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A rock-solid certification: What makes a good online MBA programme?

SOURCE: Alex Edelman/AFP
An online MBA programme is ideal for busy professionals.


By U2B Staff 

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Are you an aspiring MBA student?

Whether you have your heart set on climbing up the ranks to the upper echelons of the corporate world, or want to equip yourself with the knowledge and skill set to build a business from the ground up, an MBA has much appeal to a wide range of individuals.

The Association of MBAs notes that many graduates said their degree has helped them to achieve a promotion, expand their area of expertise, equip them to start their own business, improve their business and professional network of contacts, build confidence, to name a few.

Also, in the most basic quantifying terms, MBA graduates also typically enjoy more competitive salaries than non-MBA holders, further adding to its appeal.

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Buoyed by these prospects, it’s unsurprising why MBA programmes remain popular.

For busy professionals, an online MBA serves as a flexible way to study and level up for many working professionals. Despite that, choosing the right programme can be an arduous task and requires a lot of research. 

If you’re keen on applying for an online MBA programme, these are some considerations that might help you with your decision making: 

How employable are their graduates?

One of the primary reasons professionals and graduates choose to pursue an MBA programme is to enhance their employability, which makes it unsurprising why you will want to check the employability of an institution’s online MBA graduates as a barometer of whether you will enjoy your ROI from spending thousands on your graduate degree. 

This is also one of the four metric groups considered by QS in their Online MBA Rankings 2020 when ranking online MBA programmes by institutions around the world. Speak with the university’s advisors, or check if this data is available on their website. 

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What kind of learning experience will you enjoy?

Just because an MBA programme is delivered online, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with subpar services. 

Aspiring online MBA students will want to do their research and find out more about what the online learning experience will be like. For instance, what’s the quality of their learning management system (LMS)? Are students still expected to have some form of physical meetings? Will tech support be available, regardless of students’ time zones? If possible, speak with graduates of the programme for detailed insights. 

What’s the proportion and quality of their full-time faculty and educators?

Also playing a role in your learning experience is the quality of your educators. Having more full-time faculty members on board is a positive factor to look out for when researching online MBA programmes.

QS notes that the faculty/student ratio score forms the basis of many measures of teaching quality, and adds that the proportion of full-time faculty members who teach on the online programme as opposed to adjuncts is an important factor for online MBA programmes. As online MBA programmes are solitary in nature, students will want to ensure that they have the right faculty support to ensure they successfully complete their programme.

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How diverse is your cohort?

Does the university attract diverse applicants for its online MBA programme? This is an essential point to consider as learning during the MBA journey isn’t a one-way street where you only learn from your lecturers or professors. Students will also have much to learn from the varied experiences of their cohort, and benefit from being exposed to multiple perspectives.

Are there opportunities to tailor your course and soak in professional experiences?

Keep an eye out for programmes that allow you to shape your learning, such as those that allow you to pick certain tracks, such as management or entrepreneurship to human capital management, which can help shape the trajectory of your career. It’s always a plus point when online programmes also offer immersion weeks abroad or even internships for students to put theory into practice and expand their network.

In a nutshell, there are many considerations to factor in when shopping for your online MBA. When in doubt, contact the institution for more information and don’t hesitate to reach out to graduates from your shortlisted university to find out more about their experiences. After all, you’ll want to ensure an MBA is a sound investment, so don’t rush into making a decision.