Online MBA in Organizational Development

Organizational development refers to the planning and techniques used to improve an organization’s efficiency and productivity. Graduates who receive an online MBA1 in organizational development are qualified to take on jobs such as human resources director, school principal, and office manager and often rise to the top of their fields.

An online MBA program in organizational development blends courses in business management with those that prepare students for a high-level career in organizational development. Students complete these programs with the necessary skills and knowledge to take on the tasks associated with jobs in their field and ready to face common workplace challenges.

What is an Online MBA in Organizational Development?

An online MBA in organizational development is an advanced degree that indicates a graduate’s successful completion of advanced business management and organizational development courses. Graduates of these programs are highly qualified to take on top-level positions with organizations of all sizes in the public and private sector. They’ve completed courses on a variety of topics that include leadership techniques, team-building methods, organizational layout and development, and conflict resolution. Additionally, graduates have received advanced training in business management.

While an online MBA program in organizational development includes master’s level courses on the topic, it’s the only type of degree that offers students the opportunity to gain expertise in their field of study while learning to become leaders in their field. MBA programs include high-level management training and are ideal for students who have some work experience in their field and are looking to take their career to the next level.

Any prospective student who is considering an online MBA with a concentration in organizational development or any other field should first determine whether online education is going to fit their learning style. While obtaining an MBA online is a great choice for those who are employed full-time or have other major commitments, it can be challenging for those who don’t have adequate spare time to commit to their studies and for those who learn better in a classroom setting.

Online MBA in Organizational Management Curriculum

Students who earn an MBA in organizational development online are required to complete courses specifically designed to help them transition into management roles. These courses usually cover the following topics:

  • Strategic writing for business
  • Communications
  • Human resources management
  • Financial management and accounting
  • Business law
  • Ethics
  • Operations management
  • Entrepreneurship

Online MBA programs with a concentration in organizational management also require students to complete master’s-level courses in their chosen field. Students can expect to take some variation of the following courses. Exact titles and outlines may vary depending on the school:

  • Conflict Resolution: Students learn to examine their personal communication styles and discover the best ways to communicate effectively when conflicts arise.
  • Team-Building Techniques: This course provides students with a variety of methods for improving and maintaining team morale through team-building exercises and activities. It also teaches effective policy and communication between leaders and employees.
  • Communication in Business: Students in this course are taught effective communication techniques and etiquette in the business world. Topics may include writing for business, social media, and external and internal communications.
  • Organizational Layout: This course teaches students how to build a solid foundation in business by creating an effective organizational layout. Students learn how to create an effective alignment between organizational components, create an appropriate structure, and match talent to each position within their organization.

Those who wish to apply to an online MBA in organizational management usually need to have at least one year of work experience and a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Some schools also want students to have high GMAT scores, although many are now choosing to waive this requirement2 so they can appeal to more prospective students.

What Unique Career Paths Can I Pursue With an Online MBA Specializing in Organizational Development?

Graduates of an accredited MBA program in organization development online are qualified for a wide range of careers. They can choose from jobs within the private sector or government and have the potential to reach top-level leadership roles.

The following list includes just some of the career opportunities that may be available to graduates of online MBA programs in organizational development.

Chief Executive

Chief executives3 sit at the head of major corporations. They typically work as part of a team that consists of a chief executive officer, a chief financial officer, a chief operations officer, and a chief technology officer. This team is responsible for making major decisions for their organization and overseeing departments that fall within their area of responsibility. Most are required to work long hours, including evenings and weekends, and travel is common among chief executives.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics4, chief executives earned an average salary of $189,600 per year as of May 2018. Opportunities for chief executives are expected to rise 8% by the year 2026, which is about average.

Training and Development Specialist

Training and development specialists5 plan and administer programs within organizations that help employees improve their performance and enhance their knowledge and skills. They typically work with managers and executives to determine their organization’s needs and develop training programs based on areas that require improvement. They work within nearly every industry and often speak in front of large groups. In many cases, training and development specialists are required to travel to give presentations to employees of their organization.

As of May 2018, training and development specialists made an average of $60,870 per year. Demand for this position is expected to increase at an above-average rate, with an estimated 11% growth by the year 2026.

Management Analyst

Management analysts6, also commonly known as management consultants or business consultants, typically work as independent contractors or for consulting firms. They provide advice to their clients, which can be businesses of all sizes, that’s meant to improve efficiency and productivity within their organizations. They typically spend a period ranging from several days to several months working within a client’s offices analyzing their sales, processes, and staffing prior to making recommendations. In most cases, management analysts are required to travel to meet with their clients, and some may work overtime.

