With more professional men and women heading back to school to further their education, many universities are beginning to market their programs towards working professionals. This is especially the case for schools at the graduate levels. For example, The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School “launched an online M.B.A. program…it will offer the same core curriculum as its regular full-time M.B.A. program. It is the first online program of its kind from a top-20 U.S. business school,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Even top universities are trying to make going back to school more appealing by making it more convenient. By offering legitimate and accredited online programs, universities are also able to extend their reach globally.
Many companies’ benefits include tuition assistance or reimbursement. With this being the case, it is important for colleges and universities to make their programs available to as many people as possible. Other top universities in the nation are also working towards this convenient online education trend. For instance, as The Wall Street Journal reported, “Indiana University, Northeastern University and Howard University will soon offer online M.B.A. degrees…Many of these programs will offer live online classes in the evenings and university officials believe it will draw in mostly working professionals who don’t live near a school with a well-known executive M.B.A. program.”
Although this is the case, many people are still skeptical of online education. People often argue that programs like these are not credible or equal to those degrees offered at on- campus. There is still a negative stigma associated with these programs that portray them as low quality and less competitive. This is why it is important for degrees like these to hold the same standards as they would at a regular full-time program. This is the main challenge universities are facing going virtual. As stated by The Wall Street Journal, UNC officials are claiming that “admissions standards for the new (online) program are just as high as for an on-campus M.B.A. UNC students in the class of 2012 had a median Graduate Management Admission Test score of 700 and a grade point average of 3.3.”
Overall, the majority of people will most likely find that going back to school and getting their degree online is an extremely convenient and much more doable option than spending more time, money, and energy commuting to and from campus while working 40 plus hours a week. Many top universities have also begun offering hybrid classes. These courses, although not strictly distanced education, offer more flexibility (especially for working professionals) than most full-time on-campus degree programs. The hybrid classes, which consist of part time in the classroom and part time online saves people’s time and energy with lessening the various commuting costs involved. Although hybrid and online-only classes are great options for many people, there are still other aspects of learning that people will inevitably miss out on by not being physically present in the classroom.