Executive Education

Global and Mobile: University of Birmingham’s Online MBA Program

online mba program

This article comes courtesy of University of Birmingham’s Online MBA Program, designed for professionals who are ready to enhance their strategic management skills.

An online MBA program can take its students around the world, but not every online program offers the same international business passport.

Finding an Online MBA tailor made to a virtual format is crucial as some programs attempt to simply upload videos of their lectures to the web. As one might expect, much more goes into creating a winning program than just adding an internet connection.

The University of Birmingham offers the first and only 100% Online MBA that is fully accredited by the Association of MBAs. This impressive and exclusive offering, unlike any other in the world, might account for why the program has managed to attract a truly global cohort. With 42% of its students coming from outside of its home nation of the United Kingdom, rising business leaders from around the world are selecting this program to open doors and enhance their careers.

Keep your day job

“Getting an MBA has been on my mind for the past 10 years,” Patrick Gettleman, a global procurement manager for a leading technology company tells Ivy Exec. Gettleman is from the US and now lives in the UK. “I have always viewed the world as the more education you have then more opportunities will be made available.”

However, for Gettleman, like many busy executives, finding the time to actually pursue an MBA seemed like a non-starter.

“My largest hang up in getting an MBA is that my career and opportunities to do different things as well as to take on greater and more challenging global roles kept me from wanting to leave the workforce for two years while I studied for my MBA,” he says. “With my job and career path I travel for work almost on a weekly basis and could not be successful with a part-time program in person. I would simply miss way too many classes. Online was the only option that would work for me outside of quitting my job to become a full-time student.”

Gettleman ultimately was drawn to the University of Birmingham because of its accreditation and reputation worldwide.

For Andrew Lavin, Global Head of Asset and Fleet Management for international generator company Aggreko, the Online MBA at the University of Birmingham represents a bit of a virtual homecoming. Now living and working in Dubai, Lavin is originally from the UK and even obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Birmingham.

“Having worked in so many countries over the last five years, you quickly realize the importance and global recognition an MBA carries, and that was something I wanted to add to my toolkit,” Lavin says. “I chose the online learning route due to my travel commitments because otherwise it would be difficult for me to travel to a university to complete an MBA via the traditional route.”

A new, worldly perspective

Ceridwen Scerri from Malta chose Birmingham to gain a new, international perspective on her industry.

“An Online MBA provides you with the thrilling experience of connecting globally through your computer,” she says.

Scerri wanted unparalleled access to an international cohort—something she believes that she would not have been able to experience in a traditional, on-site MBA program. She recalls her first classroom session, connecting with students across the planet. “The class was live around the globe with students from America, Australia, African countries and Asia. This can be experienced through campus-based lectures but not to this extent…With each module, experts join the course.”

She also felt that the school’s international reputation was paramount in her decision to pursue the Online MBA.

Scerri had three criteria to determining which university was right for her. “The first criterion was communication. Given that I wanted to follow an online course, regular communication with the lecturers and students is crucial. The University of Birmingham offers weekly synchro-sessions which are ideal for me since they fit my hectic lifestyle but also allow me to keep in touch with my studies.”

In addition to communication, European recognition was important to Scerri. The University of Birmingham is a Russell Group University, thus ensuring a high level of education and recognition.

The third, but not the final criterion, was distance and how easy it is to access the university’s resources.

Scerri’s classmate from the UK, Kathirvel Balakrishnan, also appreciates the Online MBA’s ability to bring together a wealth of international perspectives.

“I get to study and collaborate with many students in groups who are from various geographies and disciplines,” Balakrishnan says. “This diversity helps me to better understand the module, its context and applicability in the real world.”

Bottom Line

For many students at the University of Birmingham, having online access to an MBA program meant the difference between being able to matriculate or not. From there, gaining access to an international cohort who were simultaneously studying and working in their respective industries was in itself an education they felt they’d never otherwise experience within the confines of the classroom.

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