The Rise of the Flexible and Customizable MBA

The Rise of the Flexible and Customizable MBA main image

Sponsored by Deakin Business School

The MBA still remains the most popular choice when it comes to graduate management education according to GMAC’s latest Demand for MBA and Business Master’s Programs: Insights on Candidate Decision Making Summary Report.

However, those who do decide to pursue a professional MBA are now beginning to place greater importance on specific program aspects, such as program length and format, which is something the current MBA needs to tend to urgently – and not in the sense of distance learning or online programs either.

Whether it’s to help boost career prospects, offer a change of career direction, or simply to better their knowledge of the subject, individuals are no longer willing to hit the pause button on their lives in order to focus solely on their academic pursuits.

Flexible and customizable study options are no longer a perk – they’re necessary

Juggling a family, career, or both whilst studying is becoming the norm, so it’s critical that business schools and universities are aware of this in order to adapt to these changing trends.

Although there’s no one straight path to study an MBA, nor is there a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to studying an MBA, the introduction of more flexible and customizable MBAs such as the one offered at Deakin Business School in Melbourne, Australia, offers an intriguing insight into the future of flexible learning.

“As a full-time employee I found that the technology used and the flexibility of the course helped me in completing my MBA within a year and half,” said Harsha Maligaspe, who returned to Deakin Business School to study his MBA in 2014.

With alternative teaching methods and learning tools such as masterclasses and Cloud Deakin, the school’s refreshing approach to the traditional Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is a benchmark for today’s study, work, live culture.

“Most of our students are working professionals […] so working while they’re studying, they’re balancing a lot – families, jobs, travelling.And so this shorter, stackable, punchier, approach to their learning provides them with the way to manage those pressures, but it also gives them the bursts they want when they need it, and when they want it,” said Colin Higgins, Director of the MBA at Deakin Business School.

“The student learning management system that we call ‘Cloud Deakin’ provides a lot of opportunities for student interaction. They’re interacting with each other and they’re interacting with us on a 24/7 environment. The materials we’ve developed now are a lot more digitally rich and there’s a lot more social learning that takes place on our learning platform,” he added.

The MBA is adapting for the 21st century business leader

As more and more individuals decide to take the plunge back to education, it’s a decision that isn’t taken lightly. They hope it will add another dimension to their professional portfolio, while rounding out their skillset and developing their technical acumen to ultimately further their career.

So, while degree programs adapt their curriculum to cater for modern day society, MBA programs in particular are encouraging students to take what they’ve learnt at work and apply it back into the classroom and vice versa.

“Students are able to continue to invest in their professional development by completing their MBA while working at the same time. So it does provide them with the extra flexibility.

“Students can also customize their assessments for their own work place, so they’re getting a value added to their employer while completing the formal elements of the program,” said Higgins.

It can also offer a new perspective on your career

Everyone who chooses to study an MBA does so with their own goals, aims and ambitions in mind. And while some may decide to pursue an MBA to help climb the career ladder, others may find it considerably helpful in being able to pursue pastures new and open a door that offers entirely new experiences.

Harsha told us: “The MBA without a doubt enhanced my career and sent me in a new direction.

“Completing my MBA gave me a different perspective of my career and gave me the courage to leave my full-time permanent role of nine years and pursue my career as a consultant.”

Lead image credit: Deakin Business School

Written by Stephanie Lukins

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