Finding the Right Graduate School

Online MBA or Not?

Once you have decided that an MBA is for you, then you can decide if an online degree is right for you. There are a lot of different factors that will determine if you should get an online MBA. These factors include cost, time, prestige, and opportunities.

How prestigious or legitimate are online degrees?

Legitimacy for an online MBA program comes down to whether or not an employer would hire you based on where you got your degree. Not all online degrees are created equal. If you want to get a good education, you should look for an online degree from a university that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). However, you might not need a degree from an accredited school to get the job that you will be applying for. This is something to consider because it will directly affect the cost of your MBA.

What are some factors to consider before getting an online MBA?

So let’s say you plan on getting an online MBA, picking the right school for you is very important, and there are several things to consider when you are pursuing an online degree. For instance, if you want an employer to be impressed by your education you would need to pick a prestigious school with a great reputation. This is important due to the fact that the highest ranked schools for online MBAs are accredited by the AACSB. Online MBA degrees have different requirements than traditional university requirements. A few of the requirements are that the curriculum must match with on-campus studies of the same material, and the courses must be taught by the same faculty as the on-campus courses. There are also some usual admission requirements for online degree applicants.

What are the opportunities a MBA will offer?

MBA degrees offer career advancement and a greater understanding in the field of study you are interested in. A MBA is an education that is hard to replace or exchange for an equivalent form of education, due to how unique each one’s experience is while getting their MBA, not only that but each online degree plan is different than any other degree plan. Also, most colleges offer some help when it comes to starting your own business.

Cost of an Online MBA?

Everyone is always asking how much something costs, and an MBA is no exception. There are the usual costs of tuition, books, and monitoring costs (laptop internet access, and so on), but most people really never refer to opportunity cost. This is the cost between what you chose and your second best option. For instance, you can go back to school and get $80K in debt or stay at your current employment and get paid $75k per year. When determining cost you must add up potential costs with lost income from pursuing your degree. This means that the overall cost of your MBA would be $230k due to lost wages. However, getting your degree sooner rather than later means that you will have a longer time to get a return on your investment. Some of these costs might not affect you if you can continue to work and get your MBA at the same time, this will be difficult but well worth the cost if you succeed.

So, Online MBA or not?

Choosing an online MBA depends on your plans for the near future. If you have a great job lined up maybe you should wait to get your MBA when it is more convenient for your situation. With the flexibility of online programs, the right program can help advance your career.

References

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-an-online-mba-worth/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/choosing-an-online-mba-program/

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2012/12/24/online-mba-students-may-face-challenges-with-degree-reputation

Top 10 Tips for Choosing an MBA Program

So, you have decided to go for your MBA. Getting the right MBA is very important, but it has to be the right MBA for you. When applying to business schools aim as high as you dare, you might be surprised at what you can accomplish. Before you apply to all the “best” schools you should consider the following topics when determining which program and school to choose.

1. Program

The program that you choose needs to be a part of the bigger equation of your life. Use your MBA program as a stepping stone toward your goals in life. A good way to check this is to take your life goals and visualize yourself in the program you’ve chosen. If you can see yourself attaining those goals, then you have a good indication of which program you should choose.

2. Location

Most students under estimate the importance of location. However, location is an important aspect of your MBA program. Take into consideration that the school you choose has certain connections with surrounding businesses, and schools are usually tailored to fit the local industry. Are you willing to be far away from your family and friends? Would an online MBA program work better for your needs? How much adventure are you looking for? These are just a few things to consider about location and your MBA.

3. Community

Everyone has a vison of what they want to achieve, but do your goals line up with the goals of the community that you will be joining? How well does your life-style fit in on campus or your graduate degree cohorts? Is the program community competitive or collaborative? Take into consideration your personality and how that would translate to a community of peers. If you know what you want to get out of community it will be easier to find it once you’re there.

4. Size

You want a class size that is right for you, but smaller is not always better. A medium size class is best, because you will be learning as much from your classmates as you will from the professors.

5. Faculty

Professors have been in your shoes and know what you are going through, and they are a great source of knowledge about much more than just course information. Online and on-campus instructors should have little to no difference in education levels. Most faculty members are key to your course and once you find a program that you are interested in review the history of the faculty members.

6. Curriculum

The classes you take will play a big role in the completion of your MBA. If you don’t pay attention to the courses you take relative to the information you need, your education will not be as helpful as it could be. A big problem among master’s students is the professor’s expectation versus your own. As always, work in opening communication up between your professor and yourself to confirm you are meeting the same expectations.

7. Future opportunities

Each MBA program has its advantages and disadvantages, and every program has some sort of future opportunities that will equate to added value. When you are looking into future opportunities, remember that everyone is expected to change careers at least four times in their life time. Maximize the value that is added from your MBA by picking the right location for your MBA, and use networking to get connected to others in the community.

8. Cost

This is a very important aspect of the program, but it should not be the deciding factor. A good program may cost more but may also be revered as more prestigious or exclusive. Just because you have a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t go back to school. Receiving scholarships, grants, and loans is only getting easier due to massive web presence and quick access.

9. Ranking and Accreditation

When you have decided on your program you should check to see if the school is, and will continue to be, accredited. Take it one step further and compare your college’s MBA programs to other MBA programs to see where your school ranks in the list.

10. Question Everything

When you are looking and applying at MBA programs you should ask questions about everything, even if you think you know the answers it’s a great idea to ask anyway. Sometimes a solution to a difficult situation will present itself if you ask the right questions, and there is no such thing as a question that is insignificant.

