Students who are contemplating pursuing a blended MBA program have many questions. What is a blended MBA? What will the blended learning experience be like? How will a blended education be different from being solely a residential student or solely an online student? What does the MBA program entail? Will my job prospects expand? Will the program be worth the time, money and effort I put into it?
Online MBA Today is sitting down with Dr. Keith Rollag, Dean of the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, to help answer some of these important questions. Located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Babson began in 1919 as the Babson Institute, originally founded to train young men for business careers. Babson is globally recognized for its copyrighted Entrepreneurial Thought & Action ® methodology and has been the #1 leader in entrepreneurship for 25 years. The College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees to around 3,200 students and is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The AACSB-accredited F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business offers a Blended Learning MBA Program that "combines online classes, face-to-face sessions at Babson and virtual collaboration." This 46-credit hour MBA has specializations in Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Global Management, and Marketing. This program is no stranger to recognition. The Blended MBA program has recently been recognized as offering the 6th best online MBA program in the world by Financial Times, the 10th best by Princeton Review, and the 100th best by U.S. News & World Report. Online MBA Today has ranked this program #19 in the Top 50 Online MBA Programs and #4 in the Top Online MBA Programs in Massachusetts, as well as highly ranked them in the specialization rankings for Management, Entrepreneurship, International Business, Finance, Marketing, and Business Analytics.
Online MBA Today: What are some key differences between a distance MBA and a residential MBA that prospective students should be aware of?
Dean Rollag: Blended MBA students should be clear the degree offered at Babson is the Master of Business Administration and is NOT a diluted version of the onsite program. The Babson blended MBA is taught by the same instructors and the demands and rigor of the blended MBA is the same as all versions of the MBA offered at Babson. The blended MBA at Babson is ranked #3 in the USA and #6 overall by the Financial Times.
Online MBA Today: What do you think are some advantages of a distance MBA program versus a residential program?
Dean Rollag: The Babson Blended Learning MBA is ideal for students who want flexibility but also benefit from an in-person learning environment. Our Blended Learning MBA uses the best teaching pedagogy for online learning but gives students opportunity to learn and network in an onsite environment. In fewer than 21 months, working professionals who value the in-person networking benefits of a cohort-based MBA but who need the flexibility of online course content can complete their degrees while maintaining their full-time jobs. The program is offered at Babson's main campus in Wellesley, MA as well as at our Hub locations of Miami and Dubai. In the Babson Blended Learning MBA, students can expect to complete the majority of their work online through dynamic case-based discussions and remote group work with classmates, and will come to campus several times each semester for in-person class sessions.
Online MBA Today: What makes your program unique among distance MBAs?
Dean Rollag: Babson has the only program that uses the ET&Aâ¢ method (Entrepreneurial Thought & Action ®) in the online environment. At Babson, we teach you to approach business challenges regardless of industry as an entrepreneur would – in a creative, collaborative, and action-driven way. Unlike many online programs, students are part of a cohort, and this cohort structure ensures that our students have the opportunity to build a strong network of peers despite having much of their coursework completed online.
Online MBA Today: What do you look for in successful applicants to your program?
Dean Rollag: Successful applicants are often those who have an alignment with Babson's mission as well as an academic aptitude for graduate study where entrepreneurial thought and action are ideals. Babson seeks prospective students who are curious and enthusiastic learners as well as positive collaborators. All of our blended applicants have meaningful work experience in the field.
Online MBA Today: What has been the experience of your graduates in the job market?
Dean Rollag: According to the Financial Times Online MBA rankings: "The program also earned No. 3 in the U.S. for career progress, considering the progression of Babson alumni's level of seniority and the size of the company at which they now work. Babson alumni average a 26 percent increase three years after graduation, and the average alumnus salary is $167,386."
Online MBA Today: Anything else you'd like to say about your program?
Dean Rollag: We are accepting applications for October start in Wellesley and Jan. 2019 start in Dubai. The next cohort of the blended MBA in Miami will begin in Aug. 2019 (this year's class just completed the application cycle). Scholarship opportunities are available. The GMAT or GRE is not required.
BIG TAKE AWAYS
Blended Advantage: There are benefits to both a residential student and an online student who are pursuing an MBA degree, but combining the two types of environments and experiences really gives a unique advantage to the MBA student. This blended learning approach allows for the flexibility that online studies provide along with the experience of face-to-face interaction with professors and classmates. As in the business world today, these students learn and grow in their virtual abilities to communicate, listen, study, and work together online, while also increasing their experience in communicating and working with people in-person.
Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship is the process of designing, launching and running a new business. Will every MBA student start their own business? No. Does every business career involve being an entrepreneur? No, but Babson's MBA program is designed to help students think, work, create, solve, and act like a business starter and business owner. By being the #1 leader in Entrepreneurship and using their unique Entrepreneurial Thought & Action ® methodology, this program provides a great advantage to students as they prepare to further their business careers and aspirations.
Cohort: Babson offers a cohort based structure for their blended learning MBA students. This allows for students to begin the program together and work together all the way to the end. Being a part of a cohort is a great advantage for the student to have a consistent and strong network even while completing most of their work online.