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Lydia Wilkinson

Online MBA, Indiana University: Kelley, US. Global project manager at Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical group.

Learning to work virtually is essential today. By going to school online, I became very comfortable working virtually and building relationships with people from all over the world.

Students at Kelley, guided by a staff member and the professor, get a chance to provide consulting services to international businesses. I travelled to businesses in South Africa and Myanmar with my colleagues, which was the highlight of my academic career.

Studying online does require more discipline — partly because you may be working full-time and have other responsibilities, such as caring for a family. It can be a steep learning curve.

Isaac Were

Online MBA, Durham University Business School, UK. Provides audit, tax and advisory services to small and medium enterprises.

The online mode of delivery was pretty much effective. Students were engaged in all the coursework exercises, prompt feedback was provided and we’ve been adequately equipped with knowledge that we can apply in the workplace.

I did my bachelors degree on campus, and in my experience an off-campus teaching and learning method can have more rigour than on-campus delivery.

The off-campus method calls for more discipline on the part of the student — you’re not in a lecture theatre with a professor motivating you to give your all. But at Durham, my lecturers and professors were always available to offer timely assistance.

Mark Boone

Online MBA, University of Massachusetts Amherst: Isenberg, US. Insurance product development manager; attorney, US Army Reserve.

The professors teaching the online MBA also taught the full-time MBA on campus, so I felt it carried credibility.

Amherst isn’t far from where I live — I liked that in case I ever needed to go to campus for anything.

I have a hectic schedule, so doing the MBA online allowed me to study at my own pace and in the convenience of my own home or when I was travelling. The discussions may not have been as immediate as in a classroom but, in a world gone crazy with social media saturation, that may not be a bad thing.

Online learning demands discipline, completing assignments on time to be able to take part in the discussions.

Thomas McCord

Online MBA, Arizona State University: Carey, US. Technical implementation analyst, Medtronic, a medical technology company.

I’m a late-night sort of person and value flexibility when I study. Likewise, I’m a bit of a technophile and adept at researching topics online. I’ve always retained knowledge better from reading materials than lectures, so I was geared towards this style of education.

However, I missed the social aspect and group activities were a little bit of an adventure. Likewise, trying to get office time to speak to a professor was not a possibility unless you were going to chat over instant messaging or email.

Networking still matters a lot so if you plan on doing an online MBA, I’d suggest choosing a school near where you plan to spend the bulk of your career.

Karla Hernandez

International Managerial MBA — Virtual, Centrum Católica, Peru. Runs her own human resources and leadership consultancy.

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I travel a lot and that makes it hard to attend a classroom, so the virtual MBA was the best option. It allowed me to be connected at all times, check my information, read, take part in forums moderated by professors and interact through Skype with my classmates. You’re required to come to campus once a year for a week to receive courses that are better taught in classes.

I think the key to success is simple — if you invest in studying at a good business school that provides you with professional professors, technological tools, libraries, platforms, intermediation and a jobcentre, you’ll accomplish your goals.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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