University of Bradford School of Management’s Distance Learning MBA is a business degree for the digital era.
Blending online and bricks-and-mortar courses, the program is ideal for high-performing and hard-working managers who are juggling job and family commitments. Lectures are beamed from theatre to screen with the goal of maintaining interactivity with peers and professors. The flexible approach means the degree can be completed in two-to-six years. Students average three.
The Distance Learning MBA is ranked no 8 globally by the Financial Times, and holds triple accreditation from Equis, AMBA and AACSB.
Standard entry requirements include a recognised bachelor’s degree and at least three years’ professional work experience in any industry, including both private and public sectors.
Applicants may be required to provide evidence of numeracy and literacy competencies via GMAT or Bradford School of Management’s own online entry test. Bradford seeks highly motivated candidates who have moved through different roles and ranks. Tuition fees start from £16,500 but can be paid flexibly in eight quarterly instalments.
We spoke to Rebecca Nightingale (B) and Leighann Trick (L), senior admissions advisors at RDI, who are responsible for student application and enrolment to this prestigious MBA, to find out more about the course and the secret to its success.
Who is a typical distance learning MBA student?
B: A full-time working professional, usually someone who is quite senior in their organization. Or somebody in a middle-management role hoping to take that next step in their career.
L: They typically have five years’ management experience and most hold an undergraduate degree already. It’s easier to gain entry if you already have a degree, but applicants without a degree will be considered based on their work experience and professional qualifications.
Bradford offers its own admissions test. How does this differ from the GMAT or GRE?
L: For both the GMAT and Bradford test, you will need to prepare for it. It is designed to ensure you are able to cope with the rigour of the MBA program. With GMAT there is a cost involved, whereas the Bradford test is completely free of charge. Those who take the test get a decision very quickly, within a few days.
What kind of background experience, skills and other attributes are you looking for in applicants to the Distance Learning MBA?
B: The School of Management asks for detailed CVs, so we have to make sure there is a lot of information provided on each student. They definitely want someone who has shown through their previous experience that they want to progress, and that they are motivated.
They like to see that students have moved through different roles and through the ranks, to show that this individual is continuously improving. And if they don’t have a degree, work experience and other professional qualifications will be considered.
What should an applicant know about Bradford School of Management?
B: We question students to see how much research they’ve done before applying, to see how involved in the application they are. A very good application will say: “I want to do the MBA for reasons X Y and Z.”
L: They will have looked at competitors and be considering Bradford alongside other institutions. They will know about [Bradford’s place in] the Financial Times MBA rankings, the Triple Crown accreditation, and potentially know people who have studied at the university.
What is one common mistake you see in applications?
L: Using references used for other applications and not having enough detail. Applicants need to shout about their achievements; don’t be tempted to leave anything out.
Many business schools have launched online programs. What makes Bradford’s unique?
B: In comparison with other programs, the top ranking and value for money put it in an excellent position. The university also celebrates its diversity: they are very proud to have students from all over the world. It’s a truly international MBA program.
L: A lot of students also like the opportunity to attend electives on campus in the second year, so that they can meet students face-to-face and feel part of the university.
Bradford has a strong alumni network as well, which is quite appealing. We are able to tap into alumni: if a student wants to speak to someone who graduated to get their first-hand experience, we can facilitate that.
How do you overcome the interactivity problem often levied at online programs?
L: Bradford uses a lot of video lectures and a lot of visual elements, so that students feel they are part of the classroom. All the lecture halls have complete video capability.
B: Each month there is a live lecture broadcast at three different times during that month, so people who are busy can find a time to study that suits them. It’s a bit like a conference call: you can ask questions or type them onto a conference board. It’s very much like you’re in that lecture. They [students] won’t ever feel alone. They can speak with tutors and other students to see how other people are getting on.