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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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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Top 10 Online MBA Programs for Residential Modules

Many Online MBA programs now include a variety of periodic residential modules. This blended format helps students forge valuable connections with students and professors, but without having to sacrifice personal and professional commitments.

The “bricks and clicks” format has been adopted by many of the world’s leading Online MBA programs.  At some institutions, core courses are competed on campus, while in other cases, online students have the option to take electives on campus and deepen their knowledge in diverse fields such as finance, real estate, or entrepreneurship.

Students often study alongside candidates from other degree programs including the full-time MBA and Executive MBA courses. There could also be executive speaker sessions too, and a variety of social events.

These experiences are sometimes rolled into the tuition fees, but other programs charge students extra for them. They are generally available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with limited availability for places.

Typically, residential experiences are offered at the beginning of the Online MBA so that students can build up a rapport, or at the end as part of a capstone course where they put the theory into practice. Sometimes, they are offered in multiple global locations as well as the school’s main campus. […]

Students on the Online MBA program at MIP, which is focused on digital transformation, visit the innovation centers of the business school in Milan. They also go on company visits to leading technology companies such as Amazon and Microsoft. There’s also a bootcamp on digital transformation, while students can also go on international exchanges to visit the campuses of other business schools across the world.

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Covid-19 Hastens the Growth in Online MBAs in Europe

The pandemic has convinced a clutch of locked-down institutions to launch Online MBA programs, especially in Europe. The trend looks set to continue

While many academic institutions across Asia are resuming face-to-face teaching, those in Europe are having to introduce tighter restrictions because of rising coronavirus cases and fresh national lockdowns.

The pandemic has convinced a clutch of locked-down European institutions to launch Online MBA programs in the past 12 months. The trend looks set to continue, as the Otto Beisheim School of Management recently announced plans for an Online MBA, with classes starting in August this year.

In Germany, where the school is based, infection numbers are rising from a third wave of coronavirus.

For Rebecca Winkelmann, director of the school’s new Online MBA, the pandemic crystallized the choice to go viral, which was made before Covid-19 struck.

She brought forward the launch of the program from 2022. “The main reason was the shift to digital teaching for all degree programs right at the beginning of the global crisis,” Winkelmann says. “We strongly felt we had everything in place to launch the program much quicker than initially planned.” […]

The trend looks set to continue, as the research group Carrington Crisp’s Tomorrow’s MBA Study from late 2020 showed that 78 percent of applicants are more likely to pursue a degree that gives them greater flexibility. “It’s likely that market acceptance of online learning has grown significantly over the past 12 months,” says Barniville. ESMT, for example, announced a new Online MBA in March this year, with sessions starting in September.

The forerunner to ESMT’s course is the Online MBA offered by MIP Politecnico di Milano in Italy, which launched back in 2014. The school’s dean, Federico Frattini, thinks the pandemic has changed perceptions among applicants and companies, and opened their minds to the possibilities of remote teaching.

“Something has changed,” he says. “The pandemic forced people to get used to online meetings. Thus, candidates are now more aware of the potential of digital education. The same applies to recruiters, who now perceive online learning to be as good as on-campus programs.”

On the other hand, some potential applicants are experiencing “Zoom fatigue”, which has only strengthened their belief in the value of campus teaching. “Those who already preferred on-campus programs are now even more” entrenched in that belief, says Frattini. […]

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