The Key Support Networks For Your Online MBA Journey
When you elect to study online, you’re choosing a flexible option that can be adapted to suit your needs and commitments. With this level of flexibility comes a greater need to self-manage – from conducting proactive study sessions, to independently juggling deadlines and course requirements. During this experience, establishing and maintaining a strong support network is an essential component to success. This doesn’t just refer to student support, but also academic, personal and peer support – each of which play a vital role in assisting during your studies and are not to be overlooked. We map out the various support networks below, discussing their individual importance in the overall online study journey.
Your business school
From the outset, a good business school will support you from when you first consider applying, all the way through to after graduation. At AIB, this is in the form of three key areas – student support, academic support and wellbeing support. All three go hand-in-hand and form an extensive support network for the online learning experience.
Student support offers assistance in everything from operating the online learning systems, to timetabling and study techniques. Academic support staff and online facilitators are there to answer the more technical, subject specific questions – from dissecting difficult concepts to assessment feedback. Finally, AIB ASSIST offers accessible third-party counselling services for managing life at home, work and with study.
Rural Australian graduate Cindy Hales explained that this level of support was essential to her, which is why she chose AIB. “I think one of the key successes for me in terms of study was the support that AIB offer. It was really personal, it was always timely and people were there when I needed them,” she said.
Cindy learnt that reaching out early in each subject was integral to her getting the most out of the study experience, as the academics supported and extended her. Your business school is there to support you as best as possible, so take advantage of these services to ensure you get the most out of your degree.
The student support services that AIB provides includes:
Your fellow students
One of the greatest benefits of studying via online learning is the vast network that students can tap into, allowing them to connect on a local and international level.
For those studying with AIB, there are numerous online communities across social media and collaboration platforms that allow students to connect, pose questions, discuss topics and join forces throughout their studies. These communities can be used to find and form small study groups for both face-to-face study meetups and online sessions, and are a great way to network.
Students are able to work through issues together, learn other people’s perspectives, and support one another on the journey. Importantly, when motivation is wavering, you can turn to your study group or support network of peers to get you back on track.
Read more: A Collaborative Approach to the Online MBA
Your family and friends
In life, the support of those close to us – such as a partner, parents or friends – is important for both mental health and happiness. When it comes to studying online, this is no different – it’s an integral part of continued success.
Prior to enrolling in your degree, it’s recommended that you sit down with close ones to discuss the commitment you’re looking to make. Aside from the fact that loved ones will get less time with you, you’ll also need their support in areas that you may fall behind in – such as helping around the house. Emotional support is key during business school, with family and friends providing the much-needed care.
AIB MBA Graduate Shaun Van Wyk explained that balancing work, study and life at home with a young family was always going to be a challenge. From the beginning, he wanted to get the support of his wife on his journey towards an MBA. “It was essential to get my wife on board early, explaining the sacrifice that was going to have to be made,” he said. During his online study experience, Shaun’s wife helped by taking the kids to the park when he needed to study. “Having the support of your family behind you, in addition to the discipline to work through it all, is really important for success.”
Your employer and workplace
While the support of your employer is not essential for success when studying online, it certainly is helpful. Many workplaces offer flexible arrangements for postgraduate study, particularly if the qualification will benefit their organisation.
When you enrol in your degree, take the time to meet with your manager to discuss your decision, as well as any ways in which your workplace can support you, such as study leave or a financial contribution. In a practical sense, having the ability to apply what you’re learning and your assessments in the workplace will enhance the learning experience, and your employer can assist to maximise this.
There may be few options, but your workplace and colleagues can offer a support network that you didn’t know existed.
STUDY TIP: Throughout your degree, discuss new learnings with colleagues and peers who are subject matter experts in the subject of study. Marketing, Finance and HR Managers, for example, can share practical insights to supplement your learning.
Click here to get the AIB MBA information pack and chat about your career goals with an AIB Course Advisor.