The Global Online MBA at Imperial College Business School offers a uniquely flexible online MBA that combines world-class teaching and research with state-of-the-art online learning tools that revolutionise the MBA experience.
It’s not surprising, then, that 75% of the Global Online MBA cohort are international students. A small but growing number of the cohort, however, are London-based students who are attracted to the flexible online format and the connection it offers to an inspiring global community.
We spoke to three London-based Global Online MBA students who have recently completed the programme to find out their motivations for choosing the online MBA format and what aspects of the programme worked for them.
What is your job role? How has the Global Online MBA helped you progress your career?
Peace Ani: I am Head of Operational Risk at an insurance company. When I started the Global Online MBA programme in January 2015 I was a manager hoping to move into a senior management role two or three years down the line. Halfway through the programme my current job became available and I was able to demonstrate the competency and expertise that I learnt on the Global Online MBA to successfully obtain the position, including strategic and leadership promise. So studying the Global Online MBA added value to my work almost straight away.
Harry Patel: Until June of this year I was a Business Development Associate at PitchBooks. I am currently working on a couple of startup ideas including one that came out of my final year project on the Global Online MBA. The startup leverages SMS technology in the job market for low skilled workers in Kenya.
Ed Perryman: One month ago, I was appointed Group Sales and Marketing Director at Astrum Education. In that role I work closely with the CEO and the Finance Director on our broader strategy. The progression of my role meant that I now have more interaction with the board and private equity owners. Coming from an exclusively marketing background, I have learnt a broader level of financial and other acumen on the Global Online MBA that gives me more credibility.
How does the flexibility of the programme work for you?
Peace: It worked really well. An on campus programme would probably be too rigid for me because I travel a lot with work. The Global Online MBA is ready when I am, whether that’s at five in the morning or ten at night: the professor comes into class when I’m ready!
Harry: What I love about the programme is that you can study on the train, read at home, or wherever. It’s really easy to say ‘you know what, I’ll do it tomorrow’ but the programme is structured really well on a weekly basis. Every week you have tasks to complete and you can track your progress. You can fall behind now and then but that’s the nature of working and studying at the same time – if you have a crazy week at work the resources are there to keep up.
Ed: The flexibility of the programme lived up to expectations. As I went through the programme, I realised that with a busy job I was a weekend worker. I would increasingly do one to two hours during the week and study for longer periods at the weekend.
What was your experience of using The Hub?
The Hub is our purpose-built virtual learning platform. Learn more here about The Hub.
Harry: The Hub is our ecosystem – I used it every day! The interactivity is great because you can link up with students online and get in touch with the programme team, who are amazing. Lectures are pre-recorded and slides, lecture transcripts and case studies available to download. You can choose when you want to plug in during the week – The Hub shows you your progress and tells you how long it takes in hours.
Ed: I enjoyed the recorded videos on The Hub. I found the way that the online recorded content was executed really engaging. For me, having the ability to download the programme content, get on the plane, and fire through an hour’s worth of video was perfect.
Peace: One of the really great features of The Hub is that you can post and share comments on articles, case studies, and completed exercises. It’s really helpful to see other classmate’s contributions. It’s amazing how it felt so alive. I was initially concerned that that the Global Online MBA would be a lonely experience but I didn’t get that at all. It felt so interactive it didn’t feel online.
Were there any opportunities to meet and network with your cohort?
Ed: The cohort has been one of the big positives of the Global Online MBA. During the first year exams, there was a group of four of us who were London based and we met up every day in the library. That’s probably going to be my defining memory of the MBA. Outside that, there are opportunities for networking. In the first year, we were split into syndicate groups and we talked most days on WhatsApp. So you really get to spend a lot of time with your cohort even though most of my syndicate group were based overseas.
The predominantly international cohort made the programme much richer. The induction week is crucial to making connections with international students in the cohort – it’s really intensive but there’s also a lot of socialising. I met two other students who live overseas and also work in education and we’ve kept in touch.
Harry: I’ve made a lot of friends. Everyone attends the induction week at the beginning of the programme and the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Design module halfway through. After that people fly off around the world to the US, Japan and Myanmar. We have a WhatsApp group and meet up regularly at the library or at events organised by the Business School. I made some close friends on the course and we used Google Hangouts or Skype to talk every Sunday and Wednesday evening, even if it was just for half an hour.
Peace: I’ve made very good friends and I’m very confident that the friendships will extend many years beyond the programme. I’ve worked predominantly in the financial sector and my network has been built through my work. The cohort on the Global Online MBA was very diverse and I benefitted from that. There were medical doctors and people who work in the mining industry: it opens up your entire horizon to the different career paths out there.
I also valued the international cohort because it made the programme diverse, and I learnt about different cultures and nuances. There were several exercises that enabled us to benefit from international perspectives. For example, we carried out geo-tagging exercises where we would approach a topic using the knowledge from our various geographical locations. It was really interesting to compare a law or process in North America to, for example, New Zealand. These exercises are really useful for people looking to build a global career.
Finally, why did you choose to study the Global Online MBA?
Harry: I’d been procrastinating starting an MBA for quite a while as I was looking for a programme where I didn’t have to take the whole year out. For me it was the flexibility to work and study at the same time. You’re getting an MBA degree from a top university but you don’t have to sacrifice earnings for the year.
Peace: It was a combination of Imperial College Business School being a world-leading institution and the world-class faculty. The programme offers a unique selling point: the Personal Leadership Journey. For me, this maximises the impact of the MBA on my career trajectory. I had the opportunity to develop my soft skills – as well as my hard skills – including managing people and negotiation skills which complimented the MBA qualification.
Ed: At the time I started the Global Online MBA programme, I travelled a great deal with work. Imperial College Business School has really invested in its learning technology and I could see that being able to download videos and do things on the go, wherever I was, would fit into my professional life. I knew that I would miss lectures if I undertook a weekend or evening programme. Put simply, having a really global professional existence doesn’t allow you to commit to any reasonable time frames, which we’re seeing increasingly in lots of people’s jobs. At the same time I was keen to have some on campus activity and benefit from face-to-face interaction with other students. The Global Online MBA has lived up to expectations.
Applications for January 2017 or September 2017 entry on the Global Online MBA programme are open.