Is getting a professional MBA truly beneficial?
For every career-oriented person, there’s the likelihood that you’re busy most of the time. However, that is never truly an excuse when it comes to investing in yourself.
In today’s MBA market, flexibility is the order of the day, as there are various kinds of programs offered to MBA candidates that can allow the develop certain skills while still managing other important aspects of their lives.
Previously, MBA programs were once full-time but have begun transitioning into part-time and online formats—with schools now increasingly combining all of these methods together. Doing this ensures that everyone is catered for, even those who work full-time now have a variety of ways to earn their MBA degree and can apply now at any institution of their choice.
According to Kyle Winchester, a current student on the Kelley-Manchester Global MBA, flexibility was key in deciding whether to pursue an MBA education. Having to juggle a senior international role at multinational company Ingersoll Rand and his three children, all under six, the MBA program needed to fit perfectly into both his personal and professional life.
Kyle went for the Kelley-Manchester MBA—a dual degree offered by both Alliance Manchester Business School at The University of Manchester and Kelley School of Business at Indiana University—with a two-year blended learning program, which combined online learning with three residential sessions in different locations around the world.
Though half of the learning during the program is done online—including core courses in Strategic Management and Business Planning—students still have tovisit Indiana and a choice of Manchester, Dubai, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, for residential workshops.
The Kelley-Manchester MBA program can be categorized as a Professional MBA as defined by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) since it includes aspects of part-time, flexible, executive, and online MBA programs.
One benefit for Kyle while studying for his MBA was the ability to apply all of his learning into his current role. Students on the Kelley-Manchester MBA are privileged to experience both British and US-style business and management education and equally receive an MBA from both institutions—which is a huge advantage for professionals working for multinational organizations like Kyle.
The program teaches students two applied learning modules: The Simulation Project where candidates learn tobe an effective decision maker by thinking and acting like a CEO, and the Live Business Project which gives MBA students the opportunity to chase an entrepreneurial venture.
Due to their exposure to different business challenges, students can now diversify their skillset and have a more holistic view of how an organization runs—an asset for future employers when they decide toswitch roles.
According to Chris Healey, head of MBA recruitment at Alliance Manchester Business School, he noted that professional experience is the focal point for them when recruiting for the program.
“Both the face-to-face and online classes are highly interactive where students not only learn from academics but also from each other. That can only happen when you have students who are working in senior roles, across different industries and functions from around the world,” he explained in a report.
“Students typically have 10-to-15 years of experience on average, but we are seeing less experienced but still very high calibre applicants apply as they question the opportunity cost of full-time MBA programs,” he continues.
Another advantage of getting a professional MBA is it demonstrates your abilities. The flexible structure of Kyle’s MBA program was not only useful in facilitating hislearning, but he noted that the program had a blended format that prepares candidates to stand out from the crowd during job applications.
“Demonstrating you have the bandwidth to perform in a demanding job, whilst studying a challenging MBA curriculum and balancing this all with family life highlights how impressive you are as a candidate,” he explained.
Kyle neededto maintain a disciplined schedule to ensure a healthy work-life balance, between 8-10pm Monday to Thursday and 1-4pm on the weekends when he studies.
“Without this structure, I’d miss key aspects of my kids’ life, whether it’s sports games or just reading them a bedtime story,” he said, “And I wouldn’t have time to maintain a strong relationship with my wife.”
Additionally, in today’s digitalized, global work environment, Kyle remarked that the skills that students acquire by having to do some certain things themselves virtually are invaluable.
“Tech can augment in-person interactions very well through video chats, so body language and facial expressions are still crucial,” he affirmed.
Networking is another benefit that Kyle is enjoying from his MBA program. Despite his program delivering key digital skills via online courses, there are several other skillsets that are equally nurtured during an in-person meeting.
Kyle noted that his best experience of the MBA so far was a three-day trip his class made to Singapore, where he worked in a group to develop and apply a business model to a certain Asian company.
He cited that he was particularly excited with the fact that he could directly apply what he was learning on the course in his job back home.
“The passion that Professor of Marketing Rockney Walters brought to the class has really stuck with me,” Kyle recalled. “Outside of coursework, I’ve reached out to him and his insight has benefited business decisions I’ve made in my job.”
By combining both online and offline study, getting a professional MBA has emerged as a great choice for those in middle management positions who are not willing to sacrifice time off work but are looking at advancing in their careers.