University of Maryland's Business School Deans Offer Insight into New Online MBA Program
Why did the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business make the foray into the waters of online MBA programs? The school already offers Bloomberg Businessweek's 17th-best EMBA program in the nation and has a full-time MBA program in the top 25, according to the most recent rankings available. Smith hopes to serve an even broader audience, and starting in January 2014, it plans to offer an online program that targets working professionals.
"We were hearing from people in the business community, especially people who travel, who said 'I would love to pursue my MBA, but I can't be on campus every other weekend for your executive MBA program. But if there was a technology-based program, I would pursue it,'" associate dean of MBA & MS programs at the Robert H. Smith School of Business Ken White said during an MBAPrograms.org interview.
"This is a major step forward for the university and for business professionals who need flexible access to academic excellence," said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh, according to the press release.
"We did an incredible amount of research and looked at programs and interviewed people who graduated from online MBAs, people who've taught [in online MBA programs], and we decided that was something we felt was important [to offer]," White said.
Given the program's online flexibility, students can potentially complete their MBA studies in as little as 21 months with minimal on-campus attendance while remaining active in their careers. The two on-campus residencies provide the opportunity for students to build relationships with their peers and professors.
"We'll actually start with an orientation here at College Park. The student[s] will get to come here, they'll get to know each other, they'll get to work, we'll do some teaching and learning, and then [they can work] online," White said. "Towards the end they'll come back again and spend some time face-to-face on campus."
"Different educational formats work best for different kinds of learners," said dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business, G. Anandalingam. "This program is best for working professionals who can learn within a rigorous, structured program, but more so on their own time."
Students of the online MBA program can select from four areas of specialization: accounting, information systems and analytics, finance and marketing. Students may also select the general track, which involves courses from all areas. Innovative technology allows students to earn their degree online and also create relationships with business professionals and the school's 55,000 worldwide alumni.
"We partnered with a company that does some online education with some other universities," White said. "That way we don't have to worry about the technology; we can focus on the teaching and the learning, and our partner will focus on the technology and the delivery."
Every week, the online program is scheduled to include two hour-long "live" classes, where students interact with faculty and fellow students. In addition to the "live" classes, students are also expected to participate in the other hallmarks of an MBA program such as self-selecting teams, conducting remote project meets and presenting information virtually.
"The elements that make our MBA degree programs so successful will still be in place with this program, but the key difference will be the level of flexibility," said Anandalingam.
In accordance with Smith School of Business application requirements, GMAT or GRE entrance exams are required to apply for the online MBA program. The online MBA program is also accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Program offerings may be updated, and the most recent information about admissions requirements, curriculum and costs is available on the school's website.
Note: At the time of publishing, the information in this article was deemed to be accurate. However, accreditation status can change over time, so please check with the school for the latest information on their accreditation.
Bloomberg Businessweek, Rankings & Profiles, EMBA, 2013, http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/rankings#2
Bloomberg Businessweek, Rankings & Profiles, full-time MBA programs, http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/rankings
Interview with Ken White of the Robert H. Smith School of Business by Jamar Ramos, 2013
Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, Online MBA, http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/programs/online-mba/
Smith School News, University of Maryland's Smith School of Business Launches online MBA program, 2013, http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/mba-headlines/releases/2013/061713.aspx