One of the chief benefits of online MBA programs is the flexibility they provide students for completing their degree program at their own pace. Instead of attending rigidly scheduled class times at a brick-and-mortar campus, students log in to their courses at home or any other location with Internet access at a time of day that suits them best.
Lectures at Your Speed
A student learning from home can pause a video lecture to grab something to eat and then resume upon returning. If a professor is discussing a difficult concept in a lecture, the student can rewind and replay that segment as many times as he or she needs to understand the material. Instead of hurrying to type up or write down notes, hoping not to miss anything as in a traditional lecture, online students can take the time they need to fully absorb the information. They can also take the time to thoughtfully consider how to respond to the discussion board questions their professors propose.
Although online students do enjoy a great deal of flexibility when it comes to listening to lectures and completing assignments, they don’t have all the time in the world to get their work done. Professors establish firm deadlines for when assignments and projects must be completed, and if students wait too long to view the lectures and complete assigned reading, they will fall seriously behind in their courses. Ultimately, all of a student’s work must be completed by the end of the traditional semester or module. So online students must be every bit as responsible and self-disciplined as a traditional student, particularly because they do not experience the accountability that they would by going to class in a physical classroom and facing their professors day in and day out.
Part-Time Programs Online
Online students have the option to attend an MBA program part time. This track is especially beneficial for busy professionals who work full time, raise a family and have other obligations. Some MBA programs are even designed to be completed on a part-time basis. If you lead a full professional and personal life, it’s important to choose a program that is designed for working professionals and can be completed at a slightly slower pace.
Accelerated Programs Online
Some online MBA students want to complete their degree at a faster pace than others. For those students, an accelerated online MBA program makes sense. Accelerated programs are designed for highly motivated students who don’t want to spend two years or more in graduate school, are willing to work through summers if necessary, and who can complete a concentrated amount of work in a short time. Some accelerated programs take as little as 10 to 15 months to complete.
Although accelerated programs are often considered more challenging than traditional two-year programs because of the vast amount of work that is compressed into a short time frame, students often report that the intensity of the studies helped them to be constantly engaged in the learning process, resulting in higher grades on tests and projects. Fast-track MBA programs allow students to re-enter the job market more quickly than slower-paced ones. For those who want to complete their MBA program as quickly as possible and have the time and discipline to do so, accelerated programs are an attractive option.
Life and Work Experience for College Credit
Students who want to quicken the pace of their online MBA studies can also select a program that accepts a certain number of credits for work or life experience. Seasoned professionals with many years in the business world may be able to test out of certain courses or write a detailed account of how their experience substitutes for certain classes. You should be wary of colleges that accept too many experience credits, however, as that can be a sign of a diploma mill. You should be required to complete a significant number of graduate-level courses before you are awarded an MBA. Also, if you have the option not to concentrate, you will generally take fewer courses and thus be able to graduate sooner.
Whether you choose a fast-track, part-time or standard two-year program, keep in mind that you will still have to make a serious time commitment to your online studies to succeed. Courses for all accredited MBA programs are rigorous and will require a dedicated effort on the part of the student. Learn more about the different kinds of MBA program options available in the next few sections.