CEC Theses and Dissertations


The Value of Distance Learning MBA Programs to Employers and Employees

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

George K. Fornshell


The goal of this study was to examine the perceived value of distance learning MBA degrees to employers and employees. Value was measured by promotion, improved job security, an increase in money, position or status, additional knowledge, or the expertise that the more highly educated employee brings to the work place. Feedback from employers and employees was used to examine their perceptions, support and acceptance of non-traditional degrees in the workplace.

Two online, web-based surveys were used to solicit opinions. The samples used included students who graduated from distance learning (DL) MBA programs and human resource professionals. The graduates were identified by university representatives using alumni lists for their MBA distance learning programs. Survey requests were provided to university representatives, who forwarded them to the graduates. Human resource professionals were identified through the Fortune 500 web site and the Society of Human

Resource Professionals. Requests were mailed to human resource professionals. Requests to complete the survey were also posted to graduate school and human resources forums. There were 167 responses to the Survey of Graduates and 159 responses to the Survey of Human Resource Professionals. Approximately 660 survey requests were mailed with an average response rate of approximately 50%.

The investigator expected to find that graduates of DL MBA programs would see a link between their degree and promotions or salary increases. The Survey of Graduates results showed that graduates felt their distance learning degree programs were a viable alternative to conventional degrees and believed their DL degrees would be as valuable as degrees earned through traditional programs. It was expected that some human resource professionals would not see a difference between the two degree types and others would feel that DL degrees were inferior. In fact, some employers were skeptical of distance learning degree programs and did not hold them in the same light as traditional degree programs. Many employers did not care where an employee earned the degree as long as the expected performance was evident.

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