The growing rise in popularity for online MBA qualifications can be attributed to advances in technology and the growing credibility of online degrees attracting a global clientele.
However, while there is no doubt that an MBA can equip workers with essential leadership, business and management skills, studying for any qualification online comes with its own challenges. Before embarking on an MBA online, it’s important to first identify the challenges you will face and know how to overcome them.
This is typically the biggest challenge that students will face. Initial enthusiasm often wanes after the first week or two, and family and career start to become prioritized over study. Staying motivated is essential for success, so it’s important to have this all mapped out before you commence your studies. Begin by putting a planner together that will carve out study time around your other commitments and make sure that you stick to this without exception.
Whilst it is important to be rigid in your planning, this shouldn’t mean that you should spend every waking moment chained to your desk. Many courses offer multimedia elements which offer opportunities to get outside and watch a video or listen to a tutorial.
Establishments like Suffolk University offer The Academic Improvement Program which helps students improve academic skills in areas of time management, self-motivation and making campus connections.
Some basic steps which can help you remain accountable are to write your goals down at the beginning of each week or even each day. Crossing these goals off as you go will give you a sense of achievement and help motivate you. It’s also important to keep distractions to a minimum as a quick glance at Facebook or Instagram can result in a wasted afternoon. If you feel you are weak in this area, then turn to apps like ‘SelfControl’ which is used to block certain websites for a specified length of time.
With no timetables setting out where you need to be and when, it’s easy not to stay on top of what needs to be done. It is essential that you organize not only your study space, but also your schedule. Keep your space uncluttered and free of distractions or background noise and commit to a structured schedule in order to meet assignment due dates. It can be helpful to sync your work and study calendars in order to make sure your study needs are met sufficiently and not sidelined.
It’s natural for all students to have confidence issues from time to time, but you must remember during these times that the online establishment has a whole host of professionals who are there to help you. Your belief in your own ability to get the work done is essential and any doubts will undoubtedly be put to rest by your instructors.
Lack of Technical Skills
As an online student, your ‘classroom’ experience will be very different from a traditional one and you should be aware of what is required from you technically before embarking on an online MBA. This includes, but is not limited to, communication via email, navigation of the World Wide Web, use of office applications such as Microsoft office, uploading of assignments and downloading files, and constant internet access.
As most online MBAs are designed for people with work experience, there is an expectation that students will already be proactive. Of course, all the information required will be provided, but students will still be expected to research their work themselves.
Being away from an actual classroom can lead to feelings of loneliness and distance from peers. It is, of course, possible to establish connections with your fellow students, and this is especially true of MBA courses.
Discussion forums offer a primary means of communication in the virtual classroom, and are a useful study tool at the same time. It can also be beneficial to try studying in different locations. Taking your laptop to a café for an afternoon for example can help change things up and dispel any feelings of isolation. There are also ways of communicating with your instructor which can help you to feel part of a classroom.
Don’t let the bad days win. Remember your goals, aims and dreams. Everyone has a disappointing assignment result or a detail that they are struggling to make sense of, but the only person available to get yourself out of these slumps is you. Use your instructors or peers to help in times of crisis and keep pushing forward.