The highly flexible nature of studying online has made MBAs more widely accessible. People who previously didn’t have enough time or money can now access high-quality education.
It’s no surprise that applications for online MBAs around the world soared during the pandemic, rising by 44% in 2020. They’ve since declined amid a return to the classroom, however there are far more online MBAs offering a flexible learning experience today than before the pandemic.
Now, ESMT Berlin, one of Germany’s top-ranked business schools, has pioneered an even more flexible approach to the online MBA.
Global Online ESMT Berlin MBA: A stackable curriculum
The only top-10 European business school offering a fully online global MBA, ESMT’s program is taught over a flexible period ranging from 24 to 60 months.
Currently in its first year, the Global Online MBA has three intakes, in January, May, and September. The curriculum is designed to be completed over two years, full-time. To give students a greater level of flexibility, ESMT has incorporated a new ‘stackable’ approach.
“Once students have successfully completed a module, they will receive a digital certificate of their achievement that can be shared with others to demonstrate what they’ve achieved,” explains Rebecca Loades, program director for the online ESMT MBA.
This approach means you can pay for each individual module as you study and earn your certificates. ESMT also offers the more typical option to pay your tuition fees in full either up front or in installments.
Depending on your goals, this approach means you could study the whole program in one continuous period; extend your study over a number of years; or simply gain professional certificates in modules where you feel the need to upskill.
“A modular, stackable, approach increases choice and flexibility for students. Choice because they can choose which module or elective to study; and flexibility as they can pause their studies and resume them later,” adds Rebecca.
ESMT Berlin Global Online MBA: An online community
Such emphasis on flexibility ensures the ESMT Global Online MBA has attracted a diverse cohort of students. Students currently participating in the program hail from more than 40 different countries. All are at various stages in their career.
ESMT faculty work hard to harness this diversity and foster a sense of community among the cohort, Rebecca says.
Each module requires you to work with other students in small teams to tackle group projects. Teams are mixed to ensure you work with people from a range of backgrounds. A Global Virtual Teams module also teaches key communication skills to help you effectively interact virtually throughout the course.
“Many people assume that studying in an online program is a lonely undertaking, and our students prove that is not the case,” Rebecca explains.
To help strengthen the bond between students, you can choose to study two optional in-person modules that take place during residential weeks in Berlin and other locations around the world. Potential locations for future residential weeks include Ireland, South Africa, and Japan.
There are also virtual events and networking sessions available to help members of the cohort integrate into the wider ESMT Berlin community. All of this combines to create a vibrant and inclusive community atmosphere, Rebecca says.
“Since we started the Global Online MBA, I have been blown away by the strength of the bonds between our students, and the mutual support and mentoring/coaching they offer each other.”
Despite the offer of a highly flexible, stackable learning experience, most early participants in the program have opted to study together in a continuous format.
“It’s interesting as while the program has been developed to be flexible, the majority of students are on track to complete the program in two years,” says Rebecca.
“For the minority that do decide to take a pause, they may not be studying but they are still ESMT students and hence still part of our community.”