone their business skills with courses in operations, communication, management, and leadership and decision making, all of which can greatly benefit graduates in the real world.

Additionally, MBA programs at UOPX allow students to take just one course at a time. Classes typically last about six weeks. This means students can better focus on mastering and retaining the required information.

“An MBA program should be built in a way where it provides flexibility and allows for business professionals to manage various priorities as they complete their studies. The program should complement that work-life-education balance,” says Kevin Wilhelmsen, dean of the College of Business and Information Technology at UOPX.

Masters of Business Administration (Competency-Based)

The competency-based Master of Business Administration (MBA CBE), meanwhile, is designed for professionals with a business degree and real-world experience. Students can complete the MBA CBE in less than 12 months and for under $10,000.

“The MBA is no longer just a specialized business administration and management degree. Rather, it is a blend that incorporates top job skills that employers require of high-level professions — such as effective communication, critical thinking and decision-making — all in the context of real-world business challenges and scenarios,” Wilhelmsen says.

All MBA degree programs at UOPX are available and accessible 24/7. This means students with busy lives can check out lectures and course materials on a timetable that accommodates their schedules. Both the UOPX MBA and MBA CBE offer flexibility you won’t typically see with a traditional in-person college. Students can attend class any time of day or night.

If you’re thinking of getting an online MBA, start by reading up on what different programs entail, the time commitment involved and what the online university experience is like, especially if you’ve never been to one. After all, for an online MBA to be worth the effort, you have to, you know, put in the effort.

What You’ll Learn in Our Master’s in Business Administration Program

Business professional presenting during a meeting in the officeIn as few as 18 months, you can learn not just the core principles of managing a business but also a range of other key facets of entrepreneurship. These include minimizing risk, motivating employees and other core tenets, such as:

  • Human capital management
  • Business value creation
  • Organizational leadership
  • Economics
  • Accounting
  • Research and statistics
  • Operations management
  • Corporate finance
  • Marketing
  • Strategic planning and implementation

Get Started with Your MBA Degree

An MBA can provide additional, foundational skills useful in finance, consulting or other business-related careers. Better yet, the BLS reports that employment data related to management occupations is projected to grow five percent from 2019-2029, faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 476,200 new jobs.

As new companies scale up and established corporations expand, demand for consultants, finance managers and operations directors could increase. If these career paths sound like a good fit for you, consider working toward an online MBA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I get my MBA degree online?

A: Yes! Our MBA program is offered 100% online.

Q: How much can I expect to make with an MBA in the real world?

A: University of Phoenix does not guarantee job or salary outcomes. Salaries are dependent on characteristics specific to the individual, including geographic location, experience, and competition, among other factors.

Administrative service managers, for example, earn a salary range between $63,000-107,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS reports that the salary range for general and operations managers is between $57,000-127,000

Q: Why should I get a degree from the University of Phoenix, specifically?

A: In addition to a wide range of core course options, including Corporate Finance, Business Value Creation and Marketing, as well as electives like Managerial Accounting, a student in our online MBA program can look forward to all these perks:

Career Services For Life™ — Our Career Services team is available year-round for as long as our graduates require them. If you’re ever thinking of changing careers or need advice on making the most of your MBA Degree, great news: we’re here for you.

– Exceptional flexibility —Our online MBA Program offers extraordinary flexibility in scheduling and course loads (you take one class at a time). Visit our website to learn more.

Earn your degree without starting from scratch —  If you have real-world experience and/or previous course credits toward an MBA or Business Administration degree, you’re in luck. You can have prior experience evaluated for potential college credit and you may be able to waive six to nine eligible college credits when transferring. There also may be scholarship opportunities available to students who are concerned about paying for school. Visit https://www.phoenix.edu/tuition_and_financial_options/scholarship-opportunities.html for details on scholarship opportunities.

If you’re thinking of obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration through an Online MBA Program, University of Phoenix is a great first MBA program to look into. Get started today!