Reinvent Your Career with an Online MBA

Business schools say that more online students are looking to switch careers into a new industry, function or geography — or all three

Traditionally, Online MBA programs have appealed to students who want to advance their career in the same industry, function, or with the same employers. This is usually due to the high proportion of participants who are funded by their employer, as remote students can keep working full-time and apply what they learn immediately in the workplace.

Online MBA students also tend to be senior working professionals, and more settled in their career choices, but this is changing. Now, business schools say that more students are looking to switch careers into a new industry, function or geography — and they see an Online MBA as the best way to pull off a career reinvention.

“Recently, we noticed that after spending few years in the same job, many of our MBA students feel like their motivation and commitment is going down and are no longer satisfied in doing what they do,” says Valentina Di Nenno, senior consultant at MIP Politecnico di Milano in Italy.

“The majority of our incoming students say that they are interested in career change,” she adds. “People are more and more attracted by organizations where they can make a difference and work with a purpose.”

For many, it’s time to start something new, and an Online MBA can help facilitate a shift in direction. “A career change could be a sector change, but it could also be a role change, for instance from and to a different functional area, or from a technical job to a managerial role,” says Di Nenno.

Some students, especially the international ones, also use the Online MBA to boost their global mobility. “During the course of their studies, many students change one or even two dimensions,” Di Nenno says, but this is not easy to achieve. “It requires a perfect combination of skills, goals, motivation and job market needs.” […]

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How an Online MBA Leads to Career Reinvention

More students have been switching careers, prompting business schools to adapt their career services

Traditionally, Online MBA programs were seen as being more for career accelerators. Taken by people who are typically older compared with full-time MBA students, online courses were for senior working managers looking to accelerate career progress within the same organization.

However, more Online MBA students have been switching careers in recent years, prompting business schools to adapt their career support services.

The degree can support a career reinvention. “Half of our online participants have the goal of finding a new job by the time or shortly after they graduate,” says Nina Canfield, director of employee relations and graduate career services at Indiana University Kelley School of Business in the US.

A large subset of these students are looking to pivot into roles that are related or lateral to their function, she says. “However, we also have populations of students that are making a more dramatic switch, such as transitioning from military service to civilian careers, or choosing a finance major to move to investment banking or private equity.”

The business school has ramped up the services on offer to support students with their career switch. Kelley Direct Career Services include online resources, job boards, events, a regular newsletter featuring job openings, career events and career guidance, professional development courses and one-to-one career coaching. […]

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, employers seem to be now more aware of the value of an Online MBA. “Covid-19 has deeply changed the way we interact with people, triggering a huge acceleration of digitalization,” says Valentina di Nenno, senior career consultant at Italy’s MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business.

“In the last 18 months, we have been forced to turn down face-to-face meetings for Zoom or Teams calls, getting used to working, learning and interacting in a digital environment,” she says. “Indeed, many business schools were required to convert their in-person training courses to online programs, driving people to get first-hand experience of digital learning.” […]

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‘New Generation’ MBA will prepare future leaders to succeed, give meaning to their success, and to contribute to build a better future for all

MIP, the Business School of Politecnico di Milano, has launched a unique ‘New Generation’ MBA, that will train a new generation of leaders to deliver more impactful and sustainable performance.

The New Generation MBA will not only deliver advanced management skills but will combine these with tools to unleash the latent power of purpose and enable a new generation of leaders to meet the unique challenges of the 21st century.

In addition to teaching core topics from a traditional MBA, the full-time programme will teach students how to generate and sustain higher levels of meaningfulness, motivation and effectiveness in themselves, their teams and their organisations.

Federico Frattini, Dean of MIP Politecnico di Milano said: “The world of business, and indeed society at large, is going through sweeping changes. In response, together with our partners at The Mind at Work, we decided to redesign our full-time MBA programme to prepare a new generation of managers, entrepreneurs and professionals, to meet the challenges that are arising.

“When considering what is required in response to these challenges, managers point not only to the realm of hard skills but most importantly, to skills, such as the capacity to engage people, understand motivation, and the ability to connect to emotions — especially in highly charged situations.”

MIP’s New Generation MBA integrates these two dimensions for the first time. Students will go through a rigorous programme to provide the hard competencies and skills they will need to perform.

In addition, they will be exposed to cutting-edge tools to elevate their performance by developing their awareness of self and others, to consciously choose purposes to create higher levels of engagement, motivation and alignment, and to combine through this deeper awareness and understanding of complexity the pursuit of higher purposes and positive impacts on society with sustainable financial performance.

Thus, students will possess what is needed to achieve both superior performance and personal fulfillment, at individual, team and organisational levels.

Darren Rudkin, founder of The Mind at Work, added: “This is genuine personal and professional growth, a personal journey of discovery — not just so that you can make a difference, but so that you can become the difference. It is a real breakthrough in the landscape of business school education. Business Schools have been recently criticized for their inability to contribute to train a new generation of leaders who are able to combine shareholder value and positive impact on society. This program is an unprecedent response to this criticism, and has the potential to pave the way for a new approach to management education that is suited to the challenges that our society is confronted with”


Post MIP, our alumnus goes global

Varun Bohra, an alumnus of MIP’s International Full-Time MBA, has packed a lot into the few years since he left Milan, travelling around the world and working in several sectors of industry. Here, he recounts his time following graduation and his motivations, and gives some advice to those contemplating following in his footsteps.

