Why Universities are Focusing on Delivering Online MBAs


Some universities are beginning to close their full- and part-time MBA programs in favour of expanding the focus on their online MBA programmes. It’s a move that highlights the rapid growth of online-based MBA programs in recent years; according to the Graduate Management Administration Council, the majority of online MBA programmes in 2016 reported an increase in applications, up 57% from 50% in the previous year. In addition, online MBA rankings show that they are available in several different formats and at a variety of price points. There are several reasons why more universities are placing more focus on their online MBA programmes compared to the traditional in-house courses. Here are just five of them.

#1. Increased Popularity Amongst Students:

The number of applicants for online MBA programmes is clearly on the rise, and there are many good reasons as to why they are becoming increasingly popular amongst students. Online MBA qualifications are now more recognised and respected around the world today than ever before; employers, and the general public no longer view online degree programmes sceptically; in fact, many employers will have more respect for online degree graduates, particularly those who have studied for intensive, demanding business online management courses, due to the sheer amount of self-motivation and self-management that it requires from students.

#2. Reduced Costs:

Lower tuition fees are one of the biggest deciding factors for students looking to take an MBA online. Generally, students can expect to pay around one-third less compared to the tuition costs of studying for their MBA programme on-campus in a traditional classroom setting. And, whilst this may seem on the surface that schools are making less money as a result, online MBA programs are often much cheaper for universities to run. The lack of students in classrooms leads to lower running costs for schools and many online degree tutors may be working on a freelance or from-home basis, reducing the cost of salaries. In addition, study materials are made available in a digital format online, making them easier and far cheaper to copy and distribute between students than printed alternatives. As a result, universities are able to offer MBA programmes to students at a significantly reduced price, without losing out financially themselves.

#3. Attract More Talent:

Another reason schools such as Aston University are placing more focus on their online MBA programmes is that they are attracting more top talent from around the country, and even across the globe. The self-led nature and additional flexibility offered by online MBA programmes has made them a very attractive choice to individuals who may not have been able to fit studying for such an intensive programme in otherwise. Online MBA degree programmes have proved to be extremely suitable for those who are working full-time, running their own small business, or even stay at home mums and dads who would typically find it difficult to juggle attending campus-based classes with their current commitments and priorities. Online MBA programmes are an ideal choice for students who wish to fit studying around their lives and do not have the time or resources to take set times out of their week to attend lectures and classes. As a result, universities are finding that their online MBA programmes are attracting talented individuals who may not have been tempted to apply otherwise.

#4. No More Credibility Issues:

When online degree programmes first became available just over a decade ago, they were met with high scepticism. Early online programmes were often seen as being less than traditional campus-based programmes and in some cases, this was true – universities had no previous experience in delivering online programmes and the internet was not as advanced as it is today, meaning that students did not have access to the same level of support and resources as they do when studying online these days. However, the good news is that all the doubts surrounding online degree and MBA programmes have been quashed since; today’s modern online MBA courses offer students the same amount of resources as would be available to them as a campus-based student, and tutor support is second-to-none thanks to modern online communications apps, web chat services and video calling. In fact, online students often report having more one-to-one time with a tutor compared to studying for a traditional MBA in a classroom setting.

#5. A Modern Image:

Last but not least, the expectations of today’s students are on the rise, and colleges need to keep up with the times in order to continue attracting the top talent from around the country. In addition, students’ expectations are changing in line with their behaviour and preferences; more and more students are choosing to go to college later in life, compared to attending straight after secondary school. And, the rising amount of student loan debt in the UK, currently standing at around £16bn per year, is deterring students of all ages from going to university and instead pushing them to consider alternative, cheaper options.

For today’s modern students, online MBA programmes offer the perfect alternative to studying on-campus. They are an ideal choice for older students who may not have the same freedom as their younger peers, and due to their reduced cost, often attract students who are worried about the rising debt level and want to owe as little as possible after they graduate. As a result, today’s universities are placing more focus on online MBA programmes as the demand is clearly there. Modern students want an option that allows them to take control of their own studies, does not interfere with their current commitments, and enables them to keep their eventual student debt level to a minimum.

Today we are seeing a massive increase in colleges and universities placing more focus on their online MBA programs, rather than those offered on-campus. Some have even gone so far as to discontinue their in-house programmes to focus on solely offering online MBA courses, due to the growing demand from students.


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