“Most of my coursework involves writing papers, reading and completing group and learning team assignments. I have also completed projects such as creating a marketing campaign and a strategic plan for a company.”
The Big Picture
Why did you choose to enroll at University of Phoenix to earn your online master of business administration degree?
I decided to enroll at University of Phoenix to earn my online MBA after I made a commitment to myself during my bachelors program to further my education. I had never thought about getting my masters degree until students in my bachelors program started talking about their plans to enroll in masters programs.
I chose to study online because I needed a program that accommodates my busy schedule. I have a teenager and I work full time at an insurance company as well.
What are the benefits of earning an MBA degree online?
The main benefits of earning an MBA degree online are the flexibility and level of interaction in the program. I am able to converse with different students and teachers throughout my 6-week class, so I end up learning different ideas from all of them.
What are some drawbacks to earning an MBA degree online?
The main drawback to earning an MBA online is the lack of in-person interactions. Certain classes like accounting and statistics can be particularly difficult to take online because they often require assistance in order to work through the problems. Although I can request online tutoring assistance, it is not the same as receiving direct help in a classroom setting. Instructors can usually explain a problem in more detail if they are right in front of you.
How can prospective students be sure that an online MBA program is legitimate?
To make sure that an online MBA program is legitimate, prospective students should look at the information that the school publishes about their recent graduates. Students should specifically look at the graduation rate as well as the number of people who actually obtain jobs in their field after graduation.
What do you learn in an online MBA program?
My online MBA program is broken down into 6-week classes, and I take 1 class at a time. So far, I have taken required classes, such as a class on strategic planning which has taught me different marketing campaign strategies. In general, I have learned about the role of statistics, accounting and budgeting in the business field. After I complete my required classes, I will begin to take more concentrated classes in marketing. Most of my coursework involves writing papers, reading and completing group and learning team assignments. I have also completed projects such as creating a marketing campaign and a strategic plan for a company.
How is the curriculum in your online MBA program at University of Phoenix presented?
The curriculum for my online MBA program is presented through discussion boards, lectures and optional simulations. Professors require that students participate in class by logging in and responding to discussion questions several days per week. For certain classes, like statistics and math, students can attend an online lecture if they need further assistance with a problem. Other classes in marketing provide simulations for students that allow them to work through different marketing campaigns.
What kinds of academic resources does University of Phoenix provide to help you succeed in your education?
University of Phoenix provides extensive resources, such as an online library and various marketing websites. The library includes links to ProQuest, as well as different kinds of scholarly research. The marketing websites are great because some of them contain financial information and data that span decades.
What kinds of computer skills are necessary to succeed in an online MBA program?
To succeed in an online MBA program, students need to have strong typing skills as well as some knowledge of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. PowerPoint is particularly important because students are required to present projects using PowerPoint. In addition, students need to have strong research skills and be able to navigate the Internet.
In order to navigate an online program, University of Phoenix offers tech support to students. If a student is having trouble, professors provide assistance or refer them to the appropriate support staff.
What are the credentials of your faculty?
Most faculty members have their masters degrees or PhDs, as well as relevant experience working in the field. For example, my instructor for my strategic planning class previously worked as a strategic planner in the Air Force. I love the fact that instructors have professional experience because they can bring that real-world perspective into the classroom environment and apply it to what we are learning. In this way, online professors are able to share a wider array of information to the class.
Can you describe your interaction with your professors?
At the beginning of a class, professors provide a syllabus which contains their biography, phone number and preferred times to contact them. I mainly interact with my professors using e-mail, and I always receive a prompt response from them. In addition, if I have questions about an assignment, I can interact with my professors using the main thread of the discussion board.
How are you funding your MBA program?
My MBA program costs about $28,000 total, and I am funding my education through student loans. I worked with the University of Phoenix to secure my loans.
Do you feel like you are getting your money’s worth?
Yes, I do feel like I am getting my money’s worth. Although my online MBA program is a little more expensive than an on-campus program, I feel like it is worth it considering the convenience. An online program made it possible to fit classwork into my schedule.
The Job Hunt
What kinds of career services does University of Phoenix provide to help you find a job after graduation?
To help students find a job after graduation, University of Phoenix offers workshops, a career website, and a magazine which informs students about different companies that are hiring as well as different ways to prepare before entering a particular industry. University of Phoenix also sends out regular e-mails containing helpful information about jobs.
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 value an online MBA as much as an MBA from a brick-and-mortar school. Online programs are becoming mainstream as more and more schools are offering online classes to accommodate student’s different schedules. So I think an online degree is viewed highly by employers.
Does an online MBA program allow you to network?
Yes, an online MBA program allows me to network using a chat room. Students can discuss job ideas and different issues related to school. However, because I am happy with the company I currently work for, I am not focused on doing any networking.
What are your career goals?
My short-term career goal is to transition into the marketing department at my insurance company. My long-term goal is to become the marketing manager at my company.
What advice can you offer students who are trying to decide if an online MBA program is right for them?
I would advise students who are trying to decide if an online MBA degree program is right for them to determine their level of dedication. Since an online program does not have the direct supervision of an instructor, students need to be motivated to stay on top of their coursework and not fall behind. They have to pay close attention to the syllabus. If a student is unable to remain focused on their own, they should not enroll in an online program.
I would also recommend that students take an online class during their undergraduate studies and talk to an academic advisor at a prospective school in order to figure out whether an online program is right for them.