A growing number of business schools are either launching or expanding their existing online MBA programs this fall, according to an August 6 Businessweek article. The article cites a recent study that found that business is by far the most popular field for online students, with one-third of the nearly 3 million online students pursuing business degrees.
Second- and third-tier business schools are responding to this trend and hoping to set themselves apart from the crowd with distinctive features such as videoconferencing software, social media tools, and residency requirements included in some online MBA programs.
Online learning can solve a problem for business schools and students by allowing business schools to continue earning tuition dollars as applications to full-time MBA programs decline and offering students the ability to keep their current jobs while earning their degrees.
Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business Management and George Washington University's School of Business have both recently announced new online MBA programs, with other schools, including University of Texas Pan-American's College of Business Administration and University of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business and Economics following their lead.
It remains to be seen if elite business schools will also begin implementing online MBA programs, though a number of top business schools, including University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, will begin offering online coursework this fall.