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Getting an Online MBA: Planning for Success

In recent years, online MBA programs have become increasingly popular. There are many different reasons to consider enrolling in an online MBA if you want to improve your business career. This degree program can be one of the best options when it comes to taking your career further. MBA graduates are in high demand all around the world, and an increasing number of employers are looking to take on people with this qualification in various different industries. It is a highly-respected and prestigious qualification that can help your resume to stand out on the pile when you apply for a range of business and management positions.

Online MBA programs are booming in popularity since they offer more flexibility and the ability to learn from home, often in your own time rather than being required to meet a strict class schedule. However, this program is still a lot of hard work, and to be successful at it you will need to be prepared for a lot of self-motivation and self-discipline. Many online MBA students are juggling getting this qualification around working full-time, running their own businesses, raising their families, and other full-time commitments, which is why careful planning is so essential for anybody who wants to succeed.

What are the Benefits of Getting an MBA Online?

There are many benefits of getting an online MBA from Saint Bonaventure University. Compared to studying for your MBA at a traditional campus, some of the main benefits to consider include:

More Flexibility

One of the biggest reasons for people to choose to get an MBA online these days is that they want more flexibility. Many online MBA programs are offered in a completely flexible way, allowing students to decide when and where they want to study rather than being required to be in class at certain times. If you are working full-time or running your own business, this could be the ideal choice for you since it allows you to take control of your own schedule.

Program Availability

The boom in online learning in recent years means that online MBA programs are more widely available than ever before. It’s easier than ever to enrol in an online MBA program from a reputable school. Whether you are interested in studying for the traditional MBA or want to focus on a certain MBA concentration to help you get into a specific future career, want to study for your MBA part-time or are looking for a full-time course to get you into your chosen line of work quickly, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Save Money

Another great reason to consider getting your MBA online is that it can be an ideal way to reduce the overall cost of attending college. These days, getting any degree does not come cheap and on top of the rising tuition costs, many students also need to worry about the opportunity cost and all the other expenses involved. Although there is very little in terms of tuition cost savings, studying online does mean that the opportunity cost is much lower, since it allows you to continue working and earning your regular wage while studying. Along with this, the option to study for your MBA from home means that you can avoid all those smaller costs that will add up like gas or public transport tickets.

High Graduate Demand

If you are considering studying for a master’s degree and aren’t sure which subject to choose, the MBA is a great option with lots of demand for graduates. On your resume, there isn’t much difference, if any at all, between an MBA that’s earned on-campus and one that is earned online. These days, with online learning so commonplace, employers are more interested in the qualifications that you have rather than whether you got them on-campus or online.

How to Prepare for Success with Your Online MBA

Studying for your MBA online can be very different to studying on-campus. Unlike taking a degree program at a traditional brick-and-mortar university or college, studying online means that there are no classrooms to be in or professors’ office doors that you can knock on. You will need to be self-motivated and proactive in making sure that you succeed and take advantage of any resources that are available to you. While online programs are becoming more and more interactive, you may need to make more of an effort when it comes to networking with peers and putting other strategies in place to ensure that the experience benefits you.

Choosing the Right Online School

The first thing to do when deciding to get an online MBA is to choose the right online school for you. Online learning has a diverse range of options on offer and the school that you choose could make all the difference when it comes to your success. Ideally, you want to go for a business school that has a lot of experience in delivering online learning. This could be an online-only school or a traditional school that has been in the online and distance learning scene for a long time. While the pandemic over the past few years has led to even more schools and colleges offering distance learning options, it’s wise to choose an established distance learning college for your peace of mind.

Choose the Right MBA

Once you have a list of schools that are likely to be a good fit for your needs as a student, it’s important to make sure that you choose the right MBA for you. There are lots of things to consider when choosing an MBA program including the concentration, full- or part-time study, and the level of flexibility. If you want to keep your options for your future career more open, then a traditional MBA might be a good option, covering the main pillars of business and preparing you for a career in various industries. On the other hand, if you have a specific career in mind in an industry like marketing or business intelligence, for example, then an MBA that focuses on this specific concentration might be a better fit.

