The Online MBA Advantage
The Online MBA Advantage
April 7, 2014
As a 20-year veteran of distance education, I have had an extraordinary chance to talk with countless MBA graduates over the years who have earned this career-enhancing degree online. Although most of them point to such obvious benefits as convenience and flexibility, many have shared what they considered the “hidden bonuses” of a high-quality online MBA program, such as Drexel’s AACSB-accredited MBA Anywhere – currently ranked 14th best in the world by Financial Times.
To begin with, you will collaborate around real issues in a consulting project with other seasoned professionals. Distance degree programs like ours tend to attract mid-career working professionals in their 30s and 40s, who have neither the time nor the desire to spend a couple of years away from the job. Some are looking to move up in their companies, while some plan to launch their own businesses. Still others look forward to using this credential for changing careers altogether. But all of them are anxious to apply what they are learning in real time; and as a result, often bring the day-to-day challenges they face at work into the classroom discussion.
Thus, in addition to exploring case studies from a historical perspective (a favorite learning tool in business schools everywhere), online MBA students have a multitude of informal opportunities to act as management consultants, tackling real world problems as they unfold with other like-minded professionals from a variety of backgrounds and industries. For MBA Anywhere students, these opportunities serve as a critical adjunct to other, more structured consulting activities – a big plus when it comes to sharpening such highly prized business skills as creative thinking and collaborative leadership.
You will also become well-practiced in the art of virtual teamwork. As the economy evolves and the marketplace expands, we all find ourselves moving from “place work” to “space work.” Consequently, busy professionals these days are more likely than not to conduct a great deal of their business remotely, harnessing the power of technology (both synchronous and asynchronous) to work in virtual teams – much as they do in an online MBA program.
In fact, given that virtual group work is an integral part of high-quality online programs, they offer an exceptional training ground for mastering such essential cyber team skills as establishing rapport, managing conflict, and achieving common objectives. What’s more, as you learn to build and sustain effective and empowering group project teams, you will have the added benefit of expert guidance from online professors, who wear many hats as mentors, facilitators, and when needed, referees.
Likewise, you will hone your written communication skills. Virtual teamwork depends in part on written communication – which is why most industry leaders will tell you that when it comes to awarding promotions, they value the ability to write well over other important factors like ambition, education, and hard work. That being said, the online environment provides an extraordinary chance to sharpen your competitive edge, by strengthening your writing skills.
Along with in-person residencies (on-campus and overseas) and hands-on learning experiences, MBA Anywhere students spend quality time on the keyboard producing thought-provoking written assignments and posting in lively online discussion forums. So while completing your degree, you will also build a solid foundation in the fundamentals of expressive writing – from lexicon, to syntax, to semantics.
And finally, you will reduce your carbon footprint, as well as your gas bill. By cutting out the campus commute and greatly reducing the need for paper, environmentally conscious online students will be the first to tell you that they are saving the planet, not to mention their hard-earned dollars. Indeed, with such viable virtual options as the MBA Anywhere program at Drexel, you will no longer have to burn fuel and cut down trees to get a valuable degree and a first-rate education.
Dr. Susan Aldridge is President of Drexel University Online and Senior Vice President of Online Learning at Drexel University. For more information on Dr. Aldridge, please visit: www.drsusanaldridge.com