Perhaps no graduate degree is surrounded in as much mystique, mythology, and misunderstanding as the MBA (Master of Business Administration). Proponents and detractors abound — or, as The Economist puts it: “The MBA is both revered and reviled.”
Supporters believe MBA programs help businesses and the global marketplace grow. Critics claim that full-time, campus-based MBA programs built around too many mediocre courses have reached a saturation point and don’t really train students in management or leadership. They believe many programs place too much emphasis on analytical skills and business functions.
Yet, the 2018 U.S. News rankings of online MBA programs contained nearly 270 different online MBA programs, up from 180 in 2017. Clearly, distance learning MBA programs are thriving.
If you’re feeling a tad confused about the legitimate value of this graduate degree and your potential ROI, dispelling a few of the most common myths that surround online MBA degree programs may help clear your head.
1) MBA programs promote greed and love of power.
If you feel called to be a Christian business leader, you may have great concerns about finding an MBA program that’s aligned with your values and ethics. But earning your Master of Business Administration from a Christian university such as ACU supports you, giving you the guidance you need to use your faith to make ethical decisions and lead with integrity. You’ll be qualified to manage and motivate people of any religious background in companies of all kinds, leading your team to success.
This inspiring vision is backed up by a 2017 survey by the Financial Times (FT) that reflected the changing MBA jobs market. FT surveyed leading employers to determine the importance of certain skills when hiring MBA graduates. Surprisingly, employers did not prioritize specialized financial or marketing skills. They wanted candidates proficient in the so-called soft skills such as:
- The ability to work with a wide variety of people (cited by 76 percent of employers).
- The ability to prioritize and manage time effectively (cited by 72 percent).
- The ability to build, sustain, and expand a network of people.
- The ability to solve complex problems.
2) A 100 percent online MBA program is easier academically.
Don’t confuse convenience and flexibility with lack of rigorous coursework and lower standards. Online MBA programs are in no way inferior to campus-based programs, and if you choose an online program that’s AACSB accredited, you can be sure the course of study is of the highest quality. “AACSB Accreditation is known, worldwide, as the longest standing, most recognized form of specialized/professional accreditation an institution and its business programs can earn,” explains the prestigious organization.
Although a flexible online MBA program does let you honor your employment and family commitments while earning your degree in a way that a campus-based program does not, the actual coursework is very challenging. If you’re not self-disciplined and self-motivated by nature, you might discover very quickly that you’d be better served by the structure provided by a face-to-face, on-campus program.
3) Employers don’t view online MBA programs as credible.
The last decade has brought a big sea change in the way employers perceive MBA grads with online degrees. Any negative associations that once existed are long gone. Employers know that online MBA degree programs make it possible for adults to remain employed full-time while advancing their careers. They recognize and admire the drive and motivation required to accomplish this goal, and they also understand that the online curriculum is just as rigorous as a campus-based program would be.
Many institutions of higher learning that started as brick-and-mortar campuses now offer online business degree programs. These MBA programs are thoroughly vetted by third parties. U.S. News notes that a university’s reputation and accreditation, along with an applicant’s work experience, “holds more weight than whether the candidate earned the degree online or in person.”
4) The professors who teach online MBA programs aren’t as qualified as their on-campus colleagues.
It’s often the case that your online MBA program professors also teach campus classes. The technological know-how required to develop and execute an online degree curriculum successfully requires not just an academic mindset but also a willingness to be a constant learner. Online faculty members must combine the newest trends in education with the latest developments in their industries to craft rich courses that are digitally delivered.
Here at Abilene Christian University, the professors are topnotch leaders — academically, spiritually, and professionally. Many of them practice in their fields, and they publish routinely, making contributions to their industry and staying connected to others in their profession. ACU’s online professors provide the same level of leadership as on-campus professors, and they are equally as accessible. They hold regular office hours and are available by phone and email to provide extra help and attention if you need it. Our faculty is also happy to give you the freedom to pursue your coursework independently if that’s your preference. Their enthusiasm for what they do is contagious, and they are devoted to their MBA students.
Ready to learn more? ACU Online’s Master of Business Administration prepares professionals for Christian service and leadership in the global marketplace. Our fully online MBA program combines courses in leadership, organizational innovation, data-informed decision-making, faith, and ethics to equip you to think critically, globally, and missionally.
Abilene Christian University has offered quality, Christ-centered education to our students for more than a century. We have a place for you to learn and grow as a worker and person — on our Texas campus or online. Please feel free to get in touch with us at any time at 855-219-7300 or acu.edu/online.