Explore Flexible Learning with an Online MBA | TopMBA.com

Explore Flexible Learning with an Online MBA

By Tim Dhoul

Updated January 17, 2022 Updated January 17, 2022

This article is sponsored by the University of London. Learn more about its new Global MBA

If you want to get an MBA but cannot commit to a set location each week, or even to a specific number of study hours, then the flexible learning style of an online MBA could be for you.

You can access course content as and when you want, and there’s no fretting over the logistics and extra expenditure that regular on-campus classes can demand. Plus, you can enjoy the expertise of academic faculty and the support of an established university from the comfort of your own home, or wherever else your life takes you. Sound attractive? 

With flexible and online learning, responsibility for keeping pace with your studies rests on your own shoulders, but the planning this requires should be well suited to those considering an MBA and those with managerial experience and aspirations.

Uninspiring necessities can be transformed into opportunities. Long-haul business flight on the cards? Perfect. Ditch trying to find the airline’s least offensive movie option and catch up on your latest module’s required reading. In the time that it takes to fly from London to New York, or from Berlin to Beijing, you can cover the approximate weekly study time (of approx. six to eight hours) recommended for the online MBA launched this year by the University of London, in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). You can even go into the first meeting on your trip fresh with ideas from your course lecturer’s latest insights.

In this way, what you learn also benefits your current employers and they, in turn, may be moved to ensure they retain your services with promotion and/or a rise in salary. If you can put a good case before your employer, there’s the possibility of company sponsorship for an online MBA, too. As Ioannis Kokkoris, course director for the new Global MBA at the University of London explains; “this [flexible learning] structure gives corporations the opportunity to offer continuing professional development (CPD) to their employees because they can actually decide along with employees to focus on particular modules or particular strengths that would best suit the field in which they work.”

Flexibility defines the University of London’s online MBA

The University of London’s new online MBA comprises six core modules and four electives, followed by a capstone project that can be taken in one of six areas, including finance, law and leadership. Students can complete the program in anywhere between one and five years – accentuating the ‘flexible’ in flexible learning.

Indeed, while online learning is ideal for professionals seeking to combine full-time work and study, the precise structure from one online program to the next will, of course, vary along with the provider. It’s therefore essential to settle on a structure that suits your individual circumstances to ensure you feel comfortable with what’s expected of you as an online MBA student from the moment you enroll.  

Having said that, modern life always has the potential to throw up new and unexpected challenges, and online programs tend to be more mindful that career professionals may be more susceptible to such changes than their on-campus counterparts. That’s why the new online MBA from the University of London doesn’t stop at flexibility in terms of program delivery and structure. Yes, you can choose how many modules you enroll in each session and when to take your exams. However, you can also leave the program early, should your priorities change, and gain an exit award (postgraduate certificate or diploma) that reflects your progress. Those concerned about tuition costs may also find the program’s pay-as-you-go option attractive.   

Reputation, student experience and interactive online learning platforms

For all the advantages of an online MBA, some still see the qualification as being of a ‘lesser’ value than its on-campus equivalents, but the evidence against this perception is stacking up with every passing year. 

“People often have ties which prevent them from taking up the campus-based option of study, particularly later in their careers,” Peter Todd has written in Forbes. “We need to recognize that, in today’s world, education takes commitment on the part of students, but must also adapt to their realities.” Todd is dean of HEC Paris, another big-name institution to launch an online degree this year.

It’s certainly true that online learning no longer needs to be a lonely experience. We’re all aware of the leaps and bounds taking place in digital technology and its potential has not been lost on providers of business education. Those who offer reputable online MBAs are now able to stage their programs on online platforms, through which students located around the world can interact with each other and with course lecturers and representatives.

The University of London’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is one such example of an interactive platform that can grow and evolve to suit its participants. At a time when many free (MOOC) programs have been found to suffer from poor completion rates, the University of London’s platform is also designed to ensure that, “students cannot fall off the radar two months down the line,” in the words of Kokkoris, who adds; “we’ve created a program that will make you feel engaged on a week-by-week basis.”

Flexible learning is here to stay and its future is set to be central to the entire educational landscape. More than 50,000 students from 180 different countries are already enrolled in the 100+ degrees, diplomas and certificates available through the University of London International Programmes. The addition of the Global MBA with academic direction from Queen Mary was described as, “a very exciting new program,” by the University of London’s vice chancellor, Sir Adrian Smith. “It’s current, it’s relevant, and it meets the needs of career professionals and employers in a broad range of sectors.”

This article is sponsored by the University of London

This article was originally published in June 2017 . It was last updated in January 2022

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Written by

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).