These are great questions.
I don't know that anyone can address all the issues but I can comment on a few of the issues you raise. Perhaps others will pitch in ...
1) Is this the same MBA as offered on campus with the same courses/faculty?
No, I'd say not, not based on a review of the program courses and admissions. First Northeastern offers several "different" MBAs all developed for different audiences or demographics.
Many residential business schools now do the same thing: they have the traditional full-time residential MBA which is offered as the flagship anchor program and that degree option comes with the old school traditional trappings, like tenured faculty, site based courses, GRE/GMAT admit scores and so on, low student acceptance rates. These programs tend to serve younger students -- 21-25 years of age just out of BA/BS programs.
In fact, Northeastern offers 4 different MBA programs and none of them are the "same." I think there are 4 very different MBAs at NEU so you have to be careful when trying to take Business Week data as relevant for the new online version of the degree.
The government does not require that online degree data be kept separate and rankings like BW use government gathered data only so they are often bad sources to try and use in an effort to "rank" the online versions of any degree.
What old school rankings like BW can clue you into is the "average" brand reputation of the main school, Northeastern University.
So, no this is not the same degree. That said, it is a Northeastern MBA so I'd look for the reputation of that graduate business school to follow the online degree -- whether that rep is earned or not. In the public and employer's mind this is a NEU degree.
2) Advertising of Online MBA
That is an interesting concern.
I do know that the Northeastern MBA has been outsourced -- that is the program has been developed and is being marketed by a company that helps colleges develop, launch, recruit and retain online student bodies.
This company is called Embanet. (Check them out at to see who they are.) So, yes, you do see a lot of ads for the Northeastern Online MBA.
In fact, Get Educated does run an ad plan for NEU that comes from Embanet and that ends in a data lead sheet for Embanet. NEU is aggressively marketing and growing their online brand thru Embanet so that is why you see all the ads.
3) NEU core admissions requirement is a GPA of 3.0+ and 5 years minimum work experience. What if my is 2.96 (from a very good / well known public university), do you think this will be a problem?
An admissions adviser at NEU Online could answer this. They do mention that a GRE/GMAT can be used to off set a lower GPA. In most cases the admissions committee uses a composite system where something like a minor low GPA (yours is MINOR) maybe off set by the name of the undergrad school OR years of experience OR superior career achievement. I'd say chnaces are good that a full review of your admissions criteria will put you in good stead; but an adviser should be able to answer that for you up front bcs your issue is so minor.
4) Overall View of NEU Online MBA
Well it has an unusual MBA structure; one that is geared to innovative and entrepreneurial thinkers; so if that is your bent, this is a school that may work well for that type of student.
I am curious about one thing. I think we have an email on file for you that says you may have earned your BS/BA from Penn State. (Yes?)
Did you look at the Penn State World Campus online MBA?
Just curious ... Is it that GRE/GMAT thing? I mean Penn is expensive, but no more so than NEU, eh?