Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Get an MBA Online

By Reese Lopez

Published on August 19, 2021

Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Get an MBA Online

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Find Perfect Timing to Pursue an MBA Online

An online MBA prepares graduates for advanced careers with high salary potential. But the degree rarely comes cheap. The National Center for Education Statistics reports an average annual tuition rate of $19,314 for all types of graduate degrees. Tuition at top-ranked schools often exceeds $100,000 total. However, many students view the MBA as a professional investment, weighing high tuition costs against increased future earnings.

Before applying to earn an MBA online, students should carefully research their options. We surveyed recent graduates to learn about their experiences with online MBA programs, including benefits, challenges, and life after graduation.

Online MBA Survey Data



We polled MBA graduates about the challenges, outcomes, and overall experience of completing an MBA online. The students generally reported high levels of satisfaction with their MBA experience. Among respondents, 92% reported that an online MBA is just as valuable as an on-campus degree. Similarly, 92% of respondents said that their online MBA helped them advance their career. About 70% of respondents were employed full time after graduation, while another 24% were working 20-40 hours per week.

This survey was conducted in May 2021, and all data from students was self-reported. While the survey results only include male and female perspectives, students also had the option to self-identify as non-binary.

Disclaimer:

Student testimonials have generally been obtained with the offer of compensation for completion of a survey (e.g., entrance into a gift card drawing). Such testimonials are the opinions of such students and surveys are designed to avoid influencing such testimonials either positively or negatively. All student respondents were supplied by Lucid LLC.

Questions and responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

How Was Your Degree Offered?

Is Your Online MBA Degree as Valuable as an On-campus Degree?

What Was the Biggest Challenge to Completing Your Online MBA Degree?

What is Your Current Employment Status?

Was Your Online MBA Degree a More Affordable Option Than an On-campus Degree?

Has Achieving Your MBA Helped You Advance Your Career?

How Would You Rate Your Overall Online MBA Experience?


What Did You Like Most About Your Online MBA College Experience?

This section highlights what students enjoyed most about their online MBA experience. Many respondents noted flexibility, strong teachers, and the ability to work from home at their own pace.

