If you could take a peek at the checklist of someone who is considering an online Master of Business Administration degree, it would probably look similar to this:
- Research online MBA programs.
- Submit graduate application and fee.
- Frequently check email for acceptance letter.
- Receive acceptance letter from admissions office.
- Panic slightly. I’m actually starting my MBA! What do I do now?
Being accepted into an online MBA program is a big deal and something to take pride in. The next step consists of lining up everything you need to be a successful online MBA student.
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
First, devise a detailed schedule for when you will study, sleep, work, eat and decompress. For instance, you might study on your train commute, on your lunch break, or early in the morning while your family is still asleep. Busy parents and those with highly demanding jobs may find it difficult to adhere to strict routines, but do the best you can.
Dr. Michael Greenwood, who teaches marketing and management classes online at Fitchburg State University, has specific advice about completing coursework in an online program.
“Make a plan to succeed by assigning yourself a specific time to “go to class” at least three times per week,” he said.
Vow to put in the time and effort needed to earn your online MBA — and stick to it. That means you will have to say “no” to some things and learn to keep your priorities straight. Barring an emergency, let nothing get in the way of your end goal.
Assemble Your Support Team
There’s no getting around it — you are definitely going to need backup. Gather coworkers, friends and family members who can help you in your quest for an online MBA. Ask them to keep you accountable if you appear to lose sight of your goal.
Also, ask if they would be willing to help out at work or home if needed. For example, you might ask your spouse to take care of the kids while you study at the library. On the job, you and your supervisor may be able to work out something regarding your school schedule.
Stay Ahead of the Game
Get a firm understanding of exactly what the online MBA involves — self-discipline, first and foremost. You may want to talk to former students or those currently in the program. Matt Belanger, who obtained an online MBA in management from Fitchburg State in 2016, said being tech-savvy is vital. He also said staying ahead of coursework contributed to his success in the degree program, which is known for being quite rigorous and time-consuming.
“There were maybe one or two courses where I turned in some material late, maybe an hour late, or I was right up to that hour at midnight,” he said. “But there was a good chunk of courses where I was ahead.”
And, Belanger said he always stayed one step ahead before starting a new course. “On a number of occasions, I reached out to the course professor ahead of time to see if I could get the syllabus early, so I could order the proper materials,” he said. “Having the syllabus ahead of time was a real important factor to make sure I ordered the books on time, and had them on hand in time to begin the course.”
Interact with Your Classmates and Professor
The connections you make in your online MBA classes are critical to your success. Stay actively engaged in discussions with your classmates and professor, and create informal groups whenever necessary. This helps build the skills you need in your career: leadership, networking, problem-solving, team-building, and working with people from diverse backgrounds with different personalities.
Fitchburg State offers online MBAs in three concentrations: Management, Accounting and Human Resources Management. Each degree program consists of 10 courses, including organizational behavior and management, corporate finance, accounting theory and management information systems. You can earn your degree in as few as 12 months. And with multiple start dates, you can enroll any time of year.
Lindsey Lemay, a 2017 candidate for the online MBA in Human Resources Management at Fitchburg State, said, “If you apply yourself, as long as the teacher provides you the materials and that structured syllabus telling you what to do and when, there’s no reason you can’t succeed.”
Learn more about Fitchburg State University’s online MBA programs.
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