The MBA or Master of Business Administration degree was one of the first graduate degrees to become available through online study. Having its origin in college Business Departments which were often one of the largest departments in a college, the MBA was one of the most logical degrees for online universities to promote. As nearly any business manager or officer can tell you, businesses that stay in business and prosper are those that stay current with business strategies and strive to stay ahead of the rest of the market. Since most business people were in no position to take time away from their jobs for additional classes, the MBA Online, which allowed them to continue working and even put new skills to use as quickly as they learned them was and has been a very attractive college offering.
Businesses expect their top people to be current on global business developments and still be efficient at their jobs. Those individuals who want promotions within the company also learn quickly that more education often leads to greater opportunities. Thus nearly every major college offers an MBA through online study, and many of these programs are available to students worldwide.
The United States can actually take credit for the development of the MBA. It was in the US that business people first began looking for newer ways of conducting business, for faster and more efficient means of expanding their business and attracting more customers while still providing some of the cheapest, quality products and services to existing customers.
In the 1900s, European and Asian schools developed their own MBA programs, often modeled after the US programs, but tailored to meet the cultural expectations of their own countries. Programs were first offered as distance learning programs, generally utilizing the mail services and telephones. As technology developed, closed circuit TV programs became popular as well.
The most rapid increase of MBA programs and the extreme variations of specialties within the MBA, however, has to be credited to the development of the internet. With nothing more than access to a computer with internet capabilities, a student can get online and complete his course work. The increased flexibility allows students anywhere in the world to access their class material any time of the day. Expanded libraries filled with limitless digital documents have eliminated the need to spend hours browsing in a brick and mortar library, making research not only easier, but available from a wider variety of resources. Finally, the complexity of business in today’s global market place has spawned the development of an unimaginable catalog of specialties. It has gotten to the point where almost any business idea you can imagine can be enhanced with a specialty area of an MBA. In fact, the nature of the MBA is that if no specialization exists in an area you want to study, you can select courses and design your specialization yourself.
Even though an MBA can be earned in the comfort of your own home on your own computer, don’t let that fool you into thinking you are taking on a weekend activity where you can study when you feel like it. The MBA can be completed in 18 months, but most people take about two full years, especially if they are also working.
Some programs even require you to be working with a goal of getting into management. That said, the demands on your time will be challenging and can be stressful if you are not prepared. In fact, a study done at East Carolina University from 2002 to 2004 showed that online students were significantly more likely to drop out than campus students. Surprisingly, the largest number of dropouts was also among older people. A recent Education Dynamics survey identified the causes of the attrition rate, saying that 41% of dropouts experienced financial difficulties. Thirty two percent dropped out because of life events, 23% due to health issues, and 21% due to lack of motivation. Lack of faculty interaction was blamed for 21% of the dropouts. An astounding 47% dropped out of the programs before completing even one course.
This information is not to discourage you, but rather to prepare you for the challenges of an Online graduate program so you can evaluate your own time and ability to complete the work before making a commitment. You must passionately want the additional degree—passionately enough for your determination to keep you going when the going gets tough, as it surely will before you finish. However, once you hold that coveted MBA degree in your hand and receive your first major promotion because of it, you will know that the effort was worthwhile and that you have your real reward.