“By treating school like any other responsibility, I think that students will find that they have more flexibility when emergencies do come up at the last minute.”
The Big Picture
Why did you choose to enroll at University of Phoenix to earn your online master of business administration degree?
I chose to enroll at University of Phoenix to earn my MBA because I realized after I got my associates degree there that the school had excellent curriculum. I loved the design of the program and decided to get my bachelors degree from Phoenix, as well. The MBA was the next logical step.
I decided to pursue online education in general, however, because I was self-employed and a single parent. I needed to get a better education to support my family, but I did not have the time to pursue a degree at a traditional school.
What are the benefits of earning an MBA degree online?
The biggest benefit of earning an MBA degree online is the flexibility. As a self-employed single mother, I never stop moving, so I like that I can do my schoolwork at times that are convenient for me.
I also feel that online education suits my learning style best. I neither need nor want professors to lead me by the hand. If I know what my assignments are, I will do them. The face-to-face interaction is unnecessary.
What are some drawbacks to earning an MBA degree online?
I think that some people might consider the lack of a physical classroom to be a drawback, although I do not. But the reality is that some students are visual learners who will learn best with personal guidance from professors.
How can prospective students be sure that an online MBA program is legitimate?
I think that the best way for prospective students to be sure that an online MBA program is legitimate is through research. They should look at websites that have rankings for schools and make sure that the schools they are considering have the proper accreditation.
Students can also talk to graduates from those programs. I knew a former Marine who became a highway patrol officer after completing his bachelors degree at Phoenix. He recommended the university highly to me, which I considered when I weighed my options.
What do you learn in an online MBA program?
In my online MBA program, I learn about accounting, finance, marketing, management and every aspect of owning and running a business. My current courses are in corporate finance, research and evaluation and standard marketing. Most classes that I take have large project that students complete together, as well as several weekly assignments that students complete on their own.
How is the curriculum in your online MBA program at University of Phoenix presented?
The curriculum for my online MBA at Phoenix is presented through a mix of media. The textbooks are in PDF form, which makes them easy to search and navigate. Some teachers also attach video tutorial resources to the textbook materials. The lectures are often written out in Word documents or on class message boards, although a growing number of professors are doing video lectures.
Students in my MBA program typically interact with each other over message boards through posting discussions and commenting on posts of others. Professors use this interaction to gauge participation and attendance. Typically, professors require us to post 2 times a day for 4 days out of the week.
What kinds of academic resources does University of Phoenix provide to help you succeed in your education?
University of Phoenix provides resources such as a library, a database of peer reviewed articles and books, tutoring, workgroups and workshops. The workgroups, tutors and workshops cover just about any subject that a student might be struggling with, including math, writing and computer skills, and they are all free for students to use.
What kinds of computer skills are necessary to succeed in an online MBA program?
The computer skills necessary to succeed in an online MBA are very basic, and Phoenix offers technical support and a computer skills workshop for anyone who has difficulty. Most people will just need to know how to navigate through a forum, read a PDF document and use a word processing program.
What are the credentials of your faculty?
The credentials of my faculty are respectable. About half of them have PhDs and the rest have masters degrees. They seem to know a great deal about their subjects and, with 1 small exception, all of them have been very active in the classes. In my opinion, I think that online faculty may stack up better against offline faculty. I have had some terrible offline teachers.
Can you describe your interaction with your professors?
Yes, my interaction with professors is typically on a professional basis through the message boards. If necessary, I can communicate with them by private messages. Although I do not personally need much assistance, I often see the professors offering it to others.
How are you funding your MBA program?
I am funding my MBA through student loans and a few grants that I had applied for with help from financial aid. My program costs around $25,000 total, but Phoenix offers a ton of financial aid counseling and resources to help students pay for it.
Do you feel like you are getting your money’s worth?
Yes, I feel like I am getting my money’s worth, but only because I believe that all MBA programs are overpriced. I am unconvinced that I would get a better education for less at a traditional university.
The Job Hunt
What kinds of career services does University of Phoenix provide to help you find a job after graduation?
University of Phoenix does have a career center, but I have been self-employed for 13 years and have no plans to use their career services. However, I often receive e-mails from the career center about job fairs and alumni groups, so I know that they exist.
Do you think that employers value an online MBA degree as much as an MBA from a brick-and-mortar school?
Yes, I think that employers do value online MBAs as much as traditional MBAs. As an employer myself, I know that I certainly value it just as much. I think that as online programs become more popular, any sort of stigma about them will disappear.
Does an online MBA program allow you to network?
Yes, an online MBA program does make networking possible. University of Phoenix has a forum area devoted to that purpose. I often see people getting together, making posts and answering questions there. Although I do not use it myself, I appreciate having the option.
What are your career goals?
My career goals include growing my business and becoming better at what I do. I have been a businesswoman for a long time and my education is just a sheet of paper that lets me prove it.
What advice can you offer students who are trying to decide if an online MBA program is right for them?
My advice for students who are trying to decide if an online MBA program is right for them is that they should get informed about programs before they applying to them. When I was considering Phoenix, I spoke at length with an admissions advisor who answered all of my questions and made sure that I understood exactly what would be required. As a result, I have had no surprises.
I also recommend that students make school a part of their routines. They should check in every day and finish in advance as many of their assignments as possible. By treating school like any other responsibility, I think that students will find that they have more flexibility when emergencies do come up at the last minute.
Finally, in my experience, students need to look over the syllabi thoroughly at the beginning of each class. Those syllabi can tell them upfront about the assignment deadlines and participation requirements that they will need to meet. This sort of forethought helps me to get ahead in my assignments and plan my days around school.