If you’re working full-time, an online business degree is often your most convenient option for pursuing an advanced degree, especially now that the quality of an online degree is equivalent to one on a physical campus.
For many business professionals, an online business degree can open up a world of professional opportunities, including getting a promotion, breaking into a new industry, or taking on greater management responsibilities.
Yet concerns remain that distance learning hold students back from connecting with fellow students and taking an active role in the academic community.
In the past, online degrees carried a certain stigma that the learning experience was somehow “incomplete” without robust, on-campus interaction. As many employers will now attest, this stigma is wrong.
But while employers may be as happy with an online degree as an on-campus one, some would-be students are still hesitant to enroll. They’re concerned that their physical distance will make it more difficult to connect with classmates and the greater school community.
One of the benefits of getting an MBA is to network and meet new people, Even with an online MBA, there are definitely many ways to get involved as part of the community.
All reputable online business degree programs typically offer dedicated program channels for virtual communication, including instant messaging platforms and web discussions.
Students can also Skype their teams to discuss a big project or even participate in a giant group WhatsApp chat.
Join online guest lectures
Even if you can’t make it to campus for an in-person speaker presentation, most universities will broadcast guest lectures live via an exclusive weblink.
Just like the famous TED Talks, online students can participate as listeners and learners in these lectures.
While the speaker session may require additional time outside of standard coursework and class hours, you’ll hear from plenty of speakers at the forefront of their fields. Online viewing is an opportunity to ask them questions and later discuss their responses with your fellow peers.
Form online study groups
Your peers in an online MBA program are excellent academic and professional resources. One of the best ways to get to know them — and strategically balance your coursework — is an online study group.
Like those face to face MBA cohorts, online study groups are small, informal groups that connect to discuss coursework, share assignments and collaborate on group projects.
In addition to refining valuable teamwork and leadership skills, you’ll form deeper connections with your peers beyond simply sharing the same degree program. There’s nothing like pulling an all-nighter together before a big project to bond as a team!
Participate in student networking
As businesses continue to place a high value on hiring professionals with international experience and a global business mindset, online MBA programs are responding by offering exclusive travel programs.
Traveling abroad can help online MBA students network during an intensive one- or two-week trip. While itineraries vary depending on the program, students typically meet with local business leaders, tour local companies and attend presentations at local universities or partner MBA programs. In certain programs, students may be challenged to solve a series of business problems for an international client and then present the solutions in person.
From campus volunteer programs, to speakers’ visits, to special international travel, then, you should commit to making the most of your experience and getting involved. Those interactions will add value to your online MBA.