While the pandemic was causing massive disruption to industries across the globe, the MBA program at The University of Newcastle was rapidly adapting to equip students with the skills surging in demand.
The University’s Business School was keeping a finger on the pulse of the changing environment through an industry advisory board and was able to pinpoint emerging trends through a network of partnerships and connections.
Digital capabilities, business analytics, problem-solving and change management skills were becoming more sought after than ever before and those key areas quickly became a focus of attention within the MBA.
The University of Newcastle’s MBA Program Director Dr Sonia Vilches-Montero said the introduction of a suite of contemporary elements lifted the career prospects of students as the world recovers from the pandemic.
“The Business School maintains an extensive network of industry connections and partnerships to monitor relevant trends, so we can align the program with the goals of our students and their companies,” Dr Vilches-Montero said.
“These new skills are embedded in the program to support our students with becoming more effective leaders in an era of disruption, change and innovation.
“We will continue to monitor trends to respond to the higher-end needs of changing organisations and thereby continue to enhance life-readiness, employability and career progression of our MBA graduates.”
Dr Vilches-Montero said not only did the pandemic change the subject matter of the MBA, but the Business School reacted quickly to the changing ways students accessed the program.
“The pandemic reshaped the way students plan to undertake their post graduate studies,” she said.
“One of the most important factors is program flexibility. With our flexible modes of delivery, students can choose to study either face-to-face, entirely online, or a combination of both.
“Flexibility really increases the accessibility of studying an advanced business degree.”
Dr Vilches-Montero said the face-to-face program meant students could attend the university’s landmark education precinct called NUspace in Newcastle’s CBD, which harnesses the latest in technology and innovation in teaching and learning.
“Students learning face-to-face have access to all the supporting services we offer on campus,” she said.
“A vibrant, rich culture is created with students who are eager to collaborate with peers and build strong networks while making the most of the state-of-the-art facilities, including study rooms, dining areas, library, aand a range of supporting services. They are all part of the face-to-face experience.”
Dr Vilches-Montero said the University had also observed an increased interest for online courses since the pandemic began.
“One of the big success factors of the 100% Online MBA has been delivering a rich digital learning experience,” Dr Vilches-Montero said.
“Lectures are both live-streamed and recorded weekly, so they can be accessed anywhere”.
“Students also have direct access to lecturerers, teaching assistants and industry guest speakers via our online learning platforms, which enable them to join live sessions and engage with other students in virtual breakout rooms.
“The 100% Oonline MBA allows students to complete the program almost as if they were coming onto a campus.”
Dr Vilches-Montero said a combination of face-to-face study and digital learning was ideal for many prospective MBA students.
“Students are able to plan their studies around work and family commitments for when they are able to come onto the campus and join lectures in person.
“At other times, due to travel or work, they may have restricted access to the campus and that’s where the online courses come in.
“It’s the best of both worlds with flexibility to enjoy the campus experience with the convenience of online access as well.”
Dr Vilches-Montero said the University was also looking forward to welcoming international students back to the Newcastle, Sydney and Singapore campuses commencing in 2022.