As technology continues to alter interactions in the workplace, B-schools are hurrying to keep pace with the resulting changes One such change is the spotlight on soft skills. MBAs have started prioritizing crucial soft skills in their curriculum which have increasingly become just as important for workplace efficiency— the most important one being decision-making.
Traditional MBA programs have long emphasized decision-making; however, online and alternate MBAs have also followed suit recently. In this article, you’ll discover how online and alternate MBA programs improve your decision-making skills and why they’re so valuable at work.
What is Decision-Making and How an Online MBA helps you master it
Some experts say good decision-making is a learned instinct or “gut feeling.” They believe it blends analytical abilities with extensive experience to generate insights or spot patterns others would miss.
Decision-making is treated as science by management programs. They impart strategies that have been tested through empirical research and put a lot of emphasis on preparing graduates to make confident, evidence-based decisions.
To hone your decision-making skills, online and alternate MBA focus on the following aspects:
Problem-solving abilities are crucial for making decisions at work. To identify a solution, people need to understand the problem and the various options they’re presented with. The crux of decision making is the careful identification and evaluation of alternatives which can only be achieved through problem solving skills.
People with high emotional intelligence are better at managing their emotions in trying circumstances. This skill set enables them to become great managers who enable communication, facilitate constructive dialogue and foster an atmosphere where each person is acknowledged.
Critical Thinking Skills
Decision-making requires critical thinking abilities with extensive investigation and reflection on previous situations. It allows decisions to be guided by experience, observation and interrogation. This skill set enables people to reduce the likelihood of mistakes, making them great managers who get desired outcomes on any project.
Decision-making thrives with skills that motivate people to lead groups toward a common goal. This is where leadership skills empower decision-making. Leadership skills encourages people to put in extra effort and accomplish objectives while strengthening their decision-making.
Decision-making requires creativity to empower innovation in leaders. It enables them to recognize the best solution, even when it’s not immediately apparent. This allows people to explore more possibilities and has a wider range of options available for them to choose from when making the final decision. This makes creative people ideal for solving issues that won’t just have an obvious single solution, such as problems that are acute and won’t need to be repeated.
Creativity also helps the flow of ideas come forth. Creative people are already used to exploring many ideas at the same time, and they will be able to intuit the best approach to a situation while considering the alternatives in the same stroke.
Why is decision-making important at work?
Depending on their roles and responsibilities, every employee is given a particular task and a measure of success. There are usually several ways to complete a task to get the desired outcome, but not all solutions are practical. While some are affordable, some take more time; some need more people. That’s why decision-making is a crucial skill.
Good decision-making saves time and resources. It improves your productivity, prevents mistakes and averts risks. Here are some other benefits of decision-making at the workplace:
Decision-making helps employees understand a leader’s position, role and behavior. With clear decision-making, a team will have fewer conflicts. When a leader makes a sound decision, their good judgment is highlighted in the process, which helps them earn the employee’s trust. In fact, it wouldn’t bet too far-fetched to say that decision-making can make or break a leader.
Good decision-making helps people weigh the advantages and disadvantages of any situation. It determines how quickly a task can be accomplished and how the overall productivity of an organization will increase as a result.
Online MBA and decision-making
As decision-making is such a foundational skill for leaders in every industry, it has become a significant focus in online MBA programs. However, not everyone has the luxury of pursuing a full-time online program. Fortunately, there are alternatives, and Harappa School of Leadership’s Accelerated Management Program happens to be the fastest and most influential of them all.
With the AMP you will learn how to:
- Identify a situation: To improve your decision-making, AMP will help you identify and analyze the issue. By defining the scenario, you can better understand why a particular decision is necessary. Think about the decision’s immediate and long-term repercussions before making it.
- Gather relevant information: The course helps you to concentrate on acquiring all necessary data before deciding. This can include details from your observations, investigations, or research. Good decision-makers rely less on gut feelings and more on evidence and facts. It aids in preventing biases in the making of decisions.
- Investigate potential solutions: It focuses on creating a record of all possible solutions before deciding. Making the best choice for a situation is ensured by listing all the potential solutions. List all the potential solutions in front of your team members at a meeting to involve them in the decision-making process.
To top all of that, AMP is a 100% live program with webinars, workshops with industry leaders, one-on-one coaching, and an assured placement.
To learn more about the AMP application process, click here https://hsol.education/accelerated-management-program/
What makes an Online MBA different from other postgraduate degrees? The structure. An MBA curriculum is designed to enhance your personal and professional growth and prepare you for the world of work. Academic activities such as collaborative work, networking events, presentations, projects and real-life case studies help set you up to succeed in leadership roles.
