This article is written from several insights we received as we worked across our Online MBA clients on one end and students on the other. We have studied the data of students over past 8 years. This data include student requirements/anxieties /doubts etc shared on Facebook, YouTube, blogs, LinkedIn and education forums, feedback from admission councilors who deal directly with student grievances and ORM (Online Reputation Management) data.
Some of these tips are helpful to students doing any kind of online course and not just MBA carried over in executive/distance/part time/online/regular mode.
Below mentioned are the following.
1.Accreditation – Before taking admission please check on the accreditation and approval of the college as well as the course.Some of the people might choose an accredited college but fail to check accreditation of the course too.
2.Fees- Here there are 2 things. Firstly, fee division format has to be properly understood. Tuition fee, application fee, admission fee, accommodation fee etc are a few. Make sure that there is no other hidden fee. Secondly, the fee transactions are to be made directly with the college payment gateway to avoid hidden charges of agencies and fraudulent transactions. Make sure to collect acknowledgements/receipts for the same.
3.Sample Certificate- Some colleges would have already uploaded a sample certificate on the website. If its unavailable, please ask the college to provide one to visualize how your certificate will look like. This is an extra measure to check the accreditation of the course and college from our end.
4.Online Exam – Please confirm if the exams are conducted online for an online course. Also check if the exam fee is also included in the total fee. Due dates of exam fee and late fee details also have to be inquired. Also check on the exam center.
5.Video Tutorials- Check on the subject wise availability of video tutorials. Sometimes the college would have uploaded some samples of video tutorials to claim its availability. However subject wise/syllabus wise tutorials may not be available.
6.Live Webinars- Check if the college conducts live webinars on current industry topics and if yes how frequently. On attending live webinars students gets exposed to latest trends in the industry.
7.Virtual Classes- Since you are doing an online course, most of the colleges provide virtual classes in interactive form for each subject. Please check if this facility is available.
8.LMS (Learning Management System)- College facilitates learning through LMS only. Before seeking admission, make sure you have watched a demo LMS to check if all required facilities are available. These facilities include video tutorial, PDF format study materials, link to virtual classroom, examination details, fee details etc.
9.Alerts– Regularly check the college LMS, emails, social media pages of the college to get notifications and news updates on the important events.
10.Doubt Clearing Sessions- As the course is online, make sure you have subsequent platforms to clear your doubts. It can be forums, virtual classes, Q&A with professors etc.
11.Electronic Gadgets- As the course is online, you should have a proper internet connection, computer, mobile/tablet, headset for the successful completion of the course.
12.Electives- Check which all elective subjects are provided by the college. While choosing the electives, its better to pick the one related to your profession. If you are a banking professional, elective should be related to banking.
13.Course Duration- The course might get extended if you fail in a subject. Make out how many chances of reappearing is approved before the course entirely gets cancelled off. This might lead to a forced re admission.
14.Placement Assistance- Ask details on placement assistance of the college. Convince yourself with the percentage of placements provided in the previous years.
15.Refund Policy- This is important if you want to discontinue the course on a particular reason. Ask how much fee is refundable before the admission is taken.
16.Alumni Network- Connect the alumni personally. Nobody will be able to provide the real feedback like them on placements, facilities, faculty, approvals etc
17.Printed Study Materials- You also need to ask if the college couriers printed study materials although its an online course.
18.100% Online Mode? The college advertises for 100% online MBA and hides the requirement of face-to-face visit to meet the targeted number of admissions. If the student is doing an international MBA, it might be a tedious task. These things have to be confirmed beforehand.
19.Email Clarification- The interactions performed with a college associate for an admission purpose should be carried out using only the official email id of theirs. This might save you if there are any hidden admission agencies. These will also act as proofs which can be showcased during any disputes.
20.Scholarship Availability- If you avail any scholarships, you will get discounts in total fee. Also check on other financial aids of the college.
21.Occasional/Seasonal Discounts- Sometimes the college provides occasional discounts on Christmas, National Day etc.
22.EMI Facility/ Loan for Fee- Check if fees can be paid in installments. Also ask the college for the bank which provides loans for their course.
23.Group Discount Facility- Check on group discounts. If you enroll in a batch, you might get huge discounts.
24.Corporate MBA- Check if the college is a corporate MBA provider. In corporate MBA the employer might pay up to half the fee.
25.Referral Commission- Ask for it if you refer a friend.
26.Course Start Date- Ask for the exact course start date instead of wasting one academic year. Sometimes colleges might be taking in admissions for the next academic year.
27.Fast track/Accelerated Mode- If you are over qualified to apply due to immense work experience or many other degrees, you can directly appear for exams instead of going through the entire course. This helps complete the degree faster.
28.Short Term Computer Course- If you lack proper computer literacy, it will be difficult to complete the online course. A minimum computer literate person can only use the LMS, Mobile apps, social media, virtual class, webinars etc. So before taking an admission to online course, go for an interim short course to improve your knowledge in computer.
29.Campus Visit- Make a campus visit to convince yourself on the college facility. If its an international college, let a friend of yours do it for you.
30.Working Professionals- Online MBA is suitable for working professionals only. Those who lack work experience please stay afar even if you are a graduate.
31.GMAT Score- Certain colleges might demand a GMAT score while some others do not.
32.English Proficiency Score- To pursue international MBA English proficiency scores obtained for IELTS or TOEFL is a must.
33.Important Documents- Pre-requisites of admission need to be properly understood. Some of them are latest resumes, graduation certificates, school certificates, letters of recommendation from the employer etc. However, to pursue international course further things like passport copy, English proficiency score (IELTS/TOEFL) would also be required. Rules might differ for international students.
34.Contact Details- You should maintain separate point of contact in each department. For e.g. if you have a LMS issue, make sure that you have contact details of the LMS personnel and likewise for financial aids, exams, placement etc
35.Never ever take an admission on the words of an admission councillor- Student councillors present the college in best way to meet the target number of admissions. However, the real fact comes from the college admission department only. Channel out everything in proper email communications.
36.College Comparison Study- Before taking admission make a comparison study of at least 10 different colleges providing the required course. Comparisons can be made in terms of faculty, college facility, faculty, placement assistance, fees etc
37.College FAQ- These are felt like useless pages but actually the most important. You will get answers for most of the issues regarding the admission from FAQ pages of the college.
38.Online MBA Scope- We live in a digital world. Some posts in the current industry demand only online MBA professionals as they have gone through a tough digital study mechanism. The course produces MBA candidates who are also sound in technology. The regular MBA candidates may not be technologically sound as the online MBA candidates.
39.Proper Necessity of Online MBA- To pursue online MBA, the admission panel clearly needs us to state our necessity of doing the course in online mode. So, plan beforehand for the interview to speak on what made you opt for the online mode MBA.
40.Time Management- Stick to timelines. Pre-plan your course structure and a workable timetable where you will be able to cover the complete course in a targeted time.
Note: If you think we missed out any thing else, please comment below so that we can update the list.