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Careers In Business: Here’s How Birmingham’s Online Students Are Breaking Into The C-Suite

Employers view online programs more favorably than ever before. And with online study, MBA and master’s students don’t have to put their careers on hold

An MBA has been on Patrick Gettleman’s mind for the past 10 years. But as a high-flying tech exec, working for leading multinational corporations, he didn’t want to put his career on hold to pursue a full-time program.

With Birmingham Business School’s Online MBA, he doesn’t have to. Now, he combines a full-time job, and regular international travel, with his studies online. His employer offsets some of the program’s cost too.

“My employer is pleased that I’ve decided to get my MBA,” he says. “Having a different perspective on things helps shape different responses to situations. I look at my projects from more of a big picture perspective than I would have before.”

For employers, online study shows extra commitment, self-discipline and time management skills. And students benefit from being able to apply their learnings in the workplace.

Dzmitry Artsiomenka is regional director of a world-leading fertilizer company. He was originally enrolled on Birmingham’s on-campus Executive MBA in Singapore, but transferred to the Online MBA program.

“As I travel a lot, distance learning is the only way I can study,” he says. “As well as being affordable, the University of Birmingham is one of the leading universities in the UK.”

Birmingham Business School’s online programs are flexible, more affordable alternatives to its campus-based courses. When students graduate, the certificate they receive is the same. In July this year, Birmingham’s Online MBA became the world’s first and only 100% Online MBA to receive full AMBA accreditation.

Interactivity played a big part. On both Birmingham’s Online MBA and Online MSc International Business, groups of up to 25 students connect with tutors and lecturers in fortnightly live sessions, which are two and a quarter hours long.

Across both programs, 86 nationalities are represented. The live sessions bring students from different continents together in a way that campus-based courses cannot.

Helena Feibert, a Danish student on the pre-experience MSc, has built up her international network. She started the program in August 2015 and landed a new job at major jewelry manufacturer Pandora in December.

“Distance learning allows me to prioritize work and education without one eliminating or overshadowing the other,” she says. “We have group work, individual work, class discussions and assignments; everything you would find in an on-site program.

“As everything is mandatory, it enforces interactivity and a similar learning curve for all students. You have to be as much engaged to an online course as an onsite one. There are no free rides, and that is one of its appeals.”

Helena has worked for a number of global organizations in a variety of industries, but always within Denmark. She sees the Online MSc as a launch-pad to a high-level international career.

“I’ve gained a deeper insight into many aspects of an international business and I’ve been able to apply theories in my work activities,” Helena explains. “[The MSc] will add some substance to my resume, which will allow me to maneuver more easily in a global context.”

Studying business online is a sure-fire way to kick-start a career at any level. In a few years’ time, Patrick will relocate back from the UK to his native US. He’s confident about his future.

“With the MBA, I will be able to take the next step up in management,” he says. “And with the [AMBA] accreditation, my degree will transfer back to the US when I return.”

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