In September this year, Professor Catherine Cassell will take the reigns as the first female dean in Birmingham Business School’s 100-plus year history. Her areas of expertize include organizational change and learning, dignity diversity, and fair treatment at work.
It’s a move indicative of the school’s consistent efforts in promoting women in business. Another, is Birmingham Business School’s Online MBA, the world’s first 100%-online MBA to be accredited by AMBA.
Although most leadership positions in business are still occupied by men, online MBAs are giving women with family commitments a better opportunity to compete. And the demand is there – according to GMAC, applications for online MBAs are outstripping those for classroom-based part-time and executive programs.
“The future for women in business is bright now that we’re able to study and work at the same,” says Jane Mutamangira, a Birmingham Online MBA student, a mother, and the managing director of a luxury taxi firm in Zimbabwe.
“I have a family consisting of small children. So, I decided to do an online degree because of its flexibility,” she continues. “I chose Birmingham because of how internationally-recognized the school is. I’ve applied a lot of concepts that I’ve learnt from modules like strategy, marketing, and operations.”
With online study, MBA students can apply their learnings in their day-to-day work, and gain access to a level of education that may not be available locally. The University of Birmingham is part of the UK’s Russell Group, a group of 24 leading universities renowned for the high standard of their faculty and research facilities.
Closer to home, online study means Florence Britton (pictured above) can juggle study with looking after a family and running her own business. She founded her UK-based home care agency as a single parent in 2005.
At Birmingham, the Online MBA is positioned as a direct alternative to the classroom-based course. When Florence graduates, the certificate she’ll receive is the same as students on the traditional full-time MBA program.
“Studying online gives me the benefit of developing my career without having to leave my responsibilities of managing my company,” Florence explains.
“For every module that I have studied, I have done something to improve my business. When we completed the strategy module, I redeveloped my company’s strategy. When we completed the marketing module, I redesigned the marketing plan for the business.
“Studying the MBA has helped me as a person as well. Through the live sessions, I’ve mixed with all sorts of different people that have already challenged my preconceptions of the world, and will help me to become a more rounded person.”
Birmingham also offers an Online MSc International Business. Across both Birmingham’s Online MBA and Online MSc, 62% of students are international, representing 45 different nationalities. 48% of students are women – a significantly higher percentage than most traditional MBA classes.
Wherever they are in the world, Birmingham online students and professors connect through fortnightly live sessions – intensive, two and a quarter hours long sessions in an immersive online learning environment.
For Ceridwen Scerri, an Online MBA student from Malta (pictured above), it’s the international aspect of the course that stands out.
“An online MBA provides you with the thrilling experience of connecting globally through your computer,” she explains. “During my first online session, I was simply amazed as the class went live with students from America, Australia, Africa and Asia.
“And with each module, experts join the course. So far, I’ve had lecturers from New Zealand, Malaysia, Israel and the UK. I don’t think that this can be experienced on-campus, to the same extent.”
Ceridwen currently works as a research analyst for the Maltese government. She’s determined to take her career to next level. She knows that whether she chooses to change jobs, industries, or start a family and progress her career at the same time, the flexibility of online study will help her do it.
“An online MBA is a win-win scenario for busy people like myself,” she says. “I can keep my job while further educating myself. And I can study in my own time, and at my own pace.
“After my MBA, I plan to work internationally. With the managerial experience that comes with it, the online MBA will give me an edge.”