Fully online MBA launched to meet changing needs
February 21, 2021
Virginia Tech is launching its newest MBA program option – the Online MBA.
Responding to the changing needs of students and the workplace in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pamplin College of Business intentionally designed this new program to deliver a deep understanding of business principles and practices to a wider range of working professionals through the flexibility of fully online delivery.
“The new format allowed us to combine some of the tried and true features of our established in-person MBA formats and online master of information technology to craft the best possible educational experience for students who value consistent interaction with their classmates and also want the flexibility of an online program,” said Parviz Ghandforoush, associate dean for graduate programs.
“We’ve sought to include the best aspects of our top-ranked Evening MBA, experiential-focused Executive MBA, and hybrid Professional MBA, both in curriculum development and online delivery,” said Dana Hansson, director of MBA programs. “We’ve integrated feedback from students in all formats to determine how we can offer the best educational experience online.”
It’s this feedback that informed some of the unique features of the 22-month Online MBA that distinguish it from other online MBA offerings in the marketplace.
While fully online, delivery of the new program will be evenly split between synchronous and asynchronous experiences. “While students appreciate the flexibility of asynchronous learning, many shared with us that meeting synchronously best mirrors an on-campus experience. It allows students to participate actively in class discussions and study teams, develop working relationships with their peers, and engage with Virginia Tech’s top-notch faculty,” said Hansson.
The program is cohort-based, which means that students complete their studies in lockstep and have the opportunity to build meaningful professional relationships with their classmates. “We often hear that it’s this cohort format that allows students to work closely with their peers and create a professional network that serves them well long after earning their degree,” said Hansson.
Students can also choose to specialize their MBA curriculum in subject areas where Pamplin and Virginia Tech have a strategic emphasis and significant expertise, such as cybersecurity, entrepreneurism, health information technology, and business data analytics. These topic areas are popular choices for those seeking better jobs and career growth, Ghandforoush said.
The students will also have the option to study abroad, through the international business specialization. Optional international travel provides an opportunity to examine global business in action and take part in an immersive in-person experience with fellow MBA classmates.
As with all of Virginia Tech’s MBA programs, the Online MBA will be taught by experienced Pamplin College of Business faculty steeped in scholarly research with practical applications. “Our faculty are at the forefront of research on emerging issues and technologies in their fields,” Ghandforoush said, “and they are able to provide students with current insight into private and public industry, government, and entrepreneurial solutions.”
Beyond faculty, Online MBA students will also share the support and resources available to all Virginia Tech MBA students. Hansson said this includes access to an established MBA alumni mentoring program, personalized academic advising, and membership in Virginia Tech’s vast alumni network.
“We’re excited to provide this new opportunity to professionals across the globe who want to further their careers and join our talented group of students and alumni who are proud to call themselves Hokies.”
Pending approval from the State Council of Higher Education and The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, applications for the inaugural cohort will be due May 1, with classes starting in July. Graduation for the first cohort is expected in May 2023.
Learn more about this exciting new opportunity at mba.vt.edu/online.
— Written by Julia Falkenstern