Business Administration

Why Earn an Online MBA From a Washington, DC, Metro Area School?

Why Earn an Online MBA From a Washington, DC, Metro Area School?
As the center of politics, policy, and regulation, DC attracts business students interested in the intersection of private business and public policy. Image from Unsplash
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella October 14, 2020

You don't need to be classroom-bound to benefit from a highly ranked Washington, DC MBA program. Thanks to residency programs and online networking events, DC metro area online MBA programs offer tangible connections to everything the capital provides, plus a flexible schedule.

MBA/Business Programs You Should Consider

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Earning an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) means that you can complete the degree from anywhere. Even so, most students choose a local program. Why? Networking opportunities. By studying where they intend to build their careers—which most frequently means near their current homes—students develop invaluable connections with mentors, peers, and potential employers.

Some locations, because they are economic and industrial hubs, naturally draw more non-local students. The District of Columbia is certainly one such site. As the center of politics, policy, and regulation, DC attracts business students interested in the intersection of private business and public policy.

Whether you’re a DC-area local or an aspiring Mr. Smith, the nation’s capital can serve your graduate business needs through a top-rated online MBA. Thanks to the leadership conferences and residencies integrated into their online MBA programs, these programs afford students excellent opportunities to build relationships in and around the capital.

According to US News and World Report, online MBA degrees are an increasingly popular alternative to in-person degrees—and that was even before COVID-19 made everything digital. And for good reason: distance learning offers students significant advantages. Online MBA students can continue pursuing their current jobs while studying, helping to mitigate the cost of their degrees (some employers may even be willing to foot part or all of the bill). They can also implement the strategies they learn from professors on the job, in real-time.

An online MBA from a DC-area school means contact with and access to numerous Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, or governmental organizations. That’s why earning an online MBA in Washington, DC makes sense for so many students, local and non-local alike. In this article, we explore the opportunities these degrees provide by addressing:

  • Why earn an online MBA?
  • Which DC schools offer an online MBA?
  • Is earning an online MBA through a DC school an advantage?
  • Do MBAs at DC schools have a good return on investment?

Why earn an online MBA?

The MBA is the top graduate degree choice among business leaders. It trains students in management and business fundamentals, covering such diverse and essential topics as:

Whether you pursue your graduate business program online or on-campus, you’ll face more or less the same coursework and admissions requirements. Applicants typically submit GRE or GMAT scores, recommendation letters, undergraduate grades, and a resume.

Earning an MBA online provides students with a substantial degree of flexibility. While full-time MBA programs exist online, most operate on a part-time basis to attract students trying to balance school and a career. To accommodate these busy students, many online programs deliver most or all of their course content asynchronously—that is, available at any time 24/7, with no requirement to attend live classes.

The biggest knock on online MBA programs has historically been that students miss out on on-campus networking opportunities. In recent years, schools (including those in the nation’s capital) have established in-person residencies that allow students to network and develop connections.


“Should I Get A MBA?”

University and Program Name Learn More

Which DC schools offer an online MBA?

American University

Kogod School of Business

Washington, DC

AU offers an online MBA that doesn’t require GMAT or GRE scores to apply, though students must still submit information about prior education, letters of recommendation, and a resume. The program is highly ranked by US News & World Report—the marketing concentration is seventh among qualifying programs, and its general management concentration is 12th. Students can also choose concentrations in:

  • Business analytics
  • Finance
  • Consulting
  • Cybersecurity
  • Legal studies

Though most of the program is online, the curriculum includes two immersion experiences that offer the opportunity to work with real businesses. One event occurs in DC, and the other can take place abroad, allowing students to experience business on an international scale.

George Mason University

School of Business

Fairfax, VA

Part of a consortium of DC metro area schools, George Mason’s online MBA helps “students develop their analytical, managerial, and interpersonal skills in a rigorous, engaging business and management curriculum.” Though the 48-credit-hour program is entirely online, students have the opportunity to spend a week abroad learning about international business. The school also offers a business analytics certificate that students can complete alongside MBA coursework, allowing them to graduate with both.

The program targets current professionals. The school requires two or more years of work experience before applying. Once admitted, students complete courses like:

  • Statistics for Business Decision Making
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Operations Management
  • Management of Information Technology
  • Strategic Management

George Washington University

Washington, DC

School of Business

GWU offers a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous content in its online MBA program. Most lectures are pre-recorded, and students can complete the content at their own pace. Each class meets online weekly for one hour, though, so study is not entirely autonomous. All MBAs here complete a four-day residency in Washington, which facilitates more face-to-face interaction.

The part-time 46.5-credit degree program takes three years to complete. GWU also offers a part-time MBA in Healthcare, which qualifies graduates for health leadership roles. GWU’s program is good enough for to rank 22nd on US News & World Report‘s list of best online MBAs.

Howard University

School of Business

Washington, DC

Howard was the first Washington university to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a big deal for business schools. Its program has sat atop The Princeton Review‘s list of “Greatest Resources for Minority Students” for 16 straight years.
The school offers two online MBA programs: one traditional, the other an executive MBA.

The traditional program includes coursework like:

  • Economics for Global Leaders
  • Organizational Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Statistics and Business Analytics
  • Financial Management

The executive program, while offering similar opportunities in terms of coursework and study abroad choices, takes only 18 months of study and designed for experienced professionals.

University of Maryland – College Park

Robert H. Smith School of Business

College Park, MD

Ranked as the tenth-best online MBA program by US News & World Report, Maryland attracts experienced professionals, frequently with over eight years of work experience. This program, which is especially focused on career advancement, includes seminars like:

  • Your Value Proposition and Storyware
  • Peer Practice
  • Networking at the Next Level
  • MBA Job Search Planning

This online program offers many of the same amenities as on-campus degrees. Each student is assigned a career coach. They can practice interviewing and networking techniques and work on their portfolios through the Office of Career Services.

Is earning an online MBA through a DC school an advantage?

Online MBA programs usually target working professionals, meaning those living in the DC metro area can frequently take advantage of a local university’s connections. There are 16 Washington DC-based Fortune 500 companies and another 11 in nearby Fairfax. Add the countless nonprofits and think tanks, and you get a substantial opportunity to put an MBA to work in and around the capital, even for those who earn their degree online.

George Washington University has developed “institutional and professional relationships in the area [that] enable us to provide our distance-learning students with opportunities to immerse themselves through an optional four-day residency course in DC, class projects, digital course materials, live learning opportunities, and co-curricular experiences,” according to the school’s website. Not only does attending a program like this make sense for someone hoping to move to Washington, DC, but it can make attending a local school more enticing to those who already reside there. Why spend time developing connections in a different state if you aren’t planning to move there?

Do MBAs at DC schools have a good return on investment?

Calculating your potential return on investment is an important step before attending an online MBA—tuition usually ends up being nearly identical to in-person programs (i.e., it can get expensive). However, attending a good program can make the costs worthwhile. All MBA programs prepare students for upper-level management positions, which means that though you might spend more at a well-known institution, it can create a bigger payoff. Thanks to the many well-regarded institutions in the DC metro area, students at these schools enjoy ample opportunities to not only pay off debts but also earn a great living.

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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