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Online MBA Programs


Online MBA Programs Studying an MBA full time will take one or perhaps two years, and a part-time or online MBA alongside a full-time job can take anything from around three years to much longer. Many part-time MBAs offer 'blended learning' – a combination of traditional face-to-face learning and other learning technologies such as video and online learning. Even with online learning, some courses require students to make occasional brief campus visits to network with other learners and meet with course tutors. Gaining an MBA – even via online learning - is a major time commitment even if, in career terms, it is also relatively short term. Experience suggests making sure your family, 'significant others', and employer are equally committed to your plan is a vital first step.

Studying an MBA program online

Online study is an evolution of earlier distance learning programs and offers significant advantages for students with busy schedules in terms of flexibility. As an indication of its popularity, the Association of MBAs (AMBA) undertook an Intake and Graduation survey in 2012, which indicated that online MBA study now accounts for nearly a third of UK MBA enrolments. In addition, the survey also noted that online student enrolments for 2011 totalled 2,605, exceeding the total number opting for any other mode of delivery. Improvements in technology have helped to fuel the rising total of students learning online. Faster mobile networks, increased broadband speeds, and the improved functionality of tablets and smartphones – plus their widespread availability – have all played their part in enhancing the distance-learning environment.

Studying online overcomes the problem of geographical location, allowing students a method of easy access to a good business school wherever they live. Moreover, it is now universally agreed that any early prejudices against distance learners have now disappeared. For instance, George Murgatroyd, AMBA's research manager, comments: “Whether full time, part time or distance learning, the MBA is internationally recognised by employers and they base their decision on the quality of the MBA and the graduate.”

Similarly confirming this view, Dr Derek Condon, principal teaching fellow at Warwick Business School, says: “While this may not have been the case in the past, it is certainly so now. If you come to Warwick you'll get a Warwick MBA, no matter how you choose to study.”

How do you study an online MBA program?

Video is used extensively as a study tool for online MBA programs, and a typical module might include up to 20 short videos. Webinars also feature regularly, either as live events for participants or else available as catch up podcasts. Students will also gain access to online journal resources and databases. In a similar vein, MBA students learning via the Open University (OU) – long associated with distance-learning innovation – have access to the OU's comprehensive iTunes U library. Each online student can still expect to be allocated a personal tutor, and support is available via phone, email, and also face-to-face.

Course content for an online MBA program

The course content for a typical online MBA in the UK will include essential core modules such as accounting, finance, economics, management, marketing and strategy. As well as this there will usually be the option to choose elective modules so you can specialise in an area of the MBA program that you find particularly interesting. At the end of the MBA program students are usually expected to produce a final consultancy project which is a similar concept to doing a dissertation or thesis.

Online course duration

Although specialist study areas, curriculum, reputation, and methods of delivery are likely to be the major priorities for students, course duration may also be a determining factor. High-ranked UK business school online MBA programs take around three years. At Warwick Business School, for example, the online MBA normally takes at least three years to finish, though they also offer a fast-track option to complete studies in just two and a half years. Durham Business School similarly offer a three-year course, whilst the online MBA course at Manchester Business School will take two and a half years.

Costs of an online MBA program

As well as the flexibility of study, another benefit of an online MBA is the potential for reduced costs of your MBA tuition fees. Using 2013 figures as an example, the online v full-time costs for five UK institutions are as follows:

Warwick Business School – online £20,850; full time £30,000.
Open University – online £13,935.
Manchester Business School – online £26,000; full time £38,000.
London School of Business and Finance – online £14,250; full time £23,750.
Leeds Metropolitan University – online £9,500; full time £12,500.

Studying an MBA online is well worth considering. It is a flexible and economically viable way of gaining this prestigious qualification but you do need to ensure you are up to the challenge!


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