Illinois vs Boston University

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Duncan

Boston University has a long experience with online learning, but its online MBA with edX gets less attention than coursera's iMBA with Illinois. There's a useful article summarizing the BU approach at https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2019/08/14/boston-us-new-online-mba-less-expensive-and-different-campus

I also found a useful thread on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/MBA/comments/eoxh2j/imba_illinois_online_mba_vs_boston_university/) and can add a few comments from speaking with applicants who have studied in or considered those degrees.

1. prestige. Both are huge, impressive powerhouses. US News gives BU a slight edge over UIUC, but Illinois has a much bigger scale. UIUC's scale means it performs better in most rankings. I think BU's status as a private university gives it a bit more glamour.

2. faculty quality. In terms of research citations, These two schools are more or less in line with scale - 285 faculty versus 235: https://jindal.utdallas.edu/the-utd-top-100-business-school-research-rankings/worldRankings#20152019

3. curriculum value. There's a 60% lead for UIUC: 72 credit hours of study versus 45 at BU. This is because BU has only the core curriculum, while UIUC also includes specializations courses and specialized capstone courses. This offers substantial extra value for people who want especially deep skills in any of its four focus areas: global business; entrepreneurship and innovation; digital marketing; or business analytics. However, if you just want the core curriculum, BU might save you time.


4. flexibility. BU is notably more flexible. It can be completed over six years, so as few as one 7.5 credit hour course per year. UIUC requires students to complete within three years, generally, that will mean at least 27 credits per year.

Boston University has a long experience with online learning, but its online MBA with edX gets less attention than coursera's iMBA with Illinois. There's a useful article summarizing the BU approach at https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2019/08/14/boston-us-new-online-mba-less-expensive-and-different-campus

I also found a useful thread on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/MBA/comments/eoxh2j/imba_illinois_online_mba_vs_boston_university/) and can add a few comments from speaking with applicants who have studied in or considered those degrees.

1. prestige. Both are huge, impressive powerhouses. US News gives BU a slight edge over UIUC, but Illinois has a much bigger scale. UIUC's scale means it performs better in most rankings. I think BU's status as a private university gives it a bit more glamour.

2. faculty quality. In terms of research citations, These two schools are more or less in line with scale - 285 faculty versus 235: https://jindal.utdallas.edu/the-utd-top-100-business-school-research-rankings/worldRankings#20152019

3. curriculum value. There's a 60% lead for UIUC: 72 credit hours of study versus 45 at BU. This is because BU has only the core curriculum, while UIUC also includes specializations courses and specialized capstone courses. This offers substantial extra value for people who want especially deep skills in any of its four focus areas: global business; entrepreneurship and innovation; digital marketing; or business analytics. However, if you just want the core curriculum, BU might save you time.


4. flexibility. BU is notably more flexible. It can be completed over six years, so as few as one 7.5 credit hour course per year. UIUC requires students to complete within three years, generally, that will mean at least 27 credits per year.
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Rhen Ray

It will be interesting to see how BU plays out. Per information session a few months back, they should be posting some of their courses online as a MicroMasters on edX sometime soon before the school year launches. I am interested in seeing how "deep" the course content is. I think much of it will be of the same "depth" as the MGSM Global MBA given the shorter length of the program and integrated approach to how they treat the MBA topics. 



It will be interesting to see how BU plays out. Per information session a few months back, they should be posting some of their courses online as a MicroMasters on edX sometime soon before the school year launches. I am interested in seeing how "deep" the course content is. I think much of it will be of the same "depth" as the MGSM Global MBA given the shorter length of the program and integrated approach to how they treat the MBA topics.&nbsp;<br><br><br><br>
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maury

Very informative post, thanks Duncan! It blows me away that the BU program is only $24k - I know it's more than the UIUC program, but compared to online programs from other schools comparable to BU, it's a steal. 

