When you study for an MBA you are looking to gain advancement in your career. Cost can be an issue–it is always an issue–but for the sake of your future you should go for the highest quality of education that you can afford. You can also get financial aid. In any case, do not settle for a less reputable institution just because it is cheaper. You may end up earning an MBA degree that is not worth the paper it is written on, completely wasting your time and money. Top companies will not take every MBA at face value. They look for graduates who earned their degree at a top business school.
With online MBA degree programs, you have to be especially careful and discerning. There are a number of reputable universities that do offer online programs. You would be better off getting your online MBA from one of these respected institutions, rather than just any online school. Reputable universities that offer distance learning MBAs include Penn State, Carnegie Mellon, Drexel, and Duke University. There are sure to be others as well. A great place to check would be at your state university. Sometimes they do not advertise their online programs well, but they do have them.
Whatever university you decide to take your degree with, you need to ensure that they have the proper accreditation. That basically means a school should be accredited by the AACSB, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or an equivalent accrediting organization. AACSB, however, is the oldest and most respected organization of this type. If an institution does not have this type of accreditation, it is likely to be a diploma mill and a degree from it will not better your chances of getting a job.
There are different forms of accreditation, so when you are told that a school is “accredited,” take some pains to figure out exactly what that means. There is such a thing as regional accreditation, for example. That is fine if you are based in the right region. But take note, it is not the same as professional accreditation by the AACSB. A school can have regional accreditation and yet lack AACSB or an equivalent professional accreditation. That would make its degrees less attractive and less impressive to recruiters.
The number of online MBA programs has been rapidly increasing, and many corporate recruiters are extremely wary about hiring people with online MBAs, partly because there has been a glut of graduates with such degrees. That is why it is important to stand out from the pack by having an MBA, online or traditional, from a university that matters.