What Can You Do With an MBA in Virginia
If you’re serious about climbing to the top in your business career and making as much money as possible, few things are as advantageous as a Master of Business Administration (MBA). It’s far more than just another degree on your resume. Employers search for it, because they know that if you’re an MBA graduate, you’ll have the ability to think strategically, communicate well, and stay abreast of the latest developments and technologies in the field. However, if you’re already a professional, you likely already put plenty of effort into your career, and you’re likely to find yourself pressed for time when you have work, family, and other life commitments as well. An online MBA offers you the options and flexibility you need to complete this critical part of your education on a timeline that will support your future needs, whether you take courses full-time or part-time. After admission to a program, professionals take as little as a year or 18 months, or as many as three years to finish the full content of your academic studies.
Why Consider an Online MBA?
Virginia sports a diverse economy with a well-educated population. Some of the top universities in the country are located in the Old Dominion, and many offer online MBAs, or hybrid MBAs in which utilize technology and either in-person study, much like your undergraduate degree, or campus events, including the ocassional visit for the sake of networking or access to the college alumni community. Some schools offer concentrations that center on the most in-demand MBA specializations in local industries or the world of government. Many federal offices are located in Virginia.
Percentage of Students Enrolled By Distance Education
Typical MBA Concentrations
Rather than only a general MBA, many students are drawn to MBA concentrations in main industries or fields. While you’ll find a variety of concentrations in any state, you tend to find that in-state programs know which concentrations have a higher demand in their own region. Some of the various specializations available in the US include innovation management, strategic planning, and the executive MBA for leaders. Considering how much more info you can learn in terms of your chosen field in these concentrations, this isn’t something you’ll want to skip over.
- Business Analytics
A concentration in business analytics teaches students how to make business decisions using sophisticated and current data analysis. This is the kind of concentration valuable in virtually any field, as these advanced technical skills are in high demand in both general business and particular occupations. Data-driven decision making is a key ability for top executives.
- Maritime, Ports, and Logistics
Virginia’s Port Authority covers four marine terminals at Norfolk, Newport News, and two at Portsmouth. There is a demand for port and maritime management at various nationwide locations and internationally. This is a highly specialized concentration and many who go into the field are former Navy officers or shipping company executives.
- Public Procurement and Contract Management
This is another concentration well-suited for the Virginia area, with its high number of federal employment opportunities and projects. In some schools, this specialization is known as a government contract concentration. The focus is on public contracts at every level; local, state, and federal.
- Real Estate
A real estate concentration will significantly benefit anyone planning a career in some form of property sales, managerial duties, fiscal housing policy, or mortgage securitization. This is true whether the candidate plans to be employed by a company or branch out on their own.
- Retail Management
Those desiring a senior position in retail companies can enhance the possibility of reaching a top post with this MBA concentration. This concentration focuses on marketing, finance, and accounting. It’s also a flexible concentration, enabling graduates to work in a variety of fields and industries.
Accreditation in Virginia
Seek out online MBA programs in Virginia accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). This accreditation is considered the business school gold standard, and corporate employers look for graduates from schools with this accreditation. Only about 30% of online MBA programs receive AACSB accreditation.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC) is the regional accrediting body for institutions of higher education in Virginia. SACSCC accreditation is recognized by the Council on Higher Education and the U.S. Department of Education. Other accreditations to look for include the Association of MBAs (AMBA), a designation given to some of the most well-regarded business schools in the U.S. and Europe. For online education only, the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is another valuable accreditation.
Career and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates
Virginia boasts a diverse economy including military, agriculture, communications, software development, and government contracting. Many Fortune 500 companies are based in the Old Dominion. Many northern Virginia residents work in or around Washington, D.C. and this area has one of the highest per capita incomes in the nation. Top economists consider Virginia to have one of the best business climates in the U.S. That makes the state an ideal place for a person with an MBA to find employment.
Top Employers in the State by Number of Employees
|Company Industry||Headquarters||Number of Employees|
|Hilton Hotels & Resorts / Hospitality||McLean||169,000|
|Dollar Tree / Retail||Chesapeake||116,505|
|The Salvation Army / Charity – Relief||Alexandria||108,790|
|General Dynamics / Defense||Falls Church||98,800|
|Mars, Incorporated / Food||McLean||75,000|
Average Degree Salary Ranges Potential
- Earnings with Associates - $50,066
- Earnings with Bachelors - $63,348
- Earnings with MBA - $90,365
Careers for Virginia MBA Grads
- Business Analyst
This job involves collecting and reviewing data with the goal of determining the marketing and business trends for an industry. Business analysts may find employment directly with companies or set up their own operations as consultants.
