Online "Tech" MBA Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Beagle412, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Beagle412

    Beagle412 New Member

    I'm a senior consultant in information technology with 15 years experience in IT and I've found I really enjoy project management consulting and management consulting as well. I've been told that an MBA is going to be key to me advancing in this direction, particularly because I have a non-business undergrad degree and a tech-heavy resume. So I'm looking for an MBA program with a specialization/concentration in IT or IS (the so-called "Tech MBA"), or a dual-degree MBA/MSIT or MBA/MSIS program. With the amount of travel I do, online study is my only option, and my company requires AACSB accred. for reimbursement. Since company is paying, cost is less important, but still would like to stay under $50k for the degree to not have to borrow too much. Keep in mind also that I'm going to have to have foundation courses due to my BA-Biology from 14 years ago. Program reputation and recognition on a national level are important to keep my options open for relocating to anywhere in the U.S. I know it's a tall order, but my short list is below and I welcome any advice or comments from the field, including any other programs that might fit my needs that I have overlooked:

    Michigan Tech Tech MBA - new program, good curriculum, $38k all inclusive

    Penn State iMBA - since I live in PA, excellent name recog. and alumni assoc., but expensive at ~ $50k

    Auburn University MBA/MSIS - online dual degree, relatively inexpensive for both degrees (~$24-28 for MBA, another $8k or so I think for MSIS)

    UMASS Amherst MBA - inexpensive, great reputation, not tech-centric though

    Marist MBA - tech concentration, not sure of reputation outside Northeast, inexpensive, non-biz undergrad friendly

    Thanks, all!
  2. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    I know others will disagree with me here, but I wouldn't worry myself too much about finding a tech-focused MBA. An MBA is a generalist's degree. Yes, some schools will let you craft a concentration or a major, but really, you're just overweighting your electives in a single area, and if you're going to do that, you're better off going for a specialist degree - for example, someone with an MAcc is going to do better in the job market for accountants than someone with an MBA with an accounting concentration.

    My advice to you is the same I would give anyone considering an MBA: Go to the best school you can afford. And by afford, I don't mean "where Sallie Mae will give me enough money to go." I mean that you can reasonably expect to be able to either pay for outright, get your employer to sponsor you to attend, or attend with a manageable loan. The MBA market is rapidly approaching if not past the point of saturation, and your payback is uncertain. You aren't guaranteed a better outcome by attending a more prestigious school, but seeing as a large part of the MBA experience is the alumni network you are joining, it certainly helps.

    Since your employer is footing the bill, if I were you, I would seriously consider the Kelley Direct program at Indiana University. It's got some short residencies, but is a really well recognized program without the sticker shock you might get from executive programs at Fuqua, Wharton, Booth, etc. It will be a shade over your $50K limit, but it is a really, really great program for the price.

    Hope this helps, best of luck with your search!
  3. CargoJon

    CargoJon New Member

  4. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    I think Fortunato's recommendation about Kelly is a good one. Certainly the strongest of all the schools mentioned in this thread so far. Personally, I would avoid PSU's iMBA, it isn't housed inside the University's highly regarded b-school but through their "global campus".

    I attended Auburn and received my BS through their business school. You can't go wrong with the quality of education you'll receive from them. The university has also begun a campaign to grow the national reputation of the b-school, even hiring outside consultants to design a new promotional campaign. That said, if you can do the program at Indiana (Kelly) at no cost to you, that is the road I would travel down.
  5. CargoJon

    CargoJon New Member

    Is this point going to be known or noticed by anyone evaluating the OP's resume? I have a tough time thinking this has a whole lot of relevance.
  6. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    It absolutely matters. It's not the same faculty, you're not a part of the Smeal Business School alumni network, the networking opportunities are limited. Indiana or Auburn would be better options for the money. I'm not big on UMass-Amherst, but I would choose their MBA program over the iMBA PSU-Global Campus is offering.
  7. Beagle412

