Is an Online MBA Worth it?

Man on a laptop

We have all gotten used to accomplishing so much online and through Zoom–what about your MBA?

Online MBA programs offer several benefits for the busy working professional such as lower costs, flexibility and value. Imagine gaining new skills and growing a cross-country network spanning a multitude of industries and functions from the comfort of your home or office.

Lower Costs

Once you have started your career, it is hard to give up two years of salary and career progression to earn a traditional MBA, especially if you have family and financial obligations. In addition, you won’t have the added cost and stress of moving to a new city to attend classes. Therefore, a part-time MBA program like an online MBA is a great solution.


Online MBA programs cover the same material as the traditional two year in-person MBA but allow for more flexibility. Taking classes online means you do not have to commute or relocate to attend. This is ideal if you are wanting to advance in your career while juggling family responsibilities and work. And taking classes from the comfort of your own home in your pjs does have a certain appeal.


An online MBA (OMBA) requires the resources of time and money; according to, the average OMBA takes 20 months to complete and can cost anywhere from $10,880 to $110,795.  The good news is that earning an MBA online can provide substantial benefits beyond gaining skills and knowledge. In fact, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) reports on their site, that online MBA graduates from the top 15 online MBA programs see an average of 30 percent increase in their salary within three years of graduating. That is an impressive return on investment.

How to choose a quality online MBA

Though employers are more accepting of degrees earned online, institutional reputation still matters. Look for programs that are part of respected not-for-profit universities that are in the top 50 of the US News Online MBA ranking. These institutions’ programs have been evaluated on their academic reputation as well as the quality of the online student experience.

Your student journey in the online MBA will be different than an in-person program. However, you should still have a quality experience. Look for programs that use the same faculty in the online MBA as their other MBA programs. These faculty will be experienced instructors that understand the theories of their field as well as the practical applications. Another thing to look for in an online MBA is access to career coaching. A dedicated professional development team that works across all MBA programs will be focused on helping you no matter where you are located. Finally, join a program that provides access to campus services like financial aid and tutoring to all students, regardless of the modality of their program.

There are numerous price points available in online MBA programs. But like many things – you get what you pay for. While researching programs look to see if there are added costs. Do you have to take time off from work to go to campus to attend orientation or periodic check-ins? Will you be charged more if you don’t complete your program in a specified timeframe? Must you spend time to find and purchase course materials or are they already embedded in the courses for you at no additional cost?

Earning an MBA, no matter the modality is challenging. However, being able to increase your business knowledge, develop your leadership and grow your network while maintaining your professional trajectory is a good investment.


The Eller graduate experience comes in many forms, including five MBA programs, 12 specialized master’s degrees and many more options for concentrations, specializations, dual degrees and certificates. 

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