What did you like most about your online MBA college experience? Gender Age Current Household Income
There was no travel or wasted time involved Male 50 Over $100,000
Can keep certain documents in online storage Male 45 $75,000 to $99,999
Learning Modules Male 28 $75,000 to $99,999
The classes and the teachers Female 41 $50,000 to $74,999
I liked that I could do everything at my own pace. Male 33 $35,000 to $49,999
Better Tuition Male 50 Over $100,000
The flexibility Female 44 Over $100,000
I could complete assignments on my own time Female 28 $50,000 to $74,999
I was at home away from people Female 26 Over $100,000
It's very easy to use Female 38 Over $100,000
Less time consuming Male 30 Over $100,000
Saving money Female 29 $50,000 to $74,999
It gives me a good vibe and great insight Male 28 $75,000 to $99,999
Flexible class time Male 46 Over $100,000
Access to teachers Male 32 Over $100,000
Easier to focus Female 30 $50,000 to $74,999
Flexibility Female 38 Over $100,000
The flexibility Female 31 Over $100,000
It wasn't stressful Female 30 Over $100,000
To the point Female 44 $75,000 to $99,999
Flexible times to complete coursework Male 39 $75,000 to $99,999
It was easy and fun. I got to be part of a large online community Female 45 Over $100,000
Learned and studied at my own pace Male 50 $50,000 to $74,999
Able to work from home, largely on my own schedule Male 59 $75,000 to $99,999
It was the best moment of my life and it was fun-filled and directional Male 45 Over $100,000
I liked that I was able to complete the work around my schedule Female 53 $75,000 to $99,999
It was educational, fun, and friendly Female 25 $75,000 to $99,999
Very high-quality education and convenient for me Female 53 $75,000 to $99,999
You can work at your own pace Male 59 $50,000 to $74,999
Ability to work at my own pace as long as assignments were done in a timely manner Female 78 $20,000 to $34,999
Able to study at home Male 45 $75,000 to $99,999
I liked the self-pace option. It allowed me to get ahead in my courses when I could. Female 24 $50,000 to $74,999
The structure Female 23 $75,000 to $99,999
The material Male 30 Over $100,000
The flexibility and access to professionals outside my community Female 37 Over $100,000
Teaching. I really love the way they teach and explain things in general Male 35 $35,000 to $49,999
Convenience and working at my own pace Male 35 $50,000 to $74,999
I liked the flexibility, the variety of course offerings, the ability to apply what I learned immediately on the job, networking opportunities, and the ability to avoid long commutes and housing fees Male 40 Over $100,000
The flexibility of the program Male 31 Over $100,000
It is convenient and afforded a high-quality education Female 40 Over $100,000
The flexibility Female 28 $50,000 to $74,999
Learning Male 35 Over $100,000
It was very good for me Male 34 Over $100,000
It's specific Male 38 $75,000 to $99,999
The flexibility it provided Female 30 $75,000 to $99,999
Getting to learn from world-class instructors Female 29 $50,000 to $74,999
The flexibility and the way of learning Female 38 Over $100,000
No commute, can somewhat work at your own pace Female 29 $50,000 to $74,999
It is an easy and flexible way to learn Female 35 Over $100,000
Innovation Male 34 Over $100,000
Flexibility Male 40 Over $100,000
Simple and fast Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
Being online Male 30 $50,000 to $74,999
The flexibility Male 33 $50,000 to $74,999
I loved the convenience Male 38 Over $100,000
Studying in the comfort of my home Male 35 $75,000 to $99,999
Distance education is the absolute best. You can learn at any time, and it will make you a faster typer. In the past, it took half an hour to write a useful sentence. Now, I am much faster. Male 35 $20,000 to $34,999
It was very professional Male 33 Over $100,000
The way I was lectured Male 48 Over $100,000
Being able to do various activities in my life without having to leave another because I don't have time Male 40 $75,000 to $99,999
Integration of information and how to obtain it Male 36 Over $100,000
I could do a lesson or homework even at 3 a.m. when I had just gotten off work Female 32 $75,000 to $99,999
More information Male 36 Over $100,000
I have the necessary tools to carry out my studies Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
The ease of learning on the online platform Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
I like the flexibility of when I could listen to lectures and complete assignments Male 27 $50,000 to $74,999
it was very modern and professional Male 39 Over $100,000
It was comfortable and easy to learn Female 36 Over $100,000
The freedom of working from home Female 37 Less than $20,000
It gave me a reason to improve my income and raise the standard of living for me and my family Male 37 Over $100,000
Everything Male 21 Less than $20,000

What Were the Challenges of Getting Your MBA Online?

Earning an MBA online comes with challenges. This section highlights typical student challenges during MBA online programs. Common issues include difficult coursework and balancing school with other commitments.

