Online MBA Degrees – Should You Take One to Advance Your Career?

If you’re looking for a way to advance your career, then you may have considered taking an online MBA. An MBA (Master of Business Administration,) is widely considered to be the most sought-after qualifications in business. With this qualification under your belt, you will be able to walk into a large number of management roles, and will likely enjoy an increased salary at your current place of work. Thanks to the web, it’s possible to get this prestigious qualification from the comfort of your own home, working on a part-time basis!

But what exactly does an MBA entail? Just how much of a commitment are you making? And how do you get started? This post will tell you everything you need to get started with an online MBA, and whether it’s a smart option to supercharge your career.

What is an MBA? Is it Hard?

If you choose to take an MBA degree, you’ll essentially be learning the ins-and-outs of business, and how to build a business model that will be profitable and sustainable for the long-term. This can be useful for entrepreneurs, for managers, executives, and employees that want to learn how their business ticks.

In general, an MBA is a “big picture” degree, meaning that you’ll be learning broader concepts more so than specific strategies or facts.

An MBA teaches us that a business is all about systems: implementing processes that generate revenue. For example, if you can automate an aspect of your business, or implement a “force multiplier,” (a tool that helps the same team to complete more work, more quickly), then you can greatly increase output, turnover, and profit, without significantly increasing your overheads. Likewise, improving efficiency by reducing the time that staff spend waiting for computers to load up, or by streamlining communication, can all impact on your bottom line1.

An MBA will also explain how to create value, and how to understand very human drives. Products and services sold to the consumer are typically sold based on emotion and not logic. Therefore, smart marketing can evoke an emotional response in the viewer, and ultimately move them to make a purchase. Likewise, an understanding of human nature can help you to be a better manager or leader, by understanding concepts like convergence and divergence2.

MBAs will teach branding, leadership, basic accounting, communication, and more. Ultimately, this will provide the graduate with a well-rounded understanding of business, as well as a hot of skills that they can use to improve their management style and business accounting.

Specifically, an MBA will likely cover the following topics:

  • Corporate finance
  • Operations management
  • Legal
  • Economics
  • Financial accounting
  • Global strategy
  • Professional writing
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Business ethics
  • Global strategy

If you are systems minded, if you like learning about people, and if you are able to take a “big picture” view, then these are not hard concepts to grasp. There is a little terminology, but very little in the way of hard stats and figures that need to be memorized. As many of these lessons can be applied to other aspects of life, they are inherently interesting and usually easy to commit to memory.

Getting Started With an MBA

There are many options available for those interested in gaining an MBA online, making it possible for anyone to train and get qualified while also holding down a full-time job. The challenge is that an MBA is both expensive and time consuming. Fortunately, the flexibility of remote learning options and the sheer variety of courses on offer, ensures that you can find the best course to suit your lifestyle.

There are two different types of MBA you can take online. These are an Executive MBA and a Part-Time MBA

The Part-Time MBA is primarily intended for younger professionals (aged 24-35) not currently in management positions, but looking to accelerate their career and expand their horizons.

The Executive MBA on the other hand is aimed at older managers and executives aiming to improve their leadership style.

If you decide that you want to go either of these routes, then you should be able to find a number of online courses that provide what you’re looking for. Here are three examples of online MBA courses:

  • MBA Degree: Master’s in Business Administration from Boston University3
  • MBA – Warrington College of Business4
  • Executive MBA from University of Virginia5

Other Options

If you decide that an MBA is too expensive and involved for you, there are some alternative options. One such option is to do something called a MicroMasters. A MicroMasters will give you a much shorter introduction to the MBA program, while teaching specific skills that could be enough to give you an edge in business and set you apart from the competition.

For example, the MicroMasters Program in MBA Core Curriculum from the University System of Maryland6 will teach the fundamentals of business, and provide a MicroMasters MBA qualification at the end. This is recognized by employers and will appeal to many businesses and managers.

At the same time, the MicroMasters will serve as 25% of a full MBA degree. You can then choose to complete the rest of the qualification via the Robert H. Smith School of Business MBA Program. The program lasts for one year, and students are expected to commit 8-10 hours per week to their learning6.

There are many more courses like this one, so take a look around sites like EDX.org for a wide variety of MicroMasters and shorter courses.

As you can see then, there are many options for starting an MBA, any of which can help to give you an edge over the competition when it comes to business. You’ll be more employable, and you’ll have the skills you need to run your own successful business. And if doing an MBA online is too much of a commitment, there are plenty of other more flexible options!

  1. The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
  2. What is Convergence and Divergence?
  3. MBA Degree: Master’s in Business Administration
  4. MBA – Warrington College of Business
  5. Executive MBA Formats – University of Virginia
  6. MIcroMasters Program in MBA Core Curriculum from University System of Maryland

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