What is an Online MBA Capstone Project?

business woman

You are acclimated to your Online MBA Program curriculum by this time, and you are plotting your journey. Where will I intern? Have I started a list of networks and job possibilities? But before we complete the program, there’s the Online MBA capstone project.

capstone project

We have heard this word throughout our higher education journey. Some of us cringe at the sound of it, but in all essence, it’s not that bad. A capstone course is a course that serves as the culminating and usually integrative experience of an educational program. This is an integral piece to the puzzle as you move toward the completion of your Online MBA. The word capstone is usually found in the architectural field and is used for a crowning achievement. The Online MBA capstone project is an essential component of the curriculum at universities across the country. While some may look and sound different on paper, they all serve the same purpose. During your capstone, you have the opportunity to work alongside others in your field and work through real-world issues and situations that you will encounter in the workforce. 

The capstone project looks different from school to school but still has a rubric set for the same outcome. Many programs, such as the Tepper School of Business, offer options within your capstone. At Tepper, you have the opportunity to work alongside corporations and even work and travel abroad. Many programs have a cumulative capstone at the end of the entire program, while Online MBA Programs like Questrom School of Business have a capstone at the end of every program module. Uniquely different in their own right, these programs have created a capstone model that works with their course catalog. As a student in an Online MBA program, you must store information and valuable lessons you have learned along the way. They will be used in some capacity with your capstone project or in real-life situations at your job. 

Why do I need to do a capstone project? 

As students, we have frequently heard how dreaded the capstone project is, but let’s change this language. This is a time for you to put your money where your mouth is. The capstone is designed to help students think deeper, and it shows instructors what students have learned while enrolled in the program. But let’s not make this moment about the university or the instructors. Let’s make this about you. You have the chance to take everything you have learned and see if you are prepared to enter into the workforce. 

Why is this important? 

The capstone project is the opportunity to apply what you have learned in real-time. In some MBA Programs, the capstone project is immersive- pulling the student into the real world of their area of study. By this time in your career/ education, taking a test is the old-fashioned way to measure success. It is more satisfying being immersed in your craft and dealing with the real-time intricacies of your field.   

Can I build my CV during the capstone?

man at computer

Earning your Online MBA can be a considerable advantage in the workforce. The more you know, the more you grow. The capstone project is an opportunity to showcase your gifts and talents. This will also help professionals stand out among the group in this highly competitive field of work. Completing a capstone project will show your employer that you employ out-of-the-box thinking and know-how to troubleshoot and problem solve in the moment. It will also show that you are project-focused and can manage a project from start to finish, 

When there is mention of a capstone project, let that be music to your ears. 

  1. You are near completion of your MBA. 
  2. You are about to set yourself apart from the others in your field.
  3. You are about to put what you have learned into practice. 

Some capstone projects allow for you to travel and work abroad—step outside of the four walls of the classroom and conventional learning practices. Suppose your program allows you to customize your MBA experience. In that case, you might have the opportunity to travel abroad to Tokyo, New York City, or Hong Kong to prepare for your capstone project. Inevitably the capstone will be a part of your program, but this is not a dreaded term, embrace and conquer it.

How do I write a successful capstone project?

There is varied research out there on the best way to approach your Online MBA capstone project. We know that the area of focus is going to be business-related. Of course, that is a vast area, but this is where you become creative and play to your strengths. According to Student Pocket Guide, here are a few ways to get the juices flowing.

  1. Identify & Narrow Focus 
  2. Craft a Proposal 
  3. Proposal Introduction
  4. Description of Problem 
  5. Literary Review
  6. Description of Project
  7. Conclusion
woman at computer

These seven steps aren’t written in stone but are merely a beginning for you to start the process. The capstone can be stressful, and we want you to be prepared for this journey. Pick an area that you are passionate about and one which you can support your findings with a ton of information. You might also have to defend your project in front of the faculty. Yes, this can be nerve-wracking, but you know this information like the back of your hand. Stand firm on facts and data and present your findings and, of course, your anecdote to the problem. 

Action Plans

I am sure you have heard of the saying, prepare in a time of peace for war. Now that you know this is inevitable, this is an excellent time to start preparing. Take good notes, record lectures, and do as much outside research as possible. Start thinking about your area of focus/ emphasis and begin researching that area when your schedule allows. Don’t forget self-care is the best care along this journey. We must have balance and make sure that we don’t lose ourselves amongst the mele when studying and taking tests. Remember, you aren’t suitable to anyone, specifically yourself, if you crash and burn. Schedule time for yourself and make sure you stick to that schedule.  

The Online MBA capstone project is your marker identifying the end of your journey towards completion of your Online MBA. Yes, it can be a very tedious and arduous task, but you have invested so much time, energy, and money into your Online MBA this is icing on the cake. When we leap into the workforce, we want to know that we are prepared for every obstacle that may come our way. Yes, there will be OJT (On the Job Training), but with a robust skill set and training in said field, you will be ready to handle any task that will come your way. Seeking a job in the business world is very competitive, and the more trained and prepared you are, the better the outcome will be. Take good notes, chronicle/ journal your experiences, and use everything that you have learned along the way to prepare for your capstone project. As Benjamin Franklins said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Let the journey begin. Good luck!

Related Resources:

How Can I take Free Online MBA Courses?
Top Online MBA Programs