The days of the lonely long-distance learner are over. Today’s online MBA programs are credible alternatives to traditional classroom-based courses. And, with advances in technology, online MBAs are more interactive and engaging than ever before.
So much so that Birmingham Business School positions its Online MBA - the world’s first 100%-online MBA to be accredited by AMBA – as a direct alternative to its full-time MBA program. When Birmingham’s Online MBA students graduate, the certificate they receive is the same as students on the full-time course.
But online courses offer more. There’s no opportunity cost – online MBA students can study while they work. While some full-time MBA programs can cost upwards of $100,000 (USD) in tuition alone, Birmingham’s Online MBA costs a more affordable £18,000 ($23,000)*.
It’s easy to see why – according to GMAC – the demand for online MBA programs is outstripping that for traditional face-to-face part-time and executive courses.
Here’s five amazing MBA experiences you can only get by studying online:
1. Study anywhere, anytime
Flexibility is a big buzzword in business today. Online MBA program participants can study almost anywhere –juggling work and study at the same time.
The University of Birmingham is part of the UK’s Russell Group; renowned for its high standard of faculty and research facilities. For Munyaradzi Chikwanda, a South African student on Birmingham’s Online MBA, studying online means having access to a level of educational experience which is less available locally:
“I needed an MBA program that would fit well with my family commitments and responsibilities - as well as my hectic work schedule,” he says. “I also wanted an MBA program from an internationally-recognized and revered academic institution.
“Studying for an MBA from Birmingham will open doors and introduce me to new professional networks, helping me realize both my professional and personal goals,” he says.
2. Connect internationally
Where is more diverse than the internet? Online students connect globally through their computer – to fellow students, professors, and mentors – at the click of a mouse.
Birmingham offers an Online MSc International Business alongside its Online MBA. Across both programs, 62% of students are international, representing 45 different nationalities.
“During my first online session, I was simply amazed as the class went live with students from America, Australia, Africa and Asia,” says Ceridwen Scerri, a Birmingham Online MBA student from Malta.
“And with each module, experts join the course,” she continues. “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.”
3. Use new, cutting-edge technologies
While MBAs in classrooms might read about new developments in digital technology in a textbook; online MBA students live them.
On Birmingham’s Online MBA, students and professors connect through fortnightly live sessions – intensive, two and a quarter hours long sessions in an immersive online learning environment. Birmingham is also looking to use cutting-edge technologies – like artificial intelligence and big data analytics – to create a more personalized online learning experience.
“Online, we’ve got the analytics,” says Daniel Chicksand, director of Birmingham’s Online MBA. “We can see exactly where students are in the program, how much time they’ve spent on a particular page, and how they navigate through the learning experience.
“We can make that learning pathway smoother and more rewarding for students. And we can give them that constant and immediate feedback that you can’t always get in a face-to-face environment.”
4. Get a specialized skillset
Flexible, remote working online is the future of the workplace and online study is the perfect preparation. Employers recognize that completing an MBA online needs even more self-discipline, self-motivation, organizational and time-management skills than a traditional full-time course.
“My employer is pleased that I’ve decided to get my MBA,” says Birmingham Online MBA student Patrick Gettleman – his employer offset some of the program’s cost.
“Having a different perspective on things helps shape different responses to situations,” he continues. “I now look at my projects from more of a big picture perspective than I would have before.”
5. Apply your learnings in your day-to-day work
Combining work and study means online MBA students can implement their learnings in the workplace. Ultimately, studying online makes students better at their jobs, whether they’re bankers, consultants, or entrepreneurs.
Florence Britton (pictured above) is using the skills she’s gaining on Birmingham’s Online MBA grow her home care agency: “When we completed the strategy module, I redeveloped my company’s strategy. When we completed the marketing module, I redesigned my marketing plan,” she says.
“For every module that I have studied, I have done something to improve my business.”
*Course price is rising to £18,540 (GBP) in October 2017