Online MBAs are finally getting the recognition they deserve, and it has been a long time coming. They allow students to attend some of the country’s – and the world’s – greatest universities from the comfort of their home. Online MBAs could also be a perfect option for entrepreneurs who may have realized how deficient they were in certain areas.
However, there are some fundamental differences between online MBAs and traditional ones, and if you’re used to traditional learning, you will need to adapt. Some students may not be able to, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances of success. Here are a few essential keys to success for online MBA students.
Learn as Much as You Can About Online MBAs
The first thing is to make sure that you find out as much as you can about online MBAs before you start. The more you know about them, the lesser the chance that you’ll be hit with nasty surprises later on. Make sure that you know how much work is involved with these programs. The common misconception is that they are easier than traditional MBAs, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. These programs are just as rigorous as any other MBA program, and if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be sanctioned.
Speaking of which, it’s also important that you research any school you were thinking of attending and make sure that they are accredited. If you’re looking for an accredited online MBA Massachusetts, Suffolk University is a great option. Their program is accredited by the AACSB which is the highest certification you can get for an online MBA. Going with an AACSB program ensures that the level of their online program is up to par, but also that your credentials will be respected in the marketplace. This will also make sure that your credits are recognized.
The best thing you can do to prepare is spoken with former students. Try to find people who have attended the same program as you if you can. Make sure to do as much research about the university as well and the program. Some will be more general and prepare you to work in whatever industry you want while others are more specialized. Some may focus more on the financial sector and prepare students for financial jobs, for instance. This is another very important thing that you’ll need to consider before enrolling in any program.
Make Sure that You Have What It Takes
You also have to make sure that you’re cut out for it before you start. It takes a special type of person to thrive in these types of programs. For one, you have to be supremely disciplined and a great self-starter. You will be the only one you’ll be accountable for, and no one will be there to push you in the back. You need to stay on top of all your assignments and exams. You also have to be able to stay motivated while watching a screen for hours without the interaction of other people and all the distractions that come with studying from home.
As well as this, you’ll have to sharpen up your time management skills if this has always been an issue for you. Some people may love the idea of being able to watch lectures at 3 AM in their pajamas, but you will most likely do better if you set a strict schedule for yourself.
All online students should know how to create a study schedule and stick to it. Doing so will make your coursework so much easier. Another habit that you should consider is planning your days the day before. Even doing something as simple as creating a to-do list and prioritizing tasks can help.
Choose the Right Format
It’s also important that you pick the right online MBA format for you if you want to increase your chances of succeeding. When it comes to online MBAs, you have two methods through which coursework is delivered. Some programs are asynchronous, meaning that you can attend lectures on your time. Others are synchronous and require you to sit down at specific hours.
Both options have their pros and cons and you shouldn’t assume that asynchronous classes are automatically a better choice. While they can be very convenient, they also require much more discipline. Another issue is that you’ll miss a lot of the interaction since you won’t be able to ask questions in real-time or speak with other students. If you were thinking that online learning might be an alienating experience, then asynchronous classes will make things worse.
If you have a hectic schedule, however, they might be the only option. On the other hand, maybe you could look at part-time synchronous classes. Synchronous classes are usually recommended because you’ll get the full online learning experience. Being able to ask questions immediately when you have issues instead of having to wait for your professor to answer your emails is much more convenient and could make a big difference in how successful you’ll be.
Synchronous classes will also give you a little bit more structure if you feel that discipline could be a problem for you.
Set Clear and Actionable Goals for Yourself
You will also need to start setting goals for yourself and sticking to them. Self-motivation is not something that comes naturally to everyone, and setting goals is a great way to have something to aim towards. Your efforts will be more focused and you’ll be filled with a sense of accomplishment when it’s all completed, which will push you to continue setting bigger goals for yourself.
On the other hand, if you don’t have goals, you might find yourself lost or stuck, and you might lose morale. You have to make sure that the goals you set are realistic, however, or else you’ll set yourself up for disappointment every time you fail.
If you want to reach your goals, we would suggest that you start with a long-term goal and divide it into smaller, more manageable steps. This will allow you to set milestones and a clear road map from where you are to where you’re trying to go.
Ask for Help
Make sure that you use all the resources available to you during your program. You will have access to a portal where you can submit your assignments, read important news, or check out important dates for exams, assignments, and events. You will also have a point of contact between you and the teaching staff and other students.
Do not hesitate to use this function, and try to build a solid circle around you. Many will tell you that a lot of what they learned during their MBA program came from other students. Networking will give you an edge when studying for an online MBA.
Make Time for Yourself
This is especially important for those thinking of getting their online MBA while they’re working. Some people have been able to do both full-time and succeed and the online MBA does make it easier. But it’s not for everyone, and if you’re going that route, you have to remember to always make time for yourself.
If you work all day and don’t take time off to do things you love from time to time, you’ll eventually crack. This is why you must always evaluate your mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you will need to reevaluate your schedule and see if you can get help from your employer.
Create the Perfect Study Environment
Another very important step is creating the perfect study space for yourself. You’ll need to pick an area of the house where you’re comfortable, but not too much. The temperature needs to be comfortable as studying in a hot, muggy room can affect your concentration and motivation. We would also suggest that you invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. These will come in handy if you’re in a busy house. They could also help if you decide to study in a public space.
Next, you have to make sure that everyone in your house knows your schedule and respects it. Alternatively, you could also choose the times when you study wisely to avoid periods of high activity. For instance, you could get up early in the morning and watch lectures while children are still sleeping.
A good study room should have an ergonomic desk and a comfortable chair. Do not skimp on the chair as it will make a bigger difference than you think on how well you can concentrate. You also have to make sure that the room is bright and consider changing the color schemes. Colors like light blue, for instance, have been shown to boost learning, so this could give you that extra boost you need to get through a tough lecture or assignment.
If you want to pass your online MBA with flying colors and get it right the first time, follow these tips. You’ll be able to enjoy your experience and get the skills needed to succeed in the marketplace.