Debunking Online MBA Myths
More and more people are pursuing postgraduate qualifications. The number of students studying at the postgraduate level each year has doubled in the last 20 years alone, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies1.
A course that continues to attract attention among high-flying students is The Master of Business Administration (MBA). It’s easy to see why – MBAs hone managerial skills, provide access to an extensive business network and can lead to some of the most competitive salaries in the workplace.
Recent figures from the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) reveal more than 61,000 people study for an MBA in the UK, accounting for nearly a quarter of all postgraduate degrees.2
Unlike other Master’s courses, individuals pursuing MBAs typically have professional experience, rather than coming directly from an undergraduate degree. If you’re considering an MBA but want a course that offers more flexibility, you might consider distance learning.
Online MBAs are ideal for students who can’t attend university full-time and who prefer to manage their studies around other personal, and professional commitments.
Below, we debunk five popular myths regarding online MBAs.
Less credible than on-campus MBAs
There’s a common misconception that online degrees aren’t held to the same standards as other MBA courses. However, many of the UK’s top universities including Imperial College London and Durham University offer an online MBA.
An online MBA has similar requirements as an on-campus, full-time MBA, with core modules typically including accountancy, marketing, human resources and strategic management.
MBAs, whether online or on-campus, are accredited by three bodies – the Association of MBAs, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the EFMD Quality Improvement System.
Little to no interaction with classmates and staff
Just as you would with an on-campus course, you will learn from leading industry figures and have access to dedicated student services. Before choosing a course, ask about what support you can expect as part of your online experience.
As part of your course, you’re likely to have group-based assignments, so you’ll have to work alongside your classmates to meet the course requirements.
In turn, online MBA students build a strong network of peers and develop team skills to stand them in good stead for the workplace.
You have to be a tech whizz
If you can use a computer and have a good WiFi connection, you’re all set. Universities have created virtual learning environments for easy use, breaking down learning materials by course and topic and providing links to related reading materials.
Many universities will provide an induction or onboarding video to help students familiarise themselves with their systems, and student support services are available if you need a little extra help getting to grips with the tech.
The COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated online learning for every university course in the country, so this should reassure you that you’re at no disadvantage if you choose to study online.
Online courses are less academic
Online courses are just as challenging. In reality, completing a course online can demonstrate to an employer that you can manage your time with minimal supervision or even while working, which shows your drive to succeed.
Some universities offer a blended approach, where you can combine your online learning with residential modules. However, if you study an MBA completely online, you’ll still have access to learning materials, industry insights and articles.
MBAs are advanced, whether online or on-campus and attract the best and brightest students.
Less opportunity to network
Online MBAs offer great opportunities to expand your network. You could even argue that online MBAs provide a broader, multi-cultural networking opportunity.
An online MBA offers a unique benefit as the course isn’t localized, allowing more students to continue working while studying. As a result, MBA courses attract international students and global opportunities which can naturally convert into worldwide professional opportunities.
Unlike other postgraduate courses that focus on lectures, tutorials, and seminars, MBAs emphasize case studies, group work, and real-world projects. This gives you a great opportunity to make friends with other business-orientated people while studying.
 The earnings return to postgraduate degrees in the UK: 2020, Institute for Fiscal Studies. Link  Analysis of postgraduate qualifications in Business and Administrative Studies: 2017-18, Chartered Association of Business Schools. Link
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