An Online MBA experience will give you the tools you need to become a workplace leader. How you get the most use out of these tools depends on you. This article will discuss how an accredited MBA will positively impact your growth. We will discuss five aspects of personal development that you stand to experience during your degree:
- Enhanced Communication Skills
- Effective Leadership Skills
- Innovative Thinking
- Heightened Cultural Awareness
Enhanced Communication Skills
“Communication works for those who work at it.” — John Powell.
Business communication is not just about what you say; it’s also about how you say it. The MBA’s unique structure of practical knowledge, group work and presentations will teach you how to frame your thoughts in a way your peers can understand. Knowing how to communicate effectively matters in leadership roles and will impact how you function in a business environment.
Through your work experience, you’ll realize that communication is prevalent at every level of an organization. The workplace requires you to communicate effectively, whether delegating a task, discussing an issue, brainstorming ideas or something as simple as asking for a cup of coffee. An MBA and some fast-track alternatives will give you a platform to improve your communication skills to get the most out of your workplace interactions.
If you can get your ideas across effectively, you’ll have the opportunity to:
- Work in cross-functional roles –You’ll often have to work with departments other than your own. Understanding others and conveying your ideas in a way they would understand would be an asset for you. This can lead to further opportunities to work with other departments on projects, which will amplify your skillset and experience.
- Delegate tasks – How you delegate work to your team will profoundly impact their output. You’ll need to ensure that the instructions for the work assigned to them are clear, that there is a clear line of communication for help and feedback and that they feel their work is valued and essential to the organization’s functioning and growth.
- Achieve personal and organizational goals – When you lead a team, you must meet specific organizational targets. While your overall focus will be on the organization’s goals, you and your team members will also have personal goals, such as promotions and awards. Clearly communicating organizational, team and individual goals, as well as the ways by which they can be achieved, will go a long way in realizing the objectives you’ve set out for yourself.
Effective Leadership Skills
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams.
Good leaders are crucial to the success of any organization. As you explore your strengths and weaknesses, you will enhance the leadership qualities you possess and identify focus areas you need to work on. A good B-school will give you theoretical leadership training and help develop your leadership style in a real-world context. MBA alternatives can also help you develop these skills faster. As you begin to develop a leadership style, you will discover how you want to approach leadership. You may create your own way of doing things or you might emulate someone you know and admire.
If you’re emulating someone, you should observe how they manage their teams to see what makes them great leaders. It’s not necessary to copy someone else’s style, but inspiration is always a powerful tool.
An MBA enables you to become an effective leader by enhancing the following qualities, among others:
- Problem-solving – An MBA’s experiential learning approach will give you plenty of opportunities to tackle real-world challenges. You’ll learn how to become solution-oriented and deal with high-pressure solutions calmly and collectedly.
- Perseverance – The consistent challenges, real-world case studies and projects will teach you about perseverance – a prominent quality in every successful leader. When you’re managing a team, you will face adversities and often feel like nothing is going your way. You’ll learn how to tackle these situations and not give up when the going gets tough.
- Team Building – What is a leader without a team? You’ll learn crucial team-building skills to ensure you are an asset to any organization you work in. Collaboration, time management, critical thinking and communication are some of the skills you’ll work on. Learning these crucial skills will help you become an impactful leader.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs.
Impactful leaders champion innovation to help their organizations grow, maximize revenue and gain a long-term competitive advantage in the marketplace. Whether it’s day-to-day operations, long-term strategizing, bringing a new product to the market or streamlining the structure of an organization, innovation leads to sustainable growth in an unpredictable business environment.
To innovate, you need to think – a lot. An MBA will teach you how to become a better thinker. The collaborative activities you participate in during your MBA teach you how to think outside the box. You can also learn to innovate through focused online learning that will teach you the essentials. Applying new perspectives and ideas to problems will lead to new and impactful solutions. However, your experience is not just limited to the academic side of an MBA. Your personal experience and mindset will also significantly shape how you think.
Leading through innovation will allow you to:
- Solve complex problems – A theoretical understanding of business is excellent, but innovating will lead to better solutions. You might face issues with finances, employee performance or compliance, among others. Adapting to any scenario and coming up with solutions is a massive asset to any leader.
