COVID-19 has put billions of workers around the world into hibernation. Thankfully, the global health crisis is now showing signs of abating in some of the worst hotspots where the curve has not just been flattened, but bent sharply downwards.
Despite the positive progress it may be some time before society returns to normal and restrictions on business and social movement are removed. The only certainty is that the economy will recover in time and the Coronavirus will simply be some extreme data points of historical graphs.
Great business leaders have always understood that while economic recession presents vast challenges, it also presents huge opportunities.
For many young executives with ambition to lead, the downtime is a great opportunity to build on your qualifications and knowledge by undertaking further study. Changes in the way universities and other providers structure their Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs mean there is no better to embark on the world’s most respected management program.
Here are just a few reasons why now may be the perfect time to start your journey.
More 100% Online Options
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 there were more than 30 different MBA programs in Australia that offered 100% online learning with no contact hours or on-campus learning.
With the closure of most campuses, business schools are ramping up their online education platforms so that students and faculty can continue to participate in their courses, even if they must do so from home.
This means courses which were traditionally offered only on campus are now available to students remotely. It is expected many business schools will maintain and enhance their online learning platforms once the virus has passed and remote education will become one of the ‘new norms’
Get Started Now
Most MBA programs have been designed for people who need to balance jobs and other priorities. This means they do not follow the traditional teaching periods where students can only commence a new degree at the start of traditional semesters (ie twice a year).
Many MBA programs have four, five or six entry points throughout the year which means you can start your degree in matter of days or weeks.
Adapt your knowledge
Paul Wappett, CEO of the Australian Institute of Business believes the current crisis is the perfect time to start thinking about what it is you need to do – both professionally and personally – to make yourself less susceptible to the impact of crises, and to adapt to whatever the new world looks like.
Although we are in the midst of a crisis, Wappett says now is the time to be even more clear-headed about how to position yourself for the career that you want.
“Amid all of the uncertainty, one thing is certain – business will not go back to how it was before. New businesses and business models will emerge, and we all need to be fully equipped to take advantage of that.
“Something you have full control over is how prepared you are for what comes next. And the more knowledge and education you have, the better equipped you’re going to be.”
Many MBA programs are staged so you can finish after a certain number of courses and subjects and still walk away with a qualification. The traditional pathway to an MBA for staged degrees is to undertake “nested awards” like a graduate certificate, followed by a graduate diploma and then the full Master of Business Administration (MBA).
A nested arrangement of courses and qualifications potentially enables multiple entry and exit points for students. Students may exit with a qualification at one of the lower levels after completing a defined subset of the total program. They may also enter at different levels depending on their prior experience or qualifications in the field of study and the provider’s requirements for recognition of prior learning.
This articulation pathway provides a great opportunity to start the journey towards an MBA without committing to the full degree, which can take between 12 months full-time and two years or more when studying part-time.
Control your destiny
An MBA does not only provide the opportunity to enhance opportunities within your existing employer, but also provides the skills and confidence to start your own business.
Research shows professionals with an MBA are more likely to find themselves open to paths that lead them to self-employment.
A 2014 survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found that while 79 percent of MBA graduates from 1959 to 2013 currently work for an employer, 11 percent are self-employed, and 5 percent were retired.
The percentage of business school alumni who are now self-employed ranges from 5 percent of the classes of 2010-2013 to 23 percent of those who graduated before 1990.
Average time from graduation to self-employment also varies by graduation decade: three years for the classes of 2000-2009, nine years for 1990s graduates, 15 years for 1980s graduates, and 20 years for those who graduated before 1980.
MBA graduates are armed with the skills and knowledge to start a business immediately after graduating, but GMAC found that having an MBA also provides the future career flexibility and experience to help start businesses years later.
Find some focus
In an environment where everything has been turned on its head, having a focus is a great way to manage your mental health and distract yourself from all the negativity. Australia’s Black Dog Institute has identified a range of common feelings for people stuck at home during the crisis, including; feelings of isolation, loneliness and lack of motivation.
Launching into a new education challenge is one way to not occupy your time and mind to help deal with any negativity.
You won’t be alone, with one in three Australians (32%) believing self-isolation could provide beneficial impacts from activities such as reading, creative pursuits and baking, while one in four (26%) believe it could increase the opportunity for online learning and developing new skills.