In an increasingly competitive job market, many working professionals ask the question: Should I get a master’s in business administration (MBA)? An MBA, whether it's a traditional program or an online MBA program, can open new job opportunities and help you advance in your career.
Benefits of getting your MBA include:
- Higher salary: The median salary for someone with an MBA degree is 75% higher than for someone with a bachelor’s degree. In some industries, the average starting salary is twice as high for MBA holders, according to a Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) 2021 Corporate Recruiters Survey.¹
- Job opportunities: Many businesses actively seek MBA candidates for open positions because they believe that these candidates possess the skills they need to move their businesses forward.
- Versatile skills: MBAs offer a broad education in multiple areas of business, as well as “soft” skills like communication and leadership that are applicable in any industry and any position.2
Is an MBA Still Worth It?
Studies have shown that over the course of their careers, an MBA graduate will probably earn three million dollars more than a business professional who has just a bachelor's degree.1
In GMAC surveys, 85% of respondents say that their MBA was a great investment.3 However, attending a graduate business school is not cheap, and at some schools the price tag for the entire degree program comes very near $200,000.4 If cost is holding you back from pursuing this degree, these tips to find an affordable online MBA program can help.
What's the Cheapest Way to Get an MBA?
The cheapest possible way to get your MBA is to get a scholarship that will pay for your entire degree or work for a large employer that covers 100% of your tuition, books, equipment, and fees. Unfortunately, these are not realistic options for most people.
The next best option that is accessible to anyone is to get an MBA degree online. Affordable online MBA programs have been steadily growing in popularity over the last two decades. The COVID-19 pandemic and campus shutdowns accelerated an already growing trend. For the first time ever, enrollment in online MBA programs is expected to be higher than in full-time programs for the 2020-21 academic year.5
Online MBA programs were once considered a very small niche offering of business schools and not entirely accepted by some as a quality business education. But online MBA programs have now entered the mainstream. Online education is now widely accepted. Institutions ranging from an Ivy League school to a state university, and everything in between, are now offering their own hybrid or online MBA programs.
Are Online MBA Programs Respected?
Employer attitudes about online MBA programs have changed over the last ten years. Although they were originally skeptical about the quality of even the best online MBA programs, now many are more interested in the school of business offering the program than the course delivery method. They rely extensively on accreditation to help them understand the quality of an applicant's online MBA.6
Another Financial Advantage of the Online MBA: Your Current Salary
Online MBAs often have lower tuition costs than in-person programs. You also won’t be on the hook for some of the traditional campus fees associated with an in-person MBA. But there is another financial benefit to affordable online MBA programs that is sometimes overlooked. Since these degrees are flexible and allow you to take classes on your own time, you can keep your current job while you attend business school.
Before the advent of online MBA programs, students would have to quit their job to go back to school for two years which meant living on student loans or part-time jobs and racking up additional debt. The other option was to find a college of business with a part-time program available at night that they could fit into a busy schedule of work, kids, and other activities.The increasing availability of high-quality online education has changed the landscape as more business schools and graduate students are embracing online MBA programs.
How Much Does an Online MBA Program Cost in the USA?
How much does it cost to attend business school and graduate from an MBA program? Data for 2022 show you can expect to spend over $140,000 to attend online MBA programs at some U.S. business schools. You can also spend as little as $10,800.7 It pays to do your research before committing to a program. The ideal is to find an affordable online MBA program that is accredited and offers the curriculum and business connections that will advance your career goals.
Other Advantages of Affordable Online MBA Programs
If you plan on studying for an MBA you should think about the variety of available online MBA programs. When shopping for an online MBA program, consider course offerings, start dates, program delivery options and other features. Each college of business tailors its online MBA program differently in order to create the best possible program for students and their potential employers. In addition to lower tuition, the advantages of affordable online MBA programs often include self-paced instruction and flexible scheduling with multiple program start dates throughout the year.
A Look at The Best Affordable Online MBA Programs
U.S. News and World Report rank the best online MBA programs based on factors like cost, technology, engagement, graduation rates, and faculty credentials. The University of Kansas (KU) School of Business is ranked #16 in the country for its affordable online MBA program. It also ranks #10 on the list of Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans.8 Another distinction of the KU online MBA program is that, unlike other state university programs, it charges the same low tuition rate for all, with no differential fees for out-of-state residents.
Things to Consider When Looking for an Affordable Online MBA Program
There are a few aspects to consider when calculating the merits of affordable online MBA programs. Tuition and fees are obviously on the list, but it’s not the only consideration. Additionally, it’s important to evaluate:
- Academic rigor: A “cheap” MBA from a program that doesn’t have very high academic standards is not worth your time and effort. It could even harm your job search if the program has a reputation as a poor-quality MBA.
- Faculty experience: Look for accredited online MBA programs that hire qualified faculty with academic and real-world business experience.
- Time to complete: The length of a master of business administration degree program can affect the cost, so find online MBA programs that you can complete in around two years to keep costs down.
- Accreditation: Accreditation from a respected accrediting body like the AACSB helps you evaluate MBA program quality. Getting your MBA online from an accredited institution also signals a quality education to prospective employers.9
- Specialization: Many online MBA programs offer specializations in areas including international business, supply chain management, healthcare management, human resource management, or information systems. If you're intent on working in a specific industry, specialization may be helpful. Otherwise, a general online MBA program offers you a skillset that translates well to any business.
Where to Find an Affordable Online MBA
Affordable online MBA programs have made it easier than ever to attend business school. You won’t need to move to a new state, commute to and from school, or pay for campus housing while you attend an online MBA program.
You can keep your current job while you work on your master of business administration degree on your own time. You can also look for business schools outside of your immediate area to find the best online MBA programs. Seek a combination of a program with online tuition rates and a high-quality MBA curriculum to make your effort worthwhile. With an online MBA, there are no limitations on your education.
Change Your Career Outlook Today with an Online MBA.
Learn more about the online MBA program available at KU and find out how to enroll in an affordable business graduate degree program that can enhance your business career. Join the global network of Jayhawk business alumni who have studied with our expert faculty in small, immersive classes and gone on to thrive in successful careers. Advance on your path to KU by talking with an admissions advisor today.
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/2021_crs-demand-of-gm-talent.pdf
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from mba.com/business-school-and-careers/why-business-school/why-employers-love-business-masters-graduates
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/measuring-program-roi/2022-gmac-white-paper-value-of-gme.pdf
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from investopedia.com/articles/professionaleducation/09/mba-real-costs.asp
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/2022_gmac_corporate_recruiters_survey_summary_report_final.pdf
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/slideshows/10-things-employers-think-about-your-online-degree?slide=12
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from poetsandquants.com/2021/11/17/the-most-least-expensive-online-mba-programs-of-2022/
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-kansas-OBUS0696/mba
- Retrieved on August 28, 2022, from aacsb.edu/accreditation