“I don’t believe that online degrees are truly designed for students who want to learn completely new disciplines. Online schools are designed to give working professionals an extra edge over other employees. You need to enter an online MBA program with a solid understanding of the concepts you will be covering.”
The Big Picture
Why did you choose to enroll at Strayer University to earn your online master of business administration degree?
I chose to enroll at Strayer University for my MBA because its proximity made it the best option. At the time, I worked in Aviation Administration for the U.S. Navy. I worked at Andrews Air Force Base, which was very close to a Strayer University campus. Even though I earned my MBA online, I thought it would be a good idea to be close to a campus.
What are the benefits of earning an MBA degree online?
I decided to get my MBA because it seemed like the next natural step following my Bachelor of Business Administration. I had the business background and wanted to add on to it with my masters program.
In terms of my career, my MBA hasn’t seemed to help me very much because a lot of employers are intimidated by the extent of my education. People are impressed with my abilities, yet I am overqualified for a lot of jobs. The personal benefits make up for that, because I simply love learning. I can see the personal growth that I have experienced through education, and it inspires me to keep going.
What are some drawbacks to earning an MBA degree online?
A drawback to earning my MBA through Strayer University is that its program didn’t offer enough assistance. For instance, I took a marketing class in which I was asked to write a marketing plan. I approached my online instructor for help, but I never got a response, and I ended up failing that assignment.
Another drawback to getting my MBA degree online through Strayer University is that this institution was full of administrative headaches. I had a difficult time contacting people when I needed their help. Plus, the format of the program changed a few times during my attendance, and it was difficult to adjust to new procedures.
How can prospective students be sure that an online MBA program is legitimate?
Students need to research different schools and programs thoroughly before signing up for classes. Don’t fall for the sales spiels. Instead, you should check into reviews that actual students have written, because that is how you will get an inside perspective into the way that a given school works. When you read those reviews, you should pay attention to the valid complaints that students bring up about response time from instructors or the quality of the course content. If enough people have the same complaint, it is most likely a real problem.
What do you learn in an online MBA program?
My MBA program reinforced the business concepts that I already knew from my bachelors degree, which was also in business. For instance, we discussed topics like financial management, marketing and human resources. But I don’t believe that online degrees are truly designed for students who want to learn completely new ideas. Online schools are designed to give working professionals an extra edge over other employees, but you need to enter an online MBA program with a solid understanding of the concepts you will be covering.
How is the curriculum in your online MBA program at Strayer University presented?
The curriculum was presented mainly through a syllabus and discussion board. The syllabus outlined each assignment and when it was due, while the actual assignments were presented through the discussion board. There were also supplementary lectures that you could listen to. Overall, the presentation of class materials made sense. However, I do not feel like they cater to working adults. Another aspect that I found fault with were the so-called custom-edition books I was required to buy. They seemed to be simply regular textbooks with a Strayer University paperback cover on the front. It felt like they just wanted to double the price for students.
What kinds of computer skills are necessary to succeed in an online MBA program?
It seems like you need basic computer skills in order to navigate the user interface of online schools. You need to be able to type quickly because there is a lot of writing, and you need to be able to create Microsoft Word documents. It also helps if you have the ability to conduct research on the Internet. But if you don’t have these skills coming into the program, many schools incorporate a feature into their orientation that walks you through the procedures and tools of online learning.
What are the credentials of your faculty?
I can’t say what credentials my faculty at Strayer University held. Although we had access to the staff biographies, they were not detailed. For instance, a instructor would note that he had a masters and a doctorate degree, but they wouldn’t say from what school. That made me nervous.
Can you describe your interaction with your professors?
I did not find interaction with instructors to be an issue besides the few that were not responsive. Usually, you can contact faculty and administrators via e-mail or the telephone.
How are you funding your MBA program?
I was able to fund my MBA through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill as a result of my military service. It is a grant for military members and veterans that covers the cost of tuition, in addition to a housing allowance and money to cover the cost of books. The government practically paid me to go to school, and it would have been insane not to take advantage of that.
Do you feel like you are getting your money’s worth?
It is difficult to say whether I got my money’s worth from my MBA program at Strayer University. On the positive side, I did learn more about what it takes to run a business.
The Job Hunt
What kinds of career services does Strayer University provide to help you find a job after graduation?
I know that Strayer University is attempting to get students to form an alumni association, but that is the extent of the career services as far as I know. However, I didn’t look into any career services since I was already employed at the time of my graduation.
Do you think that employers value an online MBA degree as much as an MBA from a brick-and-mortar school?
It seems to me that employers do value an online MBA as much as a traditional one. I don’t think that employers care where a degree comes from as long as a student can prove they have it. When it comes down to it, a person’s work experience and aptitude outweigh their academic background in the current economy.
Does an online MBA program allow you to network?
I was not able to network effectively in my online MBA program. It seemed like everyone else in my class was in the same station in life as me, so I was not meeting people who could help me find work. I was only meeting the competition.
What advice can you offer students who are trying to decide if an online MBA program is right for them?
The best advice I can give students who are thinking about getting their MBA or any degree online is that if they decide to do it, they will need to tough it out when they get frustrated with their programs. I can say from experience that transferring programs causes much more hassle than it is worth, so you should try to avoid switching programs partway through your MBA program.