Maastricht School of Management (MSM) has recently listed the five key skills developed through Online MBA programmes that employers value most.

When prospective students consider pursuing an online MBA degree, they compare the advantages and disadvantages of studying it online versus studying it on-campus. One concern often mentioned by potential students is how employers perceive an online degree. Indeed, until recently, some employers might have questioned the value of an online MBA qualification.

Asset for employers

However, the growing popularity of online education has moved many well-respected business schools and universities to offer accredited online MBA programmes as well as their on-campus programmes.

Consequently, employers are increasingly realising that the online MBA not only provides students with the same value as the on-campus MBA but also prepares them for the digital workforce by equipping them with important skills that are highly emphasised while studying an online programme.

Successfully completing your MBA is in itself already an asset for employers. While completing an online MBA, you will strongly develop some key skills that are also highly valued in the workplace. Skills like time management, self-motivation and self-discipline, but also the capability of working with virtual teams spread worldwide will help future-proof your career.

  1. Time management

If you google ‘online MBA and time management’, you will find a vast array of articles on tips for time management while studying your MBA online. The fact of the matter is that when you are studying online, procrastination is not an option.

Although you have the flexibility of doing the learning according to your own schedule, you do not have the luxury of falling behind. Time is valuable, and you soon realise how precious time actually is when you start combining work, family and social life with your online MBA studies.

One of the greatest skills you will learn during your online MBA is how to manage your time carefully and productively to be able to juggle the daily challenges of life with studies - a great asset not only for finalising your online MBA studies, but also to manage the daily workload in your job.

  1. Self-discipline

Time management and self-discipline go hand-in-hand. The fact that you can stay focused and incentivised to study, even while working, is highly valued by an employer.

For an employer, self-discipline is an extremely valued skill since it is paired with responsibility, conscientiousness and motivation - all skills that will be extremely important in the increasingly digitised workforce.

  1. Finding your internal motivators

People are externally and internally motivated. Extrinsic motivators include competition and society, money, fame and recognition, while internal motivators focus on self-satisfaction, personal achievement and passion. Intrinsic motivators are longer lasting and self-sustainable.

To be able to complete an online MBA successfully, self-discipline and time management become much more obvious, and feel less like punishment when the student is internally motivated.

Finding this intrinsic motivator also results in being happier and motivated at work. Studies have shown that people working with internal motivators are more successful because they have more energy, concentration and have a lower chance of burnout.

  1. Virtual teamwork

Several Harvard Business Review issues, The World Economic Forum’s “the Future of Jobs” report, Deloitte’s Digital Workplace report and many others have confirmed that virtual teamwork is already starting but will become an even greater reality very soon. The World Economic Forum recently reported that working remotely (also called telecommuting, telework or working from home) is "one of the biggest drivers of transformation in the workplace".

The development of technology has allowed online MBA programs to incorporate teamwork and group assignments into the programme through a virtual environment. For example, at MSM, the Online MBA will develop the skills of virtual teamwork since students have to constantly share opinions and interact on the online platform.

Having an online MBA will be extremely valuable for employers in the future, as they will have the assurance that you know how to work in a virtual environment with people from all around the world.

  1. Multicultural diversity

The online MBA breaks down barriers of time, distance and financial constraints, allowing highly skilled people from all backgrounds and nationalities to enter the online classroom.

In the past, online studies were associated with solitary confinement, without ever knowing your fellow classmates. Today, with the rise of technology, studying online can be a highly multicultural and connected experience where you network online and discuss opinions with people from all over the world.

The MSM Online MBA, which has been ranked 4th best Online MBA in the world, and the best Online MBA in the Netherlands by CEO Magazine, is a highly multicultural and connected experience where you network online and discuss opinions with people coming from all over the world. This combination of virtual and multicultural teamwork is extremely important.

The ability to work in a team, the ability to work with a wide variety of people, and the ability to build, sustain and expand a network of people, are three of the most important skills for employers, according to the Financial Times’ 2018 Skills Gap survey. All of these skills are developed through the multicultural experience of the MSM Online MBA.