Map Out Your Study Routine

Before you get started with your online MBA, it’s a good idea to consider how often, when, and where you are going to study. If you have decided that a completely flexible MBA program where you can determine your own schedule is the best option for you, then your best bet is to get started with this as soon as possible. Take some time to go through your current daily schedule and determine where you are spending more time than you need. This will help you figure out how much time you have available to realistically dedicate to studying and may help you choose between a full-time or part-time degree program.

Set Up a Dedicated Space

Generally, an online MBA can take around two years to complete full-time and double that if you choose part-time study. Since you are going to be studying from home for several years, it’s important to have somewhere in your home that you can go to focus on the work at hand. Studying from your sofa or your bed will get uncomfortable over time and can quickly cause you to lose focus due to distractions. Ideally, you should set up a study area in a dedicated room of the home, or in your home office if you are working from home. However, this may not always be possible, for example, if you live in a small apartment, so consider where you can study from home that is quiet, free from distractions, and comfortable. Good lighting and comfortable furniture will make it easier for you to get through your study sessions.

Set Smaller Goals

It can be easy to feel rather overwhelmed as you embark on an online MBA program, especially if you are juggling all this work with running your own business or working in a full-time career. Setting small goals is the best way to break down the work ahead into chunks that are easier to achieve. Along with this, once you achieve a smaller goal, you will be able to keep yourself motivated to continue moving forward and smash the next one. Rather than looking at the workload ahead in its entirety, a series of smaller, more achievable goals will help you avoid getting too overwhelmed and make it easier for you to succeed.

Speak to Your Employer

If you are planning to get your MBA online, then your employer might be willing to help you succeed. If your main aim with getting an online MBA is to become a better employee and be more eligible for future promotions, this isn’t just going to benefit you in the future, but your employer too. Because of this, it’s always worth having a conversation with your employer about your plans to see if there is anything that they can do to help. Some employers have tuition assistance programs in place where they will pay some or all of your tuition fees on the promise that you will stay with the company for a certain number of years after graduating. Others might not be able to offer any financial assistance but can help you in other ways such as reducing your working hours or providing you with a more flexible work schedule.

Put Your Support System in Place

Studying for an online MBA while you are working full-time or have other commitments to uphold in life is not going to be an easy task. There are certainly going to be times where you might feel overwhelmed or even want to give up, so it’s always best to be prepared for these moments to arise and know where you can go to get the support that you need. Throughout the degree program you might need various different types of support, so being aware of the different resources available to you and knowing which people in your life are willing to help you during these times can make all the difference. The first place to go for support should be the college or school that you are studying at. The student support department can help you a lot with various different things from accommodation and financial support to support with your mental health, additional classes for things that you might be struggling with, career advice and more. On a more personal side of things, having good people around you that you can rely on when the going gets tough can help you avoid getting too stressed out. Family and friends can help to reduce your workload in many different ways, or by simply being there to listen when you need to talk to somebody about it all.

Prioritize Networking

Last but not least, it’s important to remember that when it comes to success with an online MBA, who you know is often just as, if not even more important than what you know. Networking is one of the main reasons why many business professionals get into an MBA program; they know that it will give them the chance to meet and develop professional relationships with influential and successful people that they may not have had the chance to cross paths with otherwise. As an MBA student, it is important to make networking a priority. Any good online business school will give you lots of opportunities to network with your peers online. Join group chats, chat rooms, social media groups, and forums that allow you to get to know your fellow students, find out more about them and build your professional network. Along with this, you might find it useful to spend some time at in-person networking events. These might be arranged by the college to help online students socialize in person, or you can find separate networking events for MBA students and graduates held by various organizations.

Getting an MBA remains one of the best ways to take your business career to the next level, and with more online MBA programs available than ever before, there are lots of things to consider when planning your success.

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