How to choose and apply for an online business course

The pandemic has exploded demand for online business education, but quality control can be lacking in what some academics still call the “Wild West” of higher education. For this reason, they believe that choosing the right course is essential.

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

Rebecca Loades, director of MBA programs at the non-profit business school ESMT Berlin, suggests that the best providers are distinguished by factors such as how long they’ve been in business, how much they’ve invested in technology, and how strong the learning design is. their team. . “I think institutions underestimate what it takes to develop and deliver a good online course,” he says.

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For Jocelyn Tillner, an online MBA candidate at ESMT, the big selling point was the flexibility to learn at her own pace while working and apply the insights immediately in the workplace. “It’s also very valuable that we do a lot of group work,” he adds.

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

It also highlights high-quality teachers as a key ingredient. “What’s important is that the curriculum has a solid scientific foundation beyond the bells and whistles,” Powell emphasizes.

Some companies are still wary of online education, with employment outcomes being a particularly important consideration when choosing a course. However, researching this may require some digging.

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“Beyond marketing materials [reading] the chatter about it [a particular] The program online and talking to students who have taken the course are both critical sources of intelligence,” says Marni Baker Stein, chief content officer at online learning platform Coursera.

After choosing a course, applying can be daunting, especially for those who have worked for many years. One of the keys to getting in is self-reflection, says Baker Stein. “A lot of people say they want an MBA and don’t think why,” he notes. “So the most important question is to really understand your goals and make sure that this degree aligns with you.”

ESMT Loades adds that authenticity is also essential. “Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear, give us a bit of your personality, let it shine through.”