The average management analyst earned $83,610 per year as of May 2018. Opportunities for this job are expected to increase 14% by the year 2026, which is faster than average.

Human Resources Director/Manager

Human resources directors and managers7 oversee staffing for the organizations that employ them. They’re in charge of managing recruiting campaigns and work with managers and human resources staff to interview and hire new employees. Human resources directors also work with benefits administrators to create compensation packages for employees and mediate conflict that occurs between employees.

As of May 2018, human resources directors and managers earned an average of $113,300 per year. This occupation is expected to grow at an average rate of 9% by the year 2026.

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Postsecondary education administrators8 are responsible for overseeing administrative activities in colleges and universities. They may be in charge of a single department, such as academics, research, student services, or admissions, or, if the institution is small enough, they may oversee all departments. Most keep regular office hours and work occasional overtime.

As of May 2018, the average postsecondary education administrator earned $94,340 per year. Opportunities for this role are expected to increase 10% by the year 2026, which is a little faster than average.

School Principal

School principals9 work in elementary, middle, and high schools. They oversee all operations, including academics and daily school activities. Their tasks include ensuring the school follows the prescribed curriculum, managing staff, and when necessary, disciplining students. Overall, their most important function is to make sure that the school they run provides students with a safe learning environment. Most principals work year-round and keep regular office hours. On some occasions, such as during school events, they may be required to work overtime.

As of May 2018, school principals earned an average of $95,210 per year. Demand for this job is expected to increase at an average rate of 8% by the year 2026.

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Should I Get an Online MBA in Organizational Development?

Students who are interested in a career in this field should consider all of the options available to them prior to applying. While an online MBA in organizational development is an excellent choice for any student looking to work at the top of this field, there are several considerations any prospective student should make before planning their career.

Online MBA in Organizational Development vs. Online MBA in Human Resources

While both organizational development and human resources deal with functions that are related to employment and staffing, there are several key differences between the two. Organizational development is a broader area of study that focuses on talent management, just as human resources does, but it also includes areas such as professional development, change management, and team development. Overall, organizational development professionals are responsible for ensuring progress within their organization, while human resources professionals are limited to overseeing staffing.

Online MBA in Organizational Development vs. Master’s in Organizational Development

Although both programs require students to take master’s-level courses in organizational development, only an online MBA program blends these courses with high-level business management training. Students who are interested in following a career path that takes them to the top of their industry should consider obtaining an online MBA in organizational development.

Do you feel that you’re an effective communicator?

Many of the occupations that are filled by organizational development professionals require strong communication skills. In some cases, these jobs may require some level of public speaking or presentations.

Are you comfortable leading others?

Individuals who obtain an MBA in organizational development online usually go on to leadership and management positions. Students entering this field should be comfortable with becoming managers and leading their peers.

Do you have a keen interest in learning how organizations are structured and applying those concepts throughout your career?

The most important focus of an education in organizational development is the layout and structure of organizations. Students who earn an MBA in this concentration learn the best methods for structuring staffing needs to achieve long-term success within an organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I complete my program in less than two years?

While most online MBA programs in organizational development take approximately two years to complete, one of the major benefits of earning an MBA online is the ability to work at your own pace. Students may complete their coursework as quickly as possible, provided it’s finished within the program’s allotted time. Those who are extra-eager can apply to accelerated programs that allow students to earn an MBA online in a period of six to eight weeks. Those who need more time can search for part-time online MBA programs, which typically take up to five years to complete.

Is an online MBA as good as an MBA earned in a classroom-based program?

Many online schools in the United States are fully accredited to issue MBAs and other degrees. There are also some that may claim to have accreditation when they don’t. It’s crucial that prospective students do their research and make sure the program they’re applying to is accredited. This can be done online by searching the United States Department of Education’s database of accredited programs10.

What does it cost to obtain an accredited MBA in organizational development online?

Tuition fees vary depending on the institution and length of the program, but students should expect the total cost of their online MBA to be in the tens of thousands of dollars. According to the BLS, the average tuition for graduate school programs was $16,435 per year as of the 2012-2013 school year.

Can I obtain an MBA online if I only have a three-year undergraduate degree?

Prerequisites may vary depending on the program and the school, but most accept students who have a three-year undergraduate degree as long as they meet the program’s work experience requirements.


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