Flexible MBA programs enable students to choose the format of classroom study that is tailored to their needs and interests at any given moment.
The exact specifics of these programs vary from school to school, but generally flexible MBA programs can be studied online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format. Some schools offer online classes that students can take in their own time (asynchronously) while other classes will require live attendance (synchronous).
Here are the top benefits of a flexible MBA:
By choosing a flexible MBA, you don’t have to sacrifice career opportunities
Picture this: you’re working in a career that interests you, yet you’re yearning to gain a greater understanding of the business landscape. Alternatively, you want the flexibility to enter a new career during your studies. This is where flexible MBA programs can help.
Jaye Hughes is an alum from the Flexible MBA at Old Dominion University's (ODU) Strome College of Business, which is based in Norfolk, Virginia.
“I wanted to pursue an MBA as it’s so multifaceted and helps you become a more well-rounded person,” she says.
Having the flexibility to take on new career opportunities during the program was a major benefit for Jaye, who moved into a role as a human resources manager at nonprofit organization Elizabeth River Project during her final semester.
The Flexible MBA at ODU can be studied online, on-campus, or a mixture of both as a full or part-time business degree. If they choose to, students can finish the program in just 21 months.
You can experience a combination of in-person and online classes
Some students who study a fully online MBA may worry that aren’t experiencing the same collaborative environment that in-person MBA students do.
“With a flexible MBA, you can have the best of both worlds,” says Jaye.
This means that on days where you want to join in-person classes and meet your fellow business school peers face-to-face, you can. Equally, you can choose to study other classes online to avoid a long commute or fit classes around your job.
“A lot of the time, classes were taught hybrid and even during online classes, you had that feeling of being in a classroom,” she says.
For the final capstone project, students summarize their learnings across core subjects such as marketing, accounting, and finance during a collaborative project that may relate to strategy formulation and strategic management.
“The program has given me the confidence to make key business decisions and made me realize that I could work with others on a big project,” says Jaye.
Meanwhile, students might want to join courses that require more individual practice, such as Operations Management or Financial Management, from the comfort of their home.
The MBA program also offers concentrations in areas such as Business Analytics, Maritime and Ports Management, and Economic Analytics.
You can meet an array of people in a flexible MBA
As flexible MBA programs include online and in-person study, with some students opting for fully online study, this means that you’re likely to encounter a variety of classmates.
During her MBA, Jaye says she worked on projects with people from across the globe, including as far afield as Australia.
“You get to learn about how business operates in different cultures and perspectives and build a global network,” Jaye says.
This will be important if you’re hoping to launch a global career or work within a global company.
You’ll be able to apply the skills from your MBA into your career
One of the biggest benefits of joining a flexible MBA program is that you can make steps to launch your career alongside your business school program, as Jaye did.
Aside from leveraging her learnings from HR-related courses including Managing in Contemporary Organizations, Jaye used her network to land her job after seeing a professor at ODU post about the position on LinkedIn.
In the first semester of the MBA, she also worked as a graduate research assistant in exchange for a financial stipend to use to offset tuition fees.
The role enabled her to home in on her interests in an HR career as she gained experience with assisting in the creation of the HR curriculum and helped recruit new students into the program.
Jaye says she’s excited about her role in HR and that the Flexible MBA has enabled her to not just be flexible in her study options, but flexible in her future career plans too.
“There are so many avenues I can explore from an MBA—I don’t ever have to feel stuck in a particular industry,” she says.