loader

How to Network on a Distance Learning MBA

How to Network on a Distance Learning MBA main image

Sponsored by Warwick Business School

Whatever your thoughts are about networking, the ability to network and network well is an essential part of the MBA, whether you study it online or in the classroom. 

However, what can you do if you’re one of the thousands of people around the world currently studying an online degree program, with a cohort that aren’t in the same time zone as you, let alone the same room? How are you supposed to build a strong network in this situation?

What you might not realize is online degree programs present ample networking opportunities – it’s just knowing what these are and how to make the most of them. 

We’ve teamed up with Warwick Business School to find out how you can successfully network on their Distance Learning MBA (DLMBA).

Embrace digital technologies and interactive content

The switch from classroom to online learning can be a daunting process, even for the more technologically experienced. However, it doesn’t have to be as challenging as it first seems. 

Bespoke online learning platforms offer an enjoyable interactive experience where you’ll have greater connectivity and engagement with online course tools and resources including live webinars, Q&As, quizzes and videos.

Be a good team-player

Having a strong online presence is about acting just like you would in person and putting your best, professional foot forward. This demonstrates your worth as a team-player when it comes to group projects and online discussion forums. 

Online forums and group discussions surrounding modules and assignments are a regular activity in any online degree program. Within these, introducing yourself and inviting responses is an easy way to make conversation and get to know your colleagues and professors.

“Before starting the first module, part of our preparation was to contact other students on the course via the online platform (my.wbs), WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams, enabling us to discuss our ideas and getting to know each other,” explained Adam Taylor, a current Distance Learning MBA participate at Warwick Business School.

“Most importantly though, this allowed us to support each other if we were unsure of how to answer a question, find materials or were just feeling overwhelmed.”

Make the most of in-person events such as meet-and-greets and dedicated campus weeks

Networking can be a bit of a minefield. Knowing how to navigate it is critical – which is why Warwick Business School hosts two face-to-face Warwick Weeks in the first year of the Distance Learning MBA. If you’re enrolled on the Distance Learning MBA (London) this will be at WBS London at The Shard, in London, or it will be at the Warwick campus if you are studying the Distance Learning MBA.

“Warwick Week finally gave me the opportunity to meet my fellow group members in person, having worked with them for two months on a virtual platform,” said Baljit Chander, another Distance Learning MBA participate at Warwick Business School.

“It was an intense learning experience but well worth it.”

These types of events open up the possibility of meeting with business leaders and companies and having these connections to the industry can leverage future job opportunities. Over 60 percent of recruiters believe the highest-quality job candidates come from personal referrals, so it’s no wonder networking is a primary activity for job searchers.

Carla Priddon is also a Distance Learning MBA participant at Warwick. She told us how she thought the Warwick Week “was really helpful to meet people in similar industries and completely different ones and spend the week with other bright, interesting and ambitious people, over both work and drinks!”

At WBS, students also have the option to study one or two face-to-face elective modules, allowing them to meet and network with Executive MBAs and Full-time MBAs.

“Warwick Week has been a wonderful opportunity to meet the cohort and network. Face-to-face teaching allows for an in depth exploration with lecturers and guests about the modules and allows opportunities to utilize the wonderful services the university offers such as the careers team,” said Jessica Maye, a current Distance Learning MBA participant.

Successful networking doesn’t happen overnight – even the most charismatic have to work at it. In fact, the Distance Learning MBA can be the ideal platform for those who may not be so confident when it comes to building a network of contacts. Remember – the conversation doesn’t always have to be about you – don’t be afraid to ask questions and offer your experience and skills where there’s an ideal opportunity to do so.

Ensure your LinkedIn account is up-to-date and easy to find

It may come as a surprise to learn just how valuable having an up-to-date and easy to find LinkedIn profile can be when it comes to establishing new and meaningful connections with your cohort.

A professional picture and overview of your experience and skills can also stand out to potential employers who may come across your profile.

Reach out to the school’s career services and connect with alumni

An incredible 85 percent of job vacancies are filled via some form of networking, according to a 2016 LinkedIn survey.

Of course, it’s important to network with your fellow cohort and professors, but you should also remember to reach out to alumni and network with former students.

Warwick Business School’s alumni website offers access to the latest alumni networking events, guest speaker events, and a platform to keep in touch with fellow alumni via its own directory.

Don’t feel like you need to wait for an opportunity – seek it out for yourself. Your institution’s career team can also help put you in touch with valuable contacts who can help get you where you want to be after graduating.

Written by Stephanie Lukins

As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopMBA.com and TopUniversities.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

0 Comments
Click here to Log in or register to share your views on the article.