The pandemic saw a considerable shift in students' interest in online programs. Even with the world returning to normal, the number of Online MBAs has continued to rise, their format better suiting the modern world of work, and needs of the students.
These changes have induced a transition from early online learning methods—which were more lecture-based—to a more flexible, interactive model.
The Netherlands-based Maastricht School of Management (MSM) is embracing these new learning methods in its new Global Flex Online MBA, which opens its doors in October 2023.
The new program is an evolution of its previous Online MBA, and will enable students to learn interactively from like-minded professionals and experienced faculty with the continued benefit of flexibility.
So how does this flexible and interactive Online MBA work and how can it prepare you for career success?
Flexibility to personalize your MBA experience
A significant advantage of the new Global Flex Online MBA at MSM is its flexibility and ability to personalize your experience to best suit your needs and goals.
"When you're working from home, you can start a little earlier, go back to working again, spend time with your familiy, and maybe study a bit in the evening. You can have a little more freedom in how you plan your time," says Stuart Dixon, MSM's director of academics and academic coordinator of MBA programs.
This means you can work while you're studying, and not have to compromise your earning capacity or your personal life for your professional development.
Such flexibility was a big draw for Ranim El Yaman, who studied MSM’s previous Online MBA.
“The program gave me the flexibility to balance my professional and personal life while advancing my education and career prospects,” says Ranim. “As a working mom with a six-month-old child, study was extremely difficult for me, but the MSM faculty members never stopped motivating me and providing me with all the support I needed to complete this wonderful journey.”
For the launch of the Global Flex Online MBA program, MSM has built an online platform that keeps students’ study materials in one place.
Each course includes an introduction to the covered topics, the learning objectives, tips and guidelines on how to study, and all the learning materials you will need during the course. You can also conduct optional self-assessments to test your knowledge and measure your progress.
But self-directed study is only one element of this new program. If you enroll in the Flex Online MBA you can also engage in interactive class discussions, participate in simulation games, participate in real-time group work, and receive guidance from academic and professional experts.
“It won't just be downloading a Word document; there'll be a learning journey. There are extra assignments, videos, and extra material, which students can use.” Stuart says. “The idea is to provide students with a richer learning environment.”
Develop skills for the modern workplace
MSM promises that students in the Global Flex Online MBA will develop a sought-after skill set. It offers the same curriculum and faculty as the Full-Time MBA, which gives students the same knowledge base and makes them an asset to companies worldwide.
Students will develop established MBA skills through core classes, including Finance, Global Corporate Strategy, and Accounting for Managers.
These live, interactive sessions will allow Online MBA students to develop valuable hard skills needed by future business leaders, as well as the soft business skills that are increasingly valuable in the modern workplace, including remote management and online communication.
The immersive platform also allows students to interact with professors and each other, as well as increase their knowledge base.
Ranim, who attended live sessions during her course, says that studying online is not a disadvantage.
“You have the chance to ask for further explanation, and the professor helped us walk through the course. We also engaged with other students from different backgrounds–we became friends and family.”
As 82% of companies adopt remote or hybrid work set-ups, the ability to work professionally outside an office setting is more important than ever. And according to a recent Deloitte study, 75% of Generation Z–those under 24–prefer working in a hybrid work environment.
"I think the platform we have fits with the way that people work,” says Stuart. “This is the general trend in working, and we want to be part of that.”
Enhance your global business skills
The MSM Global Flex Online MBA aims to foster skills in intercultural communication, virtual team leadership and collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, self-awareness, resilience, and time management.
"I think it's interesting about how to use presentation skills. We find now that we do a lot of presentations, even with colleagues online. We hardly have a meeting these days without someone sitting on the screen," Stuart says.
MSM also focuses on other soft skills that aim to elevate your success, such as developing ethical global business strategies. Such skills—combined with gaining the typical MBA skill-set while working in an online environment—should elevate your resume to top companies and allow you to flourish within hybrid work.
Ranim says the outcomes of her online MBA at MSM were tangible:
“I became more mature in terms of expressing my leadership skills to my employer. The program gave me confidence and so much knowledge, that I became able to negotiate and express my thoughts with actual evidence.”