“MBA preferred” is a very common phrase found on job postings for competitive professional positions. In the past, just a bachelor’s degree and a strong work ethic were enough to distinguish you from the competition, but as business becomes more competitive so do the jobs within those business. As a busy professional, you don’t have time to commute to college or attend classes. So you begin to search google looking for information on online MBA programs. Capella University is undoubtedly one of the first schools you come across in your quest to find a quality online education. As you begin to search for information about the school and the quality of its program you find mixed reviews. Some claim the school is a diploma mill while others hail the advanced technology and claim the academic rigor is up to par. So, who do you trust? How about starting with an actual student who is currently enrolled in Capella University’s MBA program? I’ll give you an honest review of the technology, the course content and academic rigor, and the quality of teaching.
I am what you might call a “repeat offender”- Capella University was not my first experience with online schooling. As an undergraduate I attended Regent University’s online bachelor’s degree program. Both Regent and Capella utilize blackboard technology to provide online classrooms to tech-savy students. The system, in my opinion is intuitive and user-friendly. It provides notifications to the user whenever there are new posts in the discussion boards, new emails, and new announcements. The system time-stamps assignments whenever they are turned in, so there is never any question as to whether or not an assignment was turned in on time. The system also keeps track of all of your posts, and allows you to access them all with one click of a mouse. The other nice feature of the discussion boards is that students and teachers can easily attach files of all types to help them further explain or support their post.
The one negative aspect of Capella’s blackboard is the fact that it times out. On more than one occasion, I had been working on typing a lengthy post to the discussion boards. When my post was finished and I clicked to finish the system took me to a login screen and deleted my post. This can be incredibly frustrating, so I recommend writing and saving posts in Microsoft Word prior to trying to publish them on blackboard. All things considered, blackboard technology is an exceptional way to learn online.
Course Content and Academic Rigor
After completing three courses and working my way half-way through the fourth I can tell you that I have mixed feelings about the academic rigor but not necessarily the course content. The course content has been very informational. One thing to keep in mind with online learning is that you get out of it what you put into it. Unlike brick-and-mortar programs, there are no lectures to attend, and if you’re not disciplined enough to read the textbook (like most students in traditional programs) then you won’t learn anything. However, if you watch the optional tutorials and read the recommended chapters and articles you will find yourself quickly becoming an expert in your business concentration.
The difference between course content and academic rigor is that course content is the material available to the student, and academic rigor is the strictness of the grading. Programs with a high degree of academic rigor are more difficult to obtain high grades, but it also means that in order for students to succeed they must truly learn the course material and learn it well. I don’t feel that the professors at Capella are strict enough graders. There have been a few assignments that I submitted knowing full well that I did not put forth full effort and yet I still received 100% on the assignment. A lax grading style is a cause of concern for me because it cheapens the accomplishment of obtaining an MBA.
Quality of Teaching
I have been very impressed with the quality of instruction and the qualifications of the professors. Every one of my professor’s has had not only a doctorate degree in their field of study but also many years of relevant experience. I have been very impressed with the professors level of involvement on the discussion boards and their ability to teach through a non-traditional medium in a conversational style. All the professors have also been very easy to access by phone or email, and their turnaround time on grading papers and assignments has been exceptional.
If you were to ask me if I thought that Capella University was the best MBA program out there I would quickly respond with a “no.” If you were to ask me if I regret enrolling in their online MBA program I would respond equally as fast with yet another “no.” The program may not be as rigorous as some, but Capella provides me with the ability to learn truly challenging content that will help me develop professionally and academically. Whether or not I learn that content is up to me, and if you enroll in an online MBA or a traditional MBA, the value of the program will be completely dependent on your commitment to learn and apply what you’ve learned to your professional development.