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An online MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree program provides the opportunity to expand your business training without the commitment required for in-classroom instruction. If you’re looking to expand your career opportunities, this additional training may be the key to that. Yet an MBA degree, even one that is entirely online, represents a financial commitment, as well. Before you delve in, there are some key questions to ask yourself and to ask about the program that will help you make the decision.

1.  Do you have self-discipline?

When you’re not showing up to class with a professor reminding you about deadlines, it’s easy to fall behind. Do you have the self-motivation and discipline to stick with the task and get your online MBA degree program work completed? Do you have the ability to manage your time so that you can give your program the attention it needs? Make sure you are able to practice the self-discipline necessary to make this learning method work for you.

2.  How long is the program?

How long will the program you’re looking into take to complete? The answer to this question is two-fold. First, find out the expected length of the program. Typically, you will spend 18 to 24 months in an online MBA degree.

Second, find out how much time per week you need to devote to your studies to finish in this timeframe.  Full time students should expect to spend 36 to 45 hours per week.  Part-time, those pursuing an MBA while working full time, should expect to send 15 to 30 hours a week on coursework dependent on whether they take one or two courses per semester.  If you don’t have that much time to dedicate to your degree and need to take fewer courses, you will work with your advisor to determine the best schedule for you while attending the MBA program.

3.  Does online learning fit your learning style?

If you have taken online classes before, then you know what to expect. If you have not, then you need to understand that the process is different from in-person instruction. The engagement with your teacher and classmates in an online environment must be intentional through chat windows, emails and online forums instead of face-to-face, but there is a much greater amount of flexibility.

4.  What is the school’s reputation?

Not all online MBA degree programs are created equal. If you’re going to invest the time and energy into getting this training, you want to have confidence that the training you’re receiving is of high quality. Research the school and its graduates to ensure the program is a good one.

One way to research the quality of a school offering MBA programs is to look at its accreditation. Regional or national accreditation shows the quality of the university as a whole, but AACSB accreditation is specific to schools of business. If a business school holds this accreditation, you can be confident that the curriculum and instructors are both high quali

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga offers one of the area’s only AACSB-accredited MBA programs, and it’s available 100% online. If you’re looking for flexible training that provides high-quality instruction, this program is a good fit.

5.  Who is teaching?

An MBA program is only as good as the quality of its instructors, as stated by US News and World Report. Not only do these instructors create the learning experiences you will enjoy, but they also can become part of your professional network after you graduate. Make sure they are strongly credentialed and have the industry experience that they can speak to in their instruction

Online education is different from traditional education. Look for instructors who have experience in this teaching method. This experience will ensure that your instructional experience is a positive one.  Faculty teaching in the 100% Online MBA at UTC have many years of online teaching experience ensuring that you will get the most out of online learning.

6.  What forms of communication are available?

One of the differences between online education and in-person education is the fact that you’re not face-to-face with your professors. Today’s online programs have creative methods to keep students engaged with their instructors. Professors may use virtual meetings to interact with students, post office hours in which they are available to discuss coursework, and will post actively in forums and discussion boards. Find out what types of communication are used by the instructors and how active they are through these channels.

7.  Will this help me reach my career goals?

An online MBA program can help many people reach their career goals, but your business journey is unique. Before committing to an online program, consider your top three goals for your career. Does an online MBA help you meet any of these? If the answer is yes, then the flexibility of the online platform may help you achieve those goals. If the answer is no, you may want to wait until your career goals change to pursue this training. An MBA is helpful for many, but it is an investment of time and money. Pursue it if it will help you achieve your goals.

8.  How does the cost compare to a traditional MBA?

In most cases, an online MBA is more affordable than a traditional MBA, but this isn’t always the case. If saving money is part of your reasoning behind seeking online education, you will need to dig into the costs. Be sure to weigh the non-educational costs of going to traditional classes, like gas money and the need for childcare, that you would save if you chose an online program.

9.  Does it require face-to-face meetings? Are there defined start and end dates to each course?

Many programs that advertise themselves as online MBA programs will require some on-campus meetings. If you live far from campus or have a busy home and business life, this could negate the benefits of the online program’s flexibility. If you need to do the program fully online, look for a 100% Online MBA option that runs its courses asynchronously, like the one at UTC.  Some programs allow you to complete coursework at your own pace while others, like UTC’s Online MBA program, have set weekly deadlines for each course but allow students flexibility within each week to complete work when it is convenient to them.

10.  Are you ready?

Ultimately, you must ask yourself if you’re ready. You need to be fully committed to putting in the time and effort to make your online MBA program a success. If you are, then you can gain valuable skills and insight while studying from home through the flexibility an online program offers.

If the time is right for you to jump into an MBA, UTC has a 100% Online MBA program for your consideration. This MBA will give you the right tools while protecting your time freedom. Email an admissions counselor today about your options or call 423-425-5708 to learn more about our Gary W. Rollins College of Business and MBA programs.




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