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I have been monitoring the development of distance MBA degree programs since 1989. At that time the choice was rather scarce, there were just five accredited institutions offering distance MBA graduation in the United States.
Since that time online education has made a lot of progress and gone rather long way to the present day abundance of MBA graduation options. According to information collected by my firmá which specializes in distance education institutions surveys, there are 168 online MBA graduation programs as of today, which is February 2008. And 62 of these establishments are AACSB accredited schools, which means they have passed strict certification by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
And that is really a piece of good news, it means that now any persons willing to get business degree online is offered a wide choice of quality schools to choose from. You do not have the risks of attending a no-name school, about which you will be sorry afterwards. My firm did a thorough survey of online graduate business school programs and it was discovered that over 30% have gained AACSB accreditation as of the year of 2008. What is interesting is that traditional offline business schools housed in brick and mortar buildings demonstrate the same ratio, which means the online education is not inferior in standards to traditional one.
The natural question is why AACSB accreditation is so important? The reason is that it guarantees the highest standard of teaching; many reputable establishments and authority figures in the field of education consider AACSB accreditation the gold standard of business school accreditation. No wonder that the number of colleges and universities delivering graduation programs online is constantly growing. Online graduation becomes more and more popular and respected among people seeking further education all over the United Sates of America.
Just for your convenience, on the base of my years of experience in surveys of distance learning institutions, I have compiled a list of the most elite business schools which offer online MBA degrees:
- Babson College's F. W. Olin Graduate School of Business,
- Indiana University's Kelley School of Business,
- Duke University's Fuqua School of Business,
- Thunderbird Graduate School's Garvin School of International Management.
Another useful advice that I would like to give a person who is looking for online institution to earn your MBA degree is as follows: do careful research into the field and carefully compare the costs involved. In this way you will save a lot of funds, thousands or even tens of thousands of USD.
As was discovered by my 2008 survey which coveres 62 AACSB accredited online schools with business administration (MBA) graduation programs the range of cost difference is shocking! The smallest amount that a prospective student should be prepared to pay is as little as $7,848 - and the most expensive program was as much as $106,400! Just come to think of it!
So, according to my firm's 2008 survey East Carolina University (North Carolina) comes as the number one on the list of "most affordable" online MBA programs. With this public institution a student gets an online MBA for just $7,848, which is a really modest amount. But I should say there is one fly in the ointment - this low-cost option is applicably only to state residents, non-residents will have to produce as much as $26,064 to graduate from the same program, alas!
The list of most expensive MBA online programs is topped by Duke University, which is a private Ivy League institution located in North Carolina too. They offer a Global MBA online graduation program for a hefty amount of $106,000!
The data accumulated by my firm in 2008 research of online business schools allows calculation of the average cost of distance MBA degree at AACSB accredited institutions: it should come around $32,200. That means, judging upon the estimated average cost, any reasonably priced MBA online program with an AACSB accredited school should cost below the average amount. The best buy price should be something like $25,000 or even less. In case you are offered an AACSB accredited online MBA degree with the cost higher than the national average then you just continue searching the Web, this offer is clearly not the best buy!
You should realize that many searches are sponsored, so stay away from schools that have spread everywhere nowadays and are aggressively advertised online. As a rule the cost of their programs exceeds the costs of graduation in your local state university by two-three times. The wisest choice would be to look for getting an AACSB accredited online MBA degree from a reputable and well-trusted school that anyone knows and which offers a student the "best buy" cost of education!