Are there any ivy league online MBA programs in the USA? I travel for a living. I’d like to earn my MBA online because it’s virtually impossible for me to be in town attending class every week for 16 consecutive weeks. But I’m afraid employers won’t accept a distance degree. I work as an executive in a competitive career field: healthcare. I’ll be working in a major metropolitan area (NYC) for the rest of my career and eventually want to open my own business. Can you recommend even one top business school that offers a distance MBA degree?
—Joan Lundlin, Rochester, New York
We can do better than just one suggestion. The Ivy League has gone Cyber League, and several top business schools offer distance or online MBA degrees these days.
Consider Babson College’s F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business This Massachusetts school is ranked among the world’s top B-schools for entrepreneurs by US News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal and London’s Financial Times. Its applicants come from mid-to-senior level management ranks.
Their Fast Track MBA is a part-time program combining traditional classroom instruction with Web-based learning.
A Fast Track MBA can be earned in 24 months with just two days on campus every six weeks. In 2007, Babson also opened a West Coast satellite operation in Portland, Oregon.
This top-ranking college’s program is self-paced, with live weekly interactive classes and it uses multimedia case studies.
The face-to-face demands are minimal, with just a quarterly 3-day immersion for on-campus requirements. The program is 66 credit hours, to be completed over 24 to 36 months’ time.
Residents of the Midwest seeking a top-flight MBA may want to consider Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Kelley is a nationally ranked B-school, according to surveys by Business Week and U.S. News & World Report, and they work hard to protect that image.
Think distance degrees aren’t selective in their admissions? Think again.
Sixty percent of those who apply to the Kelley program receive a rejection letter. The IU distance option requires a one-week residency in February or August to begin the program, then a one-week residency each year thereafter.
The Blended Degree: Online Mixed with Campus Stays
Many old-school icons now offer e-degrees or hybrid “blended” degrees that combine short campus residencies with team-based learning online.
Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are two excellent schools that now offer distance B-degrees. Degrees from these grad schools carry weight in the corporate world—no matter that you earned your degree on campus or online.
Insider Tips to Online MBA Success
- Look for business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Many HR departments see the AACSB mark as the gold standard. Some large companies, like Intel, won’t reimburse tuition for B-degrees unless the degree comes from an AACSB accredited program.
- Be prepared to spend brief interludes on campus.
Most top-tier B-schools that offer distance degrees require short campus residencies. At Babson, for example, students must attend class on-campus for intensive, two-day sessions every six weeks. They then work on courses in virtual teams. Students can also opt to attend “on campus” residencies in Portland, Oregon.
- Check with your human resources department.
Special corporate partnership programs may exist between a local top tier B-school and your company.
The University of Notre Dame in Indiana, for example, offers its Executive MBA (EMBA) in blended format via once-a-month classes at sites around the Chicago and Cincinnati metro area. The program recruits heavily from corporations that operate in these metro areas.
- Attending a name-brand business school may be a smart career move.
National surveys by GetEducated.com show that if you attend a name-brand university with a long established brick-and-mortar legacy, any stigma associated with a “distance degree” is effectively erased from the minds of employers.
For more tips on finding the best online MBA programs view the GetEducated exclusive video Top Online MBA Programs: 5 Factors to Consider.