What’s Next? Considering Part-Time or Online MBA

After I  applied for graduation last month, I decided to take a little time off to relax. I went to one of my favorite car shows and spent a weekend at the lake with my family. I’m feeling reenergized. I want to start my part-time or online MBA (or possibly a master’s in a more specific field. More on that later). Living in Charlotte, NC, I’m fortunate that there are some really excellent programs to choose from. It’s actually a little overwhelming.

There are 8 MBA programs in Charlotte, the 4th best online MBA program in the country, as well as a brand-new competency-based online option:

WGU North Carolina Online MBA

The 8 local options:

  • Northeastern University – Charlotte
  • Pfeiffer University – Charlotte
  • Queens University of Charlotte
  • Strayer University of Charlotte
  • University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC)
  • Wake Forest University – Charlotte
  • Wingate University – Ballantyne
  • University of South Carolina – Charlotte

The 4th best online MBA program in the country:

  • University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill – Kenan-Flagler

And the new competency-based online option:

  • WGU North Carolina

Almost all of the options require a GMAT score as an application requirement. One notable exception is WGU North Carolina. I’m torn right now between two main options. Should I spend 3-4 months studying for the GMAT to get a top score to attend a local brick and mortar program or Kenan-Flagler online? GMAT scores are good for five years, so I feel like it can’t hurt either way.

The other option is to just throw myself headlong into WGU’s program, which doesn’t require a GMAT. I feel like I could almost finish their whole program in the time it would take me to study for the GMAT. It would be a fun goal to complete their MBA program in one semester.

I’m trying to figure out the value of a brick and mortar option. Is it worth it to pay $40k-$100k and spend more than a year? It’s complicated. There’s a lot of value in networking, the alumni network, and connecting with employers. There’s also the prestige that comes with the name of the school. Those things are hard to quantify to be able calculate a ROI.

On the other hand, it’s awfully tempting to crush a WGU online MBA in one semester. I could be done by spring for under $4,000. Lot’s to think about.