- Give your organization a competitive advantage – Imagine that your organization’s product isn’t doing well in the market. You could resort to conventional methods to market your product but might not get the desired results. Innovation will lead to new ideas, which can lead to significant growth over your competition.
- Bring your unique style to the table – Every leader has their style of leadership. Through your MBA, you will learn your style based on your strengths, weaknesses and mindset. You can bring your unique perspective and innovative solutions to handle any business problem.
Heightened Cultural Awareness
Tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where peoples are becoming more and more closely interconnected.” — Kofi Annan.
International businesses rely on cross-cultural cooperation to function. Corporate giants like Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Samsung and Apple operate in hundreds of countries at thousands of locations. What makes them so successful? They understand the different cultures of each market.
An MBA is an excellent opportunity to understand different cultures. Interacting with people from diverse industries and backgrounds will give you fresh perspectives and evolve your thought process. If your B-school has study abroad partnerships with other institutions, you may have the chance to interact with individuals from different countries.
An Online MBA and its alternatives also have diverse cohorts that cross geographical boundaries. Due to this, you’ll be able to gain an even deeper understanding of how people and organizations function all over the world.
Two things will happen as your cultural awareness increases:
- Deeper Understanding – You’ll understand yourself better as you comprehend the values and thoughts that drive others. A deeper understanding leads to better decisions. Making decisions that are in the best interests of everyone will make you an asset to any organization.
- Empathy – The more you understand people and their cultures, the more you’ll realize how to get the best out of your team as a leader. As you lead with empathy, it will help your individual growth and that of your team and organization.
- Inclusivity –Inclusive work environments are more productive. Understanding each team member and creating a safe environment for them will lead to ideas and thoughts being communicated freely, leading to higher productivity. According to a McKinsey study, diverse and inclusive organizations are “35% more likely to outperform their competitors.” source:Instride
“The first and best victory is to conquer self.” – Plato.
The rigorous curriculum of an MBA will help you develop one of the most critical skills — self-discipline. To do well in an MBA, you must steer clear of distractions, prioritize tasks and manage your time well. This will automatically lead to developing the discipline you need to succeed in any business environment.
As a leader, you must emanate discipline through everything you do. How else will your team follow your example? Self-discipline is crucial during projects, new ventures and day-to-day operations. Mastering this transferable skill will prepare you for a leadership role in any organization.
Once you gain the ability to manage yourself, you’ll have the most powerful tool you need to achieve any goal – personal or professional.
You will experience a variety of personal and professional changes during your degree. An MBA is an opportunity to experience self-understanding and personal growth while preparing yourself for professional success. Over the two years, you will experience the five aspects of personal development highlighted in this article.
Do you want to experience the same development of an MBA in only a fraction of the time? Consider applying to Harappa School of Leadership’s Accelerated Management Program (AMP). This six-month program’s unique curriculum will help you to grow personally and professionally in a 100% live environment.
The AMP will enhance your leadership skills while also enhancing the most sought-after skills in any industry — product management, data analytics and marketing. The program also has guaranteed placements for in-demand roles in India’s top organizations.
Are you ready to fast-track your career? Learn more about the AMP here – https://hsol.education/accelerated-management-program/
Torn between an online and an offline MBA?
You’re not alone.
Most MBA aspirants experience this dilemma. Like you, they’re overwhelmed by their choices and seek answers on the internet, which only yields more questions:
“Is an online MBA recognized by employers?”
“Are traditional MBA programs better for networking?”
That’s why we’ve created an exhaustive guide covering the major pros and cons of online and offline MBA programs, as well as the factors that should guide your decision. We’ve also introduced an alternative – an accelerated management program – which may fulfil all your requirements.
To begin, let’s take a closer look at traditional MBA programs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional MBA Programs
Delivered by specialized brick-and-mortar business schools, traditional MBA programs are geared toward recent graduates and early-career professionals. Their coursework entails in-person lectures, group activities, and internships for an enriched learning experience.
As with all forms of education, a traditional MBA has both benefits and drawbacks. However, they don’t become apparent until you enrol in a program.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ll go through the advantages and disadvantages of traditional MBA programs. From estimated costs to admission prerequisites, we’ll cover everything to paint a comprehensive picture.
Advantages of Traditional On-Campus MBA Programs
On-campus MBA programs have a plethora of benefits. Here are the most popular ones:
In-person interaction – On-campus programs facilitate face-to-face interactions and help students acquire critical interpersonal skills such as verbal and non-verbal communication, conflict management, collaboration, and negotiation.
