How Have People’s Attitudes Toward Online MBA Programs Changed Recently?

Many people mistakenly believed that online MBA programs were inferior to on-campus business programs, so they refused to earn degrees online. Surprisingly, Fortune Education reported that the online MBA degree program were growing in popularity even before the COVID-19 pandemic – it has increased by 85%, from 284 to 526 between the year of 2016-17 and 2020-21, according to data from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Businss.

Even now, the Online MBA program has growing numbers of applications to their program, however, this growth has significantly slowed down in 2021- only 30% of schools reported growth in applications to their online programs, according to the 2021 Application Trends survey.

Isser Gallogly, the associate dean of MBA Admissions at NYU Stern School of Business mentioned that Online MBA needs to emphasize the benefits of flexibility in order to be competitive. The Associate dean of Goizueta’s executive MBA program, Jaclyn Conner also mentioned the importance of student’s flexible schedule – “Students are pressed for time and their encounters in the program, regardless of format, have to be maximized.”

According to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the number of students enrolled in online MBA programs has surpassed those enrolled in full-time, on-campus programs in the United States for the first time – with 1,298 more U.S. students enrolled in online MBA programs during the 2020-21 academic year, encompassing 45,038 students in those programs compared to 43,740 students attending full-time residential programs. According to MBA news, corporate recruiters outside the United States are increasingly viewing online programs as equal to those taught in the classroom.

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has also released the GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey – 2022 Summary Report, which discovered that corporate recruiters appear to be becoming more accepting of online degrees, with the notable exception of the United States.

“The growth of online MBA programs has been so strong in the United States that for the first time, the total number of enrollments in online programs exceeded that of full-time, in-person MBA enrollments in the 2020-21 academic year, according to data from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB),” said Sabrina White, the vice president of school and industry engagement at GMAC.

In US News’ Best Online MBA Programs, Indiana University – Bloomington (Kelly) was ranked first, along with the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler) and the University of Southern California (Marshall). Photo: IT Communications Office / Licensed Under: CC BY 2.0

The data report indicated the percentage of students accepting both online and in-person programs increased by 26 percent from 34 percent in 2021 to 60 percent in 2022.

Employer perceptions of online MBAs are positive, according to the online MBA – “attitudes toward online education are significantly more positive if the respondent has had experience with online education.”

According to Northeastern University, in 2010, 66 percent of human resource managers thought an online degree was not worth it, but by 2018, the attitude had shifted positively, with online MBA degrees being valued as equal to or better than the in-person method.

As more selective business schools emerge, Joe Mullings, founder, chairman, and CEO of the Mullings Group, stated that top Business Schools such as Harvard, UPenn, and University of Chicago clearly do not matter if they are online or in-person.

In addition, 52 percent of employers said in the Northeastern study that the majority of graduate degrees will be completed online in the future, and 33 percent said online will be considered more valuable.

Even though attitudes toward online MBA programs have shifted in many ways, many experts believe that there is still a need to educate companies about the legitimacy of many online programs – accreditation is the most important factor, also recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education.

Because of today’s delicately developed system of online Program, the perception that it would not be as effective as in-person MBA program has broken down. Most employers now recognize the value of online education, which not only provides essential workplace skills and student-faculty interaction, but also allows teachers to apply course material directly to their jobs.

Hiring managers in larger companies believe that those with an online MBA degree should do more work, such as spend more time and resources educating employers about being online, because not all hiring managers are familiar with it.

This is not to say that they will not hire candidates with an online MBA; it simply means that the hiring process will be a little more complicated. However, this should not be a problem because the hiring managers will approach and ask if they have any questions.

Now that online MBA programs are gaining a high reputation comparable to in-person MBA programs, the number of students and graduates pursuing online MBA programs is growing. Because it is unknown when COVID-19 will end, it is carefully estimated that the value of the Online will increase more than ever.


Read more: Students Are Increasingly Pursuing Online MBA Degrees, and Top Business Schools Are Following Suit

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