After writing about the best online MBA programs and Online MBA vs Regular MBA, we’ve been on the lookout for folks who’ve actually signed up for such a course. We bumped into Rohit Shrivastava who was willing to share his story.
Rohit worked with another admissions consultant in USA (not MBA Crystal Ball) before deciding to drop the full-time MBA idea and take up an online executive MBA course.
He signed up for the McIntire Executive Certificate in Management Program offered by the University of Virginia. The online eMBA fee – at under $3500 – was significantly less compared to full-time MBA programs that typically charge over $100,000. He was able to hold on to his job while completing the 1-year eMBA online.
Do keep in mind that the takeaways of an online MBA course for working executives is quite different from full-time, residential programs.
It all started when I completed around 10 years of my working career, working in IT companies some of the best ones with diverse teams in different geographies primarily North America. Starting as a software engineer I got promoted to project/delivery manager.
However beyond that point it was almost impossible to grow. Till this position you don’t really run into senior executives and when you do usually these are people spear-heading their way into management with few years of experience and usually a MBA degree or any other higher degree.
A good college MBA is almost invariable. In this industry, sometimes you do find genuine talent that doesn’t need an MBA to rise. A few lucky ones get sponsored by their employer to get one.
Exploring the MBA Landscape
To be very honest when I started the initial scanning of the MBA environment I thought it would be a breeze – Choose Harvard / Kellogg, appear for GMAT, get an awesome score and then be a bit finicky about colleges and finally choose one.
In reality, it turned out to be very different. Only choosing a place to get an orientation and start my prep was as daunting as it could have been for me a person who had comfortably settled in the corporate culture / world. Among all those available around, I chose an American admissions consultant.
Something I didn’t give quite consideration before embarking on a journey that really is very time consuming, exhilarating but above all sapping you of your energy at the same time. So after finally being able to figure out an institute for the MBA preparation I started my studies.
One small thing you might want to consider is, after long years of working choosing to study full time could be a total motivator. But after some time this feeling goes away and it reminds you of those boring long years where we all studied amid the looming uncertainty. At least that was in my case.
People who can deal with this uncertainty are likely to be more successful in their MBA preparation and probably a better fit for a full-time longer-duration MBA education.
Truth Be told
After I started my prep for MBA I learnt that GMAT scores are fine, but there are other steps to the final selection such as essays. During my search I stumbled upon MBA consultants from Stanford University who had been in the admissions council process of first-level application assessments.
The agency was very helpful and the initial discussion / consultation was not charged. Usually they asked background questions and requested me to get back to them with resume / summary in 1 page document highlighting achievements.
This wasn’t easy for me since I had 10 years of experience and around 8 pages of resume. However I did get back to them. Post that we had a discussion on my profile.
Most of the initial discussion for me was very discouraging specially since they were helping students with a focus to get into Stanford MBA. I would like to highlight those few discouraging things here:
From that point on started harboring too many doubts about my decision for MBA or my doubts now more specifically for 2 year full time MBA with the exorbitant premium one had to pay to part of that club.
In my mind at that time it was clear that if I could do what they mentioned I would not waste my money on MBA I would rather start my own company with pretty much the same or less capital that I would put into an MBA program and then take the risk of finding or getting a job and paying student loan for some part of my life.
Specially this is difficult for Indians, because the dollar Vs rupee situation makes it even bad, if you finish your MBA in US and end up paying student loan on an Indian salary the mere thought scared the living daylights out of me.
Online Executive MBA education – Blessing in disguise
While all these questions bothered me a lot, something else happened along the way. While working at IBM I got an internal opportunity to pursue a Exec MBA from the university of Virginia.
There were a handful of people who were nominated and ended up being one of them. In my MBA journey from exploration to preparation to final decision I think the 2 things that were absolutely critical to me were as follows:
This was a blended program with online self paced learning and live classrooms sessions with faculty.
Why an online eMBA?
For me an online executive MBA has turned to be the best choice available without having to make the compromises that would usually ensue with a full-time MBA most of which didn’t fundamentally appeal to me.
The most important thing that I learnt from the online executive MBA is networking, and I had like-minded individuals who were most of them usually like middle-aged accomplished executives from different background and companies.
It was great to connect with them and have a relationship to reach out to them in case of any help that is required.