How to find an Online MBA program that fits your lifestyle today and prepares you for tomorrow
Important Questions to Ask Before Pursuing an Online MBA
Before you begin an online MBA, you have to do some homework. Evaluating Online MBA programs isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. Across the country, there are huge variances in program structure, length, content and cost.
Finding the right program requires research and candid conversations. Homing in on the right program is easier once you understand why you’re pursuing an MBA and the support you need to be successful.
CSU College of Business Online MBA Program: A Perfect Fit for Working Adults and Career Changers
Here’s your first assignment: Figure out what you hope to gain from an online MBA program. Which life or career goals will an MBA bring within reach? What do you hope to learn?
Then, list your “must haves.” Based on your learning style or work demands, what program features or support systems do you need? For example, some students need an established date and time for each class to stay on track, while others desire more flexibility.
Most CSU College of Business students balance their studies with work and other obligations, which is why our Online MBA program is attractive. Students and alumni say they appreciate these advantages of CSU’s Online MBA program:
- Flexibility—CSU College of Business students have a lot of options when it comes to class. They can tune into live broadcasts of in-person lectures, or they can download professionally recorded videos. At CSU, you’re not locked into one learning style. As long as you study the material and complete assignments on time, you can attend class on a schedule that works for you. You can also accelerate or ease your course load at any time. Students can switch from full-time to part-time study, or even take a semester off.
- Engaging format—CSU’s Online MBA program follows a lecture capture model. That means online students watch the same faculty members’ lectures as on-campus MBA students—not narrated PowerPoint presentations. The content delivered online is the exact same content delivered in person, and you get to hear students’ questions and dialogue about the content. Some students have dubbed it “MBA reality TV.”
- Expert instruction—All of CSU’s Online MBA classes are taught by faculty members who are thought leaders and researchers in their fields of study. Our faculty aren’t just up to date on the latest research – they’re conducting it. They continually update the curriculum based on their findings, real-world business trends and world events to keep their content relevant and applicable.
- Instructional support—Every course is supported by a team of Instructional Coordinators who have professional experience in the subject matter and deep knowledge of the content. When compared to faculty, our Instructional Coordinators support a small number of graduate students, ensuring they can respond to questions about the lecture materials quickly — usually within 2 to 4 hours.
- Professional advising—CSU College of Business students receive personal support from a team of professional advisors. Based on your needs, they can recommend a roadmap to finish the program quickly or to spread out your time and financial commitments. These advisors check in with you throughout the program in case you need to make a change along the way. After you complete two semesters, advisors begin auditing your progress, so you always know what’s done and what’s ahead.
- Online resources—CSU’s Online MBA is 100% online. All the resources you need are available online, so students can access advising, instructional support and library services from anywhere they have an internet connection.
- Career support—Online MBA students receive mentoring, networking and job search support from CSU’s Career Management Center. The Career Management Center exclusively serves CSU College of Business students and alumni, helping Rams find meaningful opportunities for their new skills.
- Strong community—Our Online MBA students add diverse experiences and professional backgrounds to the material, which enriches the program for everyone. All of our faculty, staff and students share an affinity for the study of business and a desire to help you succeed. Whether you study online or on campus, you’re a CSU Ram.
Online vs. Traditional MBA Programs
At CSU, the Online MBA program is very similar to the traditional MBA program. The similarities include:
- Courses follow the same schedule; 16-week semesters are broken down into two 8-week sessions.
- The online curriculum is identical to the in-person program and is delivered by the same faculty members.
- Both our Online MBA and Evening MBA programs are 42 credits; 24 core credits and 18 elective credits.
- The Online MBA and Evening MBA share the 5 competencies of innovation, financial, leadership, data analytics and using business for a better world.
- Online and campus students can complete a graduate certificate in tandem with their MBA program without adding time to complete their degree.
- You’ll have 10 to 12 hours of homework outside of class, including some group work.
- Assignments and graduation requirements are the same online and on campus.
- Federal financial aid packages are available to qualified students.
- Upon completion, your diploma and transcripts will say exactly the same thing as on-campus students’: Master of Business Administration.
The differences are:
- Campus students follow a steady 21-month path toward graduation. Online students have the flexibility to lengthen their graduation roadmap up to five years without consequence.
- Campus students attend three-hour lectures in person twice a week. Online students can watch the lecture live or download it later.
- Campus students can ask questions about the material live and engage in discussions with faculty and peers. Online students rely on Instructional Coordinators for help with the material. Questions are typically resolved within 2 to 4 hours rather than in real time.
- Campus students are able to build in-person connections with classmates. Online students can also build up their Ram network; it just takes a little more initiative.
- We offer a 15% discount on our online programs to active-duty military members, honorably discharged veterans, military spouses and dependents.
