FORTUNE -- Dear Annie: I was intrigued by your column about online degree programs, because lately I've been interviewing candidates for a department head position at my company. The people who have held this job before have been MBAs, as are the most promising people I'm considering right now, but there's a catch. Two of them, both highly qualified in terms of experience, got their graduate business degrees online -- one from a school I've never heard of (which I realize doesn't necessarily mean anything, since I'm hardly an expert on the subject). Can you tell me how to evaluate an online MBA degree? — Stumped in SoHo
Dear Stumped: You aren't the only one wondering. Headhunters and hiring managers hold wildly differing views on the merits of online MBAs, according to Tavia Ewen, a recruiter in the Houston office of the Alexander Group, which specializes in C-suite executive and board member searches. Ewen has heard some variation of your question from so many clients that she has come up with a list of four guidelines for evaluating an online MBA.
Long-distance programs are usually made up of exactly the same course content as campus-based MBAs, Ewen notes, and they answer a real need. "So many executives now maintain rigorous travel schedules, with some on the road up to five days a week" that traditional classroom learning just isn't practical, she says. "So universities have responded accordingly, with prestigious institutions like Duke, Johns Hopkins, MIT, and the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School offering their programs online for on-the-go professionals."
As you point out, however, many lesser-known schools have followed suit. Here's how to evaluate a long-distance MBA with an unfamiliar name. More
After a multi-year study, Wharton announced several changes to its vaunted MBA program, giving increased flexibility to incoming students and offering life-long, tuition-free courses to alumni.
By John A. Byrne, contributor
(poetsandquants.com) -- After what it said was a multi-year study, Wharton faculty voted on Friday to overwhelmingly approve revisions to an MBA program that will offer students greater customization and flexibility based on their backgrounds and experience.
Wharton said that the MOREDec 6, 2010 10:08 AM ET
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