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Faculty insight: why study an online postgraduate business degree?

James Blackmore-Wright, Director of our Online MSc International Management and Dr Solon Magrizos, Director of our Online MBA, share their thoughts on how a postgraduate business qualification can benefit your career and what makes the ideal applicant.

There has been a surge in interest in online courses in 2020 as professionals look for ways to accelerate their career and ensure they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in an ever more competitive marketplace.

As the world of business evolves more rapidly than ever, especially through the introduction of new technologies and the emergence of a post-pandemic business landscape, professionals need to ensure they have the knowledge, skills and practical experience to excel.

Taking an online course in business helps professionals at all stages of their career to take the next step. Birmingham Business School has developed a host of pioneering distance learning initiatives including an Online MSc in International Management and the Online MBA. Both programmes are accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) – a rigorous accreditation which demonstrates that a course meets the highest standards in teaching, learning and curriculum design.

“Gaining a business qualification helps students to develop a ‘triangle’ of research, practice and theory which helps them to make sense of why management happens in the way that it does and why certain situations in business occur in the way that they do” says James Blackmore-Wright, Director of the Online MSc International Management.

Students are encouraged to choose the right course to help them achieve their individual goals, based on career stage, learning style and aspirations. Whether they choose to study the MSc or the MBA course, students will gain valuable skills and knowledge that they can put into practice within their current role – as well prepare them for senior management or leadership positions.

Although students are often undertaking a business course to progress their career, there are other aspects of postgraduate study that are hugely beneficial.

Choosing to study a postgraduate course is a great way to build relationships with likeminded professionals. “You get access to different types of people. I did an MBA 10 years ago and one of the best things I got out of it was the network” says Dr Solon Magrizos, Director of our Online MBA.

Students are able to access services that are specifically designed to help them plan their career path. “We have specific teams to help with career development” says Dr Blackmore-Wright. “You will have access to all the services Birmingham Business School has to offer. We can help with profile development, virtual learning sessions and workshops to give students the tools they need to get into leadership positions in the future”.

Masters graduates are also more appealing to recruiters, adds Dr Blackmore-Wright. “Businesses and recruiters are interested in your ability to make good decisions. At a Masters level, decision making is more objective. Students have the ability to make better sense of the information and data available and therefore make more strategic and lower risk decisions for their employers”.

So, what does an ideal applicant look like?

“For me it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach” says Dr Magrizos. “I would want the applicant to be able to tell me why they want to do the programme. I have had applicants who have read my research papers – which was very flattering – but I would rather know about their experience and what they want to gain from the course for themselves. I also ask for evidence that they work well in groups and that they have considered the time commitment of working and studying at the same time”.

Drive to succeed is also important. “What I look for is why a student wants to do the programme, their level of motivation. Having clarity on why you want to do the course, whether is it for academic or career development reasons, is so important. I also want a candidate to be able to articulate what they have gained from their business experience so far, however limited that may be, and how that motivates them to want to study the course” says Dr Blackmore-Wright.

Our Directors also shared their number one piece of advice for potential applicants.

“Time management is such a useful skill that becomes even more important when you are studying and working. Make sure you have the time for the course and can manage it correctly” says Dr Magrizos.

“Don’t wait!” says Dr Blackmore-Wright. “Think about what you can achieve now and how gaining new skills and tools today will help you in your current role and future career. It all comes down to why you are motivated to take the course. The clearer you are about your motivations the more likely you are to succeed”.

If you are looking to take the next step in your career, an Online MSc International Management or an Online MBA can help you gain the skills and experience you need to achieve your goals. To find out more about the online courses available from the University of Birmingham, please visit our website or fill out our request for information form.