- We offer a 10% discount on our online programs to our corporate partners.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Online MBA Program
Don’t pick a program without talking to someone at the school. Graduate business programs should welcome your questions and your curiosity. Many schools can put you in touch with current students and alumni so you can gain their perspectives, too.
How is the Graduate Program Run?
MBA programs are offered in a variety of options. Online, in-person and hybrid MBA programs all have slightly different structures. If you’re looking for an online MBA program, make sure it’s offered 100% online. Some programs require in-person orientation sessions, residency weeks or capstone attendance.
Is This an Accredited Online MBA Program?
National and regional accrediting agencies evaluate graduate programs for quality and rigor. Most accreditations are sought voluntarily, but they have bearing on whether a school can offer students federal loans and grants. Some companies also base tuition reimbursement on accreditation status.
CSU’s College of Business and all of the degree programs we offer are AACSB accredited. We take pride in our accreditation, as it reflects the caliber of our faculty research, our dedication to the educational experience our students enjoy and the support we offer our students at every step of their academic journey. This recognition is achieved by the top 5% of more than 16,000 of the world’s business schools, demonstrating our commitment to providing an outstanding business education.
Do Online MBA Rankings Matter?
Although rankings never tell the full story about a program’s quality, they can provide a strong benchmark about a program’s external reputation when cited by a credible media source like U.S. News & World Report and QS Quacquarelli Symonds. Rankings are based on student and alumni surveys, peer institution evaluation, alumni salary increases, graduation rates, student support services and the quality of faculty, to name a few of the factors. See how the CSU College of Business is ranked.
Who is Teaching the Material?
The true caliber of an MBA program is predicated on the faculty guiding it. Find out who’s designing the curriculum and who’s delivering the material. Make sure the faculty hold MBAs (or terminal degrees in their field) and have relevant experience. Programs that balance faculty providing cutting-edge research with those who have been business leaders in their field help students gain a holistic perspective blending theory and practice for real world results.
What are Online MBA Students Like?
Some programs accept MBA students straight from undergraduate programs, while others require minimum years of professional experience. On campus programs may attract students from a concentrated industry or a large local employer, while online MBA programs may draw from a larger swath of professions and industries. Find out what your classmates – and your future network – are like.
What Will I Learn in an Online MBA Program?
An online MBA program provides you with a strong background in the principles and foundations of business and a healthy mix of research, theory and application – just the same as a traditional, on-campus program. Some MBA programs may dive deeply into a certain role or industry; others, like an MBA from CSU’s College of Business, give you a holistic view of business fundamentals. Our program is designed to build your knowledge in the five competency areas of business: innovation, financial, leadership, data analytics and using business for a better world. These competencies offer you a set of skills that can be useful in any professional setting and meet the demands of employers.
How Will the MBA Classes Apply to My Career?
The best online MBA programs feature classes that arm you with strategies and tools you can put to work right away. Your coursework should connect to your current position or help you attain a future position or promotion. Aside from the core courses, electives can deepen an area of expertise, follow a new path of interest or help you gain a broader perspective.
More than 40% of your credits in our Online MBA program are electives. This lets you explore courses that suit your interests and prepare you for the next step in your career.
How Will I be Challenged?
Being pushed outside your comfort zone leads to deeper learning and increases the value you get from the program. Ask about assignments, experiences or student stories that demonstrate growth, professional development and achievement.
How Will the University Support My Education and My Career?
Online MBA students should have access to student and career services, just as they would on campus. Find out how online students access financial aid, the library, corporate recruiters and more. You can also request:
- A full degree roadmap based on the timeframe you need, including required core courses and elective options
- A list of graduation requirements
- A sample class or lecture, so you can see how the material is delivered
Supporting Your Academic Journey
Graduate school can be a tremendous amount of work. While our program has a variety of structures to help you along the way, a support network can help you stay motivated to achieve your professional and academic goals.
Our admissions team encourages prospective students to build a support network early. To figure out what you need, ask yourself:
- When and where will you study?
- What personal and work commitments are you worried about balancing?
- Who can you call on for help?
- How will you stay accountable?
Before you begin a program, talk to people in your life about your plans and your goals. A strong network can help you find:
- Better balance—Dedicating time and space for studying can help you set healthy boundaries around work, school and educational commitments.
- Accountability—Sharing a goal can bring you closer to it. Let coworkers and supervisors know what you’re undertaking or plan to find a study buddy right away.
- Encouragement—Make sure friends and family members understand what you’re committing to and why it matters to your personal growth and long-term goals.
Whether you decide on an in-person or online program, your MBA experience starts with the people you connect with. Contact a CSU College of Business enrollment counselor with any questions.
Learn more about the CSU College of Business Online MBA program