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Online MBA: Industry Experts Speak Out On The Rise Of Distance Learning

Programs like Birmingham Business School’s 100%-Online MBA—the first of its kind to be accredited by AMBA—are leading the innovation


Wed May 23 2018

Ubiquitous access to education. A utopian ideal, but that’s exactly what the online MBA offers. Students of online MBA programs can study any time, any place, and all while continuing to work—they just need an internet connection.

Indeed, the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) cites flexibility and ‘access to quality programs without having to travel’ as two of the main reasons a student might opt for an online MBA over a campus-based program.

Students who don’t want to take the one-or-two years out of industry to complete their MBA degree don’t have to fret.

A wealth of online MBA programs are popping up. Although a majority do have residential components requiring students to travel to campus some, like the Online MBA at Birmingham Business School—ranked the 29th best online MBA in the world and third in the UK in CEO Magazine’s Global Online MBA Rankings—are delivered 100% online.

“Online degrees have the potential to be offered affordably without sacrificing academic rigor or instructional quality,” says Deanna Raineri, chief academic strategist at MOOC platform Coursera—which offers online courses and degrees from some of the world’s top universities.

“Graduates often tell us that the online experience is actually better in some cases than what they remember from the large lecture halls of their undergrad days.”

That is because the learning experience is swiftly developing online. On Birmingham Business School’s Online MBA, students learn through fortnightly live sessions that connect tutors, lecturers, and groups of students in an interactive, online learning environment.

Seamless interconnectivity means students like Kathirvel Balakrishnan are able to connect with peers all around the globe. Gone are the days where diverse, multicultural learning was restricted to campus-based MBA programs.

Is that why online learning is becoming more popular?

It’s not the only reason, explains Deanna. “Technological advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) and data science are quickly changing the way we work; being a lifelong learner is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity.

“Online education enables people to gain the skills they need to stay competitive throughout their careers.”

Accreditation can offer a real stamp of approval for a business school’s online program. The Birmingham Business School Online MBA was the world’s first program of its kind to gain accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA). 

Regular virtual classes with support from professors and a diverse, global set of peers, also delivers knowledge which can be applied directly back into the workplace.

This becomes a quotidian habit. That equates to what Birmingham Business School Online MBA student Pete Donovan says is vital for companies—developing the skills of their people to offer a world class service.

More and more business is being conducted online. Admissions expert Barbara Coward recalls a comment from a CEO about the dynamic of a modern workplace. “[He] said that the office is becoming a place where people go to socialize as they get most of their work done at home,” she says.

The rise of remote working means we have to augment our ability to communicate with colleagues virtually. “An online MBA helps with that,” explains Barbara. “You learn how to influence others, resolve conflict, lead projects, navigate sensitive issues—all important leadership skills—in a drastically different environment.”

Nick van Dam, global chief learning officer at McKinsey, adds that “what companies expect from business schools more than before are these human competencies.”

Speaking to BusinessBecause in January, he says companies must look at “how [they] can help develop these competencies by working in teams, by working on specific assignments […] and creating a real-life work experience.”

Online MBAs offer just that. “Learning agility,” according to director of people and organization for PwC Belgium, Koenraad Goris, is still high on the list of priorities for business schools—hence the growth of programs like Birmingham Business School’s Online MBA.

At PwC, he adds, anyone who comes into the company has high expectations in terms of learning. Making people aware that learning has to be an ongoing thing is a commitment business schools have to make.

“The future of work includes rethinking education and training,” Koenraad concludes. “We need to question ourselves, and MBA schools have to do the same—a lot of things will change.”

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.

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