Why choosing an MBA program in person is better than doing it online

Mar 15 2017, 3:51 am

Just as much as it has changed our lives, technology has left its mark on the business education industry in a way that’s changed it fundamentally.

Now we have all types of options: Online MBA degrees, Blended EMBA programmes, and MOOCs. Teaching, which was once exclusively immediate and real, has gone virtual. But there’s more than one reason that face-to-face meetings and discussions have continued to thrive in the MBA world, particularly in regards to finding the right business school.


Despite the sleek visuals, exquisite language, and numerous rankings coming from prestigious financial editions, a month or two spent doing online research often leads to confusion among MBA candidates. All schools start to look the same. Naturally, future MBA students want to know what they’re signing up for. What is the added value of each university? And more importantly, how can certain institutions cater to their personal goals? 

Face-to-face meetings with school representatives provide a first-hand idea of the school’s style and focus. Do they emphasize entrepreneurship, or do they excel in corporate matters? Are they more strict and traditional, or more dynamic and relaxed?  The personality and approach of a school are important factors for MBA candidates to determine before making any decisions, because more often than not, they’ve already become accustomed to working in a certain manner. It is simply easier to discern a school’s distinct approach to teaching, and how it matches one’s expectations and desires by speaking with them directly in person.

Better grasp of the curriculum

Business schools have greatly evolved in the past few decades. In the 80s and 90s, they were all about spreadsheets and good people governance, but now they mirror business and the way business is conducted – be it in Europe, America, or Southeast Asia. Judging by the curricular advantages, which school representatives emphasize, MBA candidates are able to make a much clearer differentiation between the various programmes. “Will this school help me launch my long-anticipated Singaporean start-up, or will it pave the way for my dream career in the London City?” Students can have very different aspirations. Unfortunately, when researching online, candidates are often led to believe that any school can get them where they want to be. However, that misconception is not as easily conveyed in a private conversation with an actual person.

Negotiating opportunities

From the candidates’ point of view, school selection and admission might seem like something more akin to what they did years ago when they were getting into their Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees. The truth of the matter though, is that business schools can be as interested in having a certain candidate become their alumnus as that candidate is interested in becoming their student. Fifteen minutes of conversing in private can sometimes cause intense interest, and it is possible that negotiations for admission and financial support happen right on the spot. This is the unique advantage of in-person events such as those of Access MBA. Similar opportunities are much less likely to develop online, as people tend to trust what they see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears.

Real-time support

Most physical MBA events and fairs have the added advantage of on-the-spot candidate services. GMAT preparation, admissions consulting, funding opportunities, and candidate-to-school matching are just a few of the benefits of participating in a One-to-One MBA event. Meetings are scheduled in advance, MBA candidates take the time to ask their questions and listen to the answers, and they leave with more than just a pack of brochures in hand. At the events, school representatives and business education consultants are within human reach and ready to assist. This is in stark contrast to online services, where all questions are being directed to a small team of employees, who have to answer to thousands of potential candidates.

Business schools adapt and innovate all the time, and that has created a very dynamic sector – a collection of education institutions capable of appeasing any taste. However, it is my belief that all the other services around these institutions have, over the years, enriched the business education sector to the point where they do not simply complement, but complete it. The existence of services which provide MBA selection in person rather than on the web serve as proof for that.

The Access MBA Tour is hitting the road with the world’s top business schools and a team of MBA consultants to bring a special opportunity to you. On March 21, representatives from international and Canadian MBA universities will meet with Calgary’s business professionals on a one-to-one basis.

You will have the chance to benefit from:

• Individual 20 minute long meetings to discuss your MBA project with the admissions directors

• Individual consulting sessions and GMAT test preparation

• Many scholarship opportunities

The Access MBA Tour includes the most prestigious business schools around the world including:

University of Calgary-Haskayne, Schulich School of Business, Queens University – School of Business, Simon Fraser University – Beedie School of Business, Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto, Thompson Rivers University, IE Business School, and more.

Places are limited for one-to-one meetings and early registration is recommended. To receive your free invitation, register here today.

The Access MBA Tour

When: March 21, 16:30 to 21:30 (upon invitation)

Where: Marriott Downtown Calgary Hotel, 110 9 Ave SE, Calgary

Price: Free, register online

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