Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Kim VanDerLinden

Second Supervisor

C. Michael Robinson


Business schools are facing an increasingly challenging landscape because of growing institutional competition, resource limitations, and disruption created by online programs. The growth of online enrollments has impacted graduate business programs, which have the highest percentage of total graduate degrees conferred nationally. Research studies indicate students and employers have expectations for an MBA program to develop students’ leadership skills. However, little research has been conducted to study student expectations for leadership skills development in online MBA programs. This quantitative research study surveyed 149 MBA students enrolled in an upstate New York public university to examine the expectations of MBA online students and MBA classroom students for developing leadership skills in an MBA program using a leadership competency framework. The results of an independent samples t test found no significant difference (p > .05) in expectations between online and classroom MBA students for the four leadership competency areas of behavior, knowledge, skills, and workstyles. Recommendations for graduate program decision makers include developing an expectation framework for leadership skills development to accommodate the diverse levels of experience students bring to MBA programs. Integrating hybrid experiences and classroom course techniques used for interpersonal skills development, such as coaching, into online courses is also recommended to meet student and stakeholder expectations for leadership skills development in MBA programs.

Included in

Education Commons