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MBA programmes

Distance Learning MBA

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Advice on distance learning MBA students

The number of students joining Distance Learning (DL) MBA programmes has increased rapidly over the last years. The convenience of being able to study at your own pace and while performing your everyday job is certainly an attractive thought. However, business schools find it difficult to offer a quality education, as they must also pay attention to developing opportunities in an effort to capitalise on the market by increasing the number of students recruited.
The relationship between tutors and students often remains impersonal and students find it difficult to ask questions and approach tutors. Tutors who make the effort to maintain a good working relationship with their students seem to be the exception rather than the rule. A continued lack of engagement results in DL students becoming predominantly interested in just getting a degree. However, this also means that MBA students lose out on the personal and interactive side of their educational experience and learning. MBA Winner is working with consultants that have long experience in working with DL students.
Below we present some advice on how to keep track of your MBA course and get the best out of your education. We cannot, and do not want to, cover all the various ‘dos and don’ts’. We just want to bring to your attention some of the recurring issues that our MBA students disclose to us so that you can benefit from their experience for yourself.

Commitment

Commitment is a word that can make all the difference to your DL experience. Prior to embarking on your MBA it is necessary to think of the commitment that you are willing to invest in your studies. Having time available is not the same as being dedicated to study frequently. Commitment is about setting priorities and targets, and sticking to them. Studying by yourself means that you need to be self-motivated. You need to find the enthusiasm and energy at times when the only thing you want to do is to forget about your assignments. Working by yourself can be difficult, making you feel completely isolated. Low morale can have a direct impact on your academic performance, especially when you do not have much association with your colleagues and your tutors. Commitment is the single most important challenge that you will need to overcome to do well in your MBA. For this reason, it is paramount that you make the effort to spend time preparing for the course and understanding the specific demands that you will need to meet. Moreover, you need to be very clear about the time and resources you have available, and how you are going to use them. Maintaining interest in the learning outcomes of your study needs to go beyond the idea that all you want to get is a ‘degree’.
Our MBA Winner consultants repeatedly identify that a lack of commitment is intertwined with a lack of personal knowledge about how to meet and overcome small obstacles. We know that this is no rocket science, but it is an observation that few students seriously consider and learn how to tackle effectively! When you are in the course of developing an assignment, having a clear understanding of how to develop your thoughts and articulate a strong argument becomes very important for feeling confident. You can become more committed to your MBA studies if you fill the gaps in your knowledge. This is not something that simply comes from reading about it, this tacit dimension of your experience is something that you can only develop once you start working and seek to improve. Our MBA Winner consultants have worked extensively with MBA students and helped them identify how to improve themselves. We are very proud of the contribution MBA Winner has made to the learning experience of our DL MBA students.

Work Experience

Making use of your work experience is very important while doing your MBA. Most MBA assignments are explicit in asking you to relate your assignments to your work experience. How reflective are you about the dynamics that take place in your working environment? How much do you know about the organisation you work for outside your department and immediate colleagues?
Your workplace is a great resource that should not be underestimated for reflection and for gathering information that you can use in your MBA studies. An issue that remains even more important is how you create opportunities with your colleagues and managers. Do you find opportunities for extracting data and for engaging in conversations that enable you to discuss the issues you are studying? A common pitfall you need to avoid is to separate your MBA studies from your working environment. Instead, try to see how you can use your experience to the mutual benefit of your MBA studies and your working environment.In the case of three of our MBA students we spent lots of time exploring this very issue. It made all the difference to the students’ MBA experience. The MBA students were able to identify the relevance of what they were studying by becoming more reflective and observant of their working environment. Take the case of Helen, for instance, who had real difficulty getting on with her job manager. She found him abrupt, arrogant and careless. Fortunately Helen’s MBA university tutor allowed her to choose any organisational behaviour topic of her choice for her dissertation. After our consultant’s encouragement Helen started to study the dimension of personality and communication.
Helen’s negative experience became a useful opportunity for seeing the wider relevance of her studies. Our MBA Winner consultant helped Helen create relationships between theory and practice. Helen started to realise the importance and relevance of theory in ways that she had never appreciated before. The study of personality and communication allowed Helen to see her experience in a new light. This new enthusiasm and motivation made a direct difference to her academic performance and allowed her to achieve a very high mark!

