There’s a recent story in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, titled “The Online MBA Salary Blues,” which discusses the idea that graduates of distance learning MBA programs may not see as much of a salary increase as those who finish traditional, class-based programs.
The story is mainly based on the entrance salary data for the inaugural cohort at University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School’s new online program, MBA@UNC. BusinessWeek essentially posits that since incoming students already make substantially more than the class-based students ($128,500 vs. $55,000 per year,) it will be very hard for the online grads to see the same increase that the traditional students see. Although this hypothesis is mostly speculative and ostensibly limited (after all, the online program at UNC has just begun, and there are only 19 students in the inaugural class) it will be a fascinating case study for distance learning programs generally, seeing as how UNC’s online program offers the exact same curriculum as its class-based program, for the same price.
Part-time MBA programs can offer flexibility and value for working professionals. John Mooney, associate dean and professor at Pepperdine’s Academic Programs for Working Professionals, says that the benefits don’t stop there.
What are some of the advantages of part-time MBA programs?
For one thing, it’s a far more immediate learning. Theories of learning have recognized for many years that the quality of learning improves dramatically when you move beyond passively consuming new knowledge and are able to apply it immediately. And that’s the big advantage for working professionals.
The other big issue about MBA programs for learning professionals is the affordability issue. If you’re going to do a full-time MBA program, it means that you have to make a conscious decision to stop working. And that implies a loss of income for the duration of that program.
And with part-time programs, students also get to continue progressing in their career. Many of our students tend to get promoted before they finish, and that’s a clever strategy on the part of employers because as an employer, you don’t want somebody to finish their MBA and then decide they want to go somewhere else.