Structured schedule – Traditional MBA programs deliver a structured learning experience. Their rigorous attendance requirements and submission deadlines are ideal for those who have trouble staying focused..
On-campus resources – Students enrolled in a regular MBA program have equal access to on-campus resources. This includes libraries, careers services, academic advisors, and health and tuition centers.
Robust professional network – Since they foster in-person interaction, traditional MBA programs enable students to build lifelong connections. Aside from in-built opportunities, they offer plenty of spaces (clubs and organizations) for students to meet like-minded peers and expand their professional network.
Disadvantages of Traditional On-Campus MBA Programs
Despite its many benefits, a traditional MBA might not be for everyone. We recommend you consider the following points before making a decision.
Exorbitant fees – A typical MBA can cost anywhere between Rs 8 lakhs to Rs 25 lakhs in India. If you factor in housing (in case you’re relocating), transportation, and internet expenses, you’re staring at a substantial investment, one that could lead to years of financial distress.
Time commitment – Most on-campus MBA programs take two years to complete. They entail stringent requirements that leave little room for family and personal responsibilities – let alone a full-time job.
Lack of diversity – It’s no secret that traditional B-schools have a diversity problem. This can be attributed to their prerequisites (CAT/GMAT scores), exorbitant tuition fees, and obsolete business views. While some of these barriers help institutions admit the most eligible (and financially stable) candidates, they have unintended consequences on the quality of cohorts and their ability to train future leaders.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Online MBA Programs
Learning the benefits and shortcomings of offline MBAs is only the first step to making an optimal decision. To advance further, you must grasp the pros and cons of pursuing an online MBA.
The following section will dwell on the benefits of an online MBA and what to consider before applying.
Advantages of Online MBA Programs
Online MBA programs are just as rigorous as their offline counterparts, but they do offer some distinct benefits. Let’s take a closer look at them:
No CAT/GMAT requirement – Online MBA programs don’t always require CAT/GMAT scores during admissions. Executive MBA programs, for instance, prefer professional experience (3-5 years), a bachelor’s degree, and recommendation letters. Some programs also use written tests and interviews to assess your potential.
Flexibility – Since they blend synchronous (live lectures) and asynchronous (recorded lessons) instruction, online MBA programs are more suitable for working professionals, especially those who want to balance personal and professional responsibilities while advancing their careers.
Career services – Like their on-campus counterparts, online MBA courses offer a suite of career services to help students. This includes career counseling, resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews, and workshops with top recruiters.
Affordable – Because they don’t require you to commute to a location or pay for campus infrastructure, online MBA programs are often more affordable. They also offer flexible financing and an array of scholarships to make enrolment more accessible.
Smaller class size – Since they have smaller cohorts, online MBA programs provide more individual attention to students. To deliver personalized learning, they leverage various formats, including peer reviews, workshops, weekly Zoom calls, and one-on-one doubt-clearing sessions.
Disadvantages of Online MBA Programs
While pursuing an online MBA is a smart career choice, you need to consider the following downsides before applying:
Motivation – If you lack self-discipline or need constant encouragement, an online MBA might not be for you. Online learning usually requires a great deal of trust and commitment. Without either, it fails to deliver the results expected by students.
Technical skills – Online MBAs, like all online courses, require a stable internet connection and some technical knowledge to interact with the course content. If you lack either of these prerequisites, consider enrolling in an on-campus program, where you’ll get the necessary resources and guidance.
Communication skills – Most online courses rely heavily on written exchanges, and online MBA programs are no different. The ability to write well is not a prerequisite for pursuing an online MBA, but intermediate to advanced writing skills are integral to a rewarding experience.
Proactive networking – By its very nature, online learning rewards people who initiate dialogue with their peers, a.k.a active networkers. If you have a passive approach to networking, an online cohort might not be the right choice.
MBA Programs: Factors to Consider
Aside from the differences outlined above, there are two other factors to consider when choosing an MBA program:
On-campus MBA programs were once considered the gold standard of management education, but the pandemic-led surge in online learning has changed that. According to GMAC’s (Graduate Management Admission Council) Corporate Recruiters’ Survey 2022, 60% of recruiters now consider online MBA graduates on par with their offline peers. That’s up 26% from 2021.
Another study by Northeastern University shows that 71% of employers consider online business degrees as good or better than in-person programs.
Overall, most employers aren’t concerned about how an MBA is delivered. Instead, they’re more interested in its curriculum, instruction quality, and accreditation.
Since traditional and online MBA programs require varying levels of work experience, you have to be careful with your selection. Before narrowing down your options, you must determine where you stand in your career.
As a rule of thumb, early career professionals (those with less than three years of experience) should consider an on-campus MBA for better guidance. In contrast, mid and senior-career professionals who want to balance work and education should limit their search to online MBAs.
Which option is better?
Now that you know the difference between an online and offline MBA, it’s time to make a decision. Do you want to pause your career for new opportunities, or do you want to juggle family, work, and education?
Alternatively, you might want to explore a faster, better, and more affordable option: Harappa School of Leadership’s Accelerated Management Program (AMP).
Designed by Ivy League faculty and industry experts, the AMP features a six-month-long curriculum that blends business theory with real-world examples.
Together with a robust evaluation model – which includes an industry project – and assured placement in one of India’s leading organizations, the AMP prepares learners for phenomenal success in marketing, finance, data, and product management roles. It also equips them with essential professional skills — leadership, communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking — to tackle workplace challenges like a PRO!
To learn more about this game-changing program, click here.
If you want to pursue an MBA but don’t have time for in-person learning, an online program might be worth considering.
After all, an online MBA is flexible, accessible, and financially feasible – and that’s not all.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top reasons for pursuing an online MBA and how to choose the right program for your needs, but first, we’ll address a critical question…
Is an online MBA worth it in 2022?
The answer is a resounding yes. Online MBA programs deliver the same benefits as their offline counterparts: increased earning potential, job opportunities, and leadership skills. However, they’re also more accessible for those who don’t have the financial resources or time to accelerate their careers.
Here are some more reasons for pursuing an online MBA in 2022:
1) GMAT/CAT exemption – Entrance exams were once indispensable for applying to online MBA programs. In recent years, though, B-schools have made significant revisions to their admission criteria — exemption from entrance exams being one of them. These programs still offer a robust curriculum with tangible benefits; however, instead of CAT/GMAT scores, they rely on professional experience and interviews to assess applications.
2) Financial freedom – Because they’re primarily asynchronous (i.e., they don’t require in-person participation), online MBA programs allow students to continue working and caring for their families while advancing their careers.
3) Affordable – Online MBA programs ensure students attain high-quality education without the debt and hardship associated with traditional MBAs. Most offer flexible financing options and full scholarships to bridge the affordability gap.
4) More individual attention – On-campus MBA programs can only offer students a limited amount of time and attention. However, that’s not the case with online MBA programs. Most online management courses include workshops, seminars, group discussions, and doubt-clearing sessions to support students’ learning goals. A few also provide mentorship to ensure strong learning outcomes.
5) Customized learning – Unlike traditional MBA, online MBA programs (especially part-time programs) allow students to pursue more than one specialization, decide how many courses to take each semester, and complete the degree at their own pace (from 21 months to six years).
6) Enhanced digital fluency – Because they deliver their entire curriculum online, distance MBA courses help students stay ahead of the digital curve. By combining cutting-edge technology with innovative pedagogy, they put students at the forefront among employers.
7) Improved cultural Fluency – Online MBA courses, by their very design, foster cultural awareness and sensitivity. In doing so, they train students to accommodate different sensibilities and perspectives and thrive in multicultural workplaces.
8) More networking opportunities – Contrary to popular belief, online MBA programs offer students plenty of networking opportunities. For instance, most of them facilitate dialogue via discussion boards, Zoom sessions, and local meetups. A few even leverage instant messaging services to foster real-time participation.
9) Increased global business awareness – Because they study with professionals from around the world, online MBA students have a better grasp of global business affairs and the skills required to thrive in multinational organizations.
10) Increased job opportunities – A survey conducted in 2019 found that 53% of online MBA students received promotions and job offers, while 20% received a pay raise during their time at school. These findings illustrate that a B-school education is immensely useful, regardless of how it’s delivered.
Online MBA programs have myriad benefits. However, they’re only apparent if you pick the right option. As an MBA aspirant, you’ll encounter hundreds (if not thousands) of courses that promise career advancement; however, it’s up to you to decide whether they meet your personal and professional requirements.
We at Harappa School of Leadership know that finding the right MBA program can be stressful. That’s why we created India’s first outcome-driven management course — the Accelerated Management Program (AMP).
Designed and delivered by a world-class faculty, the AMP combines management theory with expert insights, case studies, and industry projects to take learners beyond functional skills. Additionally, it’s the only program of its kind to guarantee placements.
To expand your career options, start your AMP application today!