    Beagle412 New Member

    Thanks everyone for the feedback - this is very helpful! Along the tangent of alumni networks and associations - how much are online MBA grads welcomed into such programs and able to utilize them and capitalize on them as compared to full time MBA grads? Penn State's network is supposed to be incredibly effective (at least here in PA and the Northeast), but I wonder if it would be as effective if I was not a Smeal grad, but a Worldcampus grad, for example?
  8. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    I think it matters. When you list your MBA on your resume you should notate which school/campus you graduated from. Directly from the PSU World Campus website:
    "In 1998 The Pennsylvania State University launched its 25th campus of the University, Penn State World Campus."
    That means you aren't graduating from the most prestigious of PSU's campuses, University Park, which is where Smeal is housed. Any HR person in the Northeast, and especially ones in PA, would/should recognize that. I'm not saying the iMBA has no value, but for what they are charging there are much better options out there. You aren't going to have access to the Smeal MBA Alumni network if you graduate from the World Campus. Since none of the 25 PSU campuses operate independently you would be a part of the PSU alumni association but you wouldn't be a Nittany Lion.
  9. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    It is going to vary widely by school. I'm with AUTiger00 in that I think the PSU iMBA is not going to plug you into the Smeal network, but for years the Kelley Direct MBA was awarded from IU's Indianapolis campus (these days, students get to choose a home campus), not the main campus in Bloomington, but the alumni network was made up of graduates from both schools. The difference is that IU brands both school's programs under a single Kelley School of Business umbrella, while PSU explicitly doesn't.

    Of course, I should point out that even if the iMBA was awarded by Smeal, I'd still recommend the IU program over PSU. Smeal is up and coming, but Kelley is already a top-30 b-school, and has been consistently for a very long time.
  10. Get the Penn State MBA. Worth the cost in the long term based simply on brand recognition in your home state. It won't be easy, prepare for some serious work. Also, absolutely no reason to list on a resume that it was "World Campus" and you only need to mention it if asked. I think anyone who looks at your graduate date and sees your work history/age is going to be able to draw their own conclusions anyway.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2010
  11. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    So you're telling him to lie by omission? So if you got an MBA from University of California-Santa Cruz, would you just list University of California and let the person looking at your resume draw their own conclusion?

    The name recognition of PSU World Campus is not the same thing as the name recognition of PSU-University Park, anyone who says it is is delusional. You should ALWAYS list which campus your degree is from. You can get a degree from a much more prestigious program for much less money. The PSU world campus i MBA is $51,392. You could get both the MBA and MS degrees you mentioned at Auburn University for less money. For just a little more than the iMBA program you could graduate from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University, a program consistently ranked in the top 25.
  12. AUTiger, you are completely misinformed. Let me educate you.

    University of California (UC) and Cal State University (CSU) are public university systems comprised of distinct universities. It wouldn't make sense to say you went to "University of California" or "California State University". UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz are two completely different universities under the umbrella of the UC system.

    By contrast, Pennsylvania State University is one university with 24 campuses, of which World Campus is one of them.

    Putting what campus you went to on a resume is completely optional and not at all "lying". Do a search of resumes, you'll see that some people omit the campus and some people don't. Many people who went to the University Park campus list the campus because it is the most prestigious. Again, optional.

    To your other point, the vast majority of people in Pennsylvania -- the people the poster will mostly come in contact with -- have no idea what Auburn University is. But they will know three things with a cursory search:

    1) It is in Alabama.
    2) The candidate likely never lived to Alabama.
    3) An out of state degree from Alabama is a little weird.

    When they see "Pennsylvania State University" they'll immediately know what that is. They were probably born Penn State fans. They see Penn State bumper stickers everywhere. There are campuses everywhere. The football team is beloved. Penn State has instant recognition, affiliation, and respect. It is on the morning news, billboards, people talk about it, etc. etc. etc.

