Top business schools are now offering full MBA courses online for the first time ever.
- UPenn’s Wharton School, UC Berkeley, and New York University now offer online options for students studying to earn their Master of Business Administration degree.
- Students will still need to attend a few days of class in-person, but the move to an online option is a major change for these schools.
- NYU’s online option will start as soon as this fall, while others will begin next year.
- Online students will pay the same tuition as in-person students and receive the same degree as on-campus students.
Why it’s news
The decision to allow remote learning is likely tied to the drop in demand for MBAs The value of a master’s degree has been growing more uncertain in the recent job market.
Schools have been adding more fully online options since the pandemic first popularized online learning. The number of accredited business schools with online degree options has nearly doubled between 2009 and 2020, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Announcements from schools like Wharton, one of the nation’s top-five business schools, indicate that more prestigious institutions will be taking advantage of online education.
One benefit of an in-person degree is the ease of networking with peers. However, students signing up for the online classes seem less concerned with the networking possibilities.
Wharton’s online course will start with somewhere between 50 and 70 students with plans to potentially expand to as many as 96 students. Participants will attend virtual live classes every other weekend for 22 months. Though mostly online, the program does require six weeks of in-person classes.
Critics of the online program have worried that offering online classes will devalue the degree from a prestigious university. However, proponents point out that without online options, they would be unable to attend the university.
The program will likely attract students who would otherwise be unable to attend.
Backing up a bit
The difference between starting salaries for those with a master’s and those with a bachelor’s degree is shrinking.
In 2021, an employee with a master’s degree earned approximately 22% more than one with a bachelor’s degree. That’s a decrease from 26% the year before, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
This is the fifth year in a row the gap between salaries has shrunk.
The change is primarily caused by increased compensation for bachelor’s degrees that is not matched for those with master’s degrees.