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Online MBA Programs in Australia

A Master of Business (MBA) degree is the most popular postgraduate program in Australia and internationally. And studying online is fast becoming the preferred way to earn this management masters. Here is a guide to online MBA programs in Australia.

Online MBAs are Popular in Australia

Online MBA programs in Australia are as popular as ever and seem to be overtaking the traditional classroom model. According to official enrollment statistics, more Australians study for an MBA online than exclusively attend a campus.

  • An estimated 20,333 Australians studied postgraduate Management and Commerce in 2018 (Extracted from uCube, 23 February 2020).
  • By comparison, 18,533 postgraduate business students were classified as “internal” (or on-campus).
  • Another 3,380 postgraduate business students were in the “mixed-mode” category.

Why are online MBA’s so popular? In short, because they are convenient. You can study anytime from anywhere.

Unsurprisingly, most online MBA students in Australia are working professionals or other busy people who don’t have time to waste. They see the tremendous career advantages of an MBA qualification as worth the challenge of fitting study into their weekly schedule.

Australia’s Best Online MBA Degrees

Modern, flexible and affordable and three of the key qualities that define Australia’s best online MBA programs. That’s according to Online Study Australia, which has ranked the top 3 MBA programs.

Among the best online MBA degrees are the Master of Business Administration (Global) from James Cook University. The program has 3 concentrations: organisational leadership, global perspective and strategy, and data management and analytics.

Also making Online Study Australia’s list is Innovation and Leadership MBA from Ducere Global Business School. Learning is based on doing real online projects in small teams. And the traditional long exam is dispensed with in favour of projects, assignments and quizzes.

Rounding out the top 3 list is the University of Adelaide’s online MBA. As with some other top online MBAs, the program is completed by doing a sequence of units. Students focus on 1 or 2 units at a time, each completed within a series of study blocks of several weeks in length.

Advice for Taking Online MBA Classes

Online MBA classes are difficult, and the culture of online learning differs from the traditional campus programs that most students are used to. Students often find that they have to redefine the way they learn and build new study skills.

Academic advisers normally caution students against underestimating the difficulties of online learning. An online MBA is not any easier or somehow has a smaller workload than other kinds of MBA programs. And students need to be prepared to do the bulk of their learning on their own.

Find out what other online MBA students think

Planning how you will manage online learning is usually preferable to jumping into it nonchalantly. Talking to other online MBA students to find out more about their experiences is a good place to start, and will help you determine if online learning is really the way to go.

For example, online MBA students have reported that “virtual teaming” can be highly beneficial to the learning experience (Kim, Liu and Bonk). Choosing a program that offers this can, therefore, increase your chances of making it to the end.

Develop study strategies

Having strategies to address any academic problems before they arise is a good idea. For example, participating in study groups or online chat sessions with instructors and other students is a good way to guard against apathy.

Sticking to a regular study schedule can also be invaluable to maintaining consistent effort. Even if the university does not require it, this kind of professionalism helps ensures you are able to get your work done on time and achieve learning goals.

Start with a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration

For most MBA programs, you can start by studying for a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration. In Australia, this is a 4-unit courses that typically represents a third of the full MBA program. Entry requirements are lower and you can often be admitted even if you lack a university degree (but have professional experience).

The advantage of doing a Grad Cert is that you can test if an online MBA program is really for you. If it’s not, you can leave after 4 units with new skills and a recognised qualification.

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PhD Student Lifestyle Experience

I’ve got to admit that the lifestyle of a PhD student can be great. If you enjoy quiet, leisurely days of reading, researching and writing, the doctoral experience can bring joy, inner peace and a general feeling of calmness.

But there’s most to it than that and, if you don’t stay focused, you can easily waste a year, or two or three of your life. PhD success is about balancing the fun side of learning with the task at hand: writing your defensible thesis.

The PhD Lifestyle Begins

Welcome back to the world of academia. You have successfully gone through all the hurdles to get started on the journey of becoming a Doctor of Philosophy.

You have chosen your area of study, applied to a PhD position, chosen a supervisor, outlined your thesis and hopefully have a scholarship or other form of financial aid. You might be wondering “Now that I’m in, what’s the lifestyle as a PhD student?”

Pleasure (and Some Reality)

In what often turns out to be fiction, PhD students are depicted as free souls exploring the world. They are frequently seen lounging around beautiful university spaces, reading books with interesting titles. They look completely relaxed, fully enjoying the life of commitment to knowledge.

“I no longer believe in this romantic ideal of scholarly life”, Charlie Pullen, an English PhD student, reports: “the reality of doing a PhD is not one of living in a care-free bubble. It is, in fact, a demanding way of spending your time.”

Charlie is right. PhD supervisors usually aim for the degree to be completed in three to four years. To make this happen, students report working from 35 to 70 hours weekly. Depending on the field of study, here’s what you can expect:

  • Working on your own project (thesis), which can determine where and at what times you work;
  • Organize meetings, send reports, ask for feedback and clear doubts with your PhD supervisor so he or she can keep up with your progress;
  • Networking: going to conferences, workshops, and events to absorb as much relevant knowledge as possible;
  • Documenting your work: you have to keep track of your research and every step you took while working on your project;
  • Teach classes, grade papers from undergraduate students and take other responsibilities related to the university;

Although it looks like a lot, it is possible to achieve academia-life balance, even while working part-time or full-time to cover some of the costs. You are able to discuss your workload with your supervisor, and find a good plan and schedule to get things done.

Your Own Pace

The responsibility of successfully completing the degree lies with the student. As a result, the expectations set can be too unforgiving.

We would like to be in the library from 8 am to 5 pm every day, working on the thesis at all times, publish research papers (and maybe even a book!), earn teaching awards, organize and speak in conferences and be on good terms with all the revered members of the university community. This can lead to a very stressful life.

Jenny Mak, an English and Comparative Literary Studies PhD student tells us that “achieving these goals isn’t ‘Mission Impossible’, but the timeframe within which we’re assumed to get them done is unrealistic and places much undue stress on us.”

A great part of completing a PhD successfully is recognizing this issue and taking things step by step. It is necessary to plan what is going to be done when, and managing the daily stress, as the duties will always pile up and seem to take a long time to get done.

Tips for Succeeding with Your Learning Experience

Nuclear scientist Floriana Salvemini shares her top tips for PhD students.

1. Time management is incredibly important! Check if your university offers courses or guides on how to organise a PhD project.

2. Conferences are a great venue to network, learn about developments in your field and promote your research – plus they offer a chance to travel somewhere different.

3. Don’t forget to make professional and personal connections. Remember, a PhD isn’t just about the actual project. The various people you meet along the way are equally as significant.

Final Thoughts on PhD Studies

Working towards a PhD, despite being very challenging and involving a lot of hard work, is a very rewarding experience. It is the path of mastery towards a specific topic of study, which will not only increase your knowledge but might also open up more fulfilling career opportunities.

Don’t be discouraged by the negatives! Most scholars find that the advantages greatly outweigh the challenges.