EDTECH: Why Students Are Plugging Into Aston's Online MBA Revolution

Digital students earn while they learn at GlaxoSmithKline, Deloitte and Boots

Thanks to technology, earning a degree from your home is no longer a distant dream. Advances in edtech have made digital degrees a match for their campus-based equivalents — some say we’re at a point where the traditional university may be disrupted altogether.

The online learning market is growing at a brisk clip — 310,340 students earned credits through distance learning at UK universities last year alone.

And MBA students are increasingly plugging into the online learning revolution, enticed by the lower tuition fees and flexibility the web affords them. They can maintain a full-time job, cutting out the lost earnings one can expect from a traditional MBA program.

Just ask Philip Bird, who studies with Aston Business School alongside managing stores for Boots, the retailer. “I’m able to study when and where it suits me,” he smiles. “As long as I have my laptop and earphones with a net connection, I’m good to go!”

Aston’s triple-accredited Online MBA can be completed within 30 months and is priced at £19,700.

Here’s what three online students have to say about the program.

Rachel Allison — GlaxoSmithKline

With a managerial role at GlaxoSmithKline, the British drugs giant, Rachel Allison can inject her learning directly into the workplace. She says that, already, operations management, business strategy, and organizational design modules can be applied to her day-to-day work.

Rachel admits the Aston MBA is an “all-consuming experience”. Studying part-time while holding down a full-time job is no easy feat. But it’s one, she believes, that’s worth it.

“I can continue to earn and stay in a role I enjoy, whilst developing and applying new skills and perspective through the MBA.”

Nicola Baggott — Deloitte

For Nicola Baggott, it was the need to balance both her professional and personal lives that lured her to business school.

“It is a very empowering way to learn...You can dictate your own hours and study in the comfort of your own home — the second bedroom is now  my study!” she laughs.

Nicola adds: “You need to be more self-disciplined than if you were studying for a classroom-based MBA. But being able to do all of the work at home gives you the freedom to learn in a way that suits you best.”

She believes the MBA brings value to her employer; Nicola serves as head of executive transition labs at Deloitte, the professional services firm. “It definitely helps justify the late nights sat in the spare room.”

Philip Bird — Boots

Phillip Bird has risen through the ranks at Boots since joining as a teenager. But he feels an online program will help him move into even higher positions.

“I didn’t feel I had the breadth of knowledge required to lead at more senior levels,” he says.

Already, the scope of information is starting to come through. “I’ve been able to contribute to work in other parts of our organization, such as the commercial department when planning a recent launch,” Phillip says.

Not only is the curriculum helping him reach his career goals, but there are ample opportunities to learn from peers, too.

“I have received invitations to evenings with company directors, student field trips and career advice seminars,” says Phillip. Then there’s the residential week at Aston’s UK campus in July. “We could spend quality time with each other and our module leaders, who have been extremely approachable and accessible.”

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