Employees who need an MBA to get a promotion or change jobs may find an online program valuable and suited to the demands of their work schedules.
Earning an MBA is about more than just learning relevant academic material; it’s about positioning oneself for career success by gaining access to well-connected individuals and valuable resources. The following support services should be components of any online MBA program students pursue.
1. Networking opportunities: Networking is as important for online MBA students as it is for those in traditional classrooms.
[Explore five questions to ask about networking in online MBA programs.]
Many MBA programs require that online students complete an on-campus experience over a few weekends or longer, providing a chance to interact with each other and faculty. Networking is not just about collecting business cards or gaining social media connections but also having meaningful conversations that translate into collaboration in school and potentially in the workplace after graduation.
Even if they don’t initially meet face to face, online students should strategically plan to build a network. Faculty may use LinkedIn to teach students how to do so virtually. Students can also use the social media platform to connect with classmates, and groups allow people with similar interests to interact. Joining one and asking questions can be informative. Another way to network is through virtual career fairs offered by universities or companies, which can typically be found through an online search.
Online courses are designed to get students interacting with each other. Peer-to-peer and team-based assignments are valuable to help them foster relationships.
[Learn how to interact successfully with professors and students in online courses.]
2. Career counseling: Online MBA students often aim to move into managerial roles or launch a business career. Career counselors may use virtual collaboration tools to help students find new career paths. Initial synchronous, or live, videoconferencing conversations on creating or improving resumes are vital to success for online MBA students.
A career counselor’s experience with the student via videoconference will provide a framework to discuss his or her interview skills. In many companies, first-round interviews are conducted virtually. Online MBA students’ experience with synchronous videoconferencing in both their coursework and while working with career counselors can help them succeed during those interviews.
3. Writing center: Irrespective of the field business graduates ultimately pursue, good writing skills are invaluable. MBA students need a writing center to help them communicate big ideas. White papers, position papers or business plans might be typical examples.
Traditional students can visit drop-in centers or meet with a professor to get help with writing. However, online students usually don’t have those in-person student support services. Look for online MBA programs that have writing centers geared to the needs and schedules of students.
4. Alumni connections: Many alumni are eager to help and mentor students, including those online, from their alma mater. Most online MBA students already have the job experience and relevant education needed for positions at diverse organizations, making it far easier for alumni to provide direct employment assistance rather just informational interviews.
Students studying remotely typically cannot connect with involved or visiting alumni in person at a student dining hall or campus lecture. Instead, online students may ask their schools for access to alumni lists. They can also request remote access to interesting on-campus lectures by alumni or others and then follow up via email or LinkedIn.