You’ve done a lot in a relatively short space of time. Could you please give us a brief outline of where your MBA journey has taken you? What would you say is the motivating factor which leads to you taking decisions to make a major change  ̶  changing countries, for example?

So, after finishing my MBA in 2015, it’s now 2021. I have changed two jobs and moved to three different countries in six years. After the MBA, I joined SanDisk Corporation in Malaysia in a greenfield plant to set up multiple processes and, based on my performance, I was promoted and moved to the headquarters in San Francisco.

After that, for personal reasons, I moved to India into the world of supply chain consulting. I am currently working at Accenture Strategy as a Manager in the Supply Chain and Operations division.

The key driver to move to different places was to learn professionally and culturally. At the same time, I wanted to see the world.

My mind was opened up to learning culturally during the MBA at MiP and it intrigued me to discover that there is a lot to learn from other cultures which also helps in professional life.

What do you think, if anything, has changed substantially in the business world since you graduated and what should an MBA candidate bear in mind in this regard?

From 2015 to current times the biggest change has come through COVID-19. It has shown that work does not require us to be sitting at a desk in an office. It can be executed from anywhere. Recently, I have taken a staycation and sat in the hills to work and relax.

Also, future MBA aspirants should focus on what kind of profile they like and focus on their personal life too. Also, since the times of covid, corporates have realized that employees do not only need good remuneration but also a work-life balance and flexibility in working. On top of that, especially right now since the arrival of covid, the world’s organizations are realizing the value of supply chain. So if anyone is interested in supply chain and operations, right now it’s a booming industry.

How would you evaluate your studies now in terms of the long-lasting benefits? What have you learned or gained during your MBA which you consider to be the most important aspect, either in professional or personal terms?

I’ll make one point on this subject: Organizational Behavior. I came from a background in engineering and manufacturing and I had always thought everything needed to be quantified. During the MBA, I thought supply chain, statistics and business strategy, etc, were important subjects, but after graduating and joining the corporate world at mid-senior level, I released that it is organizational behavior that helps a lot when working in a corporate environment.

Do you still use the network of contacts you made back in your MIP days? Do you manage to meet up in person as well?

Personally, I got to learn about so many cultures from my lovely classmates. Yes, I keep in touch with my classmates over social media and personally. I have not been able to meet them in person but would really love to see them again in the near future; maybe in 2025 we can all celebrate the 10-year anniversary of our MBA.


Online MBAs in Luxury Management are In Vogue

Digital degrees are paying closer attention to the sector as it globalizes and emphasizes sustainability and digitalization

The global luxury goods market has boomed over the past two decades, reaching €224bn in annual revenue, and the number of luxury consumers has surged from 140m worldwide to more than 350m.

At the same time, there is growing demand for luxury management programs. Many business school students want to work at prestigious luxury brands such as LVHM, Kering, Swatch Group and Richemont, whose products are more tangible than services.

As the luxury business becomes more global, with growth in sales powered increasingly by Chinese consumers, who make up more than 30 percent of luxury spending, Online MBA programs are paying closer attention to the sector.

But shares in luxury goods companies have suffered in recent years following a fall in luxury sales in China, a trend amplified by the Covid shutdown that hit luxury stores in China as well as the supply chains of western luxury brands.

In the UK, Warwick Business School, which is home to a longstanding Online MBA program, offers courses on luxury management to its online students. “We examine the dominance of western luxury brands and whether that will continue with the rise of China,” says Qing Wang, professor of marketing and innovation at WBS.

“The globalization of luxury is also presenting problems for brands and potentially undermining their authenticity, especially as different cultures tend to interpret the value and meaning of brands differently,” she adds. “How are brands changing their business models for emerging markets?” It is a question explored on Warwick’s luxury courses. […]

Many schools partner with local luxury brands, bringing in executives to teach students or sending students on work placements or consulting projects. MIP Politecnico di Milano School of Management, in the heart of Milan, runs a partnership with a leading Italian fashion house, Prada. […]

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How Should Students Network on an Online MBA?

The alumni network a big part of the selling power of an Online MBA degree. And digital interactions can be just as enriching as they are in person

The chance to build a professional network is a major draw for prospective MBA students who are building their career. Classmates and alumni networks have traditionally been invaluable resources.

For Online MBA students, the appeal of classroom sessions, group work and intense socializing remotely may seem limited. However, technological advances and changing cultural habits are making Online MBA degrees more attractive for those who want to build life-long networks.

Digital interactions can be equally or even more enriching than the in-person variety, says Birgit Newman, associate director of graduate career services, Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

Improvements in digital communication have played a big part in that. “Technologies such as Zoom, Teams and Google offer the added advantage of a visual interface, and facilitate face-to-face interaction as well as shared experiences real-time,” says Newman. “Quick visual demonstrations and collaboration across multiple applications can be offered.”

