MANY working professionals would like to burnish their credentials with an advanced degree such as an MBA, which for many can be a requirement to move up the ladder as quickly as they desire. The most common problem is that they can’t take two years out of their careers to get that degree. Doing so would not only leave them without an income to pay for the degree, it would yank them right out of their budding careers.

Many find that the solution is the online MBA and enrolling in a graduate degree program. Online MBA programs offer a number of advantages over the traditional, classroom-bound programs that are getting a little long in the tooth at over 100 years old.

Let’s take a look at what these programs and what their advantages are over the traditional MBA.

Online MBA

Pic: AP.

Online MBAs are granted by a wide array of schools that offer them in both the standard generalist model and in specialized models for specific industries, such as tourism. Students attend classes through their internet connections at home, interacting with their professors and classmates via e-mail and discussion forums.

By going online, professionals can work towards their degrees in the evening while advancing their careers at the office during the day.  Entering a full-time MBA program in a university would immediately halt the trajectory of their career development and leave them having to catch up on two years’ worth of industry trends and developments when they return, to say nothing of the internal changes at their original employers.  The online MBA neatly sidesteps this problem by dividing students’ days into two halves – one half for their careers, one half for their studies.

In terms of cost, the online MBA can be much easier to pay for as well. The programs are often more affordable than the programs at large universities, which have to charge students for the costs of maintaining their buildings and so on. And by keeping their jobs while they study, students can largely avoid having to take out expensive student loans that they’ll spend the next decade paying back.

Another advantage of working online is time. Students don’t have to worry about being late to class, and because everything happens at home they can have a much easier time keeping up with all the homework and other assignments. Every student in a professional degree program understands very well the value of every minute in the day.

Finally, online programs frequently offer greater specialization than traditional programs, with greater focus on specific industries. This means that students already working in one industry can choose a program that directly targets their needs and recruits faculty that they can best learn from.

For Asian students, there are special advantages to choosing an online MBA.

Online MBA

Pic: AP.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is cost. Western students pursuing degrees in their home countries don’t have much to worry about it in terms of relocation costs or extra fees and tuition for international students. Asian students coming from overseas, however, have to obtain visas, buy plane tickets, and arrange housing in an unfamiliar country. Then to top it off, they often have to deal with extra fees and higher tuition for international students.

Online MBA programs avoid all of those additional costs. There’s no need to buy even a single plane ticket and no need to scramble for housing or anything else. Tuition is the same for everyone.

And because of the nature of online learning, the students in one class can be spread throughout the globe, across multiple time zones. Normally not relocating overseas would mean losing out on the unique perspectives that can only be gained by interacting directly with international professors and students, but an online MBA still allows students to capture this advantage. Through e-mail and online discussions, students engage in the same spirited and wide-ranging conversations they would have in a brick and mortar classroom.

Since they are completely virtual, online MBA programs have to compete to attract students based solely on things that really matter to them, such as cost, curriculum, and faculty. This is in contrast to traditional programs bound to a university campus. Such programs may offer attractive buildings or a well-known dean, but those aren’t the features that sway students choosing among different programs. In this article we’ve tried to present you with some food for thought about just which features should sway you.

Online MBA

Pic: AP.

Below you’ll find a selection of online MBA programs that should be of special interest to Asian students. As you browse through them, keep in mind all of the key points mentioned above.

THE GLION ONLINE MBA
A market leader in international hospitality management, 2012 marks the world renowned Glion Institute of Higher Education’s 50-year anniversary delivering quality academic programs to talented industry professionals. Ranked number two among all international hospitality management schools in the world for an international career, Glion excels in creating innovative programs that continuously meet the needs and expectations of today’s industry professionals. Glion’s MBA  is the first online program from a dedicated international hospitality institution and offers students a dynamic and innovative management curriculum that balances hospitality and tourism applied knowledge with a core of management and leadership theory. Read the full profile…

UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL
Leading UK institute, University of Liverpool, offers a sought-after online Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. This flexible postgraduate program is designed for working professionals looking to enhance their academic and personal development, and provides a choice of specialization tracks in Business in Emerging Markets, Entrepreneurship, Finance and Accounting, International Business, Leadership and Marketing. Offered in partnership with Laureate Online Education, this program boasts a CEL accreditation from the European Foundation for Management Development and comprises four core modules and four electives, with a dissertation wrapping up the study. For students looking to gain a qualification from a prestigious British institution, this is one of the most popular choices among Asian students.

THUNDERBIRD SCHOOL OF GLOBAL MANAGEMENT
US international business school Thunderbird is recognized globally as a leading business school and is a popular choice among Asian students. The institute has been ranked as the ‘Best International Business School’ for its full-time MBA by the Financial Times 2011, a position it has held for 5 years in a row. Its high-quality programs and innovative teaching methods have been recognized by other ranking bodies such as the US News & World Report 2012 (#1 International full-time MBA for 6 consecutive years), The Economist 2011 (#1 Internationalism of Alumni, #1 Potential to Network) and The Wall Street Journal 2012 (#1 Executive MBA “Alumni” score, #1 Executive MBA “Management Skills Taught” score).  Its Online MBA program utilizes digital technology to provide high-quality and interactive training in 19 or 28 months. By bringing together students from all corners of the world, this is a truly global and diverse MBA.

Online MBA

Pic: AP.

EDINBURGH NAPIER BUSINESS SCHOOL
This Scottish school, one of the largest and most highly regarded business schools in the country, provides excellent teaching and a diverse and exciting learning environment. Accompanying its already distinguished undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programs is its newly launched Online MBA program, which promises to provide world-class learning at your fingertips. This MBA is one of the most technically advanced in the world. This innovative program is compatible on all digital and mobile platforms, including the iPad and other tablet computers. Edinburgh Napier is a popular draw among Asian students with substantial growth in interest from students in Hong Kong and China.

SALEM INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
Salem International University has a strong history of academic excellence and innovative teaching. Established in 1888, this US university offers an experienced faculty to provide hands-on training for their students – ensuring graduates from this university are a cut above the rest in the job market. The Online MBA programs at Salem International University prepare students for a successful career in business from the comforts of home. The one-year program is constructed to fit in with the busy schedules of working professionals. Upcoming business professionals looking to enhance their academic skills are looking for reputed US qualifications, and the programs at Salem International University cater to this need.