Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

Online MBA Turns IT Professional Into Business Leader

With an Online MBA from the University of Birmingham, Kathirvel Balakrishnan was able to translate his education into quick, tangible success.

Mon Nov 27 2017

The frantic world of work means the option of returning to education is simply a pipe dream for many professionals—one that is clogged with a build up of work and family commitments.

Balancing just those two things is a headache in itself. Luckily though, one UK business school has developed the mother of all ailments.

The University of Birmingham’s Online MBA was the world’s first 100% online MBA to be accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA)—it offers prospects an entirely-online MBA experience, free from the troubles an on-campus program entails for busy working professionals.

Among them, Kathirvel Balakrishnan, an experienced IT professional who embarked on Birmingham’s Online MBA in search of the augmentation of skills needed to prosper in today’s modernized world.brumpic

He’s now a lead data architect for a British multinational electricity and gas utility company, leading projects in excess of £100 million.

“I needed an effective time split between work and studies,” he says. “Taking a break from work was not a financially viable option due to personal and family commitments.

“At senior level, IT is not like it was before,” he continues. “It is a must to understand other areas such as finance and accounting, global operations, sales and marketing strategies, and people management.”

Kathirvel adds that the nature of the program, that allows students the flexibility to work and study simultaneously, helped him with quick wins at work as he was able to put his learning to the test straight away.

“I am able to articulate the issues, problems, and messages in a clear and concise manner now,” he says. “I understand the business much better, and am now able to provide evidence-based responses to the teams more often—which helps for completing a thorough analysis of items at work.”

Throughout Birmingham’s Online MBA, fortnightly live sessions connect tutors, lecturers, and groups of students in an interactive, online learning environment—the sessions are two and a quarter hours long.

Kathirvel explains that you study and collaborate with students who are located all around the world, working in a plethora of disciplines.

This, he adds, means that there is a better understanding of the modules, context, and their applicability in the real world as the students you interact with are placing their knowledge straight back into their daily working life across a wealth of industries.

“There is a need to focus not just locally but across geographies,” he explains, “as most of the corporates I work with are multinational companies.

“This brings in its own set of additional challenges for a professional like me,” he continues, saying that due to the diversified nature of the business world, it’s vital to understand how different cultures work.

For Kathirvel, an Online MBA should be a go-to for anyone who interacts with business on a regular basis.

“The Birmingham Online MBA has supported me in my transition into the world of business,” he says. 

Student Reviews

Birmingham Business School - University of Birmingham




On Campus

An amazing experience

Great, knowledgeable faculty with a beautiful campus. Lots of societies and clubs to choose from in accordance with your interest. One can also discover scholarship opportunities here. The course is perfectly designed and the career services at the uni are very helpful




On Campus

The beautiful campus and teaching expertise.

Overall the University of birmingham is just an incredible institution. From the array of expertise teachings and how phenomenal the campus is definitely enhances its beauty and is enriched with the amazing resources and incredible people that are always willing to help and make you feel welcomed everywhere you go. I would 100% recommend the University of Birmingham to be one of the best universities out there and through not only the various courses that they offer but all the social societies definitely adds to the fun and great opportunities that it provides




On Campus

Exceptional Support for international Students

Exceptional Support for International Students As an international student, my experience at the University of Birmingham has been nothing short of extraordinary, thanks to the outstanding support provided for international students. I would like to share my thoughts and experiences regarding the exceptional support I've received during my time here. From the moment I arrived on campus, it was evident that UoB prioritizes the well-being and success of its international students. Here are some key aspects of the support I've received: 1. Orientation Programs: The university's comprehensive orientation programs helped me acclimate to campus life, navigate administrative processes, and understand the academic system. I never felt lost or overwhelmed, thanks to the informative sessions and friendly staff. 2. Academic Advising: The academic advisors for international students are incredibly knowledgeable and approachable. They assisted me in creating a personalized academic plan, selecting courses, and understanding degree requirements. Their guidance ensured that I stayed on the right track academically. 3. Language Support: UoB offers exceptional language support services, including English language courses and conversation partners. These resources were invaluable in improving my language skills and building confidence in my communication abilities. 4. Cultural Integration: The university fosters a diverse and inclusive environment, making it easy for international students to feel like part of the community. There are numerous cultural clubs, events, and workshops that allow us to connect with fellow students and celebrate our diverse backgrounds. 5. Mental Health and Counseling Services: Recognizing the challenges that international students may face, the university provides excellent mental health and counseling services. It's comforting to know that support is available when needed, and these services are respectful of cultural differences. 6. Career Services: UoB offers exceptional career services tailored to international students. From resume workshops to job fairs, they've been instrumental in helping me prepare for my career post-graduation. The university's strong network of alumni has also been a valuable resource. 7. Visa and Immigration Assistance: Navigating the complexities of visa and immigration regulations can be daunting, but the university's dedicated staff provided guidance and assistance throughout the process. Their expertise made the experience seamless. 8. Housing Support: Securing suitable housing can be a challenge for international students, but the university offers assistance in finding on-campus housing options with flexible payments. This support ensured that I had a safe and comfortable place to live. 9. Financial Aid and Scholarships: UoB offers various scholarships and financial aid options for international students. Their commitment to making education accessible is commendable, they also provide financial support for graduation through the guild of students.




On Campus

student experience

I highly recommend the University of Birmingham. I think the school environment is very friendly to international students. I was able to get guidance and help from students in the school. I was also able to get support and guidance from the professional team on my career path. I would recommend the University of Birmingham to first-time international students and Masters students.




On Campus

There is always somebody to help!

The university respects the culture and background of their highly diverse student. It carters to everybody's need and puts its student first. It tries to the make the student feel at home and helps them deal with the university life.




On Campus


I love studying Pharmacy at Birmingham and would absolutely recommend it, especially because of the variety in every aspect of the course. Firstly, the variety of people you meet from all areas around the country, and even countless others from outside the country. Each person has a different background and experiences creating a melting pot of personalities to interact with. Next, the lessons - there are numerous types of lessons we encounter on a weekly basis from lectures to dissections to a computer workshops. Additionally, specific to medical degrees, I have 7 placements annually in hospital, community, and GP pharmacies. The only lack of variety in the pharmacy course is the classrooms since there are limited number we can use and the medical school is separate from the main campus. The only part I don't enjoy about pharmacy is the distances and unreliability of public transport in Birmingham. Living in the vale, the university is a long 25-minute walk away and my closest shop is over 10-20 minutes to walk. Although there are closer accommodations, I really love my flat with its modern decor, large room, and social aspect of the shared kitchen.




On Campus

Experience at University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham has been an outstanding university. They have provided complete support during COVID-19. The university is incredible when accessing support with mental health. I currently study criminology at the university of Birmingham. The course has been brilliant, with constant support from lectures and tutors to ensure that you achieve the best grade possible. I could not recommend University of Birmingham more!




On Campus


Great campus for studying with kind and professional staff and the campus is very well connected to the city center. There were so many people who wanted to enroll in the course that they had to queue for a new course for six months in advance. The classes were always crowded, but the professors never let anyone through. I love this uni




On Campus

A very welcoming uni

This university is regarded as one of the best in the world. They provide a welcoming environment that enhances the lives of the students because each one of them has a sense of community and a desire to study.