Sunday, August 07, 2005

University of Florida - Hypothetically Speaking

I had a question on my opinion (were I in a hypothetical situation) on the I-MBA at UF, given their option to waive some requirements if you already held a BA or BS in Business. The additional caveats were that perhaps other programs were a bit too expensive, time to complete could be a factor, that your based in Las Vegas, so on and so forth. I'll do this mostly as a comparison to ASU, as that's what I'm most familiar with, and that's half the topic of this blog.

I'm presuming this refers to UF's 1-year Program, which is available if you already have a business degree. If anyone has worked out other waivers with UF for specific coursework, I'd be interested to hear about it, but I'm going to make the assumption that we're talking about the 1-year Program.

First off the top, one year isn't - it's 16 months. Nit-picking, perhaps, but just something to know before you jump into it.

Secondly, I still hold my opinion from earlier is that one year (1 and 1/3 years, as the case may be) is just a bit short to be cramming all that material into, and have some of it reasonably stick. Not to say that it wouldn't, or that their graduates are any worse off than their two year program - I just personally wouldn't want to cram that much in such a short amount of time, unless it's simply to "check the box", so to speak.

Thirdly... The greenbacks. The cost of the 1-Year Program at UF is $32,000. This does not include travel to and from Gainesville, FL and lodging for the 5 different weekends you'll have to go out there.
  • Airfare: LAS (hypothetically) to GAN, Fri-Sun - $700 (cheapest possible on Expedia as of this writing)
  • Hotel: $59/night for 2 nights yields $120 (using UF's cheapest pre-negotiated local rate, see bottom of this page)
So, multiply by 5, and that's $4,090 in travel and lodging, at the low end - assuming no car rental, and all meals provided by UF. Grand total: $36,090.

ASU is now $38,000 (unless the Arizona Board of Regents raise the rate again, which is always a possibility), plus travel to Tempe (lodging is included with program cost, and the lodging includes a courtesty shuttle from airport to hotel. All meals save one were included.):
  • Airfare: LAS to PHX, Sun-Fri - $200
  • Meals: Eating one meal out - $20
Grand total: $38,220, or $38,440 (if you opt for the second-year optional visit).

Now, if you will need a new computer, you are on your own at ASU, so bear that in mind - I'm assuming you already have one.

So... hypothetically speaking... Though ASU would be 150% of the length as the UF 1-Year Program (22 months versus 16) and 106% of the cost, if I were living in Las Vegas, I would choose ASU, for the following reasons:
  • The "total cost" (not including the cost of your time!) at ASU is almost negligibly higher than UF (that's negligible to me, anyway - a little over $2K when we're talking in magnitudes of $36K vs $38K - it may not be to you)
  • There are far fewer visits to contend with.
  • ASU is a slight step up in the rankings, at least per USN&WR. UF is unranked globally by the FinancialTimes (ASU is 66). UF was "Also Considered for Ranking" by BusinessWeek (ASU was "Top 30-50").
  • Living in the southwest (remember, hypothetically, Las Vegas), you will most likely get much more mileage out of ASU's brand than you will UF's.
Again - this is all predicated on the fact that the 1-Year Program at UF is in question. If other arrangements are worked out with UF differently from or above and beyond the 1-Year Program, it could certainly prove more attractive, depending on the cost and additional time savings that yielded. If you lived much closer to Gainesville, FL, of course, that could turn this analysis on it's head.

Now, this only explores two options. If cost is really a big factor to you, and you are willing to give some on the "rankings" positions, I would probably explore other options besides UF and ASU - there are plenty of quality online programs for less. This site lists many, many more (note they are distance, not necessarily online!), and amongst others, UMass-Amherst looks like they run about $25K (ballpark), with no residency required.

As always - Your Mileage May Vary!


Mickey said...

Thank you very much Daniel!!

Based on your input, I have decided to apply for both UoF and ASU. Will see how it goes.

I think that my first choice would be ASU. I would keep you updated.

Thanks again!


dforester said...

Glad to be of some assistance, Mickey - As always, I'm just one opinion; they key is to be happy/sure of your own decision - But if what I wrote makes sense to you or are fair assumptions (e.g. about 1-Year Program at UF, etc), I personally think you're better off with ASU.

Good luck!

Steve Lail said...

Another excellent analysis concerning the difference between some of the many online programs. There are also any number of other distance degree programs other than MBA out there, but I suppose it depends on an individuals career field and aspirations as to what they pursue. Although I plan on applying to U of F and ASU, I am also applying to the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health Master in Health Administration program which is taught in a distance format and since I am in state tuition is CHEAP!!! Thanks again Daniel for your insight on how the program at ASU is going for you.