4 Key Benefits of Hybrid MBA Programs

It’s common for students to pursue master’s of business administration degrees remotely. Given MBA degrees are designed for current experienced professionals eager to continue their academic careers and gain new experience, it makes sense to study for these credentials online, on a flexible course schedule, and while still employed full time.

Remote learning doesn’t have to be fully removed from in-person, experiential study on a college campus, however. In a hybrid or blended learning model, students attend a short, accelerated series of classes that deliver vital knowledge face to face. Adding such a component to a student’s MBA program curriculum can give that individual a different kind of learning experience to augment online courses.

The following are a few of the distinct benefits of hybrid learning in MBA programs. Though such an arrangement isn’t right for every student, it’s worth considering the availability of hybrid learning opportunities sessions when inspecting schools’ MBA offerings.

1. In-person Opportunities for Networking

Considering MBA students tend to already be active in business leadership roles, they may seek out programs that offer more than just learning from a syllabus. Professionals are always on the lookout for connections that could be helpful in the months and years ahead. Indeed, MBA students hoping to move to a new company with their enhanced credentials may find leads in their searches through in-person networking.

A Boston Globe report on hybrid learning revealed students enjoy the chance to meet with their classmates and faculty members in person. Online course message boards and social hubs benefit when augmented by the freewheeling conversations that may pop up before or after in-person classes. When students meet up, they may discuss exciting potential opportunities, potentially laying the groundwork for new ventures that will take flight once they graduate.

U.S. News & World Report added the networking opportunities at in-person sessions may prove helpful to students because they introduce a geographic focus point. Individuals from the region around the residency – domestic or international – can mix with online students willing to make the trip. Making strong connections near the residency and beyond equips a professional for next career steps. Any student hoping to seek new employment or start a new company in that area may benefit from such a rolodex.

2. An Alternative Instruction Style

Studying for an MBA at an accredited university leads to a valuable and respected degree, whether professionals do so online or in person. The decision between these learning methods often comes down to availability. U.S. News indicated people who want to stay in full-time jobs favor online learning, while students ready to leave their current roles and reboot their career trajectories may favor on-campus options. The middle ground of a blended course load may be ideal for people who fit into both groups and enjoy or prefer the experience of learning in person.

Taking time off from a current job to attend a blended program’s in-person component is a way to inject face-to-face learning into a course load that has previously been defined by remote lectures and online group work. This is a great benefit for learners who retain information best when it’s presented in person.

Attending classes, speaking with university personnel, and accessing campus services in person offers a change in perspective and breaks up the pattern of an online degree program. The time needed for such learning is relatively short and concentrated – professionals are far more likely to be able to get the time off from their current job for such a residency compared to a course that would call for an extended leave of absence.

Group work may also take on a different tone when individuals are able to speak face to face. Live conversations can drive group projects from initial brainstorming to satisfying presentations quickly. Furthermore, this type of intensive teamwork can act as valuable practice for MBA graduates. Being prepared for a higher management role means more than just assimilating knowledge; practical experience collaborating with others is also helpful.

3. Deep Discussions and Connections

Residency portions of hybrid degree programs tend toward small class sizes and focused instructor attention. These traits can be a major point in favor of these in-person interactions. While faculty members in wholly online classes are available to speak with and assist their students, an in-person connection may make it easier to get concise answers on complex topics, gain personal attention, and obtain in-depth explanations.

Hybrid degree residencies are great places to learn about the most complicated and important ideas on the syllabus. U.S. News explained that professors teaching these in-person seminars tend to require their students to perform reading and independent study in advance. Because the time spent face to face with classes is limited to a few days, that time is mainly given over to intensive group discussions of the previously reviewed material. Students get a chance to work with their fellow students and faculty members in an intellectually stimulating environment. The bonds created in these sessions can endure through the remainder of the program, giving participants a strong support network to call upon.

4. Interacting with Corporate Representatives

An MBA is focused on a practical set of outcomes: Graduates are preparing to take on leadership responsibilities in the corporate world. It pays to maximize contact with various companies’ current management teams. When students converge on a campus for a hybrid course’s residency, they gain the opportunity to visit local organizations or hear from representatives of those businesses. These partnerships between universities and corporations further deepen the value of MBA programs.

It’s important to take in as much information as possible from the business world as it exists at the moment while studying for an MBA. Fellow students who are currently engaged in management and faculty members with strong ties to the world of corporate operations can provide essential information for degree seekers, which will complement what they learn from course materials. Connections such as these can flourish during the in-person components of hybrid programs.

Is a Hybrid Learning Model Right for You?

Studying online for an MBA can represent an exciting step in climbing the corporate ladder – or building your own. These programs are uniquely well-suited to prospective students who want to keep up their duties while studying for a promising future. When those individuals want a brief experience of in-person learning, however, they have an exciting option in the hybrid learning model.

For prospective students, the online MBA program at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers optional on-campus residencies and international field studies.

 

Sources

Boston Globe – Low-residency Programs Blend Online, Campus Classes

U.S. News & World Report – Ask 5 Questions to Decide Between Online, Blended MBA Programs

U.S. News & World Report – Deciding Between an Online or On-Campus MBA Program

U.S. News & World Report – What to Expect in an Online Degree Program Residency