In today’s business society, face-to-face interactions, social networking, smart phones and email are all integral ways people communicate. That is why prestigious business schools have designed a new generation of sophisticated online MBA programs around these technologies, while also incorporating face-to-face interaction among students and faculty. Creating classrooms across industries and between continents, these new programs are preparing the next generation of global business leaders by delivering top-tier business education in a flexible and accessible format online.
This new generation of online MBA programs is making world-class business education available to students located anywhere around the globe for the first time. Built around the same social networking and video-conferencing technologies that most students are already accustomed to, and that future business professionals will need leverage, these programs create real-time discussion-based classes online. By populating cohorts with working professionals of the same caliber as their on-campus MBA counterparts but extending access to those interested on every continent, the business schools behind these new online MBA programs have created a truly diverse and international student body in a way that has never before existed.
In addition to the virtual classrooms described above, online MBA programs use specially developed asynchronous learning technology to facilitate student communication and collaboration across time-zones. While studying alongside students from distant countries is beneficial, trying to schedule conference calls around their work and sleep schedules can be frustrating. By using familiar technologies, like email, message boards, lecture videos and even specially developed social networking platforms, online MBAs allow each student to work on their own schedule. And considering that multinational corporations spanning the globe are fast becoming the standard for successful large-scale businesses, these technologies and techniques necessary to harness their use will need to be familiar to the business leaders of the future.
Successful business leaders understand that business must fundamentally occur on a personal level, face-to-face between human beings — not computer screens. That’s why online MBA programs such as UNC’s MBA@UNC program offers students the opportunity to attend immersion events, occasions where classes come together for experiential learning, leadership-building exercises and networking events. These events give students the opportunity to form lasting bonds with classmates and faculty while learning and networking in person — skills and experiences that many consider the most valuable aspects of a traditional MBA program.
In addition to having frequent online contact with classmates and opportunities for immersion events, the best online MBA programs offer their students a legitimate connection to their alumni networks. These invaluable professional networks enable MBA graduates to reach colleagues, mentors and potential friends around the world. Such a network is an invaluable resource, particularly for professionals whose businesses are or aim to be global in reach.
Even before online MBA programs used emerging technology to bring graduate business education to pupils all over the world, businesses had begun using similar technology to enable teams of workers around the world to collaborate online. The advances in technology that allowed this leap forward in education are actually just part of a wider change transforming commerce. Awhitepaper recently released by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School argues that virtual teams have become a pervasive phenomenon in recent years, and students who earn MBAs online will graduate with the highly developed digital communication skills which will be required in leading the businesses of the future.