Very informative post, thanks Duncan! It blows me away that the BU program is only $24k - I know it's more than the UIUC program, but compared to online programs from other schools comparable to BU, it's a steal.&nbsp;
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Immanuel

Hello Duncan,
Thank you for your informative post. I have a PhD in science and engineering and since I could not find a good choice in Canada, which is affordable as well, I concentrated on good but affordable US choices. Illinois, BU, U Mass Amherst were the most reputable universities I could find at reasonable costs. Initially, iMBA was my first choice, but the fact that it is unranked from almost every ranking bothers me. BU sais that they are not in ranking because they are pretty new, but it is not the case with UIUC. I am wondering it might be due to their too many students, or lack of GMAT requirement or something. UMass, on the hand, is in the US News and some other rankings lists. 

Hello Duncan,<br>Thank you for your informative post. I have a PhD in science and engineering and since I could not find a good choice in Canada, which is affordable as well, I concentrated on good but affordable US choices. Illinois, BU, U Mass Amherst were the most reputable universities I could find at reasonable costs. Initially, iMBA was my first choice, but the fact that it is unranked from almost every ranking bothers me. BU sais that they are not in ranking because they are pretty new, but it is not the case with UIUC. I am wondering it might be due to their too many students, or lack of GMAT requirement or something. UMass, on the hand, is in the US News and some other rankings lists.&nbsp;
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Duncan

The Gies school does not participate in rankings. It's that simple. 

<div>The Gies school does not participate in rankings. It's that simple.&nbsp;</div>
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Immanuel

Thank you for your response. But, why should a university be out of all rankings (US News, Times Higher Education, QS, Princeton, ...)? I read that some of their students were nagging about its low quality because of too many students enrolled. I should add that UIUC has been one of my favorite universities (in general) for years. I even applied for it, but when I noticed they quit from fulltime MBA recently, and then all these unranking news ...    

Also, how are choices like Jack Welch Business school compared with iMBA? 

[Edited by Immanuel on Aug 21, 2020]

Thank you for your response. But, why should a university be out of all rankings (US News, Times Higher Education, QS, Princeton, ...)? I read that some of their students were nagging about its low quality because of too many students enrolled. I should add that UIUC has been one of my favorite universities (in general) for years. I even applied for it, but when I noticed they quit from fulltime MBA recently, and then all these unranking news ...&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>Also, how are choices like Jack Welch Business school compared with iMBA?&nbsp;
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Duncan

The university is not out of rankings. The business school is not taking part in them. You can read their opinion on why they do that. Certainly, rankings place a huge and generally unwelcome set of pressures on schools. Gies has a large and new endowment and does not need to worry. 

The Welch MBA is not comparable. It has no meaningful accreditation. 

The university is not out of rankings. The business school is not taking part in them. You can read their opinion on why they do that. Certainly, rankings place a huge and generally unwelcome set of pressures on schools. Gies has a large and new endowment and does not need to worry.&nbsp;<br><br>The Welch MBA is not comparable. It has no meaningful accreditation.&nbsp;
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Immanuel

Thank you for the clarification. I have received admission to UIUC. What do you think would be a better choice for me:
1.BU has a very good business school and it has kept its full-time MBA.
2.UIUC is very good in general (and engineering in particular), but has stopped its full-time MBA. So, everyone graduating from it is considered an online graduate from now on.(It also has Business Analytics.). I just don't want to think in a couple of years that it was not a good investment of my time, as I think I have a good chance of being admitted in many schools, while I don't want to choose very expensive ones.
3.U Mass. Is very famous in my engineering field, but I think in general and in MBA does not have the reputation of the two others. But it is also ranked in online rankings.

Thank you for the clarification. I have received admission to UIUC. What do you think would be a better choice for me:<br>1.BU has a very good business school and it has kept its full-time MBA.<br>2.UIUC is very good in general (and engineering in particular), but has stopped its full-time MBA. So, everyone graduating from it is considered an online graduate from now on.(It also has Business Analytics.). I just don't want to think in a couple of years that it was not a good investment of my time, as I think I have a good chance of being admitted in many schools, while I don't want to choose very expensive ones.<br>3.U Mass. Is very famous in my engineering field, but I think in general and in MBA does not have the reputation of the two others. But it is also ranked in online rankings.<br><br>
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Duncan

Compare the program content and the alumni network to your career goals. Gies is one of the richest and largest business schools, in a Big Ten university. it's not going away.

Compare the program content and the alumni network to your career goals. Gies is one of the richest and largest business schools, in a Big Ten university. it's not going away.
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Immanuel

Compare the program content and the alumni network to your career goals. Gies is one of the richest and largest business schools, in a Big Ten university. it's not going away.


