Online vs. In-Person MBA degree

Should I Get My MBA Online or In-Person?

Online education has been rising steadily since 2013. According to federal data, in the 2018-19 academic year, the number of students taking online classes reached over 1.2 million. However, this trend has grown exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleges and universities have adapted, and are now offering various degree programs in online formats, including the Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).

For decades, an MBA degree has been a staple gateway into careers like financial management, marketing, health care administration, and others. And a recent Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey reported that companies looking to hire new MBA holders expect to offer recruits starting salaries of about $105,000 per year—making this an excellent choice for those looking to advance their careers and pay potential.

But how do you know whether to pursue a traditional, on-campus MBA or online MBA program? Especially when students find that both formats offer unique benefits and challenges.

Read on to learn the differences between an online and in-person MBA, then determine which format best suits you.

What is an MBA?

A Master’s in Business Administration, or MBA, is an advanced degree that gives candidates the edge they need in recruitment, promotions, and opportunities in management and leadership. An MBA prepares candidates for leadership roles with highly transferable skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, strategic planning, financial acumen, and time and people management.

Online MBA vs. In-Person MBA

Online and in-person MBA programs provide similar academic and career opportunities. They undergo the same rigorous accreditation process and present students with equivalent coursework and educational requirements. Furthermore, many schools have the same faculty teaching courses in both programs.

While the cost of obtaining your MBA will vary depending on the college or university, the tuition fees for both programs tend to fall within similar ranges.

Online MBA Programs

One of the many reasons students attend online MBA programs is because they offer asynchronous classes. This means students can access online class materials at their convenience and study where they want and when they want—although students must still adhere to their college or university’s specific deadlines.

This learning format is beneficial if you have family, work, or other commitments requiring a more flexible schedule.

Online MBA programs also remove common financial and geographic barriers to enrollment that traditional, in-person MBA programs maintain. Because of this, online MBAs have more diverse classes and see higher enrollment numbers from women and underrepresented minorities.

Additionally, you should consider an online MBA program if you:

  • Want to attend a program located far from where you live.
  • Are self-motivated and possess a lot of self-discipline.
  • Have access to reliable technology (i.e., a fast internet connection and a computer with adequate memory and software).
  • Have strong writing skills, as most communication is via email.

In-Person MBA Programs

In-person MBA programs typically attract younger students with less work experience looking for on-campus interaction and experience. They are also beneficial for students who want to shift from a different career into business as students have more flexibility in customizing their degree plans to fit their interests and needs.

All graduate management programs require a lot of self-motivation. Still, with an in-person MBA program, you’ll meet regularly with your professors and cohort in set sessions throughout the week. And in many programs, students engage in group work on projects and interactive challenges and attend in-person recruitment events, ensuring they are held accountable to themselves and others.

Candidates should consider an in-person MBA program if:

  • You learn better in a structured environment where you register for specific classes, attendance is required, and homework, projects, and exams will have stricter due dates.
  • You would benefit from in-person discussions and one-on-one time with professors in and outside the classroom.
  • You want to build a robust professional network through face-to-face networking opportunities.
  • You want to use campus facilities and resources, including extracurricular activities, lectures, libraries, and athletic facilities.
  • You want more accessible access to advising, career counseling, and other on-campus services.

Which MBA Program is Right for You?

Ultimately, determining whether to enroll in an online or in-person MBA program depends on which degree fits your personal and professional responsibilities, learning style, and career goals.

If you want to travel to study and feel you’ll learn more effectively from face-to-face interactions, an in-person MBA program might be the best option.

But, if you need more flexibility and are disciplined at holding yourself accountable, you would benefit from an online MBA program.

Students should also research their target schools, explore the courses offered in both programs, and consider their career goals to make an informed decision and ensure a successful learning experience.

Ultimately, online and in-person MBA programs produce successful academic leaders with new skills that propel their careers to new heights.

At University of Bridgeport, we offer online and in-person Business Administration programs to prepare candidates for a successful career in today’s competitive marketplace.

Our online MBA offers four concentrations, and our in-person MBA offers seven, allowing students to tailor their degrees to suit their specific needs and goals.

Contact us today to learn more about our programs and comprehensive support services. We’ll ensure you get through college and into a great career!