    Is it worth the extra money? I'd say in most cases, yes, depending on what you want to do with it.
  13. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    The company I work for is headquartered in PA and everyone knows who Auburn is...after all they have a football team!
  14. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    I've lived in PA (Philadelphia) and anyone I ever came into contact with absolutely knew Auburn University if only for our football program.

    I also understand that PSU's campuses don't operate as independent entities (look at my previous post in this thread where I state that), I know how the PSU system works, but if you think that PSU-University Park, PSU World Campus, PSU-Altoona or any of the other campuses are all viewed as the same/equal, you're the one that is misinformed. I think an employer would feel misled if they thought they were hiring a Smeal graduate (again, a top-30 program) and the applicant had actually graduated from the b-school at any of their other campuses. The quality of education varies greatly from campus to campus. You obviously see things differently so we'll have to agree to disagree.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2010
  15. I don't believe you did know the difference between UC and PSU, otherwise you wouldn't have made the comparison.

    You aren't misleading anyone by putting this on your resume:

    Master of Business Adminstration - 06/2010 - Pennsylvania State University

    Graduates of Smeal who want to distinguish themselves should put Smeal on THEIR resumes. That burden is not on graduates of the online program. They aren't deceiving anyone, they are stating a fact: They earned an MBA from Penn State.

    Here's from the FAQ for the program:

    Will the iMBA diploma differ from the resident MBA diploma?

    When you complete the iMBA, your diploma will state that The Pennsylvania State University grants you the degree of master of business administration in recognition of the completion of advanced study in business administration. Additionally, your transcript will be a Penn State transcript. Neither the diploma nor the transcript will differentiate the mode (online or otherwise) in which the courses or degree was completed.

    In other words, you have a master of business administration from Penn State. Period.

    Finally, in an informal office poll of 6 men and one woman, only one person heard of Auburn University. When asked if he knew the state it resided in or the quality of the school, he said no. Even if we were to assume Auburn University was well known in PA, it is, by no stretch of the imagination, as recognized as Penn State.

    This brings me to my recommendation: If you can afford the Penn State MBA, go with that. I think in the long run, it will pay dividends exceeding that of the other programs listed. Now if you plan to leave the state, that's another debate.
  16. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    And I disagree with you. You see no problem with lying to potential employers. I have a different opinion.
  17. Are you joking? I hope you are.
  18. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    My comment was a bit tongue in cheek, I don't think you are condoning lying, but we do disagree. I think it is misleading/a lie by omission to simply list Penn State University on your resume without specifying the campus. In my opinion there is a huge difference between the University Park campus and any of the other campuses and the branch you attended should be clarified on your resume. You obviously feel differently and that is your perogative.
  19. djacks24

    djacks24 New Member

    I have to agree here. I think thomas_jefferson is thinking of the seperate campus as a satellite extension of the main campus.

    For instance, My alma matter has a few extension centers located in other far out cities for students to take courses at for a few select programs of study, as do some of our other state universities. I think these extension sites are for transfer students only, so a student could not do their entire undergrad at one of these extensions. However if a student transfers in and takes their remaining courses at the satellite location, their degree will still be from EMU.

    Now U of M on the other hand, has a main Ann Arbor campus, a Dearborn campus, and a Flint campus. All three campuses are completely separate entities containing their own degree programs where undergrads can complete all of their undergrad credits at that campus. Also, any graduates I've seen that are graduates from either U of M Flint or U of M Dearborn list their degrees specifying which campus it was unless its the main campus. So, 3 different campuses = 3 different colleges so to speak.

    But that's my two cents. I'm sure if thomas_jefferson gets his diploma and transcripts then he will know for sure.
  20. cravenco

    cravenco New Member

    This brings up a good question. What do you put on your resume'?

    Example would be with Harvard. If I am correct, Harvard has an extension. Do you put Harvard or Harvard Extension for your degree?

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