What to Consider When Choosing an Online MBA Programme in 2021 | TopMBA.com

What to Consider When Choosing an Online MBA Programme in 2021

By Linda M

Updated May 11, 2021 Updated May 11, 2021

Here are TopMBA's best tips on how to choose the best online MBA programme for your professional needs.

While MBA programmes have taken the biggest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, online MBAs are experiencing a solid increase in applications.

According to faculty and staff from top business schools, demand for online learning is bound to continue growing in the near future as remote work becomes more popular and professionals seek to upskill from the comfort of their own homes.

If you’re thinking of doing an online MBA, here are five key factors to consider when choosing the right business school and programme for you.

Experience and prestige in online education

When it comes to choosing an MBA, you may or may not care about a school’s reputation in the higher education field.

However, regardless of your personal preference for prestige and accreditations, it’s crucial that the institutions you look into can offer you a great remote learning experience. This is especially important in 2021, as an increasing number of business schools across the globe will follow industry trends and rush to come out with online MBA programmes that might not necessarily meet the standards of their in-person offerings.

For this reason, make sure you look at online MBA rankings to see which schools consistently invest in EdTech and rank high for their distance learning provision.

Flexibility levels

Another important factor to consider when choosing an online MBA is how flexible a programme is.

You may still be working from home regardless of coronavirus restrictions easing or you may have gone back to the office already – nevertheless, figuring out exactly how much time you can dedicate to your studies should be a priority.

Bear in mind, however, that some schools might have changed their teaching methods in the past year, introducing more live sessions and swapping asynchronous for synchronous learning to improve cohort interaction.

Before you look into specific programmes, narrow down what your flexibility needs are, taking into account time zones, teaching methods and in-person residencies. Depending on your individual preferences, the list of schools you’ll be able to apply to will inevitably shrink, allowing you to only spend time on programmes that would fit your schedule.

Specialisations and electives

While specialisations are a popular feat of in-person MBA programmes, online MBA courses tend to be known for their flexibility and convenience.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking to upskill in a specific department or gain knowledge in a new industry or sector, an online MBA can still be a great choice.

In fact, more and more schools are diversifying their online MBA curriculum with specialisations such as finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology, as well as with a plethora of elective classes surrounding hot topics in business, including start-ups, sustainability, venture capital finance and FinTech.

Employability and hands-on experience

Employability is a key quality indicator of any business school programme – and online MBAs are no exception. Just because you’ll be learning from afar, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gain any relevant industry experience during your postgraduate studies.

When narrowing down your favourite schools, looking at their employability score can give you an idea of which institutions employers prefer to hire from. Some of this year’s top employability performers include IE Business School, Imperial College Business School, AGSM @ UNSW Business School, Warwick Business School and Kelley School of Business.

Another important component of a programme’s flair for employability is career support. As time consuming as it might be, take an in-depth look at which schools could offer you career development opportunities such as mentorship schemes and one-on-one application and interview advice, as these could give you a significant advantage in the job market.

Networking opportunities

The last factor to consider is a school’s professional network.

Much like for career support, being an online MBA student should guarantee you access to networking opportunities that would allow you to advance your career. When looking at specific schools, make sure you take into account their involvement in students’ career progression.

Do they offer digital events, such as meet and greets with recruiters or presentations with industry players? Do they have in-person residential modules to kick-off the course? Will you have a chance to connect with your classmates and school alumni to expand your professional network?

These are important questions that you should ask yourself early on in your research, and that might just make or break your chances to maximise your MBA post-graduation.

This article was originally published in May 2021 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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