The Online MBA in E-Business Explained
Chances are you browsed an online store today with nothing more than a Wi-Fi connection and your smart phone. Perhaps, you find yourself shopping online more frequently, especially now that handheld devices make it so accessible. You're not alone. As more and more people turn to online vendors for everything from flat-screen TVs to groceries, companies need qualified employees to help them stay on the edge of technology and provide customer service to people they only encounter in the virtual realm. Sounds a little sci-fi, huh? Well, it's actually becoming our reality, which is justification for MBA programs with an e-business specialization.
When you first start looking into it, you might have a hard time finding information on e-business MBA programs. But as you dig a little deeper, you'll probably discover that many of them are offered either exclusively online (duh!) or at a brick-and-mortar campus with online course components. While general management concepts are incorporated into the curriculum, there is a heavy emphasis on managing and integrating technology despite the quick pace at which it changes.
What is an MBA in e-business?
Like any MBA program, the e-business specialization will include core general management courses, such as strategy, operations management, and finance. Participants in these classes will likely experience them through the lens of e-commerce or e-business. For example, the CEO of an online retailer might be a guest lecturer. Or students might read and discuss a case study that features a business struggling with the rapid pace of technological advancement in its industry.
Those who opt to take the courses online will work on an education platform that allows them to view video lectures and participate in group discussions and projects. Often, these online programs come with the added convenience of maintaining your own schedule. In other words, you could log in and "go to class" from your bedroom at 2 a.m., if you'd like.
Some of the e-business courses students might take include database management systems, system analysis and design, and security and data encryption. Marketing essentials, with a bent toward how to promote online companies using tools such as search engine optimization, blogs, and social networking, is another likely course.
Essentially, an MBA program in e-business aims to teach people how to leverage technology, manage change and innovation, and best use the latest discoveries to create and improve businesses. Ideally, students come away from these programs able to integrate existing and future technologies into a company's short- and long-term strategies.
Who is the right fit for this program?
Anyone who has experience working with advanced technologies, particularly those related to the Internet, make for good candidates. Graduates of e-business MBA programs often go on to work as consultants in the tech sector, information system analysts at general consulting firms or other organizations, or entrepreneurs establishing their own e-business. Those capable of understanding technology, flexible enough to handle the fast-paced changes associated with it, and able to create a vision based on leveraging advancements tend to fit in well at these programs.
What are the admissions requirements?
Certainly, a background in technology or e-commerce could be beneficial. But it's not necessary. Like any MBA program, e-business admissions committees are usually looking for someone who has shown leadership potential and demonstration of quantitative skills that prove an ability to handle the academic rigor. Often, the committees learn about this through essays, interviews, and standardized test scores, such as the GMAT. Usually, applicants also share transcripts from their previous educational experiences.
Of course, any evidence applicants have of their ability to work with technology or manage change through projects and work assignments would be welcome additions to an application. And having an idea of how this degree will fit into your larger career plan is always a necessity when applying to business schools. Although MBA programs in e-business serve a small niche, there's no question that learning about how to lead companies as they are challenged by advanced technology and constant change is a nifty tidbit for the old resume nowadays.