Illinois has a brand new and exciting opportunity in the form of the Online Masters of Business Administration (OMBA). The number of online MBA programs available worldwide has increased exponentially in recent years and now there is an option right in Illinois for people who live, work, or study there. This article will walk you through the steps to take before you begin your journey to qualify for this challenging, but rewarding degree which can open up a world of opportunities for you.
Why Get An Online MBA?
The demand for business-focused masters degrees has increased significantly in recent years, and with new jobs such as data analysis and business analytics becoming more in demand, the business schools have responded by creating more specialized degrees to meet the need.
An online MBA can give you the flexible studying environment you need with the international recognition your career demands. There are lots of opportunities for you to gain valuable industry experience while also boosting your earning potential with an additional degree. Finally, with more and more people turning to online learning platforms, the ability to get specialized knowledge and gain vital on-the-job skills is now potentially available to everyone.
What Should You Study In Order to Qualify?
The Illinois OMBA is a 60-credit hour, full-time online degree that is suited for working adults who want to further their education. In order to qualify for this degree, you will need to complete all of the following:
- a minimum of 30 credits of business studies including marketing, economics, accounting, and finance
- a minimum of 18 credits of management
- a minimum of 12 credits of technical studies including information technology, professional marketing, e-commerce, and business analytics
- a pass in U.S. News’ annual ranking of top business schools (either first or second place)
- a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
- evidence of successful completion of a high-level business course (honors or higher) from an accredited source
- evidence of successfully completing a graduate-level business course from an accredited source
- a pass in the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- a minimum of three years of full time work experience (or its equivalent)
- a proven entrepreneurial spirit…
- a minimum of two years of leadership experience
- a personal or professional interest in marketing (e.g., market research, analytics, designing marketing campaigns, etc.)
- a proven ability to research market trends and to conduct analysis of market trends and relevant data
- a demonstrated interest in international business
- a passion for research (e.g., investigating market trends, analyzing data, designing research studies, etc.)
- a commitment to continuing education (e.g., seeking professional development opportunities, attending relevant conferences, etc.)
- a desire to network (e.g., through relevant social media, participating in professional communities, etc.)
- an ability to blog or vlog (e.g., in a personal or professional capacity)
This requirements list may be slightly different from what you’ve seen before because Illinois is a public university system and therefore they are not bound by the “sphere of influence” of a private business school. As a result, the credits applicable to your marketing degree may not be the same as what is required for a traditional private MBA. However, you should still be able to qualify for an Illinois OMBA with your existing knowledge and skillsets. The university is also able to accommodate students with varying levels of experience because all of the courses are open online and therefore accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. So, while you might not have an entire team of researchers and analysts at your disposal, you will certainly have access to a wealth of information and the ability to conduct business research of any kind you might need. Plus, with multiple schools to choose from, there will certainly be an option that suits your existing knowledge and career path.
How Many Years of Grad Studies Do I Need?
The OMBA degree can be completed in two years and qualified candidates can start their job search immediately after graduation. However, if you’re looking for a career in marketing and you want to maximize your odds of getting an interview, you might want to consider putting in the additional year of graduate studies to get your degree and then getting immediately ready to compete for jobs.
Will An Online MBA Improve My Chances Of Getting A Job?
According to an Aberdeen Group report from 2018, 81% of employers say they have increased their use of job applications tools (e.g., CV databases, social media) in order to find employees who are better suited for the roles they need to fill. This means that employers are now looking at your entire life outside of school in addition to your academic performance in order to make a decision about whether or not to interview you for a role. The OMBA degree is essentially marketing-focused and with so much emphasis on marketing analytics, research, and management, you will have no trouble finding a job in these areas.
What About A Masters In Marketing?
In addition to the OMBA, Illinois State University (2 years) and the University of Illinois (3 years) offer Masters of Marketing degrees. While these degrees may not be as directly applicable to your job search as an OMBA, they can certainly be a springboard to further your education and career.
In conclusion, getting an MBA is a worthwhile endeavor, but so is getting an OMBA. Not only will you have the opportunity to further your education, but you will also immediately have access to a job search. You may not need an MBA to succeed in your job search, but an OMBA can certainly increase your odds of obtaining an interview and eventually getting a job.