Once you have determined what you want from your MBA everything else will fall into place. Problems that you will come across during your MBA program selection process most likely can be corrected by asking the right questions. For tricky situations you can always call on a professor, class mate, or even family members. Remember that the main goal of having a MBA is to have a career waiting for you after you’re done.

References

Isiadinso, C. (2015, April 6). How To Choose an MBA Program - 7 Tips To Help You Make the Right Choice. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.expartus.com/how-to-choose-an-mba-program-7-tips-to-help-you-make-the-right-choice/

Pyles, R., & Barlow, J. (n.d.). Six Tips for Choosing the Right Graduate Business Program. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.mba.com/us/the-gmat-blog-hub/ask-the-expert/2014/may/six-tips-for-evaluating-your-b-school-options.aspx

Ridgers, B. (n.d.). Top 10 Tips for Choosing an M.B.A. Program. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.collegexpress.com/articles-and-advice/career-search/articles/explore-careers/choosing-mb-program-and-pursuing-business-career/

Where to go for Grad School: Staying Local or Relocating

Location is a huge factor in deciding where to go for grad school. With regard to location, you really only have two options: staying local or relocating. Some grad-school hopefuls struggle to decide between the two. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of staying local and relocating to find a graduate school.

Staying Local

There are many benefits of staying local in deciding where to go for grad school. One of the biggest benefits is that in many cases, it is often cheaper to stay where you are currently living. Moving can be very expensive, and staying local would likely mean that you would not have to deal with out-of-state tuition. Another advantage of staying local is that you probably have some sort of social support structure in place where you are. This support can make your journey through graduate school much easier.

The biggest disadvantage to staying local is that it greatly reduces the number of programs to which you can apply and where to go for grad school. By limiting your program search to only local universities, you could not apply to many respectable programs simply because of their locations.

Relocating

When you are willing to relocate, you have a much greater selection of where to go for grad school. Additionally, you might increase your chances of getting into graduate school if you apply to more programs instead of to only a few local programs. Relocating can also be an exciting experience, allowing you to try new things and meet new people.

However, deciding to relocate for grad school can also be more expensive. In addition to the costs associated with moving, you might end up paying more in tuition if you move out of state; however, do not let this necessarily be a deal breaker. Out-of-state tuition policies vary greatly from state to state, so do some research and see if there is a way to get a program to waive its out-of-state tuition. Another disadvantage of relocating is that moving might add new stressors you wouldn’t have if you stayed where you are. Such stressors might include lack of social support systems, stress related to living in a new area, and increased financial strain.

How to Find a Graduate Program That's Right for You

When you are trying to find a graduate program, you should first consider where you would like to live and what you would like to study. This will help you develop the criteria potential schools must meet for your consideration. It is important that you choose the school before they can choose you, so apply to the types of programs that you would like to attend.

Price is a small detail when you are looking to find a graduate program. Decide what you can afford and how you plan to fund your education. Evaluate your financial plans before you apply to avoid applying to a school that is way out of your price range. You can try to get financial aid through loans, grants, and scholarships. Additionally, many graduate programs offer students stipends for internships, assistantships, etc. You should examine all your options during your application process.

What kind of program are you looking for? Some programs require a minimum GPA for admission, so in addition to what programs you like, you should research what those programs expect from you as an applicant. This will help you further develop and refine your criteria for potential graduate schools as you are looking for a program that is perfect for you.

Find a graduate program that fits within your means academically and financially. Do not apply to schools if you do not meet their established criteria because doing so will only increase your frustrations. Instead, focus your energy on applying to schools that meet your needs and vice versa.

Each student has his or her own criteria when choosing what school is right for him or her and ultimately where to go for grad school. It is important to do your research and think through your decision in order to find a graduate program that will set you up to succeed.

PhD vs Professional Degree: Which One's for Me?

Within the past 10 years or so, the number of professional degrees has dramatically increased.  This is particularly true in medical fields, which offer degrees such as DPT, DOT, and DNP; in fact, even an MD is considered a professional degree.

What is the difference between a PhD and a professional degree? 

A PhD is first and foremost a research degree that is intensely focused on both scholarly and professional development. In contrast, a professional degree focuses more specifically on skills and knowledge necessary for success a particular profession, without as intense of a focus on research and other scholarly work.

Do I need a PhD to have the title of doctor?

In many cases, both PhDs and professional degrees come with the title of doctor.

Which degree is “better”?

Some people consider a PhD to be the highest level of education, which may make it a more prestigious degree; however, only you can determine which degree is superior to the other in terms of which degree would be better for you. Therefore, you should spend some time reflecting on your wants and needs for your degree. 

What’s the difference between a professional degree and a professional school?

Some people may be confused about the difference between professional schools and professional degrees. A professional school is a for-profit educational institute. There are many examples of really good professional schools; however, if you are choosing to go to a professional school, there are a few things you might want to consider. First, the cost of professional schools is often higher than the cost of graduate school at a classic university. Additionally, you may have trouble finding government financial aid for professional schools. Finally, not all professional schools are accredited, which means that licensing boards, employers, etc., may or may not acknowledge a degree from a professional school.

In contrast, a professional degree refers to the type of degree and not to the type institution (i.e., professional school). Many public and private universities that are not professional schools offer professional degrees in addition to academic degrees. Again, you will have to decide whether a professional or an academic degree is most appropriate for you and your goals.

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