Thompson Rivers University

How to Succeed at Your Online MBA

December 4, 2015

“Technology has come a long way, but we’re not at the point where we have virtual classrooms,” says Faculty Member Andrew Fergus. And learning online, in your pajamas, will be different than your experiences in a classroom as an undergrad. We asked some of our campus experts how students can get the most out of their online courses in order to maximize their academic and career goals. Here’s what they said.

On the learning process:

“This sounds clichéd, but it’s true: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. The more you engage with the material, the more opportunities you have to reflect on it. In my online classes, 20% of the course grade is based on online discussions. Although there is a deadline to participate in these discussions, it is geared to allow the maximum amount of time for reflection. Most people doing an online MBA are busy, highly motivated, and professional, and the quality of class discussions online is very high. That’s a big advantage because in the courses I teach – ethics, leadership, and creativity & innovation – the material works that much better with a range of different perspectives.”

Andrew Fergus, MBA Faculty Member

On technology:

“The technology used for online courses is very user-friendly, but there is always a learning curve. If you’re having trouble with something, reach out for help – it will save you time in the long run. If you’re taking a MBA online, you’re likely juggling a lot of things, and you want to be as productive and efficient as possible.

The same goes for research: if you aren’t finding what you’re looking for after 30 minutes, ask for help. There is a community there to support you, even if they aren’t sitting beside you in the same room.”

Brenda Smith, Distance and Document Delivery Librarian

On career promotion:

“Students who are studying online are often working already, so the first place to start is networking within your company. Let HR know that you are working on your MBA. For your manager, put together a short portfolio, 10 pages or so, demonstrating how the program has helped you get to the next level. I also recommend a project-based timeline, because it’s a great visual, and people often forget how long you’ve been with an organization and the projects you’ve worked on.

If you will be looking for opportunities outside your current company, talk to other people first about what employers in your industry are looking for. Do a broad search of jobs – you’ll start to see the same qualifications come up over and over. Look for these commonalities, then use your resumé as a reflective tool and ask yourself, where are your gaps? Then work on filling those gaps in your skillset before you graduate.”

Larry Iles, Career Education Coordinator

The application deadline to apply for a May start in the TRU MBA (on-campus or online) is February 15.

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