I've been consuming material regarding online MBAs, accreditation, ranking, reviews, etc., for the past 5-6 months, and I believe my vision has regressed by .5. I am ready to pursue an online MBA and have applied and been accepted to: Northeastern University, University of Scranton, Manchester Business School (UK),University of San Diego, and Rochester Institute of Technology's EMBA. All the programs listed are AACSB, respectively ranked, so that's good.
However, within the online format, what distinguishes one AACSB program from another? I know it's up to me to utilize the skills learned in the program to drive my success; but I'm having a hard time deciding if I should pay $30k for say, University of Scranton (AACSB, ranked regionally, solid reputation) or $62k for Northeastern University (AACSB, ranked nationally, solid reputation).
What would you recommend if my employer only contributes $375 per credit and the rest are federal loans? Also, I have worked professionally (7+ years) within the IT field and am looking for a career change; does school reputation/brand weigh heavily?
I have read many threads/forums/websites that convey different messages. Some say it wouldn't necessarily matter if you have work experience, which I do. However, others say if you're interested in a career change, MBA brand plays a bigger role and you should always try to get into the best MBA program you can - rather be part of a select few than the masses.
I'd appreciate any suggestions or advice.[/quote]
Impressive job narrowing your choices!
I'm surprised you were not driven insane by all the permutations you had to factor in when comparing the 400 or so accredited distance MBA degree programs available out there today.
You've clearly done your homework and are ready to enroll.
$30,000 for the University of Scranton Distance MBA(AACSB, ranked regionally, solid reputation) VS. $62k for the Northeastern University Distance MBA(AACSB, ranked nationally, solid reputation).
What will you get for that extra $32,000???
More importantly, will paying $32,000 for the Northeastern MBA get you something of equal value in your learning experience or for your career advancement?
Here are the issues I'd factor in if I were in your boat ....
1) Reputation of the Chosen MBA School in Your Commute / Work Area?
You have chosen 2 distance MBA programs that operate in the Northeast and that are well established and known as residential colleges in the Northeast. I am going to assume that you live/work in the Northeast.
GetEducated studies of employer acceptance of online degrees reveal that employers hold a bias toward programs that operate residential degree programs in their own backyard.
Your 2 choices are fairly equal in terms of being "known" in the Northeast with NEU having perhaps a slight reputation edge on traditional prestige rankings for its grad business school for working managers.
On the other hand, Scranton is a private Jesuit school, and if you are working in a heavily Catholic area there could be a tremendous loyalty and brand clout + effect in holding a business degree from a private Jesuit school like Scranton.
Try searching linked in profiles to see if any grad business school seems more popular among managers in your chosen career area or geographic commute area.
If I lived in urban Massachusetts I'd give an edge to NE's business school for hiring.
2) Reputation of Chosen MBA school in IT Field Career Niche You Will Work In?
You said you are moving into IT but not what your expertise or emphasis would be.
This may be extremely important.
Ideally, if you are changing careers this is a great time to use the grad degree to prep you for career change and new employment opportunities.
I'd consider this issue a HUGE factor if I were making the choice for a graduate degree on-line.
Which degree will best serve my intent to respecialize and position myself to move up in my new career?
The Scranton MBA has a new unique major area in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
Offered in conjunction with SAP – the world’s largest ERP software company – the Scanton MBA program prepares professionals in the configuration and use of ERP software, enhancing managerial and technical skill sets, by teaching knowledge of ERP systems to any software environment or industry.
ERP is, however, a very specialized emphasis in IT.
Do you intend to work in ERP?
If you want to be certified in ERP-SAP systems this Scranton MBA major is a great major area, but it is very narrowly focused and not applicable to broader IT career work.
Northeastern U, on the other hand, has a broader MBA major in Technology Management ....
Here is how NEU defines Tech Management:
[i]Online MBA High Technology Management Concentration
High Technology Management concentration examines the various approaches available to develop and protect intellectual property while building your knowledge of corporate governance and structures as well as business law and intellectual property management within technology companies. Faculty use experiential exercises and hands-on activities to help you answer questions surrounding the increasingly important topic of teamwork, for example how to build and lead successful co-located, virtual, global, and top management teams by creating an environment that fosters effective communication, collaboration, and commitment. This specialization is not limited to teamwork or IP and with the help of text books and case studies, students also focus on matters of entrepreneurial finance including the financial analysis of high technology ventures, working capital management, risk analysis, capital budgeting, sources of financing, valuation, and exit strategies such as licensing, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and IPOs.[/i]
Do you want to move into Technology Management / IT as defined by NEU?
If so, NEU MBA is a great broad prep major for moving up in IT management.
3) Different Core Core Structure for Different Thinkers - Career Types
In addition to different major areas of study the CORE FOUNDATION courses for the Northeastern online MBA are less rigid or traditional than the Scranton program.
NEU's core is more aimed at open thinking and entrepreneurship.
The University of Scranton Online MBA on the other hand, offers more traditional courses in their CORE online course requirement structure.
What kind of thinker are you?
What kind of work environment do you flourish in?
Where do you work, or will you work in the future?
In terms of coursework and study plans the Scranton MBA is more big business, corporate, nuts and bolts and traditional, whereas the NEU Online MBA is more fluid, more focused on top level strategic thinking and innovation for the entrepreneurial and global thinking type.
Which are you?
These 2 MBA degree programs have very different core required course structures so I encourage you to compare these two online MBA programs for the best fit.
4) Student Satisfaction
Here is one difference that may or may not matter to you.
The Scanton MBA, I believe, uses the same faculty and course design as on campus.
It is a traditional corporate program in every sense, except that it is offered online.
I believe the NE MBA program does not use the same faculty and course structure as the campus legacy program.
We do have an unhappy student review on file for Northeastern Online MBA Northeastern Online MBA but I can give you little feedback if that review is indicative of bigger issues with the NE MBA or not.
We just don't yet have enough reviews to detect a real pattern of real student satisfaction (or not) with either of these 2 online MBA programs.
Well, that's it!
I hope this is helpful.
For the record, I think you were wise to rule out the UK MBA from Manchester.
In my experience most Americans (I am assuming you are in the USA) find UK courses difficult to follow and also have low completion rates when they try and cross the pond and think in UK and European business terms.
American business concepts and regulations are very different from UK and European models.
If you are in the UK or Europe or intend to deal with businesses in a global environment then a UK Distance MBA can be a great asset.
Otherwise, cost aside, you'd likely find a UK MBA degree difficult to absorb and complete.