What were the challenges of getting your MBA online? Gender Age Current Household Income
The coursework was hard Male 50 Over $100,000
Continuation Male 45 $75,000 to $99,999
Staying focused Male 28 $75,000 to $99,999
Having a husband and child that are loud in the house and trying to juggle working full time Female 41 $50,000 to $74,999
Being strict with my time schedule Male 33 $35,000 to $49,999
Staying focused while getting an online degree and working Male 50 Over $100,000
Networking Male 36 Over $100,000
Lateness to class Male 35 Over $100,000
Asking questions Female 44 Over $100,000
Some of the subject matter was pretty complex, so I had to work harder to teach myself Female 28 $50,000 to $74,999
It was a lot of hard work Female 26 Over $100,000
Bad network sometimes Female 38 Over $100,000
Reading was really hard Male 30 Over $100,000
It was really hard to get Male 28 $75,000 to $99,999
It takes a lot of discipline to do classes from home online Male 46 Over $100,000
Time management Male 32 Over $100,000
Balancing family and work with school work Female 30 $50,000 to $74,999
Time commitment Female 38 Over $100,000
Balancing work and school Female 31 Over $100,000
Nothing at all Female 30 Over $100,000
Cost. The school wasn't cheap Male 37 Over $100,000
Took so long Female 44 $75,000 to $99,999
Mostly, finding the time to work full time and finish coursework Male 39 $75,000 to $99,999
At first it was based on getting good systems and tools for learning Female 45 Over $100,000
Sometimes materials were hard to comprehend Male 50 $50,000 to $74,999
Finding time and scheduling group sessions Male 59 $75,000 to $99,999
The main challenge is shuffling work with class Male 45 Over $100,000
Sometimes it was difficult to get answers to questions because I didn't see the professors in person Female 53 $75,000 to $99,999
I had to work during my time in the program Female 25 $75,000 to $99,999
Maintaining my GDP was very challenging Female 53 $75,000 to $99,999
I had questions I needed answered immediately Male 50 $50,000 to $74,999
One instructor was rude Female 78 $20,000 to $34,999
No challenges for me Male 45 $75,000 to $99,999
Making sure I fully understood what my online professors were explaining Female 24 $50,000 to $74,999
Keeping track of assignments Female 23 $75,000 to $99,999
The lectures Male 30 Over $100,000
Not bonding and creating in-person connections Female 37 Over $100,000
The only challenge I have is financial support because online class requires money and time Male 35 $35,000 to $49,999
Being disciplined Male 35 $50,000 to $74,999
Finances have been my biggest challenge Male 40 Over $100,000
Keeping tabs on school work Male 31 Over $100,000
There are no challenges Female 40 Over $100,000
Balancing everyday life Female 28 $50,000 to $74,999
Juggling work and classes and family Male 35 Over $100,000
Network issues Male 38 $75,000 to $99,999
Unexpected life events Female 30 $75,000 to $99,999
Working full time while going to school full time Female 29 $50,000 to $74,999
Being organized and disciplined Female 57 Over $100,000
Nothing Female 38 Over $100,000
A heavy workload and no in-person lectures Female 29 $50,000 to $74,999
Juggling work and school Male 40 Over $100,000
Limited question-and-answer sessions Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
Group projects Male 30 $50,000 to $74,999
Having to complete all the applications and programs online Male 38 Over $100,000
Sometimes network issues Male 35 $75,000 to $99,999
It was very difficult to find enough time Male 30 Over $100,000
The challenge I faced was maintaining the desired GPA Male 48 Over $100,000
Meeting goals on time Male 40 $75,000 to $99,999
Paying tuition Male 36 Over $100,000
Sometimes I wanted face-to-face help from professors Female 32 $75,000 to $99,999
Nothing Male 36 Over $100,000
I did not have any challenges Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
No challenge was presented to me Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
Lack of technical instruction. I also struggled balancing coursework with my job Male 27 $50,000 to $74,999
Time and money Male 29 Over $100,000
The internet thing and the financial investment Female 35 Over $100,000
Being dedicated and holding myself to a schedule Female 37 Less than $20,000
Studying and working simultaneously Male 37 Over $100,000
Studying and meeting deadlines Male 21 Less than $20,000

How Has Completing an Online Degree Changed Your Life?

Many students find that earning an MBA online changes their life. Survey respondents reported new job opportunities, salary increases, and greater confidence in their professional abilities.

