If you want to advance your career or are getting ready for the next step in your education, going for an online MBA could be a great decision. Online MBAs offer a level of flexibility traditional MBAs can’t and have benefits inherent to them that many people don’t think about.
One of them is the exposure they give you to people from different professional backgrounds and markets. They can also be a great option for executives who feel like they’re getting behind on technology. With that being said, online MBAs are not a cakewalk and can sometimes be more difficult than traditional MBAs, depending on the type of student you are. But there are some things that you can do as a student to maximise your chances of success with an online MBA. Here are a few of them.
The first thing you should do if you want to succeed with your online MBA is to take a long hard look at yourself and see if you have what it takes to succeed. While you’ll need the problem-solving and basic maths skills required of all MBAs, you also need to have a lot of self-discipline and be good with time management.
This is especially true if you decide to take asynchronous classes. These classes allow students to follow courses on their own time as long as they do it within a specific time frame. They might be a great option for students who have irregular schedules or many responsibilities outside of work. They can also be good for business owners who need some flexibility.
If you’re a great self-starter and have no problem staying on top of assignments, you should do fine with asynchronous classes. You should avoid them if you have difficulty with self-discipline. You should also think about going for another format if you want to get real-time access to your teachers and other students.
Online MBAs require a lot of perseverance too. You’ll feel alone many times during your program, and you’ll need to go within to find the strength to keep going. Knowing how to build a network and support system with other students will also help, and good online MBAs offer tons of networking opportunities, so take advantage of them.
Next, you have to find an MBA where you feel you’ll be able to thrive. One of the first things you should consider is how much access you’ll have to the teaching staff.
Some people assume that they’ll be able to get in contact with professors whenever they need to through email or video conference, but in some cases, you may only get access to faculty representatives. This might be a minor issue for someone that’s fairly independent, but if you are the type of person that needs consistent assistance, this might be a problem for you.
You also have to check how well the school ranks nationally and internationally. Ideally, you want to go for a school that is in the top 10 in the UK and top 20 internationally. The online Aston University MBA program is one of the top-ranked programs in the country and received tons of international accolades. This is the type of program you should be looking for if you want your credentials to be recognised by employers everywhere you go.
Another thing you should look at is how much real-life experience you’ll get during the program. This might sound like a strange thing to look for in an online MBA, but ideally, it’s always better to pick one that will give you opportunities to learn on the ground and apply the things you’ve learned in a work environment.
If you go with a program that allows you to speak directly with your professors, you must know what their online office hours are. Not only will your professors play a large role in your success, but they might become part of your extended network. So, learn how to build meaningful and respectful relationships with them.
You should also try to build relationships with other classmates and be very strategic when it comes to group projects. One thing we would suggest you do is run a search on students on sites like LinkedIn before you decide to work on a team project with them. This will allow you to work with people you have affinities with.
Make sure that you keep their information and maintain an open line of communication with them if things click between you. This is your chance to start building a solid network that might be beneficial to you for the rest of your life.
It would also be a good idea to speak with a few graduates and/or current students to get an idea of what the program is really like. You should first ask them about the things they didn’t like or would like to see improved. Next, ask them about some of the things they liked the most. Don’t speak with students from one program only either. You should at least have three programs on your list and compare the pros and cons of each.
Ideally, one of these programs should be the one you absolutely want to get into, one that you’d have a good chance of entering but still is high quality, and one final resort school in case you get rejected by the first two.
Ask students how easy it was to get help and if they had a good chance to connect with other students. Also, ask about the type of assignments they were sent on and how they managed to overcome challenges to succeed.
As you can see, there are tons of ways to boost your chances of being successful with your online MBA. You need to first know how they work, know the challenges that come with them, and have the right type of mindset.