Student X is studying his online MBA at the Y Business School and is very enthusiastic about it when he start the program. In the first week he gets a big box by courier send to his home for the assignments in the first semester – cases, technical notes and additional reading recommendations for this period. After 2 months he gets promoted and is now in charge of a project overseas. No problem at all, he thought as he is doing an online MBA, he can study from his new city of residence. After 6 months, nearly finished the first semester of his 5 semester course, he sends a letter to the program director to resign from the program. Until this moment, he has seldom be in touch with other classmates and he saw just once for some days a faculty member from Y Business School. X actually lost the motivation to study as in university alone submitting his tasks week by week and get feedback from his tutor assigned to him which was not the faculty member in this assignment.
Not all online programs are working in this way and seldom a student in the online programs from IE Business School is losing the motivation to drop out of the program. From Day One all students are working in teams through online forums and – in the Global MBA – through live videoconferencing. At least half of the week the students are interacting with 2-3 faculty members engaged in discussions about the cases in the different assignments which are running in parallel.
Each MBA should be about team work and exchanging of experiences with classmates and professors. It doesn’t matter of the way of delivery – either online or face-to-face. When IE started with its online program this was one of the most important factors when designing the programs: Interaction and network building. Nowadays the latter we do predominantly in social online networks which is the best argument that also in an online MBA program with reduced physical interaction with classmates you can build strong and efficient networks.
Definitely, lonely players are not desired in IE online programs as they hardly contribute to the class discussion and therefore do not generate new knowledge for their classmates.