What is an online MBA?

View all blog posts under Articles | View all blog posts under Business

Many professionals contemplating the next step in their careers consider pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree. Earning this credential may open doors for your professional advancement, but it is important to understand the commitment involved before you apply to programs. You should select the best online MBA program to fit your interests and schedule, and learn what to expect from your courses.

Villanova University online students have the resources and flexibility to achieve outcomes closely aligned with their long-term professional goals. By familiarizing yourself with the available classes and unique opportunities for developing in-demand skills, you may find the path that is right for you at Villanova School of Business. Completing an online MBA can prepare you for a leadership role in today’s fast-paced business world.

What you can learn from your graduate education

Many people decide to return to school for an MBA after spending at least a few years in a professional position. Harvard Business Review broke down the advantages of MBA programs into three key benefits, each of which can have major implications for graduates’ future success.

First and foremost, students learn an array of practical skills for leadership and management. In part, that means studying the quantitative methods and strategic principles that go into driving a business forward. Graduates also receive training in soft skills, such as communication and managing group dynamics, to lead a team.

When you are seeking a new job or working toward a promotion, every line on your resume sends a message to employers. With an MBA, you have a credential that indicates your level of expertise in business processes and commitment to progressing your own career. An MBA shows that you have taken proactive steps to deepen your knowledge of business operations and lead more effectively.

Finally, students have the opportunity to make connections with other professionals while they are in school. As members of a learning community, you will network with fellow professionals who are working toward similar goals and instructors who have spent years in the business world. Expanding your network in school will pay off as you seek opportunities in the future.

The advantages of learning online

One of the biggest obstacles to completing a graduate degree is that it takes time. MBA programs are structured in various ways, but many require years of commitment. It may be difficult for you to be present on campus several days a week, especially if you are a busy professional.

Fortunately, it is possible to earn your MBA online while still receiving all the benefits of a traditional graduate education. Online students at Villanova study the same curriculum taught by the same renowned faculty as they would in campus-based courses. The difference is that they mostly learn on their own schedules through recorded presentations, discussion forums and interactive case studies.

This flexibility is ideal for people who already have careers and are striving to take the next steps. To finish your degree, you must earn 48 credits – taking 21 courses over six semesters. Each semester is split into two terms, with most courses requiring a single term, so it is simple for you to pace yourself appropriately. The entire curriculum, including the final capstone, can be completed in two years.

Interact with students and faculty

For some professionals, the most vital part of earning an MBA is getting to know new people. Instructors and other students are excellent resources over the length of your career, and learning to collaborate with others on tricky problems is a crucial part of any business education. Fortunately, in Villanova School of Business, taking classes online does not mean you are on your own.

Online students work together on a variety of projects and have synchronous opportunities to interact with each other and instructors through online discussion sessions or virtual office hours. To complete a residency requirement, students must go to campus within their first two semesters of enrollment for a weekend Leadership Challenge. This intensive experience is a chance to meet peers and faculty in person, laying the groundwork for valuable networking.

In addition, online students are encouraged to travel abroad and attend a Global Practicum as part of their final capstone. In this seven-day international immersion, students get involved in projects at companies operating in an emerging economy. Digging into the actual problems of these organizations while engaging with other professionals in person enriches and rounds out the online learning experience.

Concentrate on the areas that are most relevant to you

MBA students can customize their coursework by choosing a concentration according to their personal strengths and career plans. Though the Villanova School of Business does not require a specialization, selecting one may allow you to narrow your focus. You will then be required to take 7.5 credit hours of electives in your area of interest.

Villanova offers four options for specialization:

  • Students with a Finance concentration dive into the capital structures of corporations, discovering how to allocate resources and maximize the value of an organization.
  • The Marketing specialization explores how to develop and implement persuasive strategies in a globalized, constantly connected marketplace.
  • An Analytics concentration is for students who want to deepen their understanding of the big data that drives today’s business strategies and use the latest tools to interpret their findings.
  • Strategic Management students are big-picture thinkers who want to learn how to develop an organization’s primary objectives and then put them into action with plans and policies.

Getting started on your online MBA degree

Whether you prefer to specialize in a particular area of study or earn a general MBA, the first step in furthering your business education is applying to a graduate program. The criteria for admission at Villanova include:

  • Your undergraduate grade point average
  • Exam scores on the GMAT or GRE, and the TOEFL for international students
  • Work experience
  • Application essays
  • Letters of recommendation

Graduates from MBA programs can emerge with extensive knowledge of the current thinking in business strategy and operations, as well as a broad network of contacts. You can find out more about the advantages of earning an MBA at Villanova by visiting the program page.

Recommended Readings: