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July 10, 2019

Online MBAs Are Increasingly Popular with International Students



The MBA, or Master’s Business Administration degree, is often seen as the default credential for people who want to move into management, investment banking or entrepreneurship, and is a degree that still holds significant weight worldwide. Online MBAs in particular are increasingly becoming attractive to international students because of the many benefits they offer to them. Let’s take a look at the factors driving these trends in online education. Furthermore, we will discuss how the growth of online MBAs affects students and the marketplace as a whole.

The Factors Driving This Trend

The United States has tightened its visa rules, and this has resulted in falling international applications to their universities. Many of these students still want to study abroad at an internationally acclaimed school. This is why two thirds of European MBA programs saw a rise in international applications in 2018. Despite the fears of Brexit and the uncertainty caused by its endless delay, British schools are still attracting international students, as well. It is the logical choice for those who want to complete an internationally recognized degree in English.

For many, getting an online MBA is prime opportunity to get international credentials that will sometimes hold more weight than some of the institutions in their country. Not to mention that some of the current online MBAs compare quite favourably with traditional MBAs in terms of quality and recognition, which is very different than what it was when they were first introduced. 

The Benefits for Students

Online MBAs are increasingly popular for a number of reasons. One particular benefit is the schedule flexibility they provide. An online MBA can typically be completed in two years. More importantly, online programs tend to have more intakes per year, allowing you more flexibility when you start the program.

Online programs are also often cheaper than attending a brick and mortar school. For international students, the cost savings are compounded by the elimination of international travel, room and board, and possibly other costs as well. You can live at home while attending school. Depending on the online MBA program, you may be able to choose a class schedule that allows you to consider working as well. That is rarely an option when you are taking a blended MBA program, combining online modules with time in the classroom. An online program is the best choice if you cannot afford to quit your job and move abroad for a few years in the hope that the degree will allow you to advance your career.

Practical online MBA programs will let you use real world examples from work in class, allowing you to get points with your boss for solving problems while minimizing how much extra work you have to put into class projects.

Not to mention that the MBA itself is a degree that adapts itself very well to online learning. Most concepts can be conveyed easily completely online and the advances in remote communication allow students from all over to interact, collaborate and get access to teaching staff easily. Not only that, but some have even said that accessing teaching staff online was often easier than in a normal setting. Teachers will often have set times when students can contact them, which is not always the case in a brick and mortar setting. It’s this kind of open-door access that makes them so attractive to many.

The Opportunity to Access a Global Business Network

Online business programs are often taught by teachers with experience working in global companies. And reputable universities often have partnerships with major international brands for internships. Not only that, but these programs allow students to start forming global connections that will be beneficial to them for the rest of their lives. They will be able to have an insight into new markets, which will also open their eyes to possible opportunities they previously weren’t aware of. As a matter of fact, many partnerships were sparked by these kinds of programs. Students also have the same access to alumni resources as they would in any other school.

Another great thing about online MBA programs is that classes tend to be smaller than in other programs, which leaves even more space for dialogue and interaction both with teachers and other students. The atmosphere is much more open and gives space to exchange, which is not always the case in a traditional setting. Students really have the chance to speak their minds when they want to and get instant assistance. Not to mention that they learn how to use the most advanced technological tools during the process as many online classes are technology oriented.

The Impact on Students and the Marketplace

For international students that want to earn a master’s in business administration, the UK is an increasingly attractive option. For those who cannot secure a visa or afford to travel to England, they can earn an advanced business degree online from one of the country’s world-class institutions. A few schools are notable for attracting a large number of international students. For example, the MBA class at Aston University comprises ninety percent international students with more than eighty percent coming from outside of Europe. This raises the international profile of the school while giving both native and international students access to a truly global network of alumni.

The growth of online MBA programs allows universities to offer specialized degrees that attract students from around the world. Aston’s program focuses on practical skills such as coming up with a marketing strategy for a star-tup. This helps students impress potential employers, since they can cite real world examples and experience. The Aston program provides practice for their students via online simulations, as well. Other programs focus on particular industries like retail, healthcare or information technology.

Studying business abroad is seen as preparation for upper management and international business. Earning a master’s degree in administration online is a viable way to earn the degree and enjoy its benefits without the same investment of time and money.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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