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An On-Ground vs. Online MBA: What's Better for You?

Pepperdine students outside the Calabasas Campus

As the world continues to evolve within the digital landscape, leading to what some call the "fourth industrial revolution," it is no surprise that most everything nowadays has an online component. It is no different within academia, as schools offer various programs and degrees that you can earn entirely online.

When it comes to earning your MBA, finding the best option that fits your needs is highly essential. And choosing between pursuing an online MBA or a traditional on-ground can be challenging, as each program provides different academic benefits and experiences. To help narrow your search, we will look at key differences between the two modalities, what to consider when choosing, and how to get the most out of your MBA experience. 

The Main Differences Between Online vs. On-ground 

Typically, the most considerable influence when choosing an on-ground or online MBA are three main differentiators: location, course format, and costs. Let’s break these down to help you narrow in on which program is best suited for you. 

Location: Due to astounding technological advancements, earning your MBA online can be accomplished from anywhere in the world. Whether you live on California's sandy beaches or the icy Arctic Tundra in Alaska, there are no limitations on where you can complete your education. While you may be able to tune into your degree from any coordinate that can catch WiFi, an online degree can require more discipline in order to stay on task and meet the expectations of the course. On the contrasting side, an on-ground MBA provides the benefits of face-to-face connections with your peers and faculty as well as access to all of the excellent campus facilities and the option to engage in more social activities. While an in-person degree still requires a large amount of discipline to meet expectations, it can help bring in a more hands-on environment depending on what type of learning environment you thrive best in. 

Flexibility: While both on-ground and online programs require you to attend class, there are differences between the two. With an online MBA, students attend class from home in a virtual format, while on-ground requires you to be physically present within the classroom. Additionally, with an online MBA program, classwork is typically self-paced, allowing a little more flexibility if you have additional work commitments. 

Another critical aspect to consider is program length. An on-ground MBA program has specific terms, with the opportunity to complete in as little as one year or at a more comfortable pace of 20-months. With an online MBA, the timeframe is less rigid, allowing you to earn your MBA on a timetable that works with your schedule. 

Opportunity Cost: Opportunity cost is "the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen." For either program, there are opportunity costs that need to be taken into consideration. For individuals desiring to attend school on-ground, sacrificing luxuries such as no commute or a cheaper living cost is less important if they can attend school in-person. On the contrasting side, those who don't find having an in-person experience with more physical, social opportunities as significant as flexibility and earning an MBA online are more likely to be fitting. What's most crucial in this scenario is to weigh the factors that are most important to you and go from there.

Getting The Most Out of Your MBA 

Whether you choose online or on-ground, earning your MBA provides career advancement opportunities and ample future career pathways. Consider the following to get the most of our MBA journey and maximize your return on investment. 

  • Embrace Learning: While learning in an MBA program is a given, this doesn't mean that you cannot expand past your traditional coursework and delve deeper into various learning opportunities. Did you know that collaborative learning better prepares you for the workforce? Take your MBA journey to learn all that you can, even if it doesn't directly correlate with your field of study. Knowledge is power, and this is one of the best times to embrace it. 
  • Get Involved: Getting involved within the academic community helps MBA students become well rounded and agile, giving them the chance to showcase their talents and expertise outside the classroom. This also provides students with a greater sense of purpose, which is a desire that most of us hope to accomplish within our lifetime. 
  • Expand Your Network: If you speak to MBA graduates, one of the most common themes you will hear is "network, network, network." This statement holds true, as pursuing an MBA puts you in place alongside numerous like-minded business professionals. Even better, many of these individuals - faculty members included - bring diverse amounts of business experience and expertise to the table, allowing you to learn from some of the wisest and most successful people in the room. Furthermore, fostering those connections is advantageous for your network, uniquely positioning you for various prospective opportunities. There's a reason "it's who you know" has become ingrained in the fabric of business jargon - because it's true. 

Getting Your MBA With Pepperdine Graziadio 

At Pepperdine Graziadio, we offer various MBA options catered to meet the diverse needs of our students. Whether you want to earn an MBA full-time in our Full-Time MBA program or on a timetable that works for you with our Part-Time MBA or Online MBA, Graziadio offers multiple options keeping the student at the forefront of every decision. This way, you can earn a top-ranked MBA most conveniently for you, regardless of career stage, age, and time. See how you can advance your career and become the next generation of values-based leaders.