Beginning in January 2014, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business will offer a flexible online MBA program that allows students to earn their degree with minimal on-campus requirements. Courses offered through the online program format are taught by the same faculty and adhere to the academic rigor of the Smith School’s other MBA programs.
Modeled after the school’s executive MBA program, students begin and end the program with structured, in-person residencies at the University of Maryland’s campus in College Park and the remainder of the program is completed online. GMAT or GRE entrance exams will be required for admission, and students can earn their degree in 21 months.
The online MBA program offers a broad base of knowledge on a wide range of business concepts, such as entrepreneurship, managerial economics, information systems and global economic development to prepare students with a strong business background. Students select one of four specializations — accounting, information systems and analytics, finance or marketing – to focus on their own particular area of interest, or they may choose the general track, which allows course selection in each of the areas.
Courses will include two “live,” approximately hour-long sessions per week, where students will log on at a specific time to interact with faculty and fellow students. Other coursework can be completed at times that work best for each student.
The Smith School’s MBA curriculum is focused on experiential learning opportunities for students, and the online MBA program will also offer these experiences. Students will work together in groups on action learning projects, using knowledge gained in courses to tackle a real challenge or opportunity faced in a team member’s organization. Students will self-select teams, conduct remote project meetings and deliver presentations virtually.
These team projects and online group discussions give students many opportunities to create relationships with business professionals in the program across the nation and the world. The two residencies also provide the chance to establish strong professional connections with peers and professors.
“Different educational formats work best for different kinds of learners – this program is best for working professionals who can learn within a rigorous, structured program, but more-so on their own time,” says G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business.
“The elements that make our MBA degree programs so successful will still be in place with this program, but the key difference will be the level of flexibility.”