Skip to main content

W. P. Carey School leads online MBA field

March 01, 2011

Many people have considered going back to school to help advance their careers, only to worry about how that would fit into their busy work and family lives. Over the past several years, new options have become available to get an MBA degree with the convenience of an online program without having to sacrifice the high quality of a real, traditional university.

One of the leaders in this area is the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which currently has full-time and part-time MBA programs ranked Top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Students serving in the military, training for the National Football League, starting their own businesses, and traveling extensively for their jobs are among those who have worked their way through the online version of the program, thanks to extreme convenience and flexibility.

“We have many MBA platforms, but our online MBA program has grown from 100 students to more than 450 students since it went fully online in 2003; we’ve been a leader in taking highly respected business schools onto the Web,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “We offer the same internationally recognized faculty who teach in our on-campus classrooms. We have an excellent 95-percent degree-completion rate and the assurance of AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accreditation, the standard measure of quality among business schools around the world.”

Since the program started, students have included NFL Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff, who recently scored in the playoffs and clinched a five-year contract deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Cundiff completed his MBA degree while attending NFL training camp and then landed a venture capital job through the W. P. Carey School of Business, prior to his recent return to pro-football.

Cundiff has said of his online MBA experience, “This is the best two-year investment I probably could ever have made in myself. It taught me the language of business so I could bridge my skills between the competitive environments of the football field and the business world.”

The current online MBA class includes Lieutenant Colonel Scott Coulson, now serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Coulson was awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Badge for his service and actions while leading combat missions in Iraq. The online MBA format allows him to continue his military career while getting the background he wants in business.

“I also earned my MBA online through the W. P. Carey School of Business, while I was serving in the military,” says James King, who’s now director of admissions for the W. P. Carey MBA. “The program was phenomenal and provided me with the tools and knowledge I needed to transition from my 22 years in the Navy to a new career.”

Another student in the program lived in three different cities around the world, while he was working on his degree. Johnny Issa is a highly regarded senior engineer with a well-known tech company, and he is on-call 24 hours a day. He started the program in Arizona, then moved to Oregon, back to Arizona, and then to Beirut, Lebanon, before completing his degree in Arizona. He says because of the nature of his work, it can be difficult just to make time to drive to class or to guarantee he can be in a classroom at a given time.

“After completing my Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and working for a few years, I started considering an MBA degree, which would be very helpful for my career development,” says Issa. “Since I relocate quite often in my job, and I sometimes get paged from work at midnight, I thought this might be impossible. However, with the W. P. Carey online MBA program, I was able to achieve my goal. It gave me the flexibility to go over my readings and modules online by myself at any time. I also really like how the program is set up so that you complete one class at a time, and after each six-week class, you enjoy a one-week break, in addition to the summer and December vacations to refresh.”

The program also includes various professionals who want to start their own businesses in a specialized field, but who want to obtain more knowledge about how to run that business or to better serve their clients. For example, attorney Vaddrick Parker recently started a law firm on the East Coast and wanted to add to his academic and professional experience, which had centered around the law.

“After considering it against other top schools, I chose the W. P. Carey MBA because of the high quality of the business research at the school, the great value for the cost, and the six-weeks-per-class model, which was very advantageous,” says Parker. “The W. P. Carey MBA provided me with the core knowledge in key areas, such as finance, marketing, operations, management and growth strategies, to help with the business side of my law firm, as well as the services I provide to my business clients. I really wanted a holistic view of a business from the top down, and this gave me exposure to all of it.”

The W. P. Carey School of Business online MBA program is a two-year, team-oriented program that matches students with peers in other industries. Participants have a dedicated financial aid specialist and a career center to help them with job searches. The format allows students to visit the ASU campus only once and then complete the rest of the program entirely via the Internet, focusing on just one course at a time.

“The W. P. Carey School is also one of the few online MBA programs that allow students to earn their degrees with an area of emphasis, such as finance, international business, marketing or supply chain management, a field in which our program is ranked Top 5 in the nation,” says Professor Beth Walker, associate dean for the W. P. Carey MBA. “The business world is changing. More people telecommute and work remotely; it just makes sense that business education would move in this direction, too.”