Top 10 Tips for Online MBAs



For many, education is a lonely exercise. They read and research, jot down notes and memorize facts. Over time, they learn to define problems, identify patterns and design solutions. In recent decades, education has increasingly followed the model popularized by business. Here, practitioners work in teams that link functions, levels and locations. In the process, these teams tap into a variety of experiences that only make their work more relevant, comprehensive and sustainable.

To put it another way …

If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.


Allie Pearson from Indiana University

Allie Pearson learned the value of this proverb as an online MBA student at Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Assistant Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble, Pearson used to work as a team to market products like Luvs and Herbal Essences. In Kelley, Pearson found true community… and reaped unexpected benefits.

“In an online program, your classmates live all over the world and participate in a variety of industries,” she writes. “Their anecdotes, perspective and knowledge are incredibly useful for getting a broader view of the business world and a taste of what it’s like to work on projects that are very different from those in your own business plan. job. “

Shared expertise is just one of the benefits of the online MBA team approach. In Pearson’s experience, the support of his classmates was equally valuable. That’s why she advises MBA candidates to value the peers who learn with them. Ultimately, these classmates will play a big part in their success.


“An online MBA is difficult,” admits Pearson. “It’s not just because of the rigor of the classes, but also because you choose to balance it with your career, your family, your hobbies, etc. Friends help you with confusing tasks, recruit you for team projects, and cheer you on when you feel under a stack of work. It also works the other way around: you can help and encourage your new friends as well. When we all work together, the workload becomes much more manageable. We learn more by teaching each other and asking questions, and we all do better work. For example, in my operations course we had to run a factory simulation that ran 24 hours a day for an entire week. Let’s just say that if my classmates hadn’t patiently provided the coaching they did, my factory would have quickly closed its doors.

Poets and Quants recently published its 3rd edition Best and Brightest Online MBAs: Class of 2020 history, which honored 52 highly accomplished MBAs from the class of 2020 to Top Ranked Online MBA Programs. As part of their nominations, these students were invited to: What is your best advice to a candidate for success in an online MBA program? From time management to setting expectations, here are this year’s top 10 Best & Brightest tip nuggets.

Leland Naslow of the University of Maryland

1) Define expectations: “Integrate your entire team before you even start. Pursuing an online MBA program as a professional can be exhausting at times and the full support of those around you is key to keeping it moving when doubts start to surface. Many thanks to my amazing wife Nataly and all of our supportive family. “
Leland nislow, University of Maryland (Smith)

“One thing that has helped me sustain over the past two years in this program is the understanding and support of my family. Integrating them and sharing the workload around the house allowed me to make my MBA a top priority. One tactic I have used is to set aside one day a week [usually Wednesdays] where we can spend a night together as a family. I don’t schedule team meetings and make sure any work I need to do is completed before or after this day. This routine gave me a nice break in the middle of the week to rest and be able to spend quality time with those who take this trip with me.
Robert bussey, Penn State (Smeal)

2) Ask the right questions: “Take the time to answer critical questions before you even start your program:

    • Is higher education really what you want next and will it help you get where you want to go or is there an alternative way?
    • Is it a good time for a graduate program and how much time can you devote to it? How are you going to make room for this in your life?
    • What are your requirements or constraints? Budget, location, flexibility, academic orientation, networking, travel, etc. can all have an impact on your choice.
    • How will you change your current life and lifestyle to take on the added responsibilities of graduate work? Do you have a support system or solution to fill any gaps (care for dependents, coverage at work, etc.)? “

Celina Rosita Tousignant, Syracuse University (Whitman)

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