• Please take a moment and update your account profile. If you have an updated account profile with basic information on why you are on Air Warriors it will help other people respond to your posts. How do you update your profile you ask?

    Go here:

    Edit Account Details and Profile

Is an online MBA the right choice?

Sirjerald517

Active Member
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.
Not to hijack, but out of curiosity, do you know how this particular program compares in prestige and rigor to similar civilian programs such as those offered by Georgetown or John Hopkins? I know that there's likely a major advantage in the latter for networking opportunities in DC, but I don't know if that alone is enough to forgo a free degree and time saved. This is assuming one wishes to make a career out of National Security and Intelligence.
 

Bergers2short

Active Member
None
Not to hijack, but out of curiosity, do you know how this particular program compares in prestige and rigor to similar civilian programs such as those offered by Georgetown or John Hopkins? I know that there's likely a major advantage in the latter for networking opportunities in DC, but I don't know if that alone is enough to forgo a free degree and time saved. This is assuming one wishes to make a career out of National Security and Intelligence.
It pales in comparison. I'm not sure whether that's a well-known thought in the civilian world. If you don't care about the extra service obligation, you could get the NSS masters from NPS or NWC and then get your masters in International Relations/whatever it's called from Hopkins or Georgetown either on the Navy's dime or via Yellow Ribbon.
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
That's another thing to keep in mind. There's no manual for a "roll your own" masters but it can be a good way to save money. Colleges will usually have a policy for accepting transfer credit, just remember what they really want is for you to spend money on their credit hours. Maybe a prestigious institution with a degree program you want will accept some credit hours that you got from some Navy program. You have to ask them to find out though.

Try to avoid any of the institutions that advertise in the Navy Times.
 
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.
That's definitely a good way of looking at it. I will already have a tech background that I might grow if I do end up at NPS one day. I have some work experience and the military should give me some leadership/management experience as well. Financing is definitely important for any kind of project or engineering management role I could take on one day. I will try to keep it in mind if I do make a decision in the upcoming years. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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.
Thank you for the input. I know the knee jerk reaction is to tell me to not bother and focus on commissioning and my quals (which is definitely top priority), but I still like to get some questions asked and consider my options while they're available. I wouldn't start anything right away, but would still like to take advantage of opportunities that come my way.

Considering I would likely get a technical masters from NPS, not sure if it'd be worth getting an MBA and extending anymore service time even more. That would entirely depend on my feelings towards the military life which I cannot even begin to predict. I don't know a whole lot about NPS, still trying to find out more information as I come across it. Is there a situation where you can do a dual program? Like take three years to get a M.S. and MBA (that would extend service requirement to five years rather than four which wouldn't be too bad?).
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
I dunno... I didn't go there (physically or virtually) and I didn't closely follow the academic ins-and-outs of my friends who did. It might be best to look at their website to see what programs are available: https://my.nps.edu

I did the Naval War College master's via the Fleet Seminar program (part face-to-face classes located away from the actual campus, part online courses). It's sort of a cookie cutter MA on military stuff, although they have other graduate programs too: https://usnwc.edu
 
Last edited:
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).
That 25% doesn't surprise me at all; it most likely is higher now. So many people were pushed into getting a bachelor's and a lot of markets were flooded, so people who struggled getting jobs sought out their masters to avoid paying back loans. Saw people at my university doing the very same thing. Going through a watered-down program is definitely a huge concern, so that's why I was trying to look at some of these bigger schools with good rank (Auburn's online is ranked #11 for best overall and #7 for Veterans).

I definitely do not want to waste my time on an online program if it is just going to get a side eyed glance without any real consideration. I have more desire to seek a technical masters than an MBA if I'm going to be a full time student, so I'll be focusing on that more anyways.

Did you end up going through one of the top 14 B-Schools? So many people seem to think an MBA isn't worth it unless you're going to one of these.
 
I dunno... I didn't go there (physically or virtually) and I didn't closely follow the academic ins-and-outs of my friends who did. It might be best to look at their website to see what programs are available: https://my.nps.edu

I did the Naval War College master's via the Fleet Seminar program (part face-to-face classes located away from the actual campus, part online courses). It's sort of a cookie cutter MA on military stuff, although they have other graduate programs too: https://usnwc.edu
How did those online courses work out? I've never had a strictly online class before. I know NPS also offers distance learning programs. I wasn't sure if that was a good option or not. I'm not even sure if it's necessarily an option for active duty. Figured maybe DL programs were more for the civilians who get into NPS and that there's an expectation for active duty to make the move to Monterey. Guess that's something to worry about later if and when I cross that bridge.
 

AULANI

Well-Known Member
If you get into OCS or whatever accession program you're applying to, you'll hear a phrase "worry about the alligator closest to the boat..."
 

Sculpin

Well-Known Member
That 25% doesn't surprise me at all; it most likely is higher now. So many people were pushed into getting a bachelor's and a lot of markets were flooded, so people who struggled getting jobs sought out their masters to avoid paying back loans. Saw people at my university doing the very same thing. Going through a watered-down program is definitely a huge concern, so that's why I was trying to look at some of these bigger schools with good rank (Auburn's online is ranked #11 for best overall and #7 for Veterans).