Thanks a lot for your advice. I realy appreciate it. 


[quote]Compare the program content and the alumni network to your career goals. Gies is one of the richest and largest business schools, in a Big Ten university. it's not going away. [/quote]<br><br><div>Thanks a lot for your advice. I realy appreciate it.&nbsp;<br></div><div>
</div><div><br></div>
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Duncan

Do reconsider the "but" in your sentence about it stopping its full time MBA. It's like Verizon deciding to turn off its 3G network. Why should it run an lossmaking MBA on campus for 100 people when it can educate 3000 worldwide? 

Do reconsider the "but" in your sentence about it stopping its full time MBA. It's like Verizon deciding to turn off its 3G network. Why should it run an lossmaking MBA on campus for 100 people when it can educate 3000 worldwide?&nbsp;
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Has anyone in here chosen one school over the other? I'd like to hear you guys' thoughts.  I just received acceptance to Illinois and waiting for BU's decision by mid-Oct.  

Having read all that I can find about the two programs in forums, reddit, etc., it seems that Illinois is the better program (for right now at least).  Illinois' iMBA program has been around for about 4 years so they've gotten all the kinks worked out for the tools/technology they use.  Illinois throws annual events like the iConverge events and immersion experiences.  From what I've read, BU's program just launch in August and is experiencing some growing pains with the tools they use to facilitate online delivery.  I have no doubt BU will get there  with time but that may possibly not happen until I'm already halfway through the program.  Illinois has specializations while BU currently does not have specializations for right now.

I think the only advantages BU has so far is that they have slightly higher prestige than Illinois.  One concern I have for Illinois is that they may be scaling too big and are admitting too many people who may not be as qualified and the value of their iMBA starts to get diluted, thus diluting my degree.  Of course, they may happen to BU as well as their program matures since they also have  a target of having several thousands students within the next 5 years.

I have no insight into both program's alumni network.  

Duncan, I'd to get your thoughts on this as well 1f642

Has anyone in here chosen one school over the other? I'd like to hear you guys' thoughts.&nbsp; I just received acceptance to Illinois and waiting for BU's decision by mid-Oct.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>Having read all that I can find about the two programs in forums, reddit, etc., it seems that Illinois is the better program (for right now at least).&nbsp; Illinois' iMBA program has been around for about 4 years so they've gotten all the kinks worked out for the tools/technology they use.&nbsp; Illinois throws annual events like the iConverge events and immersion experiences.&nbsp; From what I've read, BU's program just launch in August and is experiencing some growing pains with the tools they use to facilitate online delivery.&nbsp; I have no doubt BU will get there&nbsp; with time but that may possibly not happen until I'm already halfway through the program.&nbsp; Illinois has specializations while BU currently does not have specializations for right now.<br><br>I think the only advantages BU has so far is that they have slightly higher prestige than Illinois.&nbsp; One concern I have for Illinois is that they may be scaling too big and are admitting too many people who may not be as qualified and the value of their iMBA starts to get diluted, thus diluting my degree.&nbsp; Of course, they may happen to BU as well as their program matures since they also have&nbsp; a target of having several thousands students within the next 5 years.<br><br>I have no insight into both program's alumni network.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>Duncan, I'd to get your thoughts on this as well&nbsp;:slightly-smiling-face:<br><br>
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Duncan

I don't think it's easy to say that one is better than the other without the context of goals. For some of my clients BU is absolutely the right choice if they need an integrated, strategic degree and for other UIUC is the right choice because it's so extensive in covering the functions. Both schools are part of rich, able universities with deep expertise in online learning. 

LinkedIn is your friend when it comes to seeing the different footprints of the alumni networks. 

I don't think it's easy to say that one is better than the other without the context of goals. For some of my clients BU is absolutely the right choice if they need an integrated, strategic degree and for other UIUC is the right choice because it's so extensive in covering the functions. Both schools are part of rich, able universities with deep expertise in online learning.&nbsp;<br><br>LinkedIn is your friend when it comes to seeing the different footprints of the alumni networks.&nbsp;
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Razors Edg...

