5 Tips for Networking in Online MBA Courses | TopMBA.com

5 Tips for Networking in Online MBA Courses

By Ryan Hickey

Updated Updated

One of the biggest concerns that students of online MBA courses and MOOCs have comes with regards to their opportunities for building relationships, or networking, with other students and especially with professors.

Just like your peers in traditional classrooms, you’ll most likely need to be building relationships and networking with professors not only to get the most out of your classes, but also for things like letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate programs. Also, your professors are invaluable resources for mentoring—both academically and professionally.

However, building relationships can seem daunting in the virtual world. To get started with effective networking, use these five tips as a guide towards building a lasting bond with your online professors.

1. Reach out – again and again

Online MBA courses and MOOCs require more self-direction and self-motivation than traditional classroom courses, and building relationships with your professors will require the same level of discipline as other aspects of your online coursework. You’ll need to make the effort to reach out to your professors to ensure they know who you are.

At the beginning of your online MBA courses, you might want to send a simple email to greet the professor and include a little about yourself and your background. Don’t overwhelm them with a long, personal story. However, adding a personal sentence or two will help your professor get to know you as you progress through a course.

2. Know thy professor

Schools want you to know about your professors, and most have a page on the school’s website listing their academic background, research interests, work background, and sometimes even some information about their personal lives. Therefore, your professors will expect that you know at least this much information about them before you begin their class. Also, it will give you something to talk about when communicating with them.

3. Be visible in class

Trying to build a meaningful relationship with a professor requires being active in the class itself. Your name should come up - a lot. Let them see you interacting with your classmates and making constructive contributions to the overall quality of the class. If the professor is going to write a letter of recommendation or provide guidance for you, they need to know how you think and how you behave with others. Let them see you providing insights and adding value during your online MBA courses or MOOCs.

4. Quality matters

This means that not only the content, but also the presentation, of your interactions with your professors should be of a high quality. We all make minor mistakes in our writing, and you shouldn’t let fear of errors keep you from communicating with professors. However, think about what you’re going to send before sending it. You want to be friendly and conversational without descending into the shortcuts that are often used in social media. Within any communications with your online professors, use conventional spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

5. Keep in touch - even after the class

After placing so much effort into building relationships with professors during a course, don’t let them forget you just because the class is over. To fully establish them as a networking connection, you might want to send them an email from time to time letting them know what is happening in your life. How are you progressing in the program? Are you applying for internships? Jobs? A graduate program? You may not receive much more of a response than “Good to hear from you!” or “Best of luck!” - but that’s not the point. The point is to keep in touch so that your professors don’t have to struggle to remember you when you ask for a letter of recommendation, or simply for their advice.

Building a meaningful relationship with anyone is never easy, regardless of the circumstances. All good relationships take time and effort. However, the payoff is definitely worthwhile. As would be equally true for traditional courses, you’re not going to have a strong relationship with every professor. It’s the ones that you do build that will add meaning to your experience in taking MOOCs and online MBA courses and something that can provide you with a network you’ll need as you continue in your education and future career.

This article was originally published in .

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