The Truth About The UK's Number One Online MBA Program

The Truth About The UK's Number One Online MBA Program main image

The QS Online MBA Rankings 2019 have been released, and for the second year in a row, Imperial College Business School’s Global Online MBA program has earned the top spot in the UK.

We spoke with Dr Paolo Taticchi, program director of the Imperial Global Online MBA about what sets Imperial’s program apart from competitors, and how the online MBA is changing graduate education as we know it.

Why are online MBA programs important?

The online MBA is an ideal choice for students who prefer not to undertake full-time study in the traditional way. One of the main benefits of choosing an online program is that students can study at the business school of their choice, from wherever they are based in the world, without needing to be based in the same city or country as the institution they wish to obtain their degree from.

Students studying for an online MBA experience similar benefits to those who study on a traditional face-to-face program – a structured and rigorous academic experience with the right balance between theory and practical exercises. However, a key difference is an online program is delivered using the latest cutting-edge technology which requires students to sharpen up their technical skills to get the most out of their program.

The ‘virtual’ nature of studying alongside a global cohort, means students must also learn how to work and interact with their fellow students who are located across different time zones. This approach to studying reflects the changing nature of global business, where many top performing teams are required to collaborate in real-time even though they aren’t geographically based in the same location. This means these students are in a stronger position to work in leadership positions in global firms, where they may be required to hire talent from around the world or manage teams based in other countries.

Another benefit of doing a virtual degree, is students can fit their studies around their other commitments and also apply the learnings from the program to their current career, so they can immediately experience how the theoretical elements translate into real world benefits.

What sets Imperial’s program apart from other online MBA courses?

Imperial’s Global Online MBA is a two-year, part-time program delivered via the Hub, a sophisticated online platform developed by Imperial’s Edtech Lab. The program reflects our unique position as being part of a leading STEMB (science, technology, engineering and medicine) university. Students are encouraged to foster an entrepreneurial mindset and the program has a strong emphasis on developing practical solutions to real world challenges.

During their studies, students will benefit from experts and research from the world of business, technology, science, engineering and healthcare.

The program features both blended and face-to-face elements and students are invited to attend events at the London campus, allowing them to meet their tutors and fellow students in person as well as online. We also offer students the option of studying electives face-to-face on campus as well as in other countries at a number of partner institutions. We are also the first school to offer an online exchange program in the world.

Is technology changing the online MBA?

Technology needs to evolve to keep up with the demands of students and the changing world of business. At Imperial, investing in new technology is part of our mission to create a more flexible and inspiring experience for our students and to help us grow our digital visibility as a business school. Aside from the Hub, we are also experimenting with other technologies and recently became the first university in the world to deliver live lectures using hologram technology. Other recent innovations include a new robo-tutor, designed to support students on both our MBA programs and our new online Masters in Business Analytics.

Imperial recently joined a group of other leading business schools to launch a new digital learning platform designed to create a more flexible learning experience. The platform is at the heart of a new partnership called the Future of Management Education Alliance, which aims to transform the future of management education and is the first collaboration of its kind in the business education sector.

What are some of the studying requirements on the program?

We look for students with strong leadership skills, with the ability to inspire and motivate others. We also seek people who are bold, innovative thinkers and those who are able to successfully collaborate with others both face-to-face and online. Students must also have a strong academic and professional track record.

Students are required to undertake a number of pre-study modules before they start the programme to ensure they have the basic knowledge and skills required for their course. These subjects cover accounting, finance, mathematics and quantitative skills.

How does the online MBA differ from the on-campus MBA?

The Imperial Global Online MBA offers students the best of both worlds. The Hub platform allows students to interact and collaborate with their fellow students from wherever they are in the world. Students can benefit from a similar curriculum to a traditional MBA, with the program being delivered in a format that can be accessed anywhere in the world to meet their needs.

Are there any new additions to the program?

Last year we introduced the “GLocal Electives” – a series of electives taught by Imperial’s faculty in other countries. One of the goals of these electives is to connect students locally with online students based in different parts of the world. This year we are running modules in New York and Tel Aviv.

We have also introduced new electives aimed at alumni looking to keep their skills and knowledge up to date, as part of our mission to support life-long learning.

Another important addition to the programme this year, is a new Diversity and Inclusion training programme so that we continue to promote a fair and diverse community and support students throughout their studies.

Student feedback is very important, and we continue to develop the programme to meet the changing needs of our cohort. 

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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