She admits that “expressions of emotions, empathy and sympathy tend to be more impactful” in real life, but these can be boosted with techniques that Kelley teaches its Online MBA students. For example, the business school’s Graduate Career Services team makes networking a key part of its coaching as well as the MBA curriculum. […]

Antonella Moretto, associate dean at MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business in Italy, agrees the pandemic has demonstrated that what really matters is building and nurturing relationships. “Whether is online or offline, it doesn’t make a huge difference anymore,” she says. […]

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How do Employers View Online MBA Degrees?

Evidence suggests early skepticism is fading with career progression and salary increases common for graduates of the best programs

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2021 Corporate Recruiters Survey, only a third of companies valued graduates from Online MBA programs the same as those completing full-time courses, suggesting that the limitations of online education have not been fully addressed.

Even as demand for Online MBA programs continues to grow, these courses have long been dogged by perceptions among some employers, perhaps outdated, that online education is inferior. The pandemic has helped to change attitudes, however, though the GMAC survey shows that not every company is convinced. […]

Erika Ortu, career development center manager at Milan’s MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business, agrees: “Digital roles are facing a significant growth and today’s more requested competences are digital and analytical as well as soft skills. Furthermore, we are noticing bright signs of recovery in the European job market, that is evidenced by a positive employment trend for our recent graduates.”  […]

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Top 10 Online MBA Programs For Technology Careers

Tech companies have become magnets for Online MBA students in recent years, prompting business schools to offer specialist training in technology management and leadership.

Schools teach their students how to manage technology in varied ways. Some Online MBA programs include concentrations in digital leadership or related fields such as data analytics and decision making, which enable students to customize their learning experience. Other Online MBA programs offer an array of elective options in areas such as digital business and technology strategy.

Some schools have centered their entire Online MBA programs around technology, or offer technology management options in the core curriculum, which are sometimes co-designed with employers such as Amazon and Microsoft. Other academic institutions leverage their cross-campus experience and give Online MBA students the chance to study at computer science and software engineering schools to pick up technical skills. […]

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The Online MBA Job Outlook is Rebounding in the Post-Covid World

Technology, consulting, healthcare and financial services should see the most job opportunities for graduating MBAs

In developed economies across the globe, labor markets are turning a corner as lockdown restrictions are eased. After months of coronavirus-related restrictions, hiring is accelerating and the redundancy rate is falling.

Many professionals had made the decision to pursue an Online MBA at the depths of the COVID-19 crisis, as they sought to upgrade their credentials while hiring and promotions were frozen in many sectors. In a locked-down world, the shift to remote work was especially beneficial for Online MBA programs, which received a bumper crop of applications.

And, now that the jobs market is staging a strong recovery, the employment outlook for the Class of 2021 is looking bright, say careers directors at the top business schools.

“At the start of the pandemic last year, many companies paused, slowed down or reduced their full-time hiring,” says Tammy Samuels, executive director of career and leadership for MBA programs at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. “As COVID’s impact has begun to shrink due to vaccination efforts, and companies are becoming more adept at virtual recruiting, full-time and just-in-time hiring has started to rebound.”

She expects this rebound will continue into the fall 2021 recruiting season, where robust full-time recruiting is expected to make up for the lack of young talent due to previous hiring restrictions. In addition, there is a workforce deficit caused by seasoned professionals not returning to work, or changing jobs as the pandemic winds down. […]

Online MBA students have had to display a great deal of resilience, adaptability, flexibility and leadership. And careers department heads say such skills have potentially made them more competitive this year than ever before.

“Today more than ever, MBA students are requested to demonstrate strategic thinking and the ability to solve complex problems because it is what employers need to navigate the complexity and manage unpredictable business changes,” says Valentina Di Nenno, senior MBA career consultant at MIP Politecnico di Milano Business School in Milan. […]

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Top 10 Budget Online MBA Programs in Europe

Even amid massive uncertainty in the coronavirus pandemic, many Online MBA programs have thrived. Many of the best courses are in Europe. A great number are clustered in the UK, some in London with access to the commercial and cultural capital of the country. But there is great international diversity among course providers, from Switzerland to Scotland.

Crucially, Online MBAs are often a fraction of the cost of their full-time counterparts, and our list reflects both the tuition fees but also tuition assistance from course providers in Europe and the value for money.

The location may matter less to prospective students who will be tuning in to virtual classes from across the globe. Budget-friendly Online MBA programs in Europe attract a diverse cohort, with many achieving a good gender balance, too, thanks to the flexibility of studying part-time remotely. And such cohorts will become powerful global alumni networks.

Helping to strengthen bonds between classmates, most of the courses include residential modules in vibrant, multicultural cities across the European continent, whether in Barcelona, Geneva, Montreux or Munich. […]

At MIP, Online MBA students pay affordable tuition fees and the course has been designed in partnership with leading employers like Amazon and Microsoft, ensuring graduates are ready to enter the job market. The course is delivered fully online, ensuring flexibility and accessibility.

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