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5 Key Skills You Develop in an Online MBA

Written by Mariëlle Daemen & Hermina Kooyman, Maastricht School of Management

When you consider following an online MBA, you compare the advantages and disadvantages of studying it online versus studying it on-campus. One of the concerns often mentioned by potential students is about the perception of an online degree by future employers.

Indeed, until recently, some employers might have questioned the value of an online qualification.

However, the growing popularity of online education has moved many well-respected business schools and universities to offer accredited online MBA programs next to their on-campus programs.

Consequently, employers are increasingly realizing that the online MBA not only provides students with the same value as the on-campus MBA but also prepares them for the digital workforce by equipping them with important skills that are highly emphasized with an online program.

Successfully completing your MBA is in itself already an asset for employers. While completing an online MBA, you will strongly develop some key skills that are also highly valued in the workplace. Skills like time management, self-motivation and self-discipline, but also the capability of working with virtual teams spread over the world will help future-proof your career.

The following five key skills which you develop during an online MBA have been highlighted by employers as important for the new ways of working in the ever-evolving workplace.

Student checking his watch

1. Time management

If you google ‘online MBA and time management’, you will find a vast array of articles on tips for time management while studying your MBA online.

The fact of the matter is that when you are studying online, procrastination is not an option.

Although you have the flexibility of doing the learning according to your own schedule, you do not have the luxury of falling behind. Time is valuable, and you soon realize how precious time actually is when you start combining work, family and social life with your online MBA studies.

One of the greatest skills you will learn during your online MBA is how to manage your time carefully and productively to be able to juggle the daily challenges of life with studies - a great asset not only for finalizing your online MBA studies, but also to manage the daily workload in your job.

"One of the greatest skills you will learn during your online MBA is how to manage your time carefully and productively."

2. Self-discipline

Time management and self-discipline come hand-in-hand.

The fact that you can stay focused and motivated on your studies, even while working, is highly valued by an employer.

For an employer, self-discipline is an extremely valued skill since it is paired with responsibility, hardworking and driven attributes - all skills that will be extremely important in the changing digitized workforce.

3. Finding your internal motivators

People are externally and internally motivated.

Extrinsic motivators include competition and society, money, fame, recognition, while internal motivators focus on self-satisfaction, personal achievement and passion.

Intrinsic motivators are longer lasting and self-sustainable.

To be able to complete an online MBA successfully, self-discipline and time management become much more obvious, and feel less like punishment when the student is internally motivated.

Finding this intrinsic motivator also results in being happier and motivated at work. Studies have shown that people working with internal motivators are more successful because they have more energy, concentration and have a lower chance of burn-out.

Student laughing with laptop

4. Virtual teamwork

Several Harvard Business Reviews, The World Economic Forum’ “the Future of Jobs” report, Deloitte’s Digital Workplace report and many others have confirmed that virtual teamwork is already starting but will become an even greater reality in the very near future.

The World Economic Forum recently reported that working remotely (also called telecommuting, telework or working from home) is "one of the biggest drivers of transformation in the workplace."

The development of technology has allowed online MBA programs to incorporate teamwork and group assignments in the program through a virtual environment.

For example, at Maastricht School of Management (MSM), the Online MBA will develop the skills of virtual teamwork since students have to constantly share opinions and interact on the online platform.

Having an online MBA will be extremely valuable for employers in the future, as they will have the assurance that you know how to work in a virtual environment with people from all around the world.

"The development of technology has allowed online MBA programs to incorporate teamwork and group assignments in the program through a virtual environment."

5. Multicultural diversity

The online MBA breaks down barriers of time, distance and financial constraints, allowing highly skilled people from all backgrounds and nationalities to enter the online classroom.

In the past, online studies were associated with solitary confinement, without ever knowing your fellow classmates.

Today, with the rise of technology, studying online can be a highly multicultural and connected experience where you network online and discuss opinions with people from all over the world.

This combination of virtual and multicultural teamwork is extremely important.

According to the Financial Times article, the ability to work in a team, the ability to work with a wide variety of people, and the ability to build, sustain and expand a network of people, are three of the most important skills for employers. All of these skills are developed through the multicultural experience of an online MBA.

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About the author

MSM logo

Maastricht School of Management (MSM) is one of the most international business schools in the Netherlands, with a large network of students, alumni and partners across the globe. MSM offers internationally accredited MBA and Master in Management degrees. MSM’s Online MBA program is ranked the 4th best Online MBA in the world according the 2018 CEO Magazine Global MBA ranking.

Last update: 03 Jul 2019

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