How Can I Succeed in an Online MBA?

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Earning an Online MBA offers many benefits, such as increasing networking connections, improving business skills, expanding leadership ability, and raising credibility for top management positions. Online MBAs give students these same opportunities with the additional benefit of flexibility. This is especially important for busy working professionals, parents, and those with many responsibilities. In this article, you will find easy to implement strategies that will help you succeed in an Online MBA program, even if your life is busy. 

Choose the Right Program Format


Thanks to distance learning options, students no longer have to spend multiple evenings a week commuting to traditional on-campus programs. With hybrid programs, on-campus time is generally cut at least in half. With fully distance programs, students can learn from anywhere, with the possible exception of occasional residency weekends. Some distance learning programs allow students to work completely at their own pace, while others have scheduled weekly Zoom meetings or chats. For this reason, when you are searching for an OMBA, you will want to be sure to look at whether your prospective programs are synchronous or asynchronous.

Schedule Your Time Wisely

Once you know the time expectations for your Online MBA, it is essential to wisely schedule your time. Online Master’s of Business Administration programs are flexible, but they still require a commitment to multiple hours of studying and completing assignments per week. Using either a paper or digital planner can help you keep track of deadlines, work-related tasks, and family obligations. Technology tools like TrelloWorkona, and Cozi can help you stay on track and organized. For more information and tips on this topic, check out our How to Balance Life and Business School article. Another part of making time for graduate studies includes being clear about your priorities with yourself, family, and friends. Unfortunately, studying may need to take the place of other more enjoyable activities. But if you pay attention to the time you have available, it is still possible to plug in opportunities for quality time and self-care

Manage Distractions

As we have discussed, time is one of the most precious resources you will have as an Online MBA student. It is important that you use the time that you do have wisely. One of the biggest tips to succeed in an Online MBA is to eliminate distractions such as social media or watching tv. People often don’t realize just how much time they spend scrolling on their phones. Apps like Offtime or Freedom are all great resources to help you control the scroll. Having a quiet place to work is also vital. Whether this is a home office space, the library, or a local coffee shop, you will work best if you are not constantly interrupted or distracted by other responsibilities. During this time, be sure to put your phone on silent or vibrate so that you don’t get distracted by text messages or phone calls. 

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Create Connections ASAP

Online MBA programs are great because they allow students to work towards their goals during their spare time. But one of the things that can be missing for distance learners is the intense networking experience built into on-campus Master’s of Business Administration programs. Even if your program does not include in-person components, it is beneficial to take the time to get to know peers and professors. Online programs are typically connected to their university’s alumni network, and many offer clubs or career services as well. It is important to get intentionally plugged in in order to get the full benefit and networking possibilities of an online degree.

Upgrade Your Technology

Nothing makes online learning more difficult than an old computer or spotty internet. Upgrading your internet or purchasing a new laptop may seem like frivolous spending, but up-to-date technology is an essential aspect of learning online. If a computer is on your supply list, something to consider is testing them out at a local store such as Best Buy. There are many suggestions for the best technology, but you will want to make sure that your choice is easy to use and makes sense for your technology skills. You may also think about purchasing a set of headphones so that you can listen to class lectures and block out other distractions. 

Keep Your Long Term Goals In Mind


While you are working on your Online MBA, there will be sacrifices that are made. This varies from person to person, but it will make the time needed to prepare for classes and assignments feel more worthwhile if you keep your long-term goals in mind. You may want to write down your why on a sticky note or piece of paper near your workstation so that you can keep the end goal in perspective during times of overwhelm. Vision boards are also an excellent tool to focus your energy on the future you are working hard to create. If you have a family, don’t be afraid to include them in the vision casting. A recent study showed that most MBA graduates earn an average raise in salary of about $36,000. Planning a vacation, saving for a house, or other life experiences is a great way to push through when things get tough. 

Action Plans

Choosing the right program is arguably one of the most important steps to succeed in an Online MBA. If this is an area that you would like more information on, our How To Choose An Online MBA article would be a great next step. Once you have found a program that fits your goals and budget, you will want to immediately assess your technology and ensure that you have the tools needed for success. If purchasing or upgrading your technology is not an option, create a plan such as going to the local library to be sure that you are ready as soon as the semester starts. Remember to assess your priorities and get used to using a digital or paper planner as soon as possible to have a system that utilizes your time wisely. And lastly, remember to take care of yourself. Our list of ways to balance business school and life has many easy-to-implement suggestions that will help you reach your goals while feeling balanced.

Related Resources:

Top Online MBA Programs
Reasons to Get an Online MBA

Find Your MBA

Get matched with top online MBA programs now!