I definitely do not want to waste my time on an online program if it is just going to get a side eyed glance without any real consideration. I have more desire to seek a technical masters than an MBA if I'm going to be a full time student, so I'll be focusing on that more anyways.

Did you end up going through one of the top 14 B-Schools? So many people seem to think an MBA isn't worth it unless you're going to one of these.
My apologies if I wasn't clear, but I went for an M.S. in a technical field (not for an MBA), but last I checked it's considered top 14 in my particular field for what that's worth. :) I know the university is ranked fairly high for business, too, but not sure if it's top 14.

The value of an online MBA is something you will have to research and scrutinize more to see if it's worth it for you and fits your goals. With regards to a technical master's, you'll get sent to NPS or MIT for that once you redesignate if you go the SWO-ED route, so it's something to consider. If you're otherwise interested in a technical master's, then why not go with a technical master's, whether offline or online, full-time or part-time? What are you looking to achieve with an MBA vs. an M.S., specifically?
 
The value of an online MBA is something you will have to research and scrutinize more to see if it's worth it for you and fits your goals. With regards to a technical master's, you'll get sent to NPS or MIT for that once you redesignate if you go the SWO-ED route, so it's something to consider. If you're otherwise interested in a technical master's, then why not go with a technical master's, whether offline or online, full-time or part-time? What are you looking to achieve with an MBA vs. an M.S., specifically?
If I get the EDO option, or try to lateral transfer, I would definitely go for my M.S. at NPS or MIT. I'm not entirely sure what my career goals are. Still trying to finangle my way and figure out what I enjoy. I like the idea of systems engineering with experience in management. I like understanding both the technical and business aspects on projects and bringing them together.

The M.S. would take a higher priority. I was thinking of slowly working on an MBA on top of having an M.S. But seeing that a lot of people view an online program doesn't hold a lot of value, it might not be worth it.
 

DanMa1156

Land of the Milk and Honey.
pilot
Contributor
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.
I assume you're referencing Tuition Assistance. Have you seen what Masters Programs are available for $4500 a year? The only MBA I found is from Liberty University and I didn't want to be associated with an extremely right wing school that I've never seen crack the top 500 in business school lists. I've used TA to fund a Master's Certificate to earn a business certificate I thought would come in useful. I also recognize the value of the MBA is largely in the connections I made and I figured I'd barely make any doing it online, so I decided against it. If you are looking to fund an actual good program using Tution Assistance, it's a drop in the bucket. The only real school I applied to was going to cost me nearly $50,000 after that school's scholarship and two years of Tuition assistance.

Keep in mind if you don't do in residence education for a tour you're going to be busy. I spent most of my nights and weekends working on that certificate for nearly a year despite it being advertised as a "6 month" course. I was burnt out and pretty bitter by the end. I dreaded doing the schoolwork after a 10 hour workday. I hated telling my kid I couldn't go to the park because I had to stare at my computer all day. I had to get permission from both the school and the Navy to extend the program (fairly painless, turns out it was pretty common, but just added a level of shame and frustration I felt at the time).

Also, remember that with Tuition Assistance, you can only use it to fund a level of education you don't already have, so once you have a Master's Degree, you can't use it to fund another one.
 

subreservist

Active Member
This discussion actually got me thinking and I'm off to google to search the answer but will ask here too: Does an online degree have some different type of title or asterisks that indicates it's from an online program vice a traditional? i.e. Will a MBA from, say, University of Michigan be indicated on the transcript that it was online vice had it been done traditional in-residence? Or will is just state MBA-Univ of Michigan with no distinctive trace on how you got it?
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
This discussion actually got me thinking and I'm off to google to search the answer but will ask here too: Does an online degree have some different type of title or asterisks that indicates it's from an online program vice a traditional? i.e. Will a MBA from, say, University of Michigan be indicated on the transcript that it was online vice had it been done traditional in-residence? Or will is just state MBA-Univ of Michigan with no distinctive trace on how you got it?
The transcripts and degree will just say Michigan.
 

dodge

You can do anything once.
pilot
Having done the online MBA from a top 40 business school and subsequently interviewed with a range of companies and recruiters, the feedback I got was:
1. None cared that it was online.
2. The "better" the business school the more it's worth your time. The piece of paper with Harvard on it yields better results than Liberty.
3. The network gained is significant and can be very regional, plan accordingly. (I.e. if you want to work in the northeast corridor, an MBA from USD is less helpful than say, Penn State).
4. More current is better than less current. I.e. If you get one now, you may be transitioning to civlife 10+ years from now.

My own opinion:
- If you are serious about either, I'd pursue that down the road where the knowledge and network are more current, and you can better focus your studies towards your desired end-state and career field.
- In residence > Online, in terms of experience and networking. I'd try to find the best good deal out there that gets you in residence.
- Unless you are certain you're staying in 20, I'd avoid the NPS MBA and go to a non-DOD business school.
 
Top