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Online MBA or On-campus MBA: Which is Right for You?

Studying a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is in high demand, and for good reason. The graduate level-business degree can lead to a significant increase in salary per year and open doors to new career opportunities. However, an MBA requires a large investment in time and energy, and the idea of balancing work, life, family and a degree can be stressful. 

As a result, more and more universities are offering online MBA alternatives to meet the needs of those looking to increase their competitive edge without compromising their schedules. However, campus life still plays a big role in education and can offer opportunities that may be missed in the online format. 

To help you decide if enrolling in an online MBA is right for you, we’ve broken down the different benefits of studying online and on-campus.

Benefits of studying an online MBA

Keep working 

The biggest financial hit for many students is the loss of income due to the difficulty of working and studying full-time. In Australia, part-time MBAs are increasingly popular because they allow students to keep their jobs and attend lectures at night and on weekends. 

The flexible nature of online delivery means you can study whenever suits you. Instead of having to show up to a classroom in person at a designated time, lectures and other course materials will be uploaded online every week.  All you have to do is log on and watch recordings or read the materials, at your own pace. Removing the need to attend lectures at specific times, as well as having to travel to a campus, gives you more control of your study schedule. 

Adaptivity to today’s working environment

In today’s business world, day-to-day communication usually happens via phone, email or video conference. Working environments are becoming more and more flexible due to the increased opportunities provided by new technology to build virtual teams, allowing more employees to work remotely and collaborate globally. 

Online MBA providers have developed learning portals that provide everything you need for your course all in one place, giving you a taste of the kind of technologies you will be increasingly using in the workforce. 

For example, the University of Adelaide’s learning portal gives students access to course content, discussion boards and support platforms, and encourages you to interact with tutors through live webinars and form peer study groups via online forums.

Having access to this learning management system helps students learn to navigate dominant online communication methods used in today’s work environment.

Specialise in a specific field 

More and more reputable universities are now offering online MBAs with a variety of specialisations that aren’t offered on-campus. For example, The University of Adelaide offers the Master of Business Administration (Health) and Master of Business Administration (IT). Specialised programs such as these allow you to not only dive deeper into specific fields, in this case, healthcare and technology but are tailored to individuals who want leadership skills in their industry of choice. 

A different kind of networking

There is a misconception that studying an online MBA will limit your networking opportunities compared to studying on-campus. However, in the online classroom, you will use multimedia technologies to connect with your peers. This means you have the chance to collaborate with students from not only Australia but all over the world. 

You also have access to support staff who are available at varying hours to assist with any questions you have. Online students are encouraged to organise weekly meetings with their instructor via platforms like Zoom or Skype. This gives them the opportunity to have one-on-one time without the distraction of other people in the classroom, providing more personal engagement with the instructor than on campus.

Benefits of studying on-campus MBA

Having a set schedule

Not everyone has the self-discipline to keep themselves focused at home. On-campus education gives students a set time and place to study their course materials.

If you have multiple classes scheduled in a row, you know that block of time is dedicated to your studies, which makes the rest of your schedule easier to set. And, if you have blocks of free time in between classes, you can take advantage of the school’s library to get some work and reading in. This way, you can leave all your coursework on-campus and have less to worry about when you get home. 

More face to face interaction 

One of the greatest benefits of an on-campus study is having face-to-face interaction with faculty members and peers. Having in-person tutorials and lectures means you can speak directly with your tutor and ask questions straight away, making it easier to participate in group discussions. 

This kind of study mode is ideal for students who thrive in group learning environments and who are heavily influenced by their surroundings. Online study requires a lot of discipline as it’s easy to get distracted by external factors, especially if you are studying from the comfort of your own couch. On-campus education eliminates these distractions by putting you in a classroom. All that’s around you are the instructor, the materials, and your classmates who are all focused on the lesson.

Stronger sense of community

Whilst studying online provides many opportunities to network with peers through forums and webinars, campus life is highly social and makes it easy for students to form strong connections. Being on campus means you can participate in clubs and extra-curricular activities, making it easier to interact with others in your program as well as outside of your study area. 

On-campus education allows you to meet new people and connect with them in ways that you may find hard through online interaction. You can also form study groups after class or do something just for fun.

Before you decide which mode of study to choose, it’s important to outline your goals and determine how you plan to use your MBA. If the academic aspects of the program sound appealing, but you are limited by location, mobility or time, then an online MBA could be the perfect option for you. Alternatively, the University of Adelaide also has a wide range of on-campus MBA degrees.

If you have any questions about the University of Adelaide's online MBA programs, speak to one of our Enrolment Advisors on 1300 294 092.

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