Online Learning: Combining An MBA With Family

Birmingham’s 100%-online MBA offers a level of flexibility for families that other online MBA programs don’t

Harriet Jeckells is six months into Birmingham Business School’s Online MBA—the world’s first 100%-online MBA to be accredited by AMBA. Three months in, she gave birth to her first child.

Harriet also works full-time as a marketing director in the publishing industry in the UK. When considering MBA programs, the flexibility of a truly online MBA program was key.

“I wanted a highly-relevant degree to support my professional future irrespective of the path my career takes in the years to come,” she explains. “It was absolutely vital that it would fit around me and my new family, not to mention my job.

“The great thing about Birmingham’s Online MBA is that it is truly an online course. Although advertised as ‘online’, most other universities require that you attend campus either regularly or at some point during the degree.

“Birmingham’s Online MBA on the other hand is 100% online—no ifs, buts or maybes.”

Birmingham Business School offers an Online MSc International Business as a pre-experience alternative to its Online MBA. On both programs, students interact online in fortnightly live ‘connect sessions,’ two-and-a-quarter-hours long.

A historic question mark over online MBA programs is whether online learning match the interactivity of a classroom environment? But, today, with new technologies and developments in online learning, physical separation is less of an issue.

“Birmingham get the balance right through those synchronous seminar sessions, weekly discussion activities and regular group work, which means that there is plenty of interaction and networking among peers,” Harriet explains.

Birmingham’s online programs bring additional flexibility for professionals with busy work and family lives. Students can defer a module if necessary and, although the Online MBA usually takes two and a half years to complete, students can take up to five years to finish the program.

The University of Birmingham is part of the UK’s Russell Group—24 leading UK universities globally-renowned for their high standard of faculty and research.

And Birmingham Business school rose 14 places to 76th in the world in The Economist’s Which MBA? 2017 this year; one of only 17 UK b-schools to be featured in a top-100 dominated by schools from the US. Birmingham also ranks 38th in the world, and fourth in the UK, for creating new career opportunities.

“Just as important as what you learn is where you learn it and how that will look on your CV,” Harriet says.

Critically, with distance-learning, men and women across the world have access to a high quality of education which may be less available locally. In September 2016, 23% of Birmingham’s Online MBA students came from Africa, including countries like Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Among them, Jane Mutamangira, a mother, and managing director of a luxury taxi firm in Zimbabwe.

“The future for women in business is bright now that we’re able to study and work at the same,” she says.

“I have a family consisting of small children. So, I decided to do an online degree because of its flexibility. And I chose Birmingham because of how internationally-recognized the school is.”

Online MBA programs have recorded constant growth in applications over the past few years. For many families, affordability plays an important role.

While full-time MBA programs in Europe and the US can cost up to and beyond $100,000, Birmingham’s Online MBA and Online MSc International Business cost £18,525 and £12,805 respectively.*

Plus, the 100%-online format means there’s no extra costs of travelling to and from campus, and students can continue working—earning and applying what they learn—at the same time.

*Prices are subject to change each academic year.

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