Overcoming Obstacles: How to Thrive in a Virtual MBA Environment

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The ongoing global pandemic forced millions around the world to turn to remote learning. But even before COVID-19, online MBA programs were an attractive option for students looking to balance school with caring for a family or for those earning a degree while also working full time.

Completing MBA programs is an exciting step to take for your career, but balancing the influx of information and difficult assignments with the unique obstacles of online learning can require some practice. Luckily, having the right strategies in place from the start will allow you to thrive in a virtual MBA environment. 

Here are some key strategies you'll want to learn and master before starting an online MBA program:

Create an Environment That Allows You to Stay Focused

A study of students pursuing online higher education found that more than half struggled to stay motivated and focused. As an MBA student, you'll no doubt face plenty of distractions. But whether you've worked a long day already and now need to finish an assignment or are taking care of your kids while juggling studying, overcoming these distractions is key to your success.

One great way to stay focused is to create an environment that helps you avoid distractions. Set aside an area in your home where you can work with little to no disruption. Make sure it's away from busy areas like your kitchen or living room, where it may be tempting to turn on the TV, and, if possible, leave your smartphone in another room while you work or turn off notifications to minimize distractions.

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Choose the Right Degree Program

Another great way to stay focused and increase your chances of success is to choose a program that best suits your interests and career goals. All online MBA programs are not created equal. If you find you're not interested in what you're studying or if you aren't developing the skills you'll need to apply to your future career, you may struggle to stay motivated to get your work done. For instance, if you're hoping to score a promotion and lead a team, pursuing an MBA with a specialization in project management can help you develop skills you'll actually be able to picture using in the future, keeping you on track, even on challenging days.

Treat it Like an In-Person Course

You're pursuing an online degree for a reason, and you'll certainly want to reap the benefits, like flexible hours and the ability to learn from anywhere. However, it's still important to treat your online classes with the same dedication and discipline as in-person classes. This means setting aside time each day to "attend" class, even if you don't need to go to class each day. If you don't have any structured learning that day, use the time you've set aside to study or work on long-term assignments instead. Keeping this schedule is a great way to get into the mindset of attending college courses, rather than seeing your online MBA program as a smaller commitment.

Thriving in a Virtual MBA Environment

A virtual MBA program is a great chance to pursue an advanced degree while also balancing work and family obligations. And while any online program comes with some unique challenges, these strategies, like creating an environment that helps you stay focused and respecting your classes the same as you would with in-person courses, are the key to succeeding and thriving in your program.

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