Warwick Business School: Inside the QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 Programme | TopMBA.com

Warwick Business School: Inside the QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 Programme

By Linda M

Updated April 23, 2021 Updated April 23, 2021

Here's what Pietro Micheli, Course Director of the WBS online MBA, had to say about the school's performance in the QS Online MBA Rankings 2021.

The QS Online MBA Rankings 2021 have just been released, revealing the business schools setting the standard for online MBA offerings across the globe.

Now in its 10th year, the rankings analysed the offerings from 57 schools based on several indicators, including employability, class profile, class experience, and faculty and teaching.

One of the best-performing programmes this year was the Distance Learning MBA at Warwick Business School, which ranked 3rd worldwide and second in the UK and European region.

TopMBA caught up with Professor Pietro Micheli, Course Director for the programme, to discuss WBS’s performance in the rankings, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online MBA admissions, and future plans for digital learning.

Given local and global restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been particularly challenging for business schools across the world, as many had to pivot towards remote learning even for in-person programmes. Have you seen a difference, whether positive or negative in candidate interest for your online MBA offering? And did you implement any changes to the delivery of your programme to adapt to the ongoing pandemic?

PM: The pandemic has seen demand increase significantly for our Distance Learning MBA. In fact, demand and final recruitment numbers have increased for both the Warwick and London formats of our Distance Learning MBA, with our cohort starting in January being 30 percent bigger than last year’s […]. We are seeing a similar pattern for our June 2021 intakes, with demand continuing to be extremely buoyant.

Being online is obviously an advantage with our campuses closed for much of the pandemic. However, our Distance Learning MBA has two Warwick Weeks, where students come together for lectures, networking, careers workshops and events at the campus or our WBS London base at The Shard. This has moved online during the pandemic, though we are preparing to bring them back from the end of May. The my.wbs platform already has a wealth of careers support, workshops, videos, and quizzes to help students online, but we have also moved one-to-one coaching and careers fairs online. With most industries and professionals working from home, it has actually helped us secure more speakers from the industry to give talks online from all over the world.

Students need to take advantage of the huge amounts of resources on our platform. They have access to interactive resources and online study materials, with free online access to full-text articles from a wide range of business and management journals and full online access to the superb University of Warwick library including many databases, and more than 30,000 full-text electronic journals. There are also videos and audio recordings of interviews with our academics and top industry leaders, plus a vibrant online community, giving access to fellow students on all courses, tutors and resources day or night and from anywhere in the world.

What makes your online MBA programme unique and a top provider of online learning?

The main reasons Warwick Business School is ranked so highly for online MBAs are our my.wbs platform, our experience and expertise in providing blended learning, our top faculty, and our network of alumni.

Built and designed in-house, my.wbs has really helped the school during the pandemic, making the move to online teaching for the rest of our courses a lot smoother. The platform provides a virtual classroom for our students where we run lectures, knowledge groups, online case studies and hold rich interactive learning resources.

We invest heavily in EdTech every year and have a fantastic e-learning department that now has two film studios to record lectures, interviews, webinars, and discussions. We are also going to companies to film on site, developing mini-documentaries to help open up the subject even more for students. We are also developing in-house content such as online business games, where students can simulate what happens when they make strategic decisions as a manager of a business.

The Distance Learning MBA has been around at Warwick for more than 30 years, so we have built a hugely rich and rigorous database of case studies, recorded lectures, articles, and videos for students to delve into. Plus, the platform is hugely interactive so students can quickly have queries answered or talk to academics if they need to.

Your program scored particularly high for the employability and faculty & teaching indicators. Why do you think that is?

The CareersPlus team supports all our MBA students during their course and after they have graduated. It delivers personal support and advice as well as online workshops and lectures for personal development and career enhancement.

Students have access to career consultations and executive coaching, as well as careers workshops as part of our Careers Festival, held during the two residential weeks, sharing the latest thinking on career management, and covering a range of topics from career transition to negotiation skills.

The skills webinars cover topics such as Salary Negotiation, Assertiveness Skills, Managing Workplace Politics and The 2-Hour Job Search. There are many other online resources such as job postings, career management modules, 360-degree online feedback, CV preparation platform and expert insights from industry speakers. MBA students also have access to one-to-one coaching, attend career workshops, and gain networking opportunities with companies like Google, Jaguar Land Rover, and JP Morgan.

Our Distance Learning MBA is one of the few online courses on the market led by faculty from the school, which helps students greatly and ensures high quality teaching informed by cutting edge research. […] As well as top-class faculty, we have a large Teaching and Learning team to support our Distance Learning MBA course, which offers not just IT training for faculty but innovative ways of teaching through video business simulation games. Indeed, staff have been extraordinarily creative in their approach to virtual learning and well supported by teaching and learning experts.

What are your hopes for the future of your online MBA - from both an academic and student body perspective?

Certainly, technology is pointing to more education being done online – and the global pandemic may well have accelerated this trend. The flexibility of online helps people continue their education around their increasingly busy lives.

However, I think it will increasingly be a combination of both online and offline to bring a truly immersive experience to students. Putting lectures on video means more time can be given to discussion and seminars where ideas and theories are analysed more. It also frees up time for more innovative learning such as using drama, acting out case studies, music, theatre, design and other creative techniques to bring learning to life. This will also improve students’ interpersonal skills and leadership qualities, the soft skills that are needed to motivate and work within a team.

This means constant innovation, experimenting and seeing how the blend between the digital and physical worlds affects the learning experience for students.

This article was originally published in April 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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