Benefits of a Blended MBA |

Benefits of a Blended MBA

By Seb Murray

Updated June 18, 2018 Updated June 18, 2018

Not long ago, digital degrees were widely regarded as a niche, if not inferior, form of business education. Although the concept of training managers through the internet has existed for decades, this was – until recently – largely limited to a few pioneering business schools and unaccredited education providers.

But in the past few years, online MBAs have undergone huge expansion, partly driven by time-poor managers who see a value in not quitting their lucrative jobs to pay tens of thousands of dollars for an MBA.

As a result, the distinction between online and offline degrees is blurring and some observers say it’s only a matter of time before all MBA programs are “blended” – delivered both online and in-person.

Highly-regarded business schools, such as Spain’s IE Business School, the UK’s Warwick Business School and the Tepper School of Business in the US, are now providing blended online and on-campus MBAs. This is why you should consider one.

Practical application of knowledge

Phillip Kim, faculty director of Babson College’s Blended Learning MBA in Massachusetts, believes that once-second-rate online MBAs are now becoming accepted as a viable alternative to a campus course.

“One value proposition is the opportunity to work and learn at the same time,” he says. “Rather than having to take time off work to pursue an MBA full-time or attend classes during evening or weekends, the online format offers another pathway.

“Our students tell us how much they value taking what they learn this week and putting it to use immediately at work. The online format facilitates this rapid learning and application.”

Professional networking

Cindy McCauley, executive director of Tepper’s online master’s programs, adds that online MBAs provide the networking opportunities that some say are missing from a purely online MBA.

One of the key selling points of a business school degree is the chance to learn from diverse and intelligent classmates, as much as you do from the teachers. However, it can be hard to form strong bonds from a laptop screen.

“When students have the opportunity to get together in person, they have a much greater ability to connect with their peers,” says McCauley.

“In our [Online Hybrid MBA] program, they spend nearly three days together every six weeks taking classes, participating in workshops, co-curricular activities and socializing. Our students become very close and build a strong network that will last a lifetime.”

Rub shoulders with potential employers

In the same vein, the opportunity to rub shoulders with employers is also a benefit of taking a blended MBA program. Some employers may now conduct interviews virtually, but others still prefer a face-to-face meeting before investing in an MBA hire.

“We do a networking fair once a year at The Shard [in London] which all MBAs can go to, but networking can be just effective via Skype and phone,” says John Colley, associate dean at Warwick, which runs the Distance Learning MBA.

“All MBA students can use their modules as a way of networking and exploring new industries and companies by approaching firms through LinkedIn or by email to work on assignments,” advises Colley. “This makes an initial contact and shows their passion for the subject. Then you’re able to short-track your way to an interview.”

Access to campus career services

A blended MBA also can provide a closer connection to campus and the school’s faculty and career services. Tepper’s Masters Career Center, for example, provides one-on-one career counselling, mock interviews, on-campus recruiting and corporate presentations.

“Our students have the opportunity to really connect with faculty since they start every course in person,” says McCauley. 

“In addition, they have the chance to really feel like they are part of the campus with access to career, leadership and other resources that might be harder to utilize if the program didn’t have an in-person component.”

Preparation for a tech-driven workplace

Online MBA degrees are also well-placed to prepare participants for a world of work that is becoming more technology-driven, according to Colley.

“Increasingly modern businesses have offices all around the world that need to work together, so developing capabilities and discovering tools is an essential part of being a business leader,” he says.

Warwick’s blended MBA students are required to attend two weeks of face-to-face classes in Warwick or London and spend the rest of the time learning online through Warwick’s digital platform, my.wbs.

“Our Distance Learning MBA develops key skills needed in the digital world: being able to develop teams and relationships across the world via the internet,” says Colley.

There are downsides to a blended MBA, of course. These include the difficulty associated with balancing a full-time job with an intense academic program. Traveling to campus for in-person modules can require extra time off work. But with numerous workplace and employment benefits, the blended format may well be the future of the MBA.

This article was originally published in June 2018 .

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Written by

Seb is a journalist and consulting editor who has developed a successful track record writing about business, education and technology for the international press.


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