Online MBAs are gaining popularity because of their convenience, yet there are some significant drawbacks for those of you planning on leveraging an Online MBA to break into consulting. In the eyes of consulting firms, all MBAs are not created equal. Firms don’t just evaluate candidates based on the pedigree of their programs, but also the format of the program they went through. In fact, there are three main reasons consulting firms do not view online MBAs as favorably as on-campus MBAs.
Listen to Jenny Rae, ex-Bain consultant and Columbia Business School grad, as she breaks down the three reasons you should not get an online MBA if consulting is your ultimate goal.
Consulting Firms View of Online MBAs- YouTube Transcription:
So you’re interested in consulting, and you’re thinking about breaking in via the MBA pathway. One of the most preferred ways to get an MBA is online. It’s much more affordable, it allows you to keep your work that you’re currently doing, and you don’t even have to move or relocate. But do consulting firms view online mbas at the same level that they do MBAs or EMBAs, executive MBAs. The short answer is “No”.
How Consulting Firms View Online MBAs
I’m Jenny Rae Le Roux the Managing Director of Management Consulted, and I’m gonna walk through why consulting firms don’t view online MBAs as valuable, in their recruitment process. There are a couple of key reasons why the firms don’t view an online MBA in the same way that they do an MBA or an on-campus MBA.
Decreased Admissions Standards
The first one is the admissions standards of online MBAs. Online MBAs are the creation of universities that figured out that they are fixed cost institutions, that have the ability to deliver a limited number of curated in classroom experiences to their students. However, getting an online MBA that’s something that they could offer to thousands of people. And by nature of the scale of offering an online MBA, many organizations have gone from 200-300 person in-person cohorts, to 3,000 to 5,000 online MBA grads.
Amazingly, they charge in a very similar fashion to what they do in their on-campus. But these larger pools by nature mean that they have lowered admission standards. There are not as many requirements for getting in, there are not as many requirements from an interview standpoint and contributing to your cohort. And because of that these programs are not viewed as being the same caliber as their on-campus counterparts.
No One-On-One Training And Experiences
The second reason why it’s not a great pathway to go down an online MBA in order to break into consulting, is that when you’re on campus you are immersed in one-on-one training and experiences that lead to career transformation. When you’re in a classroom when you’re with your peers, when you’re outside in the hallway talking about careers, there’s a lot of informal things that happen. And those connections do not and cannot happen by nature of an online MBA program.
For example, when you are solely online, you do not have access to the same number of career training programs. Firms don’t come on campus to present in large part because they can present information to you but they can’t meet you, which is one of the main reasons why they present. So you’re limited in the number and the scope of the career training events and information both formal and informal that you have access to.
Not As Powerful Of Network
The third reason that an online MBA isn’t considered as valuable is that top-tier MBAs are valuable later on inside your consulting career not just at the beginning. At the beginning they expect that you’ll build skills. Modeling skills, communication skills, etc. But later on the power of your MBA is in the network. Well and online you’re not able to build the same kind of interpersonal deep connections that you are on campus, so you’re limited and what you’re able to do.
Because of these main three reasons, consulting firms really don’t view online MBAs as real MBAs at all. They just view your work experience in the same lens as if you didn’t have an MBA. So unless you’re doing it for personal or other professional development reasons, getting an online MBA is not your best pathway to break into consulting.
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