Manderson online master’s program named No. 1 in SEC

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Manderson online master’s program named No. 1 in SEC

CW/ Carter Eike

CW/ Carter Eike

CW/ Carter Eike

CW/ Carter Eike

Jonathan Booker, Contributing Writer

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Out of 156 schools, U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 list of Best Online Graduate Programs (non-MBA) ranked the University’s Manderson Graduate School of Business online master’s program No. 10 in the country and No. 1 in the SEC, scoring a 90 out of 100.

Manderson, which is within the Culverhouse College of Business, offers specialized master’s degrees online, tailored mostly to those who are already in their career path. These degrees, not to be confused with a full-on MBA that covers all aspects of business at a higher level, exist to increase one’s expertise in a certain area. They take one year and are comprised of 30 to 33 hours.

Operations Management, Management (global) and the Marketing Analytics specialization offered by Manderson were assessed together for the report. The report calculates five categories, each with percentage weights to determine the rankings: engagement (28 percent), student excellence (25 percent), expert opinion (25 percent), faculty credentials and training (11 percent) and student services and technology (11 percent). The University’s program engagement rank was No. 4, and its student excellence rank was No. 7.

Jan Jones, director of specialized master’s programs at Manderson, said U.S. News & World Report determines these rankings by reviewing data from each one of the specialized master’s programs, then pushing them together under the designation “non-MBA.”

“Wherein the MBA you take a lot of different classes, in marketing you’re going to take nine, if not ten, marketing-only classes,” Jones said.

Jones said while the advantage of an on-campus experience is valuable in its own right, the experience is often not needed by those getting online, one-year, specialized degrees.

“The majority of the distance learning students are in a career already, and they’re adults,” Jones said. “So they’re already working 8-5. They have interpersonal skills. They already know about team building and things like that. They’re now getting the background knowledge. They’re learning managerial accounting, where they may not have had an accounting background.”

Jones said the traffic these online degrees receive are from the demographic of adults with existing careers who want to improve on them without quitting their job or moving to get a degree. According to the report’s graduate business program overview, 79 percent of those in the program are already employed when they enroll in it.

“A lot of employers provide benefits that they’ll pay for graduate classes, and they don’t want to miss out on that benefit,” Jones said. “And then you compound it by The University of Alabama’s offering this highly ranked business graduate degree, and it’s an opportunity that they can’t pass. It’s extremely affordable.”

Jones said the degree is only made more attractive by technology now that online students are missing out on far less than ever.

“With today’s technology, it’s infinite – the possibilities,” Jones said.

Alec Rogers, a sophomore majoring in management information systems, is on an accelerated master’s track and sees the advantages for an online specialized master’s degree.

“The benefit of an online program is how flexible it is,” Rogers said. “You can pretty reasonably have a full-time job and be a full-time student if you are taking online classes that you can fit to your schedule.”

Conor Lazarus, a sophomore majoring in finance and economics, said the specialized master’s degree would interest him if it could help him earn a higher salary.

“If a one-year graduate degree significantly increases the amount of money I can earn in my career, I would be interested,” Lazarus said.