Professionals looking to boost their skill set and future proof their careers with an MBA are opting for online study as their preferred mode of delivery. But this unique learning environment has challenges and benefits that prospective students need to be mindful of.

Read on as we discuss how to study online at home effectively with strategies for success and overcoming common obstacles.

The rise of online learning

As so many segments of our lives shift online, it’s no surprise that education has also moved into the digital space. According to market research experts IBIS World, the online education industry has experienced an average of 8 per cent growth each year from 2017 to 2022, signalling rapid development.

Further sparked by the Covid pandemic, during which schools, universities and workplaces moved online, remote learning environments have become the norm. This unique learning atmosphere has many advantages.

Professional services network Deloitte surveyed postgraduate students in Australia and New Zealand for their 2022 education report. The results showed that 77 per cent of students found online learning to be equal to or better than in-class or on-campus study.

Jessica Wolf is a business owner and current online master’s student, and for her, the benefits of online learning have been a game changer.

“The flexibility was the biggest component. There was no way I’d be able to study without the option for online delivery.”

In saying this, students considering online studies need to be aware of the common misconceptions surrounding this learning mode before diving in.

Are there downsides to online learning?

Online MBA courses, distance education and other forms of remote learning come with unique challenges compared to traditional learning spaces. These are some common concerns that students have about online learning, as well as how to reframe them.

Lacking discipline or motivation to study.

Doubts about whether you could stay motivated or stick to your study requirements are valid. However, this can be alleviated by having the proper measures in place and the full use of the resources and relationships available to you as an online student.

Missing out on face-to-face interaction.

Students worry about the lack of face-to-face interactions with teachers and classmates when they study online. Thanks to modern technologies like video calls, live-streamed lectures and online chat groups, there is even more opportunity for communication.

Being technologically challenged.

Students with minimal experience using computers or navigating the internet might feel hesitant about undertaking online studies. The online learning space has evolved immensely to be utilised by students of all backgrounds and abilities.

It’s normal to have reservations about taking a new path, especially if you plan on trying to juggle studying and working full time. So, before applying for that online Master of Business Administration, consider the following strategies as the first foundational steps.

How to study online: 5 tips for success

Learning how to study online at home effectively is a skill like any other. It requires practice and commitment if you’re going to do it well. We asked online student Jessica for advice on ensuring positive outcomes from online learning.

1. Focus on the end goal

Jessica reminds herself of her end goal whenever she finds it hard to stay motivated. “I remind myself: the time will pass regardless, so use it wisely. You can wake up in two years and be rampaging into this journey that brings you so much joy, or you could have watched a heap of Netflix.”

2. Become a planner

With the extra effort that study requires, you must become proficient at planning and time management. Get yourself a diary. Share your schedule with your family. Carve out time for study exclusively. Planning specific times each day will also help you figure out how to avoid distractions while studying online.

3. Speak to your employer

Jessica recommends talking to your employer about your study plans, which could help with flexibility. “In this day and age, employers understand the importance of professional development,” she says. “Studying is good for you and the organisation you work for, so they should be supportive of it.”

4. Create a productive workspace

While everyone’s living situation will be different, dedicating a specific area of your home to study can help with concentration and create a physical boundary between work life and home life. This could look like transforming a corner of an existing room into a mini office or simply working from your kitchen table. Whether you incorporate plants or sentimental items — the key is to make this space as enjoyable as possible to increase the likelihood of you returning. To boost your focus, ensure your space is free of clutter and has access to some form of natural light. If possible, avoid putting a desk in your bedroom as your brain tends to associate your bedroom with rest and relaxation which is not optimal for productivity.

5. Take the help that’s offered

Online learning institutions implement various measures for external students to help them stay on track. Use student advisors, lecturers, study groups and other assistance. MBA Discovery has Student Enrolment Advisors Student Success Advisors you can rely on every step of the way, advisors who are there to help from enrolment to graduation.

The benefits of MBA study online

The rise of online learning can be attributed to the many benefits that this unique delivery model offers. But specific incentives are worth mentioning when studying for an online Master of Business Administration.

Choice of MBA providers

Tertiary education providers, including RMIT University, James Cook University, Southern Cross University and Victoria University, offer flexible online MBA programs, giving you plenty of options.

Is an online MBA taken seriously? The high standard of instruction and qualifications these institutions provide for on-campus students is replicated in today’s online experience.

Flexible learning

Flexibility is a major factor in the debate between online MBA vs. on-campus MBA study.

An online MBA is the most flexible learning method, giving you a self-paced degree you can fit into your schedule. Courses are offered in bite-sized chunks, lectures can be streamed at any time and part-time study means you don’t have to sacrifice full-time employment.

Study balanced with work (and life)

Another benefit of this flexibility is continuing to work and live as you earn your MBA. For Jessica, it was the only viable option.

“Online study made it possible to further my education and keep the rest of the balls in the air,” she says. “I could juggle my businesses, family life and farm life while studying, which wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t online.”

Show of initiative and discipline

Undertaking an MBA online shows initiative to current and future employers. Better still, completing an online degree highlights your degree of discipline. And both are excellent skills for an employee within any industry.

Fewer restrictions to study

Financially and geographically, online MBAs remove some of the usual roadblocks. It’s much easier for regional and rural students to enrol because the location isn’t a factor.

How hard is an MBA online to get into? Not at all, according to studies. They found that online MBAs were easier to apply for because they didn’t have the limitations on classroom size that in-person learning settings did.

Better networking opportunities

As MBAs attract students who are already working in business, you have the benefit of adding them to your professional network. The AFR found that the average age of online students was 38 versus 32 years of age for on-campus students. You’ll be able to meet dedicated and disciplined business professionals who are also striving for career progression.

Online study made easy

The prospect of completing an online MBA can be daunting. But with a few simple strategies in place and an understanding of this delivery method’s benefits, you’ll see things differently.

MBA Discovery supports your study journey as you complete your MBA. Speak to one of our Student Success Advisors for information and guidance on the best online MBA courses to suit your goals and lifestyle.

Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor

Whether you’re ready to enrol, or just have a quick question, simply fill out the enquiry form below to speak directly to the university’s enrolment team. They will be able to guide you through:

Course eligibility and recognition of prior learning

Course structure and what you will study

Next intakes and how to apply

Fees and time commitments