Online MBA programs have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and there are plenty of reasons to consider enrolling in one as a student. Getting an MBA can be one of the best ways to advance your business career; MBA graduates are still in high demand around the world for various business positions and in a wide range of industries, and this well-respected qualification can easily add a boost to your resume that ensures you stand out from your competition in the recruitment pool.
However, nobody said studying for an online MBA was going to be easy. Many online MBA students are getting this advanced degree while working at the same time, looking after a young family, or a combination of various different commitments which can make finding the time to study and focus more difficult compared to attending a brick college and focusing solely on studies.
Thankfully, many of the strategies that you can apply to almost any type of study can easily be applied to every aspect of your online MBA in order to help you get the most of it, get better results, and make a better impression throughout the duration of the program.
If you are considering signing up to study for an online MBA or are currently an online MBA student, here are some ideas that you might find useful to help you make the most of every precious hour of study time that you get.
Choose the Right School
First of all, it’s important to put some research into choosing the right online school for you to do your MBA. Some schools are more experienced in the online delivery of MBA programs than others, and you will want to choose a school that has a lot of experience with online programs in order to ensure that you are able to get as much support as possible.
Getting the most of your online MBA will always be easier when you have a strong support network coming from the college itself, and a well-put-together, comprehensive plan to help you learn online. There are several brick and mortar colleges that have recently started offering online programs but bear in mind that their lack of past experience in offering these programs could be an issue, so speak to current students if you can and read reviews wherever they are available. Bear in mind that not all students are going to be happy with the delivery of an online course regardless of how experienced the school is, so look for the general consensus.
Set a Study Schedule
Once you have enrolled in an online MBA program, one of the biggest benefits is the amount of freedom you typically get compared to a traditional MBA program at a brick and mortar school. Online MBA students have the freedom to select the study hours that work best for them, often have more freedom regarding different modules and elective subjects, and can study from a physical place that is most comfortable for them.
However, this freedom does come at a price. While some people are naturally better at being self-disciplined than others, being in many ways left to your own devices when studying for an online program also makes it easier than ever to give in to procrastination. When you’ve had a busy day and studying is an option rather than a mandatory class you will need to attend, it can be all too easy to give in to feelings of discomfort and tiredness instead of pushing through and doing what you need to do.
One of the best ways around this is to create a study schedule that you can easily stick to. Once you have set times to follow in terms of what you need to do and when, it becomes easier to stick to a good study routine and avoid giving in to procrastination. Treat your study schedule like you would a work schedule or a college class schedule by making sure that you stick to it as much as possible. It’s important that the schedule you devise works for you first and foremost; whether that means planning your time so that you can study when it is most convenient, or working out a new schedule at the beginning of each week so that you can fit it around shift work or other commitments that are irregular.
One of the pitfalls of studying for an MBA degree online compared to a brick and mortar college is that there are not as many opportunities to network with other people in-person. Instead of sitting in a classroom with others, you’re at home studying on your own – so networking might not always come as naturally. And, networking is an integral part of any MBA program; many MBA students find future careers, business partners, or simply great friends through the networking experiences that they have.
Although networking might not be as easy as simply turning around and having a conversation with the person next to you when you are studying online, there are still many opportunities to connect with others when you are studying for an online MBA. Be sure to stay active in the university forums and chat rooms and join as many social media groups related to your program as possible. Chances are, you will find students located in your area who are eager to meet up in person. And, look out for networking and meetup events organized by the school that you can attend.
Have a Dedicated Study Space
Success with an online MBA program is as much about the mindset that you are in as it is about the school that you choose and the hard work that you put into it. Click here to find out how to get the most out of your MBA. The best way to make sure that you are always in the right mindset for learning is to have a dedicated study space that you can go to in order to get work done. If you’re working in random places around your home, such as your living room, kitchen table, or bedroom then you are not going to be able to fully get yourself into the frame of mind to study.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a spare room in your home to turn into your study space, although this would be very advantageous if possible for you. Setting aside space in a room of your home with a study desk, shelving for your books, a filing system for notes and somewhere to put any post-it note and reminders that you find helpful will help you get in the right frame of mind and make getting into a good routine easier for you.
Have a Good Support System
The MBA tends to be a very intense degree program, and studying for it online has the risk of becoming a rather isolating experience for some. Although online students do have plenty of opportunities to socialize and meet others – it’s not always sitting on your desk studying alone – it’s important to ensure that you have a good support network around you. Let your family and friends know what you are embarking on and take them up on any offers for help and assistance.
If you are juggling a lot of different commitments at the same time as embarking on your online MBA program, feeling anxious and stressed is very normal. But instead of letting these feelings get to you and perhaps even hinder your potential over time, it’s a good idea to reach out for support as soon as possible. Online universities often have support systems in place for students who feel that they would benefit from talking things through with somebody who can help, and never be afraid to ask for things like a deadline extension or some time away from your studies if you feel that it is necessary for the good of your mental health. After all, while pushing yourself is important, it’s also just as important to know where your limits are and make sure that you are looking after yourself throughout the process.
Set Small Goals
Finally, small goals can do wonders for your mindset when studying for an online MBA and make it easier to reach your final destination. Rather than focusing heavily on the bigger picture and thinking about how long it’s going to take until you graduate, smaller goals make it easier for you to break the workload into smaller and more manageable sections. This gives you something attainable to focus on one at a time, rather than being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that you need to do overall.
For example, you could set goals for each week or month, depending on what works best for you. Some students even find that setting daily goals helps to keep them moving forward while still feeling that it is easy to manage the amount that they have to do.
When it comes to success with an online MBA, it’s all about your mindset. These strategies will help you get in the right mindset for success and help you get the most from your studies.