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Dispelling the Myths of Earning an MBA Degree

Dispelling the Myths of Earning an MBA Degree

(ARA)- Working adults from all backgrounds are finding an MBA degree to be an ideal extension of their undergraduate degrees--and exactly the ticket they're seeking for greater career and personal fulfillment.
If you're considering pursuing an MBA, it may seem as if most universities offer MBA programs--and that they're similar. Yet not only do MBA programs differ from school to school, but the learning environments themselves vary. In fact, one of the greatest modern misconceptions about an MBA is that you still need to attend a traditional university to earn a high-quality degree.
Check the following MBA-related myths and see if they match your perceptions.
Myth number 1: An MBA from an online university is of lower quality than face-to-face instruction.
Actually, three-quarters of academic leaders at public colleges and universities believe that online learning quality is at least equal to or superior to face-to-face instruction, according to a 2004 Sloan Consortium study. And as this study also noted, the larger the school, the more likely its academic leaders had a positive view of the relative quality of online learning.
Specifically in an MBA program, quality is not only reflected in the caliber of the instruction, but also in the makeup of the classes--better MBA programs attract high-quality students, whose intelligence and background can result in a dynamic and engaging learning environment. That was definitely the case for Kalu Kalu, a March 2005 MBA graduate of Capella University, one of the nation's leading online universities.
"The chemistry of my classes was excellent," says Kalu, senior project manager for MCI in Atlanta. "You can actually often learn more from other learners than you do from the instructors, since you get so many unique perspectives from all over. I even had people in Saudi Arabia in my class."
In retrospect, Kalu is pleased with his recent academic investment. "When I was searching for a university, I was looking more for the quality of the education than the 'name' of the university. I was very satisfied with the quality I received. I'm looking forward to going back to Capella for the Ph.D. program."
Myth number 2: The MBA learning environment is grueling and competitive.
Perhaps some MBA programs promote fierce competition among students, but not all, which is why it pays to compare schools before investing in your education. With Capella, Kelly Johnsen found a more welcoming environment online than he had expected.
"I think it's a lot easier in this format to talk to other people and share ideas compared with a regular classroom, where you have people coming who just 'put in their time' and don't say anything," says Johnsen, who began his MBA at Capella in the fall of 2004 and plans to graduate in 2007. "At Capella, you're expected to communicate."
Johnsen also discovered how much he liked a unique feature offered by Capella: each MBA student is matched with a professional coach who helps with such matters as course selection and career planning. "I meet with my coach twice per quarter, report to her how I'm doing and discuss how my education is matching my expectations," Johnsen says. "I appreciate that she takes the time to listen and help. I'm not aware of any other university that offers a service like this."
Myth number 3: I have to physically "attend" graduate school to earn an MBA.
As an increasing number of working adults are discovering, an ideal way to balance work, home life and graduate school is to enroll in an accredited university's online degree learning program. With online technologies like the Internet, e-mail and video conferencing, MBA students enrolled in online learning programs can enjoy all the benefits of a traditional university, like access to high-caliber classes and faculty, but in a learning environment suited to each student's professional and personal commitments.
Due in part to the demands of her job as a procurement forester for International Paper in Selma, Ala., Erin Loar believes she would never have been able to go back to school for her MBA if her sole option was a traditional bricks-and-mortar university. Instead, Loar began taking MBA classes in the fall of 2003 with Capella and is on track to graduate later in 2005.
"A lot of what I do is out in the woods, tromping around in boots and dealing with loggers and other foresters," Loar says. "Because I'm able to access my classes at Capella at times that work well for me, I'm able to make better use of my time. At the end of the workday, I'll do my homework on my computer at work."
Myth number 4: I don't have enough time to pursue an MBA.
Having recently been promoted to a senior business, strategy and finance consultant with Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, Calif., Johnsen has plenty of responsibilities during the workday. And because he lives and works amid the crowded roadways of southern California, he knows he must be judicious with his time. In Capella, he's found a learning environment to suit his busy schedule.
"Getting my education online, on my own time and pace, has been ideal," he says. "My classroom and study time is usually on the weekends and evenings."
Time plus timing also worked well for Johnsen, who earned his undergraduate degree in business more than 20 years ago. "I had moved up through Kaiser about as far as I could without having an advanced degree," he says. "When I was interviewing late last year for my new position, and it became known I was pursuing an MBA with Capella, I know it helped with my promotion."
Capella is the first online accredited university to offer an MBA. More than 1,300 U.S. employers provide tuition reimbursement to employees who attend Capella. For more information, go to

Courtesy of ARA Content

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