After struggling through five years (yes, five) of college, I proudly graduated with not only my B.A. degree, but also a 20/20 hindsight reflection as to what was successful for me and what was distracting. Not surprisingly, the distractions also happened to be some of my favorite things about the college years. Living in the sorority house, staying out too late, the fact that work interfered with my class schedule, and just an overall struggle with balancing my daily academic responsibilities with what I really wanted to spend my time doing.
With all this being said, imagine my surprise when I hit the real world and quickly discovered that the “promising future promise” of a bachelor’s degree was not quite as lucrative of an opportunity as had been presented to me. People were one jump ahead of me with masters’ degrees and I was being dragged one step behind by my outstanding student loan debts. What’s a girl to do?
It was at this point in life that I started to really pay attention to the TV commercials for higher education, dismissing my previous judgments that they were geared solely toward down and outers and deadbeats. Now suddenly it looked appealing. I didn’t want to go back to college. I had since married my high school sweetheart and working full time was a necessity for both of us. I couldn’t just skip out on the weekly board meeting to go hang out in British Literature 101. Could an online MBA be a reality? Is there a catch to it? Do employers really respect it as much as a regular, hard earned degree? Yes and no.
First of all, realize that while it is not regular, it IS hard earned. Online MBA degrees require a tremendous amount of discipline, since there is no professor in front of you on a daily basis, providing tutoring sessions and guidance on that upcoming assignment. Online MBA candidates must be disciplined enough to carve out their own time for the three R’s and a lot of times your life that you were fighting to keep in the first place by choosing to do an online MBA may suffer the consequences. It is a lot of work.
Another downer to the online MBA is that it comes with a pretty threatening price tag. Many colleges and universities, no matter how established by name, made a huge investment in the birth of online degree programs. Because the majority of students still enroll in traditional desk time courses, colleges have but no choice to hike up online tuition enough to justify the program and make it profitable.
Of course, the price depends on the school that you are looking into enrolling at, and many people, including myself will assure you that it is still a great idea. I can’t go to graduate school, and I don’t agree with the philosophy that when “life slows down” I can jump back into the academia life. Circumstances often change, but rarely slow down, and I am constantly battling my ambition and drive to accomplish all that I plan to at a young age.
With this being said, the online MBA program may or may not be for you. Look into financial aid, explore the sites, and make a decision that fits your lifestyle. If you are like me, then it just may work out. If you are the opposite, then it may be more worth your while to enroll in a traditional program. Either way, the educational system will embrace you, and thankfully so will employers. Recent studies show that an online MBA is quickly enjoying more solid of a reputation and commanding more respect from hiring companies. In the next few years, the college experience and the “college experience” are expected to be regarded as equals. Study hard.