How has completing an online degree changed your life? Gender Age Current Household Income
It gave me another feather in my cap on my resume Male 50 Over $100,000
It gave me the motivation to do better Male 45 $75,000 to $99,999
More education Male 28 $75,000 to $99,999
It made it easier to get ahead and get a better-paying job Female 41 $50,000 to $74,999
So far, it has not changed my life too much. Hopefully, it will turn out to be a good investment. Male 33 $35,000 to $49,999
I received a promotion Male 50 Over $100,000
It has been good Male 35 Over $100,000
It really hasn't changed my life that much Female 44 Over $100,000
I have already been promoted at my job! Female 28 $50,000 to $74,999
Yes, it gave me my dream job and I'm just so grateful to be here and make all the money that I want Female 26 Over $100,000
Positively Female 38 Over $100,000
Promotion at my place of work Male 30 Over $100,000
It has helped me get a great job Female 29 $50,000 to $74,999
It really gave me a desirable change Male 28 $75,000 to $99,999
I am now knowledgeable about the inner workings of business Male 46 Over $100,000
I've gotten further in my career and a higher salary Female 30 $50,000 to $74,999
It hasn't changed much. I understand more about finance though Female 38 Over $100,000
Better job opportunities Female 31 Over $100,000
It has increased my standing in society and also financially Female 30 Over $100,000
It opened the door to get my CPA and other job opportunities Male 37 Over $100,000
Going to get a job for more money Female 44 $75,000 to $99,999
I make a higher salary now. Male 39 $75,000 to $99,999
It has impacted in my life in a very nice and interesting way Female 45 Over $100,000
I advanced my career and grew personally Male 50 $50,000 to $74,999
Opened up advancement opportunities and improved performance Male 59 $75,000 to $99,999
It has widened my scope on the use of media Male 45 Over $100,000
I feel better about myself and my chances for advancement in my career Female 53 $75,000 to $99,999
It got me a better life Female 25 $75,000 to $99,999
I'm very happy all day Female 53 $75,000 to $99,999
Gave me hope for the future Male 50 $50,000 to $74,999
Not at all Female 78 $20,000 to $34,999
Satisfaction and still able to have my career Male 45 $75,000 to $99,999
It allowed me to get a federal job straight out of school Female 24 $50,000 to $74,999
It helps Female 24 $75,000 to $99,999
In my employment Male 30 Over $100,000
I have a more impressive resume for management Female 37 Over $100,000
Yes, in a major way Male 35 $50,000 to $74,999
It has changed my life positively Male 40 Over $100,000
It has given me an opportunity to get promoted in my work Male 31 Over $100,000
Has improved my managerial skills Female 40 Over $100,000
It has opened many career opportunities Female 28 $50,000 to $74,999
I feel more accomplished Male 35 Over $100,000
It's very good Male 34 Over $100,000
It is awesome Male 38 $75,000 to $99,999
More respect in my job and better qualified to advance jobs Female 30 $75,000 to $99,999
I received a promotion at work Female 29 $50,000 to $74,999
I received more opportunities Female 57 Over $100,000
It's very new and different Female 38 Over $100,000
I have accepted a promotion and will be a better fit for other positions that become available in my career Female 29 $50,000 to $74,999
It enables me to improve my career Female 35 Over $100,000
Actually, it changed my life Male 34 Over $100,000
Newfound perspective and better job security Male 40 Over $100,000
More disciplined and organized Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
Making more money Male 33 $50,000 to $74,999
It has changed my life by giving me the opportunity to compete in the department of my organization Male 38 Over $100,000
I became able to work with the biggest companies Male 33 Over $100,000
It has changed my life by giving me a higher-paying job Male 48 Over $100,000
Yes, personally I am more confident in what I do. I can speak with my superiors with greater confidence and they take me seriously Male 40 $75,000 to $99,999
It is closely related to the initiation of my successes in my career Male 36 Over $100,000
It was a step up and also would be an increase in salary which will increase our family income and standard of living Female 32 $75,000 to $99,999
My job title improved Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
I got much more knowledge for my professional career Male 30 $75,000 to $99,999
It opened up several new career opportunities and will hopefully contribute to increased earnings Male 27 $50,000 to $74,999
I am another person, it changed my whole life Female 35 Over $100,000
I became more familiar with learning and became ambitious and superior Female 36 Over $100,000
I have more security and a better lifestyle Male 37 Over $100,000
It was great Male 21 Less than $20,000

The Pros and Cons of Earning an MBA

Online MBA programs help students build their professional skills and improve their career prospects. However, the degree isn't for everyone. This section highlights several pros and cons of online MBA programs.

Should I Get an MBA?

Career Advancement
An MBA offers an efficient path to advancing your career. As one respondent notes, "I received a promotion."
Higher Salary
MBA graduates typically earn strong salaries. One survey respondent said, "It has changed my life by giving me a higher-paying job."
Networking Opportunities
Online MBA programs offer networking opportunities. "I got to be part of a large online community," said one respondent.

Should I Not Get an MBA?

Expensive
An online MBA often leads to higher salary potential, but it comes at a cost. One student sums it up: "The school wasn't cheap."
Time Commitment
An online MBA requires a significant time commitment. One student noted that, "Balancing family and work with school work" was a challenge.
Self-directed Study
Some candidates find self-directed study challenging. As one student notes, "Some of the subject matter was pretty complex, so I had to work harder to teach myself."

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AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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