So, you’ve decided that you’d like to expand your skill set and study an MBA online. That’s great – you’re joining the millions of students worldwide that have chosen to study online, rather than on campus.
You might be apprehensive. Ultimately, there are all sorts of benefits and pitfalls to watch out for when studying online – so let’s explore some of them below.
Study from the Comfort of the Couch
The first and arguably most often talked about difference between studying online versus in person is the ability to study from wherever you’d like. This can be a massive advantage for learners who may travel for work, or live in remote areas.
Consider this – you live in regional Australia, really want to study, but are unable to travel hundreds of kilometres to go to an in person class on a weekly basis. With the capacity to study online, further education opportunities are now available wherever you may be.
On the other hand, if you live in a cramped environment, such as a shared house, finding a space to study at home may be difficult. Fortunately, your local library may have spaces to study – they’re always worth checking out for additional local resources.
A Learning Spot, Flexible for You
As you get older, your personal situation may change. Gone are the days of the bright eyed adult that just left high school with a diploma and some courage. This varies from person to person, but many people who want to study also have to navigate anything from a family to work commitments.
Online learning provides you with the opportunity to be flexible with your learning and develop a timetable that suits you. In some cases, there may be an online class – but if you’re willing to learn independently, opportunities may arise where you can watch classes in your own time.
Having the flexibility to do tests at your own pace is a massive benefit to studying online. Instead of being in a room with fifty other students, you can choose to take a test at a time and location that suits you. This can be massive for those that like to get a little bit of extra sleep in the morning – difficult if you’re studying in person!
While having your own study space may be advantageous for some students, this can be difficult for those that struggle with time management or organisational skills. Being able to have a study plan alongside your course is essential for succeeding when studying online. To use a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin – failure to prepare is, simply put, preparing to fail.
Let’s Collaborate (Online)
Studying online can present a set of unique opportunities and challenges for online learners. In particular, group work becomes an all new experience – after all, it can be very different sitting down and discussing a project in person, rather than online.
For some, having the ability to meet online through a software suite such as Google Meet or Microsoft Teams provides team members greater flexibility, allowing them to meet while being hundreds, or even thousands of kilometres away. Using tools such as digital whiteboards and note-taking software can often yield additional efficiency benefits – there’s no ‘he said, she said’, as you can save meetings to review later.
Unfortunately, online collaboration can also have downsides. The most common of these is technical difficulties – being unable to connect or communicate with someone with a poor internet connection. This is a problem that can be overcome with some thoughtful planning, but could be an obstacle for some students.
Global Employment Opportunities
Now you can study online, something that’s often overlooked is the availability of remote working. In a post-pandemic environment, studying your MBA online can open up the doors to a broad range of career opportunities, from finance, to health care, and even supply chain management.
While this can be daunting for many students, knowing where you can go with an MBA can be an opportunity for career progression. Don’t get stressed about the opportunities – sometimes, working hard to complete your studies will provide employment opportunities and practical training as you go.
Preference and Access
Whilst there are certainly benefits and pitfalls to online studying, it’s hard to argue with the fact that easier access to education is a positive for students across the globe. It allows for more varied educational processes, which in turn make it possible for those that may not have the time or access to traditional higher education. Plus, with a workforce that is becoming more remote-accessible over time, the self-discipline and structure of learning online may prove to be helpful experience for the next steps in a student’s career. So, choose a study option that suits your needs and aspirations, whether that be from a classroom or from your couch.