Saint Leo's Online MBA Programs
Online MBA Programs Offer Competitive Value and Networking Opportunities to Career-Driven Students
MBA graduates hold top honors in the business world. They are well positioned to move up the ranks of an organization, earn competitive salaries and maneuver in the global business market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the more you learn, the more you earn—in 2009, the median salary for a worker with a bachelors degree was $53,000, while workers with masters degrees earned a median salary of $65,364. And according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, first-year MBA graduates' salaries averaged between $50,000 and $75,000 in 2006—with more than 40 percent earning $75,000 and up. But does an online MBA degree hold the same weight as a traditional MBA?
College presidents seem to think so. Pew Research Center reports that more than half of college presidents—51 percent—say online courses provide the same value as traditional courses. The Washington D.C. think tank conducted the research in the spring of 2011 in conjunction with the Chronicle of Higher Education, surveying presidents of 1,055 two- and four-year private, public and for-profit colleges and universities.
The same survey revealed a surge in the popularity of online education. More than three-quarters of college presidents report that their institutions offer online courses. With prestigious universities like Duke University, Indiana University, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Saint Leo University offering online MBA programs, students have more options than ever before to access a quality graduate education.
For students in search of flexible and convenient classes, online MBA programs are an attractive alternative to traditional programs. But not all online MBA programs are equal.
Prospective students should be aware of the following attributes when choosing an online degree in business administration.
Not-for-Profit & Brick-and-Mortar
While for-profit universities were some of the first on the scene to embrace online education, an increasing number of brick-and-mortar institutions have branched out to offer online programs. Brick-and-mortar nonprofit schools, such as private liberal arts universities, have a well-established reputation in higher education, grounded in a strong academic tradition. These schools have a long history of integrity and commitment to student needs and outcomes.
For nonprofit universities, online instruction is often held to the same standards as on-campus learning. Students enrolled in online programs at brick-and-mortar schools can take advantage of many of the same resources available to on-campus students, such as extensive alumni networks, lifelong career services, and tenured professors who teach both in-person and online courses.
Regional & IACBE Accreditation
Regional accreditation is another measure of reputation. Regional accreditation is the highest form of institutional accreditation a college or university can obtain, and—unlike national accreditation—is recognized throughout the U.S.
The regional accreditation system is used to judge the quality of a program, and indicate how a school stacks up against others in a particular region. Most traditional academic programs and not-for-profit schools are regionally accredited, whereas for-profit and vocational schools tend to be nationally accredited, focused on a specific field of study and generally viewed as less rigorous. Online schools that are regionally accredited are subject to the same review process as brick-and-mortar schools, and must meet the same standards.
When considering an online degree in business administration, it's also useful to look not just at university-wide accreditation, but also the university's specialized business school accreditation. Highly prestigious business school accreditations include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)—often reserved for highly competitive schools without online programs—and the Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) accreditation, which takes into account eight major areas: outcomes assessment, strategic planning, curriculum, faculty, scholarly and professional activities, resources, internal and external relationships, and educational innovation.
Online MBA programs tend to appeal to mid-career students who no longer find it feasible to leave work or family responsibilities to spend two to four years on a college campus. They are serious about fitting an education into their busy lives, and bring a lot more business knowledge and hands-on experience to the table than their peers who start an MBA program directly after earning an undergraduate degree.
These seasoned professionals are looking to advance their careers, earn promotions and build upon existing skills—and an online MBA program helps to facilitate that professional development. Online MBA students bring real-world insights to the online classroom, where they can exchange ideas with classmates who are emerging leaders in their fields. Since many online students balance work and school, they get the benefit of immediately applying course concepts to workplace scenarios, and vice versa.
The opportunity to network with business contacts and potential employers is one of the biggest draws of any MBA program. Online programs can be highly interactive and offer numerous networking opportunities.
Today’s MBA students are tapped into a network of peers around the globe, sharpening their business acumen through methods including online discussion boards and video conferencing. Online discussions are balanced, articulate and full of depth, as every student weighs in on a topic and has time to process class material before they formulate a response. Through constant online engagement, MBA graduates are well prepared to navigate today’s business world, which increasingly revolves around the same types of electronic communication used in online MBA courses.
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo ranks as one of the top universities in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” list. Saint Leo’s traditional liberal arts campus, located 30 miles north of Tampa, educates more than 1,900 students. Total enrollment across its campus, regional education centers, and online programs exceeds 15,000. Among the oldest Catholic universities in Florida, Saint Leo is one of the nation's 10 leading providers of higher education to the U.S. military, and is a nationally recognized leader in online education.To learn more about Saint Leo University’s online MBA program, click here.