Online higher education is becoming mainstream worldwide, and Ely is no exception. For example, more Ely students are considering getting an online MBA nowadays, which allows them to gain access to some of the best programmes in the world without having to leave home. Online MBAs have evolved by leaps and bounds over the years, and their perception has changed with the general public and employers. Let’s look at the hard data on this trend, and the factors driving it. We’ll also discuss some of the options available to those considering an online Masters of Business Administration degree.

The Hard Data

While massive open online courses are often free, most students who complete an MBA are attending a brick and mortar campus or signing up for a formal online MBA programme. Enrolment in online MBA programmes grew in 2016 at schools offering such programmes. More schools began offering online MBAs in 2017 to take advantage of this large pool of tuition paying students. We’ll see further growth in the number of institutions offering online MBAs and similar degrees because demand is outstripping supply across the board. This is why online MBA programmes are seeing double digit annual growth overall.

The Factors Driving This Trend Worldwide

One reason why more students are completing online MBA programmes is tightening visa conditions both in the UK and in other countries. Many students simply cannot travel to another country to attend the institution of their choice, but they can sign up for an online programme. Others don’t want to or can’t leave their city to attend a particular programme either, which makes them more popular at the local level as well.

Online courses are also popular with students because of the lower overall cost. You don’t have to pay to move or live on campus, and you don’t have to pay for commuting either. Both of these factors explain why several top business schools have more international students and students from other parts of the country in their online programmes than on campus.

Advances in technology make it easier for anyone to connect to a good online MBA programme. The growing credibility of online degrees makes them more attractive to prospective students, since their employers are more likely to accept them as a valid credential. Universities are also learning from earlier mistakes. For example, they’re breaking up video segments and posting interactive lessons. They’re making it possible for online students to ask professors questions in real time and feel like they’re part of the class.

Students themselves want online MBA programmes for many reasons. It is easier to fit the online courses into your life than travelling to campus to sit through a class. The ability to re-watch lessons as often as necessary is certainly a plus. For some, working and collaborating with classmates across the world is practice for doing the same thing in the workplace.

Another group of people who are attracted to these types of programmes are people already working in the corporate world or business owners. These people may want to add some feathers to their cap, or simply improve as entrepreneurs. Online MBA programmes allow them to get a top shelf education on their own time and often much faster than through a traditional programme.

Top Universities are Using Online Programmes to Spread their Brand

Renowned universities are also capitalising on the trend and are using their online programmes to attract more students and reinforce their brand. More are realising that they can’t ignore the increasing demand, and are doubling their efforts to not only satisfy it, but provide the best courses possible. One university, for instance, built two film studios especially for online content. They also added a trading floor simulator in an effort to offer a more immersive and realistic experience to students. Online programmes are now spurring innovation in many schools, and more are considering adding online learning module to their traditional programmes as well.

Options for Potential Students

There are blended online/offline programmes that combine online content with class time. This isn’t an option for those who can’t make it to campus. One of the best choices is an online MBA that connects online students with campus presentations so that students can connect with other students and professors, getting more out of the programme than they would watching a series of online videos.

Institutions like Aston University offer a flexible, accredited online MBA that you can take when it fits your schedule. Aston is notable for having six intakes per year and can be completed in two years. The flexible study option gives you the schedule flexibility you need to continue working while earning your MBA. Their programme is also one of the few options available to those without an undergraduate degree if you have comparable work experience. In comparison, there are a few online degree programmes that offer purely online teaching that isn’t restricted to bachelor’s degree holders.

Yet you must be careful to avoid fake online degree programmes. This is why you only want to consider online degree programmes to those connected to well-regarded business schools. For example, Aston University was ranked a Tier 1 business school by CEO Magazine. And their programme was accredited by the Association of MBAs, AACSB and EQUIS, which are the top accreditation bodies for business schools in the UK, US and Europe. Looking for accreditation should be the very first thing you do when looking at a potential programme, since it will not only ensure that you get an adequate education, but that your credentials will be recognised worldwide.

With all these benefits, it’s no surprise that so many students from Ely decide to take their classes completely online. They allow them to get a top-level education from the comfort of their own home and at their own pace. And they’re also vastly recognised by most institutions, which makes them a solid investment for anyone. Are you considering studying online? Let us know.

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