Do not study your MBA online: The universities’ new clothes

January 8, 2021
Do not study your MBA online. Photo by Antor Paul on Unsplash

My Google searches are filled with ads for MBA courses at this time of year and it worries me greatly that almost all institutions are boasting about MBA degrees that can be earned “100% online”.

Dear students to be, as someone who has held the gaze of his students over many lunches, I believe the online MBA experience is an impoverished one and is a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

In that potent business fable, Hans Christian Andersen, tells the story of an all powerful emperor who is victim to swindlers who arrive in his town. The swindlers know the emperor has a character flaw; he has an insatiable hunger for spending lavishly on new clothes. So they promise him the most incredible outfit while all along they are doing nothing but miming the weaving of clothes and even miming the dressing of the emperor ahead of his parade through the city streets. Everybody feels obliged to play along until an innocent child blurts out, look, the emperor has no clothes. Sadly, this just makes the emperor double down in foolishness.

Can we not see the parallel between the lure of universities and other degree conferring institutions offering attractive, flexible, and fast MBAs and the hapless business person who is desperate to get an MBA so they can earn their way out of misery with the prestige of a Masters of Business Administration?

I can, which is why I write to you today as a child. I am the one blurting out what few people have the courage to say out loud; be very wary of these shiny promises of “easy” MBAs because we know they’re still simply flogging their traditional courses, albeit with some invisibly woven “contemporary” interfaces to trick you into convincing yourself you’re making a smart move.

Higher learning still involves emotion and online learners are removed from human support

In the paper, The role of emotion in the learning process: Comparisons between online and face-to-face learning settings, Gwen C.Marchand and Antonio P.Gutierrez, reveal the emotional benefits one has when learning face to face, which to my mind fully supports our model of doing your MBA over lunch. For example, the authors note:

The path from relevance to hope … was significant for the traditional group but non-significant for the distance education group. Interestingly, the path from self-efficacy to hope … was significantly stronger in the traditional education group than the distance education group.

What this means is that when you are with your lecturers, when you break bread with them, you make a lot more connections between understanding the relevance of your coursework and your ability to earn your degree with that important emotional state of hope.

A figure

Hope rewards eternally, especially when you have been anticipating your lunchtime learning experience with Professor Longsword and his Ass Pros.

Questions to ask before choosing your MBA course

I would like to put my cards on the table (and some students know that post-lunch, post-degree shenanigans can often lead to impromptu card games) and compare the three options you have.

Option one: Traditional MBA

This is a two to three=year course done in classrooms or with a mix of classroom and online interaction. It interrupts your diary and brings with it increased travel costs.

Option two: The Online MBA

This is anywhere from a year to two years, all done online from the comfort or discomfort of your loungeroom, train seat, or home study. Some institutions force you to use Slack to communicate with tutors and students, which becomes a chaotic interface of sprawling comments, leaving you to your own devices and tempted to click aside to check LinkedIn to see if you can curry favour with someone influential.

Option three: A Lunchtime MBA

This makes the most sense to me. You set aside one lunchtime. You come to a lovely dining room at a forward-thinking university, like The MBA School Of MBA Credentials, and have a nice lunch and then settle in for a one hour commencement speech, course discussion, and graduation. At any time, if you are having self-doubt, you can turn to a fellow diner and student and clink glasses and toast your smart choice.

Here are your questions:

Is my accelerated MBA really fast?

Answer, no. Not unless it is over and done within one lunchtime.

Does the online MBA serve food?

Answer, no. Not unless it comes with an Uber Eats voucher or a supply of Hot and Spicy Bowl Noodle boxes.

Does an online MBA using cutting edge technology?

Answer, no. Not unless you count online payment gateways.

So, enrol today in our Adelaide Fringe semester of A Luncthime MBA, and start your new career journey with food, wine, and a degree.

Oh, and if you buy your tickets to A Lunchtime MBA in January, we will employ Swindler & Swindler Co to weave your very own, invisible, graduation gown, which will be yours to keep. Just make sure to wear it over your clothes, not instead of!









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