ONLINE BUSINESS DEGREES: OPTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Stacy L. Pritt, DVM, MBA
Covance Research Products, Inc.; Stacy.firstname.lastname@example.org 717.336.4921
Oftentimes, the formal business or management education received during college
(undergraduate and veterinary) is insufficient to prepare veterinarians for the rigors of
practice ownership or senior management positions within a larger organization in industry.
The pursuit of a formal business degree, usually at the graduate level, may provide
graduate veterinarians with additional information and knowledge that can complement
their veterinary clinical skills and allow for success in business and management
endeavors. Also, obtaining a graduate level business degree can help veterinarians pursue
a career change outside of clinical practice if so desired. When evaluating graduate
business programs, veterinarians should consider the benefits of online learning.
Online learning is defined by the US Department of Education (DOE) as “The
acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and instruction. It
encompasses all technologies and supports the pursuit of lifelong learning for all.” While
the growth of online college degrees and courses is well noted, people usually have two
main questions regarding these programs (1) Are the degrees real? and (2) Do students
learn as much as in traditional classroom settings? The answer to both questions is yes.
When degrees are obtained from institutions of higher learning accredited by an approved
accrediting agency (approved by the US DOE), the degrees are real. Also, research
indicates that there is no difference in learner outcomes and satisfaction between traditional
classroom and distance education1,2,3,4.
There has been tremendous growth in online education during the past decade. The
Sloan Consortium is a group that publishes an annual report about online education each
year. According to these reports, online education became a regular component of