What Can I Expect from an Online MBA Program?

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, more students are enrolling in online Master of Business Administration degrees due to the detailed specializations and shorter completion times. Online degrees offer greater affordability and flexibility as well as the same quality curriculum that students receive on campus. In many cases, classes are taught by the same instructors who work in the university’s classrooms and lecture halls. Whatever your reason for pursuing an online degree, an MBA can prepare you for a successful career in nearly any industry. The most important step is finding the right program based on your schedule, interests and goals.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master of Business Administration Degree

CONCENTRATIONDESCRIPTIONCAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Accounting/FinanceThis traditional MBA specialization focuses on financial analysis techniques and business development strategies.Controller, business analyst, financial adviser, financial manager, director of operations, CFO
MarketingIn this popular specialization, students develop key business management skills related to finances, communications, public relations and creative strategy.Director of marketing, marketing consultant, product manager, research analyst
Health Care AdministrationStudents in this rapidly growing discipline learn strategies for developing efficient health care practices and managing electronic health records.Practice administration, director of provider contracting, chief administrative officer, chief operating officer
LeadershipThis specialization encompasses traditional MBA skills as well as innovative business development strategies that help to build successful corporations and nonprofits.Manager of develop strategy, director of human resources, business development consultant
Information TechnologyStudents in this specialization learn how to leverage the latest technology to improve the data flow, increase information security and enhance the user experience.Chief technology officer, chief information officer, information security analyst

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master of Business Administration Degree?

Online Master of Business Administration degrees require an average of 36 semester hours. Fast-paced accelerated tracks allow graduate students to earn a master’s degree with 12 months of continuous study. Alternatively, students who enroll part-time have up to seven semesters to complete their degree. Many business schools offer rolling admission schedules that allow incoming students to begin their studies at various times throughout the year. Self-paced options are also available to accommodate your busy schedule and offer a better balance between work, life and school.

Certifications and Licenses a Master of Business Administration Prepares For

CONCENTRATIONCERTIFICATION
Certified Public AccountantThe Association of International Certified Professional Accountants oversees a uniform examination for professionals who are pursuing a career in finance. In addition to completing five years of undergraduate/graduate studies, candidates must pass four four-hour specialized exams. Some states require accountants to work under a certified CPA for at least one year. Continuing education is required to remain certified.
Society of Human Resource ManagementMBA graduates who are working in the HR industry may become a SHRM Certified Professional by successfully completing a four-hour, 160-question exam. A senior-level certification is also available to professionals with at least three years of industry experience. The pass rate for these exams is typically 70 percent or less.
Cybersecurity CertificationsGraduates who are interested in working in the IT, information security or health care fields may wish to pursue additional credentials, such as becoming an (ISC)² Certified Information Systems Security Professional or ISACA Certified Information Security Manager. Other certifications might be available depending on your area of specialization.

Accreditation for Online MBA Degrees

Accreditations for MBA programs are provided by several industry associations that independently review the curriculum and/or faculty. These approvals serve as an assurance of quality to students and to prospective employers. In some cases, employers prefer job candidates who have earned their MBA degree through an accredited program.

The Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) are two of the most important national accreditation bodies. The AACSB accredits approximately 30 percent of MBA programs, including those offered by more than 800 business colleges and universities in 54 countries. The ACBSP currently accredits more than 500 MBA programs in the United States.

Employment Outlook for Master of Business Administration Graduates

Job Placement: MBA Vs. Bachelor’s

When recruiting employees for managerial, directorial and executive-level positions, employers are more likely to select candidates who have earned an MBA or other advanced degree. These candidates have a competitive edge over other job seekers, and their skills allow them to command higher salaries.

Data from the Graduate Management Admission Council shows that 85 percent of companies plan to hire an MBA graduate in the next year. The council’s 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey found that recent MBA graduates earned a median base salary of $105,000, which was $20,000 more than direct hires with industry experience and $40,000 more than new hires with bachelor’s degrees. Additionally, the survey found that 52 percent of companies planned to increase their base salary for MBA holders within the year.

Expected Salary

Graduates with advanced degrees enjoy several benefits when it comes to landing a job and advancing through the ranks. First, when applying for positions that are open to candidates with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, MBA graduates typically earn higher salaries. Additionally, a master’s degree in business administration allows job seekers to apply for coveted executive-level and managerial positions, which can lead to a dramatic increase in earnings.

