Are Online MBAs Recognised by Employers?

May 11, 2020

While considering where you should study for your MBA, you might have considered the choice between going to a traditional on-campus university or to join an online MBA.

It was once really rare to come across an online degree, and perhaps the idea of it might have been strange. Today there is a large number of traditional universities offering MBA programmes entirely online, while some offer the blended learning option – where you can spend a part of the time on campus as well.

Earning your MBA online is a unique learning experience. You can customize the programme to fit your needs – whether you need it to fit your schedule, goals or find one that fits your budget. 

Just a few years ago getting an online degree could say that you don’t take your education seriously but times have changed. Back then it wasn’t always easy to find an accredited online MBA programme, but it is today.

At the same time, you might also be wondering if an MBA is a worthy investment if it’s not recognised by employers?

First of all, it isn’t really necessary to state that a programme was completed online on your CV. If the hiring manager is curious, they would ask. Even then, most employers today are increasingly becoming receptive to the idea because there are many factors that make an online MBA just as respected as a traditional one.

1. Reputation of the School

Right off the bat, the first thing that would be obvious to the recruiter is where the degree is awarded from. A school with a solid reputation, especially one with a good traditional on-campus programme, is always in good standing with employers.

Employers are especially assured if the quality of the school’s online MBA is equivalent to the on-campus programme.

2. Accreditation of the Programme

Some students might not have thought about accreditation while doing their research on a programme, but companies will. Schools go through rigorous processes to get accredited, so having a double or triple accreditation means employers will have more respect for your degree.

Most of the top-ranked schools in the world carry an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation, including Harvard, Stanford, and MIT Sloan. The other two are the Association of MBAs (AMBA), and the European Foundation for Management Development’s (EFMD) Quality Improvement System (EQUIS).

This tells your future employer that you’ve received education from an institution of quality – showing that you are a candidate who is capable of strategic management and innovation.

3. Quality of Candidates

Today it’s also possible to find data and information on what companies think of graduates from the programme that you’re interested in. You might even come across schools where a large pool of their graduates end up working in your dream company.

Employers are also looking for candidates with a strong work ethic. Did you pursue an MBA, even though you don’t have a traditional business background? Or perhaps you completed your MBA online whilst juggling career and family. Your drive to succeed will be obvious in your application and negates any doubt that you are a quality candidate.

In summary – employers are increasingly open to the idea of hiring MBA graduates who completed their education online. That said, employers will be checking the reputation of the school and the accreditations that the programme has.

At the end of the day, if investing your time on campus is not an option then learning online is a great opportunity to do it on your own terms. Where you earned your degree is going to be more important than how, whether online or not. So remember – research, research, research. Use all the information you get to be sure you pick the right school!


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