With the clock ticking off every second, lives of business professionals around the world are becoming much busier and complicated than it once was. Today, young professionals have to effectively balance between their career and academic development plans simultaneously without one disrupting the other. Gone are the days when one could take a career break to explore other options or perhaps pursue professional degrees. The current era is a challenging one, requiring multitasking and taking a break might just mean lagging behind. However, career progression sometimes require going back to the academia and reliving how professional and academic knowledge mesh together to create the perfect combination. Thankfully, the advent of the internet technology have made things a bit easier with the inception of online courses and programmes. Such is the situation now that the concept of an online masters or MBA is no longer an unrealistic one; rather it is something that is gaining popularity fast between both the young and old.
A list of things that one might find handy to pursue an online MBA can be as follows.
Who is it for
The youth nowadays no longer want to wait for a long time before pursing their MBA degree. They have clearly identified that professional degrees are necessary for career growth. However, there are many who prefer a foreign degree with an enhanced learning experience. There are many who have aspired to have a tag of the world's most reputed business schools around the world. Nevertheless, it is a humongous job to relocate abroad and to go for an on-campus degree. It would mean not only boarding on a tough course of starting a new life, leaving family and friends but also quitting a job that one might have cherished and felt as the perfect fit. It might even mean leaving a business venture that one created from scratch. Moreover, there is no guarantee that you would get back to things just as you left them. There is a lot of uncertainty involved.
In the face of such circumstances, a viable alternative can be an online MBA that allows one to continue pursuing an education while sitting in their offices and without the need to relocate. This option serves its purpose to a great extent, although, it might not provide the exposure of an on-campus study, but as goes the saying-- one cannot have it all, certain adjustments will be necessary.
The pros and cons
The advantages of any online courses are fairly simple. Firstly, it offers a lot more flexibility than traditional on campus programmes. It does not require hard and fast class timings to follow and can be scheduled at one's convenience. Secondly, it enables one to continue with his/her job and there is no need to relocate or commute saving up a lot of time. Thirdly, it might not require GMAT/GRE test scores for enrolment, thereby saving one's time for the test prep. Then there are the added benefits of reputation and acceptance in case of an accredited course.
However, the list of cons is not nil. A pressing issue in case of an online MBA is whether the university grants access to its complete resources to online students. Next, an online course often does not allow students to interact with peers or faculties resulting in almost no networking opportunities or very weak alumni network. There is also the issue whether this degree will ultimately come to use in the country since the concept on online degrees is still novice. All in all, although an online MBA is in no way easier to complete than a traditional one, the acceptance or benefits of the degree should be weighed against the difficulties faced to pursue it to come to an overall verdict.
Time and cost
An online MBA can range to up to two to five years depending on the level of coursework taken. Some universities provide accelerated programs of 18 months with an average of 30 hours per credit. This is one of the benefits on an online MBA, that each student can work at his/her own pace. The time required for the completion of the degree depends largely on the student. On another note, while costs vary largely from university to university, costs are naturally lower than an on campus programme since there are no living or dorm costs involved.
While the concept of online education is rapidly gaining popularity all over the world, it is still new in the Bangladeshi context. However, it might be acceptable to both corporates that do not want to let go of their valued employees and to employees who want to balance their passion and paycheck. The acceptance of an online MBA depends largely on the university that is providing the degree. Many top business schools are now offering online MBA at par with their on campus programme. Reputed institutions are accepting the degree.
Thus, a thorough research is necessary before jumping into action. Online MBAs offer specialised courses in addition to core business courses, thus it requires students to choose wisely in accordance with their necessities.
An online MBA is like a big surprise in a small package and requires substantial effort on part of the student. Thus, to ensure that the hard work yields expected results, aspirant people should outline goals and check through if an online MBA meets their requirements.
The writer, after finishing her undergrads from IBA, University of Dhaka, is currently working in a financial institution. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org