At a time of rapid technological advancements and evolving job markets, professionals are recognizing the need for reskilling to stay competitive. In this context, Online MBA programs are offering a flexible and accessible avenue for individuals to acquire new skills and reshape their careers.
The traditional notion of a linear career path is giving way to a more fluid and dynamic approach. Automation, artificial intelligence, and other technological disruptions are reshaping industries, rendering some skills obsolete while creating demand for new ones. Recognizing this paradigm shift, professionals are increasingly turning to reskilling to ensure they remain relevant and in-demand.
Online MBA programs are playing a pivotal role in the reskilling revolution. Unlike their traditional, full-time counterparts, these programs offer greater flexibility, allowing individuals to pursue advanced education while juggling work, family, or other commitments. The asynchronous nature of online learning enables students to tailor their studies to fit their schedules, making reskilling a realistic prospect for even the busiest professionals.
Furthermore, the structure of Online MBA programs is designed to cater to the needs of a diverse and evolving workforce. “Online MBA programs offer a global perspective as businesses operate in an increasingly globalized world,” says Ceri Willmott, the director of careers at Imperial College Business School in London.
“The huge diversity of students from across the globe provides exposure to diverse cultures, international business practices and global market trends. Students are equipped to navigate the complexities of international business and thrive in their careers.”
Moreover, Willmott says Online MBA education contributes to fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptability within organizations. “Online MBA education encourages the development of self-awareness and the practice of continuous self-reflection within participants, both of which are enablers of ongoing learning as well as adaptability,” she says.
“The right program will build in data sources giving candidates feedback on their strengths and skill set and how to optimize their performance and improve in relation to any areas where needed.”
Assessing impact: employer and student feedback
And there are specific ways that business schools assess the impact and effectiveness of their Online MBA programs in terms of reskilling outcomes for participants, including employer and student feedback. “We regularly gather insights on the performance and skill application of Online MBA graduates in the workplace, such as the effectiveness of those who are switching careers,” says Will Geoghegan, chair of the Kelley Direct Online MBA Program the Kelley School of Business in the US.
He adds that enrolling in an Online MBA program demonstrates a commitment to growth and continuous learning, which is a critical component of a growth mindset.
This commitment can influence an organization's culture in several ways, he continues: “Students pursuing an Online MBA can inspire their organizational colleagues to also engage in continuous skill development and education, while the curriculum focuses on the latest business trends and strategies, equipping graduates with a mindset geared towards adaptation and innovation. Lastly, students bring new insights and approaches back to their workplaces, fostering a culture of knowledge exchange and collective growth.”
The key skills employers want
Rebecca Cook, executive director of career services at the Kelley School, adds that there are many key skills that students gain with an Online MBA. “Ones that employers are particularly looking for include the ability to analyze data, the ability to develop comprehensive business strategies, strong decision making skills, and excellent leadership and communication skills,” she says. “All of these skills are needed in the roles that our students are looking at -- whether that is moving up in their current organization or looking to make a pivot into something new.”
At Imperial, Willmott says there are certain core competencies employers typically look for in Online MBAs -- such as problem-solving, analytical, strategy and innovation skills. But he adds that “soft skills”, such as the ability to communicate effectively, collaborate, influence people and build effective relationships are very much in demand, too.
“Because soft skills rely on emotional intelligence, they’re less likely to be replaced by automation,” he adds. “An Online MBA is uniquely suited to deliver the broad skill base employers seek. Candidates with a depth of knowledge of areas such as sustainability, AI and digital transformation are in demand.”
So, as the reskilling revolution gains momentum, Online MBA programs offer a dynamic and adaptable solution for professionals seeking to navigate the changing professional landscape. In the era of constant change, these programs are not just an educational option; they are a strategic investment in the future of one's career.