That the business major is the most popular major amongst undergraduates is no myth. In 2010-11, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found out that out of 1,716,000 undergraduate degrees conferred, 365,000 were conferred upon business students. Taking the second spot was social sciences. History and health profession came in third.
During the same period, the US News & World Report quoted the Babson Survey Research Group’s findings, which stated that 6.1 million students enrolled in at least one online class. An online class was considered where 80% of the coursework is delivered online.
If both of these statistics are combined, on the outset, one apparent common factor may come to light – post secondary students’ interest in business as a major and the adult students’ inclination towards distance learning programs. This trend, in recent years, has given a healthy boost to enrollments in online business schools.
Online Business Schools – The Important Facts
Online business schools can simply be defined as educational institutes who offer business degrees as distance learning programs. These schools may specialize in online education or may be well established traditional educational institutes who are now offering students a chance to complete their education. Schools such as Harvard, UPenn and Yale are now offering business degrees to students online. Although a well established and trustworthy medium, it is still a relatively new concept in education. This is one of the main reasons why students need to be careful when enrolling in online business schools.
Mentioned below are some of the boxes students must check before committing.
Accreditation – Both the business school and program need to be accredited by a trustworthy regulatory body. This is extremely important as an unaccredited school or program may be worthless when it comes to admission into another school or employment. Prospective students can check the US Department of Education Database of Accredited Post Secondary Institutions and Programs.
Reputation – Reputation of a school matters a lot. A school with a reputable program may not only impart quality education but also help their students in setting up job interviews, etc. Furthermore, known employers come to the campuses of reputable universities for recruitment, on regular basis.
Curriculum – The curriculum of a program is as important as the school. Before enrollment students must go through the curriculum and check if all the topics are being covered. Also what course units offer the option of practical training and research based on case studies. Prospective students can check the curriculum by visiting the school’s website.
Delivery Method – Online degrees and traditional campus degrees may have the same curriculum, but their delivery method is different. How students are taught and what methods are used is of key importance. The use of real time lectures, videos and forums are some of the common delivery methods used in online business schools.
Tuition Fee – The tuition fee of an online business school may be relatively lower than its traditional campus-based counterparts. Students, before enrollment must check cost per credit hour and compare it with other online business schools to get a better idea. Also some charges students must keep a close eye on are technology fees and should also check if the school charges out-of-state students more than in-state students.
The research necessary before enrolling in an online business school should not be any different from traditional campus-based schools. However, in case of online business schools, prospective student must be more careful as it is a relatively newer medium.
What Online Business Schools May Offer?
The curriculum and the options offered at online business schools may not have one standard. They vary and the variation usually depends on the school and the expertise of the faculty. In short, some online business schools may offer a degree in property and real estate while others may stick with the most basic option available in the business curriculum. Here are a couple of options that students may have to choose from.
Management – It is the organizational process that includes managing resources, setting objectives and strategic planning. Students learn how to manage the human element in the workplace – this includes employees, co workers and clients. Some of the opportunities available with a degree in management and their annual median income are:
- Management Analysts – $78,600
- Human Resources Managers – $99,720
- Administrative Services Managers – $81,080
Marketing – Marketing is a vast discipline that includes promotion of goods, identification and selection of target markets, development of marketing strategies and market research. Marketing students learn about product development, public relations and advertising. It is the understanding of product management, e-commerce and distribution and logistics that allows students to pursue the following positions:
- Advertising & Promotion Managers – $88,590
- Marketing Managers – $119,480
- Sales Managers – $105,260
General Business – This degree deals with the fundamental understanding of accounting, business, management and economics. Students learn what key elements are responsible for the functioning of an organization. Effective verbal and written communication is also a part of this degree. Some of the positions students can pursue with this degree are as follows:
- Administrative Services Managers – $81,080
- Human Resources Specialists – $55,640
- Training & Development Managers – $95,400
The above mentioned figures reflect the salaries earned in 2012. The information was taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It is important to note that all online business schools may not offer the mentioned degrees and if they do, there is a possibility it is under a different head. Prospective students are recommended to do an extensive research before enrollment.