Online MBA Programs At Highly-Ranked Schools Such as UNC, CMU and Indiana University - Worth It?

There has been a lot of media coverage of the online MBA trend and how some highly-ranked schools such as University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler, ( Carnegie Mellon Tepper and Indiana University Kelley (Kelley Direct) have started offering online MBA programs.

Are these online MBA programs respected the same way as the traditional 2-year full-time MBA counterparts? I have heard the degree granted is the exact same (ie. no differentiation at all between online or traditional) and the admissions standards are pretty much identical.

I broke down the pros and cons of an online MBA program below:


1) Still receive an MBA from a respected school
2) Continue to make money while going to school
3) Lower cost compared to full-time MBA program
4) Faster ROI
5) More flexibility in schedules, timing etc.


1) Lack of networking/relationship-building opportunities with classmates
2) Lack of internship opportunities
3) Tougher to switch careers due to lack of internships and program is primarily designed for those who want to stay in their current fields
4) Potential negative stigma (the easy option compared to a traditional full-time program)

Just wanted to get some feedback and thoughts from people. Thanks!

Comments (5)

Best Response
Jan 5, 2015

No. If you just want to learn, take free courses on coursera. If you want to continue working while earning an MBA, a part time MBA is a much better idea.

Jan 8, 2015

I have heard from someone that got a part-time MBA from one of the schools mentioned in the OP that was underwhelmed with the resources and coursework. They had an experience where it was basically stated that the part-time program was not a priority in terms of career services and recruiting resource allocation.

Jan 8, 2015

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Jan 6, 2015

Disclaimer: I am a Kelley online MBA student and employee of the program.

Some additional pros of an online MBA:
- Apply what you learn at work right away vs. waiting for 2 years
- Receive help and guidance on work projects from professors
- Develop strong online communication skills
- The "online stigma" is not a factor in most cases, and is becoming less of a factor every year as more top schools start online programs.

Some pros of choosing Kelley for online MBA:
- It is the #1 ranked online MBA (U.S. News 2014)
- There are many opportunities to network and build relationships: lots of group-work in your classes, 2 weeks on campus, student clubs, annual networking receptions in major cities, informal club meet-ups, international trips
- Our #1 ranked graduate career services team (BW) has dedicated staff and a course to serve online students - including those who want to switch careers. You can participate in on-campus recruiting if you want to as well.
- The Kelley network is the largest business school network in the world. Your diploma is the same as the in-residence students, and the Kelley brand is well-recognized (top cities: New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Indianapolis).
- The quality of students is improving with every new class. The average GMAT went from 620+ to 630+ with the Fall 2014 class. It may improve by another 10+ points with the Spring 2015 class as well.
- Average increase in salary = 36%; Over 66% of students get promoted while in program.
- You can study-abroad and consult real businesses in emerging markets (Greece, Bethlehem, India, South Africa, Botswana, China, Brazil, etc.)

Please PM me if you want to chat more or connect with students/alumni with your background and industry.

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Jan 8, 2015
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