Average Salaries for MBA Degree Holders

Source: PayScale

In addition to giving you access to desirable positions at top companies, an online MBA degree can increase your lifetime earnings. Based on data from more than 112,000 workers, recent graduates can expect their salary to double after 10 to 20 years in the industry.

Average Salary for Years of Experience

Source: PayScale.com

Career Opportunities

Due to their advanced credentials, MBA graduates often rise to the top of private-sector corporations and nonprofits. They have the skills needed to effectively manage and oversee employees while developing strategies that improve their organization’s efficiency and financial growth. A Master of Business Administration with a specialization in finance, human resources, leadership or marketing may prepare you for one or more of the following careers and many others.

JOB TITLEJOB DESCRIPTIONMEDIAN SALARYPROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Administrative Services ManagersThese business professionals work under C-level executives. They’re responsible for managing employees and overseeing internal operations, such as facility maintenance and bookkeeping.$94,02010%
Medical and Health Services ManagersHealth care executives are responsible for managing medical facilities, such as hospitals and doctors’ offices, as well as individual departments within larger organizations. They coordinate the practice’s operations and plan for the future while evaluating changes in health care law, insurance regulations and information technology.$98,35020%
Human Resources ManagersThese professionals serve as a vital link between an organization’s executives and its employees. HR managers are responsible for overseeing the recruiting and hiring process as well as planning for growth, coordinating administrative tasks and resolving disputes.$110,1209%
Financial ManagersUpper-level financial managers are responsible for ensuring the organization’s financial health. They prepare and review reports, direct investments and develop plans for meeting long- and short-term goals.$125,08019%
Chief ExecutivesTop executives develop strategies and procedures to ensure that their organization achieves its objectives. They’re responsible for planning, overseeing and coordinating all business activities.$183,2708%

Professional Organizations

Professional membership groups give current students, recent graduates and experienced professionals access to career advancement resources, networking opportunities and many other benefits. They also engage in advocacy. Due to the wide variety of industries that employ MBAs, graduates may join numerous specialized groups that cater to professionals in the finance, health care, human resources and marketing sectors. Additionally, these general membership associations support the MBA community as a whole.

The American Management Association. This nonprofit provides educational resources to 25,000 individual members and 3,000 enterprises. It produces popular seminars featuring noted business leaders and innovative training programs that cover 25 specialized subject areas.

The Association of MBAs. In addition to accrediting international business schools, the AMBA supports industry research and thought leadership through its research center. It also offers networking, employment and career development resources worldwide.

The National Black MBA Association. The NBMAA is a nationally recognized professional association with 40 regional chapters and more than 14,000 members. The organization provides professional development services, career advancement opportunities, scholarships and other resources.

Financing Your Online MBA Degree

An online Master of Business Administration can yield an attractive return on investment in terms of higher pay and enhanced employment opportunities. However, until you land your dream job, affording the tuition and related expenses can be a challenge. Regardless of which college you choose, start by completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which can be submitted online. Take the time to ask individual universities for more information about their financial assistance programs. Even if these options don’t provide results, numerous online resources are available to match you with grants, scholarships and other awards.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Government Finance Officers Association Scholarships

Award: Up to $10,000

Deadline: January 18

Eligibility: The GFOA provides four scholarships to full- and part-time graduate-level business students who are interested in government or business administration, finance or accounting. Candidates must have a specific interest in public sector work

NMBAA Scholarships

Award: Up to full tuition

Deadline: Varies

Eligibility: Minority students enrolling in an MBA program may qualify for scholarships starting at $1,000 and going up to $100,000 or more. Offers vary depending on the partner university.

Military MBA Merit Scholarships

Award: $20,000

Deadline: December 31

Eligibility: Any graduate student who has served in the U.S. military may apply for this merit-based scholarship. All funds must be used toward tuition at a participating university.

Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship

Award: $2,000

Deadline: February 15

Eligibility: The Daughters of the American Revolution offers this scholarship to a full-time graduate student who’s majoring in business administration through an accredited college or university.

American Association of University Women Career Development Grants

Award: Varies

Deadline: November 15

Eligibility: The AAUW offers grants to women who have earned a bachelor’s degree before June 30, 2014, and are entering graduate school to advance their credentials or change careers. Women of color and women who are pursuing their first advanced degree receive priority consideration. Funds can be used for tuition and related costs, including transportation and childcare.