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Finding opportunity with an online MBA

New online advanced degree courses offered by the top schools in the country provide access to top-flight instruction and project-based learning, at the student's pace.

4 min read


Finding opportunity with an online MBA


This post is sponsored by the Michigan Ross Online MBA program.

In these ever-changing, uncertain economic times, job security is on the minds of many. Working professionals may be concerned that they either stay relevant by growing their knowledge and skills, or risk falling behind. 

Going back to school for a graduate degree sounds like the right answer for many, especially those who want to change careers or ascend to a leadership position. But the thought of taking time out from work to complete a traditional, full-time program may seem impossible.

New online MBA programs, offered by some of the best business schools in the country, are offering solutions. These online programs offer access to the same world-class instruction, project-based learning, and scholarship opportunities found in a traditional MBA, but with the flexibility to stay where you are and learn at your own pace. Working professionals benefit from online sessions held in the evenings, and the ability to choose a course load that best fits their needs.

“The people who teach the core classes in our full-time MBA program are the same ones who teach the classes for our online program,” said University of Michigan Ross School of Business Associate Dean Wally Hopp. “The rich beehive of intellectual activity that is Michigan Ross is absolutely accessible to the online students.”

Getting into a Top Online MBA Program

Competitive online programs may be as selective as their on-campus counterparts. As the best schools make their degrees more accessible, and as early- and mid-career professionals realize an MBA isn’t out of their reach, a new question emerges for professionals looking to upgrade their skills: How do I get into the program I want?

Consider this MBA application advice:

  1. Know your why. Your resume, essays, and references should paint a picture of someone with clear goals, who knows how a degree will support their short-term and long-term career goals. 
  2. Reexamine your resume. Capturing the attention of admissions officers requires a strong resume demonstrating a good fit with the program and measurable ways you’ve made an impact. Include qualitative and quantitative data points that illustrate your achievements. Get input from mentors, colleagues, or school alumni you know to make your resume as compelling as possible.
  3. Do your research. Homework starts before the program begins. Look for programs that mesh well with your day-to-day schedule and your personal and professional obligations. Attend an information session, contact student ambassadors, or drop in on an online class to get a feel for the program.
  4. Seek high praise over high positions. A glowing recommendation from an immediate supervisor that describes your unique talents and impact on your organization will almost always beat a generic letter from your CEO.
  5. Keep it brief. Word and character counts are there for a reason. Keep your writing clear and concise for maximum impact. Think about making your responses as potent as possible. Remember, you are being judged on your writing skills.
  6. Show what you know. If the program you’re applying to requires a standardized test score (GMAT or GRE), prepare a study plan to master the material. Test preparation companies, often partnering with the schools themselves, offer plenty of resources to help you succeed. Note that some programs are currently waiving test scores for students whose testing plans have been disrupted by COVID-19. Consider reaching out to a school’s admissions team to learn more.

Investing in your career is the best way to weather any job market.  Doing so means setting aside time for learning, without having to set aside your business or your life. The best online MBA programs offer the opportunity to stay where you are, do what you need to do, and get you where you want to be.

The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is the highest-ranked business school to offer an online MBA program, combining the rigor of its traditional programs with a flexible, dynamic format — learn more.


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