“I spoke with a friend of mine who earned her MBA online through the University of Phoenix. She is now making more than $100,000 per year as the director of a private school. Her story shows me that employers value this kind of degree and see it as legitimate.”
The Big Picture
Why did you choose to enroll at the University of Phoenix to earn your online master of business administration degree?
I chose to get my Master of Business Administration degree at the conclusion of my teaching career. The recession affected my job, so I decided that when I went back to school I would get a broad degree that would qualify me for many job opportunities. I just happened upon the University of Phoenix when I was online, and after I clicked on its ad, I got a phone call from an admissions advisor. She introduced me to their MBA program, and after I did a little more research I decided it was right for me.
What are the benefits of earning an MBA degree online?
For me, the biggest benefit of earning an MBA online is that it allows me to be productive while I am home with my children. I have 2 young kids and I have to be home with them about 90% of the time. Online school allows me to budget my time so that I can do my homework when I am home with the children.
I also benefit from the online learning system because I am hard of hearing. I am 30% deaf, so it is very hard for me to learn anything in a classroom when I cannot hear what the teacher is saying. Since online classes at the University of Phoenix do not have an auditory component, I have been successful in that learning environment. In fact, I am getting straight A’s in my classes.
How can prospective students be sure that an online MBA program is legitimate?
I recommend that students make sure that the online MBA program they are considering is legitimate by looking for accreditation and talking to former students. I checked to see that the University of Phoenix was regionally accredited, which means the degree I earn has worth across the country. In addition, I spoke with a friend of mine who earned her MBA online through the University of Phoenix. She is now making more than $100,000 per year as the director of a private school. Her story shows me that employers value this kind of degree and see it as legitimate.
What do you learn in an online MBA program?
In my online MBA program, I have taken classes that teach me the financial and the interpersonal sides of running an organization. For example, I have taken business law, accounting, marketing, organizational management and human resources management, to name a few.
How is the curriculum in your online MBA program at the University of Phoenix presented?
My curriculum is based off of a syllabus that students are provided with at the start of each class. That syllabus contains all of the information you need to succeed in class, including when assignments are due and which readings you have to complete each week.
A lot of my homework is completed as part of a team. For example, my team built a company for an assignment. We had to analyze its potential strengths and weaknesses in order to evaluate whether it would be successful or not. But we also have individual responsibilities. We rely on a class forum to carry out discussions on our course material with other students several times a week and I am responsible for composing those discussion posts on my own.
What kinds of academic resources does the University of Phoenix provide to help you succeed in your education?
The most impressive resource that the University of Phoenix provides is an incredible online library. It has a very powerful search function that lets you quickly and easily find high-quality academic articles and professional papers to use in your research.
What kinds of computer skills are necessary to succeed in an online MBA program?
You don’t need advanced computer skills to get your online MBA. All you need to know is how to type and use search engines on the Internet. Even the programs that we use are very basic, like the Microsoft Office Suite. And if for some reason you do have a problem, you can call tech support 24 hours a day.
What are the credentials of your faculty?
One aspect about the University of Phoenix that I appreciate is the fact that all of their professors are also working professionals. I think that makes them better teachers because they actually know exactly what they are talking about. They often use their business experience to bring examples into the classroom.
Can you describe your interaction with your professors?
The method that I use to interact with my professors is e-mail. I have never verbally interacted with any of them because written communication has been sufficient on both ends. And I have to say that they always respond to my questions promptly, within a day or so.
How are you funding your MBA program?
Altogether, my MBA program costs me between $35,000 and $40,000. I am paying for my education exclusively through student loans.
Do you feel like you are getting your money’s worth?
Yes, I think that I am getting my money’s worth because I will be able to pay back my student loans in about 5 years. Once I have my MBA, I don’t plan to take a job that pays less than $65,000 a year, so I don’t think it will be that difficult to justify the initial expense of my degree.
The Job Hunt
What kinds of career services does the University of Phoenix provide to help you find a job after graduation?
The University of Phoenix does provide career services, but I haven’t had a chance to give those services more than a cursory look so far. I have been too busy to look very deeply into the career services while I’ve been trying to get through school and also work as a substitute teacher.
Do you think that employers value an online MBA degree as much as an MBA from a brick-and-mortar school?
I do think that employers see an online MBA as equally valuable. As long as your degree is regionally accredited, like mine, it doesn’t matter how you earned it. Plus, I got my undergraduate degree online and I haven’t had any issues or experienced any negative feedback from my employers with that.
Does an online MBA program allow you to network?
Yes, you can network with an online program if you make the effort to do so. For instance, I have made connections with some of the students in my MBA program who are from different walks of life. Every now and then I will have a question that is related to their field and I can call them up and ask for their input.
What are your career goals?
I have an entrepreneurial spirit, so my career goal is to open up my own business. I want to refurbish household goods like dryers that I can buy off of people for a low price and sell for more money once I have fixed them up. I think my MBA will help me with the business side of things so that I can run that operation more efficiently and for higher profit.
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 on the fence about getting an online MBA is to do it only if they have a strong desire to follow through. It is a lot of work, and you will need tremendous self-discipline and time management skills to fit an online MBA program into your life. But if you really want the degree, it is within your reach.