How to choose and apply for an online business course

The pandemic has caused an explosion in demand for online business education, but what some academics still refer to as the “Wild West” of higher education can lack quality control. Because of this, they feel it is crucial to choose the right course.

“You get what you pay for,” argues Kirk Werner, vice president of content at Udacity, the online learning company. Some of the strongest virtual programs include hands-on learning and projects based on real-world scenarios, he says. “The goal is to choose a program that allows you to gain hands-on experience that can be easily applied in your chosen career.”

Rebecca Loades, director of MBA programs at the non-profit business school ESMT Berlin, suggests that the factors that distinguish the best providers include the length of their business, their investments in technology and the strength of their learning design team . “I think institutions underestimate what it takes to develop and deliver a good online course,” she says.

For Jocelyn Tillner, an online MBA candidate at ESMT, the big selling point was the flexibility to study alongside the job at her own pace and the ability to immediately apply the learnings at work. “It’s also very valuable that we have a lot of group work,” she adds.

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Another key factor is not outsourcing a program to a third party, advises Dot Powell, director of teaching and learning improvement at Warwick Business School. The British institution developed its online MBA in-house: “This means that we can constantly refine and update the content,” explains Powell.

She also highlights highly qualified teachers as a crucial ingredient. “What’s important is that beyond the bells and whistles, the curriculum has a solid academic foundation,” Powell emphasizes.

With some companies still wary of online education, employment outcomes are a particularly important factor to consider when choosing a course. Researching this can take quite a bit of digging though.

“Beyond the marketing materials [reading] the gossip about it [a particular] The online program and interviews with students who have completed the course are both important sources of information,” said Marni Baker Stein, chief content officer at online learning platform Coursera.

Once a degree is selected, applying can be daunting, especially for those who have spent many years in the workforce. A key to securing approval is self-reflection, says Baker Stein. “A lot of people say they want an MBA and don’t think about why,” she notes. “So the most important question to ask yourself is really understanding your goals and making sure this degree is a fit for you.”

ESMT’s Loades adds that authenticity is also essential. “Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear, give us a little bit of your personality, let you shine through.” How to choose and apply for an online business course

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