There are many reasons to get an online MBA, and having the right supplies is an essential part of success for online MBA students. If you have not previously acquired experience in online courses, there can be a learning curve, but making sure that you have the tools you need can make the transition easier. For many OMBA students staying on a budget is a top priority. However, this can cause reservations about investing in technology or resources in addition to tuition and other fees associated with their program. In this short article, you will find information about what supplies are needed for Online MBA students, including our top free and paid-for supplies suggestions.
It is no surprise that reliable internet is one of the top necessities for success during an online MBA. Nothing can make giving a presentation, attending a virtual meeting, or turning in an assignment more frustrating than spotty internet. On-campus students benefit from campus-wide wifi, but distance learners are responsible for their own internet services. Even hybrid students will need a solid connection for turning in assignments, Zoom meetings, emails, research, and more.
The average cost of high-speed internet is around $50.00 per month. While this can add up, it is definitely a necessity for online learners. You can still find some good options, even if you are on a budget. Public libraries, local college libraries, and even local coffee shops have free wifi access. These may not be ideal for all students due to time constraints or crowds, but they do offer viable options and a place to work on assignments quietly.
Computers and Tablets
An up-to-date computer or tablet with a full keyboard is one of the best investments you can make as an online MBA student. In most cases, online students have access to on-campus computer labs. However, one of the benefits of 100% online learning is not commuting to campus. Public libraries offer free access to computers, but they are on a first-come, first-serve basis and generally limit how much time can be spent logged in.
Your computer or tablet will be used for many purposes, such as writing papers, completing discussion boards, Zoom meetings, emails with professors, creating spreadsheets, working on group projects, and more. Having your own laptop or tablet also gives you the flexibility to fit in assignments anywhere. You can write a paper while your child is at soccer practice, stay on track while traveling for work, or read your ebook while in the doctor’s office lobby.
Smartphones offer many of the same capabilities as computers and tablets, but they are not practical for long assignments and projects with many components. If you have a good working computer or tablet, upgrading isn’t necessary just because you have started an OMBA. But if you experience slow loading times, have old software that may not be compatible with assignments, or have damaged screens/keyboards, it may be time to upgrade.
Headphones and Earbuds
Being able to listen to lectures anywhere at any time is a prevalent benefit of online learning. If you don’t have the proper listening gear, chances are you will end up distracted. Having quality earbuds or headphones is a necessary supply for online MBA students. They also serve as a courtesy to others in public places like coffee shops or libraries.
There are many affordable options for traditional and wireless listening devices at retail stores like Target, Walmart, or Amazon. If you are on a budget, do not feel pressured to purchase the most expensive brand available. You can look for options within your budget and read reviews to ensure that the product you are getting is high quality.
Traditional School Supplies
Although you will be learning online, it is a good idea to have a few traditional school supplies that also work as online MBA supplies, such as sticky notes, pens, notepads, and highlighters. You may also invest in a printer, depending on your personal learning style. A backpack or large bag that can fit your computer and supplies is a wise investment for when you take learning on the go. Paper or digital calendars are a vital part of keeping all aspects of life and learning on track. We dive more into tools like this in our How to Balance Business School article.
Blue Light Glasses
A recent study showed that blue light from LED devices such as laptops or smartphones holds back our body’s ability to produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. In fact, a study done by the University of Houston showed that participants who wore blue-light-blocking glasses had a 58% increase in their nighttime melatonin levels.
This fact is significant because most OMBA students choose the distance format due to work or family obligations which means that much of the work for assignments and studying is done at night. Even books for online classes are often delivered virtually. More time looking at screens has also been connected to eye strain and migraines. Blue light glasses offer an affordable solution to help you keep your sleep and study whenever you need them.
A recent article in Forbes discussed the benefits of comfortable workspaces. While online MBA students won’t have the same budget as large companies, there are things that can be done to ensure a calm and quiet space to work. Simple things like a desk, comfortable chairs, and appropriate lighting can significantly impact productivity.
Unless you live alone, it is also essential to think about creating a space away from the main areas of your house or apartment. This may look like a quiet corner in your room, going upstairs, or even a table on the patio. If working from home is too hectic, you can always visit public libraries, coffee shops, or stores like Barnes and Noble for a quick work session.
If you are on a budget paying for additional items can feel really overwhelming. It is best to think through what you already own and prioritize what needs to be purchased or replaced. When shopping for online MBA supplies, take advantage of deals, compare prices, and utilize sources like Facebook Marketplace or garage sales. You can click here for more information, including advice and tips, on being successful in online MBA programs!