- Corporate Strategist
This position involves creating marketing and other vital strategies and overseeing their implementation. Constant monitoring is necessary to measure results and metrics, and make changes as needed.
- Financial Analyst
An individual in this position creates financial models for their company, along with exploring investment opportunities, predicting revenues and expenditures, and determining cost projections.
- Operations Manager
The person in this role oversees a company’s production of goods or services. This may mean staff recruitment, inventory oversight, and the determination of purchasing needs. As the manager, the individual in this position is responsible for the company’s overall operations, or a particular division of the organization.
- Project Manager
As the title implies, the person in this position is responsible for a project’s overall planning and execution from start to finish. This involves the project’s design, its monitoring processes, and keeping it on track until its completion.
- Supply Chain Management Director
Making sure supply meets a company’s demand is vital to an organization’s health. This position involves data collecting and analytics for improving a company’s supply chain management, and ensuring this system works as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Such management involves procurement and sustainability, along with logistics and pricing.
Best MBA Programs in Virginia
|Virginia Wesleyan University||Location
Virginia Beach, VA
|Eastern Mennonite University||Location
How to Choose & FAQ's
Choosing the right online MBA program is one of the most critical educational and career decisions you will make, so you must perform your due diligence and ensure the program you apply to is right for you. Online MBA programs are diverse, and what works for one student won’t for everyone. When considering an online MBA program, make a list of all your criteria and what is absolutely necessary for your needs. That’s an easy way to rule out some programs.
- Faculty and Curriculum
When choosing an online MBA program, make sure the school doesn’t consider you a second-class student. That means you are offered the same faculty and curriculum as your in-class MBA counterparts. The fact that you are a distance learner and won’t meet professors and classmates face to face should never affect the quality of the instruction or the ability to connect and network with other students. Networking is an essential part of an MBA program, and the program should provide many such chances, from projects you complete with other students to special seminars and meetings held that you may be able to attend. Ensure you can use resources offered to traditional MBA students, such as employer recruitment programs.
A general MBA degree is designed to provide graduates with top business skills. Ideally, you can then easily move into a management position in your industry based on the overall knowledge and experience you gain with your MBA. Many MBA candidates, however, seek specific concentrations that enhance their general MBA with the qualities required for a particular field. If your passion is real estate, for example, a concentration in that field gives you an advantage over a candidate without that in-depth skill set. If you have a set career goal in mind, look for a school that offers a concentration in that specialization. If your planned career is highly specialized, you may find only a limited number of schools offering such a concentration. That is one the greatest assets of an online MBA, in that you can receive the degree you seek even it’s not offered near where you live. For some concentrations, receiving an MBA online is the only practical solution for a candidate who does not live near a school offering such a degree.
Flexibility is the hallmark of the online MBA. A traditional MBA program is generally completed within two years or less, but online students may need additional time for degree completion. If you expect your career and/or family commitments to mean that it will take you longer than usual to earn your MBA, make sure the school’s time limit for degree completion is in line with your proposed schedule. Determine how classes are scheduled, and whether they are synchronous – held at specific times – or asynchronous, so you can take your class when you have time available. If you plan to attend a school near your home or job, look into the possibility of moving back and forth between online and in-class learning.
Unless you are independently wealthy, paying for tuition is always a concern. Even if your company is reimbursing you for your MBA education, tuition limits may apply. If you want to attend a school above your company’s limits, you must pay the difference out of pocket. Cost is not always indicative of quality, so perform your due diligence to ensure you are receiving a good education for the price you are paying. Check out the fee structure of an online MBA program. Without examining the various fees charged by a school, you will not receive an honest idea about the overall costs of your education. An online education should prove somewhat less expensive than an on-campus MBA, but that is not true in every situation.
- Loan Default Rate
Probably the last thing you have in mind when choosing an online MBA is the school’s loan default rate, but it is definitely something to research and keep in mind. The U.S. Department of Education’s website provides this information. If the school’s loan default rate is higher than average, that may show that its graduates are not finding employment easily, or the jobs they do land do not pay sufficiently for paying off student loans. While a school must make money, look for an institution that concentrates on the best student education possible, and not seeing students as “cash cows.”