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Online MBA vs. Traditional MBA: Pros & Cons

So it’s been said: You have been online much too long when you say “LOL” instead of actually laughing out loud.

Funny (and perhaps true) in your everyday life.

For most of us, though, the pluses of being online far outweigh the minuses.

Depending on your learning style and personal preferences, being electronically and virtually connected can open up new opportunities to learn, to grow and to be challenged---especially when it comes to earning your MBA.

Here, we help you examine the pros and cons of earning an online master’s in business administration compared to earning a traditional MBA in the classroom.

Use this information to help you decide if enrolling in an online MBA program is right for you.

Pro: You can take classes around your busy schedule.

You can most definitely complete your MBA degree whether you work, have a family or both. Many online learning programs are flexible enough to fit any schedule, yet robust enough to ensure you’re getting a quality education. Some universities, like Franklin, don’t require you to choose either. You’re free, at any time, to combine the best of both worlds by taking face-to-face and online classes for maximum flexibility.

Con: Busyness can get in the way of business.

Online classes require a shift either in mindset and/or priorities. It can take some self-discipline, along with a few time-management tools, to complete your courses and obtain college credit with online classes.

Frankly, some students prefer the structure of a classroom setting. If that’s you, that’s okay, too. Just enroll in a traditional MBA program instead.

Pro:Online classes require more class participation.

To ensure that you are maximizing your investment, most online MBA instructors require a substantial amount of class discussion via online forums.

“We want to make sure you’re still alive,” jokes Bruce Campbell, PhD, CTP, Franklin University’s MBA Program Chair. “Seriously, though, our program is tailored for working professionals to be as relevant and integrated as possible. We provide a generalist MBA that builds upon your experience as a working professional. Participating extensively online will broaden your education to give you the career progression you desire.”

Whether you choose Franklin’s MBA program or something else, online classes should challenge and engage you.

What matters most when choosing a master’s program? Compare features, benefits and cost to find the right school for you.


Con: Online classes requires more class participation.

Yes, you read that right. The pro and the con are the same---depending on your personality type.

Passive students may find engaging online a bit of a challenge, but certainly no more than engaging in a classroom environment.

Still, some people may prefer the immediate feedback of a classroom discussion. If that’s you, take an on-site class but consider at least trying at one online course. You may find that you like it.

Pro:An online MBA from an accreditednonprofit institution is just as valuable (or more so) than a traditional MBA.

There’s a myth that online MBAs lack credibility. Not so---as long as you earn your MBA from an accredited university. For example, Franklin’s globally informed MBA degree program covers everything from finance to international business to strategy so you maximize your opportunity for career progression with a competitive edge.

Con: An online MBA cannot compete with a traditional Harvard MBA.

No argument here. If you have the luxury of putting your life on hold, being accepted by and enrolling in Harvard, who are we to argue against it?

Pro:An online MBA costs less or about the same as a traditional MBA at an Ivy League school.

The numbers speak for themselves. While it is true that you get what you pay for, not everyone has the luxury of being able to drop out of life and career for two years to pursue an MBA.

Thankfully, you don’t have to. You can still get a quality educated at a fraction of the cost by enrolling in a non-Ivy League school’s online MBA program.

Con: Con? What con?

A high-quality, fully integrated MBA that lets you build upon your career field? Yes, please. Besides, how many of us really expect to get into a high-brow school?

Still not convinced? Here are 5 others reasons why it can be a good idea to earn your MBA online:

  1. It’s convenient.
    Night owls and early birds can both rejoice. An online MBA program lets you take classes around a busy professional life, family time and other things that are important to you.
  2. It’s faster.
    Most traditional MBA’s require a full two-year commitment in which you leave behind everything but school. With an accelerated online program, you can earn your degree in as little as 12 months with no GMAT or GRE requirement if, like at Franklin University, you meet certain requirements.
  3. It builds upon your experience as a working professional.
    Truthfully, this one can apply to either an online or traditional program but only IF it’s the right kind of program. Look for an online MBA that is taught by faculty with industry experience. You’ll learn both the theory behind the practice and how to apply them in real-world situations---even while you’re still in the program.
  4. A top-ranked online MBA prepares you for new career opportunities.
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15% increase in Business Administration jobs through the year 2022. Translation: an estimated 5.5 million Business Administration jobs are available for qualified candidates and an online MBA from an accredited nonprofit institution can help you make it happen.
  5. You’ll build an international peer network.
    It’s an ever-changing, increasingly global marketplace and the best MBA programs are the ones that prepare you for it. With students from the U.S. and many other countries, including Oman, Poland and the Ukraine, you can have a virtual reach into a new network of peers from around the world.

Ready to fulfill your MBA dream?

Learn how you can earn your MBA (online or in the classroom) in as little as 12 months at Franklin University.

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