By: Allyssa Bates, Director of Admissions, Worcester Polytechnic Institute's School of Business
There are several misconceptions going around about the inherent value of a blended MBA program. At WPI, we believe that blended learning is the future of the industry, and I’d like to share some reasons why I believe this to be the case by dispelling some of the most common misconceptions that I hear:
Misconception #1: Blended learning is only for people who can’t get the MBA any other way.
In our experience, we are finding people who could attend evening classes on a regular basis choose this option because of the flexibility that it offers. Blended learning programs provide an opportunity for students to learn in a format that closely resembles their current work environment—work teams that stretch across time zones and cultures. In our program, students travel to campus every seven weeks for classes on Friday and Saturday—in the interim, they complete their coursework on the timeline they have created for themselves and with their teams.
Misconception #2: Blended learning programs are not as challenging as other programs.
I wish you could see the energetic and inspired faces I see when students arrive on campus for their face-to-face sessions—they certainly don’t feel it is any less challenging! Students get the rigor of the degree, but have the freedom to decide how to optimize their engagements with their professors and each other, while balancing demanding careers and personal lives. These programs take advantage of the technology that makes our lives easier and applies it to the MBA program.
Misconception #3: My professional network will not be strong if I participate in a blended learning program.
On the contrary, I find that some of the strongest networks are made up of alumni who have completed a blended learning program. Not only do you have access to the larger business school community at large, you have a special relationship with those individuals with whom you’ve completed your degree. In many cases, blended learning takes advantage of the use of cohorts—students move through the program together and end the program with the same group with whom they started. As a result of this intense experience, we find that the alumni of this program feel an even stronger affinity to each other and those who have completed the program either before or after them!
Blended learning is not a default position but is in fact, an amazing way to complete the MBA degree! If you’re interested in learning more about blended learning in general or WPI’s The Innovator’s MBA specifically, visit business.wpi.edu or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.