I don't think there's anything to worry about in terms of the iMBA letting in too many people. As long as they continue to maintain their selectivity, everything else should scale. As this is an online program, 'class size' should not be a factor. 

The program is probably seeing an explosion of interest, due to corona, but my sense is that they would change their admissions standards just because of this. 

I don't think there's anything to worry about in terms of the iMBA letting in too many people. As long as they continue to maintain their selectivity, everything else should scale. As this is an online program, 'class size' should not be a factor.&nbsp;<br><br>The program is probably seeing an explosion of interest, due to corona, but my sense is that they would change their admissions standards just because of this.&nbsp;
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I don't think it's easy to say that one is better than the other without the context of goals. For some of my clients BU is absolutely the right choice if they need an integrated, strategic degree and for other UIUC is the right choice because it's so extensive in covering the functions. Both schools are part of rich, able universities with deep expertise in online learning. 

LinkedIn is your friend when it comes to seeing the different footprints of the alumni networks. 


Can you provide more insight on the why your clients thought an integrated approach BU is taking would be beneficial to them?  I'm a CPA whose goals is to just accelerate my career trajectory to become VP of Finance/CFO.  On the surface of it, it seems like an integrated approach will really benefit those whose role or background didn't come from business.  

Razor, that's a good point.  I didn't think about that.

[quote]I don't think it's easy to say that one is better than the other without the context of goals. For some of my clients BU is absolutely the right choice if they need an integrated, strategic degree and for other UIUC is the right choice because it's so extensive in covering the functions. Both schools are part of rich, able universities with deep expertise in online learning.&nbsp;<br><br>LinkedIn is your friend when it comes to seeing the different footprints of the alumni networks.&nbsp; [/quote]<br><br>Can you provide more insight on the why your clients thought an integrated approach BU is taking would be beneficial to them?&nbsp;&nbsp;I'm a CPA whose goals is to just accelerate my career trajectory to become VP of Finance/CFO.&nbsp; On the surface of it, it seems like an integrated approach will really benefit those whose role or background didn't come from business.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br>Razor, that's a good point.&nbsp; I didn't think about that.
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Duncan

For example, one client of mine had a senior role In a family business. They had people to manage the functions, who they trusted. His challenges were more strategic: choice about whether to build, buy or divest; how to act responsibly; how to lead with transition. Boston was a much better fit. On the other hand, maybe in a mid size firm, you need to be able to lead the functions in some ways, and for that Illinois might be better. 

[Edited by Duncan on Oct 08, 2020]

For example, one client of mine had a senior role In a family business. They had people to manage the functions, who they trusted. His challenges were more strategic: choice about whether to build, buy or divest; how to act responsibly; how to lead with transition. Boston was a much better fit. On the other hand, maybe in a mid size firm, you need to be able to lead the functions in some ways, and for that Illinois might be better.&nbsp;
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xerealis

Thank you for the clarification. I have received admission to UIUC. What do you think would be a better choice for me:
1.BU has a very good business school and it has kept its full-time MBA.
2.UIUC is very good in general (and engineering in particular), but has stopped its full-time MBA. So, everyone graduating from it is considered an online graduate from now on.(It also has Business Analytics.). I just don't want to think in a couple of years that it was not a good investment of my time, as I think I have a good chance of being admitted in many schools, while I don't want to choose very expensive ones.
3.U Mass. Is very famous in my engineering field, but I think in general and in MBA does not have the reputation of the two others. But it is also ranked in online rankings.



Which university did you went with in the end and why? I have a similar profile to yours. Thanks

[quote]Thank you for the clarification. I have received admission to UIUC. What do you think would be a better choice for me:<br>1.BU has a very good business school and it has kept its full-time MBA.<br>2.UIUC is very good in general (and engineering in particular), but has stopped its full-time MBA. So, everyone graduating from it is considered an online graduate from now on.(It also has Business Analytics.). I just don't want to think in a couple of years that it was not a good investment of my time, as I think I have a good chance of being admitted in many schools, while I don't want to choose very expensive ones.<br>3.U Mass. Is very famous in my engineering field, but I think in general and in MBA does not have the reputation of the two others. But it is also ranked in online rankings.<br><br> [/quote]<br><br>Which university did you went with in the end and why? I have a similar profile to yours. Thanks
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