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Is an online MBA the right choice?

Hey warriors,

I am probably getting ahead of myself here since I'm still in the process of applying for OCS. But I'm coming up with a tentative 10 year plan and trying to decide if I should pursue an MBA. I have a B.S. in Mining Engineering and am currently shooting for SWO-EDO or SWO. If I can pick up SWO with the EDO option, I have a big decision to make around the 3.5 year mark. Assuming I want to stay in the Navy and make the switch to engineering, I would aim for a slot at NPS (preferring Engineering Systems atm, subject to change). That would take about two years, with another four years of service obligation. This would get me to 10 years and would put me in my mid 30's.

I know MBAs are starting to lose their value, but since the Navy will pay up to $4500 a year on education, I figure I might as well use it to get an MBA. It surely wouldn't hurt to have one, and even better if I'm not footing the bill for it. I'm curious what peoples' opinions and experiences are with pursuing an online MBA. Would it be worth the added stress?

I know a lot of people would recommend waiting to use the GI Bill and go full time at a top B-School. However, I would like to preserve my GI Bill for a family member in the future if possible. I already didn't love being a full-time student as an undergrad. I think Monterey will be a different experience given its location and that I'm being paid to attend. I don't see myself wanting to be a full-time student for a third time in my life, especially if I'm not earning a wage while doing so. If I do stick to my 10 year plan, I don't see myself wanting to put off an MBA that late. I'm currently single, but I haven't ruled out marriage and kids yet. I'd rather dedicate my remaining 20's and early 30's to my education and building my career so that if I do have a family, I am not adding the stress of extra classes on top of it.

If an online MBA seems like a good idea, are there any recommendations on where to go? I'm currently looking at Auburn since it's pretty highly ranked for online MBAs, and the tuition rates are pretty reasonable. I wouldn't be paying too terribly much out of pocket. I hate to limit my choices due to finances, but I already accumulated a lot of debt from my undergrad. I'd like to have all my loans paid off and have some savings before I even think about marriage and kids, so taking on extra debt doesn't seem like a good idea.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

bubblehead

Registered Member
Contributor
Online MBA? Don't waste your time or money. What is it exactly, that you plan to gain from an MBA, let alone an online MBA?

IMHO, in the long-term you are better off with a Master of Science in Finance.
 
Online MBA? Don't waste your time or money. What is it exactly, that you plan to gain from an MBA, let alone an online MBA?

IMHO, in the long-term you are better off with a Master of Science in Finance.
I'm mostly concerned with resume building. Whether I'm trying to climbs the ranks in the Navy, or pursue a manager type role in the public sector, I'd like to give myself any advantage that's possible. If I can find a decent program, I wouldn't be spending much of my own money. But definitely the time and stress might be reason enough not to go for it.
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
This will come off bad, but focus on getting accepted and your fleet tours first before getting into the weeds of post-grad education.

You sort of mentioned it, but they’ll likely send you to MIT or NPS if you end up the SWO-EDO route. Additionally, a lot of things can change both personally and professionally between now and then.
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Online MBA? Don't waste your time or money. What is it exactly, that you plan to gain from an MBA, let alone an online MBA?

IMHO, in the long-term you are better off with a Master of Science in Finance.
If you want a Masters on paper, then do your online MBA, but remember it's almost as useful as a Masters in National Security & Strategic Studies given by the Naval War College -- It's a piece of paper -- and no one really cares.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
It's total crap, don't waste your time or money on it. It's a rubber stamp degree and any job that would require a real MBA will know that. If you go EDO you'll get the engineering schooling the SWO community says you need for that job. If you progress further as an EDO an MBA wouldn't do much for you other than add a resume bullet that no one in the ACDU world will care about.

10yrs plans are great and all and it's good to have an idea of where you want to go but none of it will matter if you don't get commissioned, get a pin, etc. Frankly, none of those are particulary hard; you just need to put in the time and work. But there are enough other people who haven't been able to check those pre-reqs despite their well crafted 10yr russian astronaut house of cards plan.
 

snake020

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Depends on what you're trying to get out of it.

If you're just trying to check a box for your active duty career, fine.

If you are trying to get something out of it, the value is in the network you build and there is no substitute for in-residence.
 
Thanks for all the help. I figured I shouldn't let it distract me from the more important steps like getting my pin and making connections. I just know I would hate to not take advantage of the time when I'm young and single to accomplish something, then feel the need to have to do it later in life if I'm married and/or have kids.

Does anyone have experience with utilizing the $4500 for something else? Not sure what it's limitations are, but there are other certifications out there that can come in handy if it can be used for it.
 

snake020

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Thanks for all the help. I figured I shouldn't let it distract me from the more important steps like getting my pin and making connections. I just know I would hate to not take advantage of the time when I'm young and single to accomplish something, then feel the need to have to do it later in life if I'm married and/or have kids.

Does anyone have experience with utilizing the $4500 for something else? Not sure what it's limitations are, but there are other certifications out there that can come in handy if it can be used for it.
FFS, just worry about your pin, your time will be consumed enough as it is standing duty and getting your quals done. It's great that you're planning, but as Eisenhower said "plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
 

bubblehead

Registered Member
Contributor
Like I said, you are going to learn more with an M.S. in Finance and benefit from it career wise more than most other types of degrees. It is also an easier "story" to tell when you are interviewing. All management jobs require knowledge and application of finance (OPEX, CAPEX, budgeting, planning, etc.). Yes, you could say you have experience in these areas but having the paper helps tremendously.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
Thanks for all the help. I figured I shouldn't let it distract me from the more important steps like getting my pin and making connections. I just know I would hate to not take advantage of the time when I'm young and single to accomplish something, then feel the need to have to do it later in life if I'm married and/or have kids.

Does anyone have experience with utilizing the $4500 for something else? Not sure what it's limitations are, but there are other certifications out there that can come in handy if it can be used for it.
Getting your pin will keep you plenty busy.
 

Sculpin

Well-Known Member
I know MBAs are starting to lose their value
Because everyone and their uncle are getting MBAs. I recall a statistic from 2011/2012 that 25% of all master's degrees conferred were in business. It's probably more now.

Agreed with others with regards to online degrees. When I was looking to get my M.S., I was considering online programs provided by some solid engineering schools. Sure it's substantially cheaper, but the programs seemed watered-down in value, content, and other factors, so I went ahead with getting it the normal way. It ended up paying off. I've also considered getting an online MBA too. I haven't met any employers who give an online degree of any sort the same value as a traditional degree, either, but that's just my experience. Regardless, it's not worth it in my opinion. I feel these online certifications and degrees are simply resume bullet points for the most part (having a few online certifications myself).
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
It's a smart question, asking which piece of paper might be worth the effort and then how to set yourself up to get said piece of paper.

NPS has an MBA program that's popular with people on shore duty (typically about five~ish years after commissioning) and interested in getting, well, their MBAs. It's part face-to-face and part correspondence/distance learning. Of course it comes with strings attached and like every other education program, it's not for everyone.
 

Sonog

Well-Known Member
pilot
Distance learning is getting more legit these days. It's all about the program. Though last time I checked Hawvawd didn't offer nights.
 
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