Online Studying Tips for MBA Programs


Updated October 12, 2022 · 5 Min Read

Are you just starting an MBA program? Follow this guide to get study tips to help you on your MBA online learning journey. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online programs allow students to connect with their peers and instructors using audio, video, and text-based tools. Distance education has soared in popularity since the early 2000s, thanks to innovative technology and a shift toward digitized teaching methods. Today, students pursuing an MBA through online learning can access a variety of rigorous, career-relevant programs.

Online courses have become more mainstream throughout the past several years, even pre-pandemic. Many schools offer online and on-campus versions of their programs to suit each type of learner. Some also feature hybrid options blending in-person and online formats.

Coursera's 2021 Impact Report shows an increase of 23 million registered online learners from 2016-2019 for its online learning platform. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) notes that 71% of undergraduate students enrolled in at least one distance education course during the fall of 2020. NCES data shows that 52% of undergrads enrolled in online courses only.

Many higher education enrollees prefer distance learning because it allows more flexible scheduling and requires no commute. However, others find learning challenging when physically separated from their instructors and peers. Online students must be self-motivated.

These study tips for online courses can help MBA candidates succeed. Keep reading to discover helpful tips as you study for an MBA online.

Online Learning During a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted how higher education institutions across the country operate. Many students familiar with face-to-face learning had to switch to an online learning format. Class participation, testing, and assignment submission went digital.

Online learning proved challenging for students without a reliable WiFi connection or the necessary technology to access online classes and resources. In addition, many libraries that usually offered free internet access closed or limited their services during the pandemic.

Fortunately, many schools quickly moved academic resources online. For example, some institutions created virtual orientation videos, clubs, and digital training to keep students connected.

Access to resources is critical for MBA students. These learners need academic support and career guidance for program success. Now that many institutions have reopened with full access, degree-seekers have many resources at their fingertips.

Still, knowing study tips for online courses and learning how to access resources can lead to the best outcomes. If schools move to an online format again, students with online learning skills can feel prepared to handle the shift.

Taking MBA Courses Online

Taking MBA courses online can seem intimidating, especially for learners who haven't experienced it before. In truth, distance learning closely resembles traditional on-campus learning but with a different set of tools. These tools offer more flexibility but also demand more self-motivation and self-discipline.

The amount of assigned reading and exercises for online classes can seem overwhelming at first. Learners should give themselves some sort of structure to make their studies more manageable. The online class study tips below can help you succeed in your MBA courses.

Online MBA Study Tips

Create a Workstation

Dedicate a space to studying, especially if you mostly study from home. Your house can contain many distractions: maybe your children want your attention, your refrigerator is calling you, or your bed looks extra comfortable.

Try to find a place reserved for studying away from these diversions. If you live in a small space without any room to spare, consider creating your workstation in a coffee shop, coworking space, or library instead.

Schedule Tasks

Time management skills can help online learners succeed. Use a planner that breaks down each day by time blocks that fit your scheduling needs. For instance, you might block out two hours to finish tasks for each class. Remember to schedule time for exercise, mental breaks, and meals.

Use Available Resources

Your school likely offers valuable resources for students to take advantage of. Speak with an academic advisor before starting online courses to learn what is available. Ask what tools students can access for free. These may include writing software, note-taking apps, and scholarly journals.

Also, check whether your school provides services like tutoring or job search support. These resources can help you stay connected throughout your program.

Minimize Distractions

Technology can assist your MBA online learning experience. However, it can sometimes become a distraction. Be sure to silence your phone and minimize browser tabs you aren't using while studying. Consider installing a browser extension, like StayFocusd, that blocks time-wasting websites during your study time.

Participate in Online Discussions

When possible, take part in online discussions with your peers and instructors. These forums give you space to ask questions and bounce ideas off others. Plus, they can help you feel less alone when learning online.

Use All Materials

Today's online programs often include resources like videos, e-books, apps, and study materials. These resources can fill in the gaps you would typically bridge when learning face to face.

Prepare for Video Instruction

If your classes meet on video, take a few minutes before your meeting time to prepare yourself. Keep a notebook and pen nearby for note-taking, and jot down any questions you have beforehand. Remember to check your video and audio, and make adjustments if needed.

Organize Your Research

Make separate bookmark folders for each class on your web browser. As you gather information while studying, add websites to their respective folders to help you find them more easily later. Also, create folders on your computer to organize screenshots, digital flashcards, and other resources by class.

Help Concepts Stick

Self-directed online learning usually requires mindful repetition and practice to drive concepts home. Remind yourself regularly of new concepts by using flashcards and skimming your notes. Then, find ways to practice your knowledge and skills, like participating in a local workshop or taking a practice test online.

Find a Study Group

Online learning can feel isolating for some students. Joining or creating a study group in your neighborhood might help you feel more connected. You might also consider starting a video chat study group with your online classmates for regular study sessions.

Common Questions About Studying for an MBA

Is an MBA a good degree?

Yes, an MBA offers several potential benefits for learners. Graduates develop advanced skill sets that add value to many industries, including healthcare, finance, and manufacturing. An MBA can also lead to higher salaries and more diverse career paths for graduates.

Is it hard to study for an MBA degree?

MBA programs include intense curricula that demand a strict time commitment. They can be challenging to study for, especially without a plan. MBA students should use expert study tips and set up a learning plan that works with their schedules.

What do you study during an MBA program?

MBA programs typically cover subjects like strategic leadership, financial practices, and marketing. Learners study multiple aspects of business, including analyzing data, communicating with colleagues and clients, and managing projects.

Which MBA has the highest salary?

An MBA in management can provide some of the most diverse career opportunities with high-paying salaries. For example, this degree can lead to a career as a chief executive officer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that top executives earned a median annual salary of $98,980 as of 2021.

Additional Resources

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