Online or On-Campus: Which Healthcare MBA Format is for You?

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Woman working at a laptop.Healthcare is a growing industry in the U.S. and around the world. As recent reforms have opened access to care and technology has led to new modes of delivery and patient engagement, there’s more demand than ever for talented medical professionals to help guide the next wave of innovation and care improvement in healthcare.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the position of medical and health service manager — in charge of operations, accounting, marketing, information systems, and much more for hospitals or other providers — is expected to see job growth of 20 percent in the decade from 2016 to 2026, nearly three times the 7 percent growth estimated across all occupations.

Today, there’s a wide breadth of opportunities for people in the healthcare community to reach new career heights. And many are interested in gaining the skills and knowledge of graduate education — like a Healthcare Master of Business Administration (HCMBA) — to bolster their professional profiles.

However, one of the main questions prospective students face when deciding on a degree is whether to go the traditional campus route or seek an online Healthcare MBA program. Here are some things to consider when deciding which Healthcare MBA format is right for you.

What makes an on-campus degree attractive?

There’s much to be said for the traditional route of going to class and learning in a lecture hall. However, considering the busy lives of graduate students (many of whom are working professionals with busy family lives), this route may not always be the best option for those seeking a Healthcare MBA.

That said, the main benefit on-campus students enjoy is their proximity to professors and fellow classmates, with whom they can easily study and collaborate on projects. Attending lessons allows students to ask questions as they pop up, as well as utilize office hours to interact with instructors or get added assistance. Having a network of peers nearby can also be beneficial for those studying for a HCMBA, as collaboration and interpersonal skill-building are key objectives for master’s students.

Are there drawbacks to on-campus graduate programs?

Despite the advantage of proximity, the reality is many graduate programs don’t always align with the schedules and personal needs of prospective HCMBA students. While the online and campus programs are equally rigorous in content, learning expectations, and time demands, campus programs may not allow for the flexibility required by working professionals.

Many students do not live in close proximity to a world-class university, and even if they do, chances are they’ll spend valuable time in traffic or on trains getting to and from class. Due to work demands and busy family life, many students may not want to add to their daily commute by attending class in person.

What kind of experience does an online degree offer?

Some HCMBA students may be reluctant to consider online degrees because they question the quality of the education compared to an on-campus degree. However, an online Healthcare MBA program can offer the same enriching, immersive and fulfilling experience as an on-campus option.

Quality online HCMBA programs have their learning goals and professional outcomes closely aligned with on-campus degrees to ensure students gain the same skills and knowledge no matter how they complete coursework. In fact, there should be little to no difference in curricula between on-campus and online study. The best programs also support students with the same faculty availability and opportunity for interaction that an on-campus student may have.

What benefits does an online Healthcare MBA program have?

When prospective HCMBA students weigh whether an on-campus graduate education or an online program is right for them, they may want to consider their personal needs and assess how well each respective program empowers them to learn in a way that is most conducive to their personal and professional goals.

In this context, the advantages of an online master’s degree can become clear. Specifically, an online Healthcare MBA may be right for you if you value:

  • Flexibility in how and when you study. Working full time is a priority for many graduate students as they want to maintain their career momentum, and being able to conduct studies when their schedules allow is a great advantage.
  • Independence in completing your work. While there may be deadlines for major projects, students can work at their own pace in an online HCMBA program. Having the autonomy to complete coursework when it is convenient helps students handle matters outside of school without neglecting their studies.

Talk to GW today about getting your online HCMBA

Online Healthcare Master of Business Administration degrees offers students a full scope of studies and competencies to help them build the profiles they need to succeed in the growing and increasingly complex world of healthcare.

While the choice between on-campus and online coursework will come down to personal preferences or limits, prospective online HCMBA students should know that online education is as robust as other traditional avenues.

When you’re ready to take the first step toward earning your Healthcare MBA, talk to the George Washington University. We offer an accredited, 100 percent online HCMBA program designed to prepare you for high-level responsibilities as a healthcare influencer.

Recommended Readings:

 Tips for Success in Online Learning

Online Healthcare MBAs: Old Myths and New Facts


 U.S. News & World Report