Touchbase with your tutor

‘Keeping in touch’ is a phrase that you hear again and again once you join the DL programme. You might be far away from your tutor’s institution, but there is a constant reminder that you need to ‘keep in touch’. A series of studies on this topic revealed that, despite being constantly reminded, DL students do not keep in touch with their tutors unless it becomes absolutely necessary. Keeping in touch is not about communicating with your tutor but about creating a relationship. The geographical distance seems to get in the way. Students who do well in their DL MBA courses are those who know how to ‘manage’ their tutors and extract information about their expectations and assumptions for what needs to be done and how. Academic tutors often fail to keep in touch with you and it is assumed that it is primarily the responsibility of the student to make the effort to keep in touch with their tutor. However this assumption is false. Tutors are responsible for keeping in touch with you and you need to find ways of getting the information and help you need. The issue of conflicting communication is a topic that comes up again and again. MBA students find little help and support when they need it most. Our advice to you is to firstly make the effort to manage your tutor. Do not fall into the trap of assuming that your communication with your tutor is only about getting your questions answered. It is also an opportunity for you to make explicit your expectations and anticipations. Finding ways of communicating with your tutor can be instrumental for the type of help and support you get. Our MBA Winner consultants have helped numerous students change their way of handling their tutors and this has made a large and direct difference to the students’ learning experience.

Electronic means of communication

‘How do you communicate with your classmates and tutor?’ is a good question. However, ‘how well do you think that you communicate with your classmates and tutor?’ is a much more important question that remains largely unaddressed!
Communication is about quality and not about frequency. Asking the right questions and making use of your tutor’s time is key. The expansion of means of virtual communication helps make your interaction with classmates and tutor easier. However, how do you take advantage of such communication tools for your benefit? The availability of information in electronic formats (e.g. audio books, web cams, webinars) makes the communication of meaning easier. At present, however, business schools struggle to get their virtual communication tools off the ground. This is firstly partly because the learning benefits are poorly advertised to students and secondly because of the considerable time students need to invest in order to use such tools. However, it is not the frequency of the use of such tools that becomes significant, but the quality invested in learning from them. The word ‘quality’ refers to: a) asking the right questions, b) becoming reflective over your experience of engagement with the topic, c) creating communities of practice with your colleagues. These are important dimensions, but are often taken for granted.
MBA Winner believes that extracting benefits from the use of online and virtual communication tools is the result of preparation and understanding. MBA Winner has experienced consultants who can advise you on how to make best use of such tools. Our consultants can guide you to ask the right questions and engage in conversations with your tutor and classmates that have a positive impact on your learning experience. MBA Winner believes that maximising the value of doing the MBA is a learned process and it does not happen by chance. Your use of virtual communication tools can be boring if there is lack of purpose, but it can also become exciting and stimulating if you get direction in how to extract value from your learning.

Should I buy an assignment? It seems quick and cheap

Lot’s of website claims that it is better to buy a ready made assignment Buying an assignment might seem an easy and quick option for getting through your MBA modules. There are websites that contain thousands of assignments and which you can buy for as little as £15. So why should you then bother with getting your essay written by professional or getting it written yourself through the help of a professional?
The answer to this question is you are likely running the risk of loosing the money you paid for buying the assignment, as well as, your reputation towards to your tutors and colleagues. The reason is that all business schools have started to make use of different sophisticated plagiarism software systems like Turnitin (see www.turnitin.com for more information). When submitting your assignment you are most likely to be asked to upload your essay as an electronic copy in addition to a hard copy. This is because your business school wants to make sure that it checks whether you have plagiarised or not. Turnitin is one of the more popular plagiarism software used among universities. It has the capability of scanning your assignment against thousands of other assignments submitted to it by other institutions. The software scans the content of your essay against thousands of websites and is looking for similarities with what you have written. If we assume that you copied a paragraph from an Internet website that you did not reference properly, then the software system is most likely to pick it up and highlight the portion of the text as seen in the image below.
Tutors can have access to the information you used as well as the source of it as the text is highlighted and the URL link is also provided. It is very difficult to argue against a plagiarism case against you when there is good evidence which shows that you have plagiarised. The most important reason for not buying ready assignments is because they are likely to have been submitted by previous students at various institutions. Such assignments are likely to have been scanned through Turnitin as well as some similar plagiarism software. Even though buying a ready made assignment might seem a cheap and quick option, in fact it is going to be a lot more expensive in the long term.
The emphasis that MBA Winner places on producing assignments means that they are original pieces of work. The assignments we produce make robust use of the literature ensuring that not matter which plagiarism software is used by your institution your assignment comes up clean. We are legally bound for producing assignments that are plagiarism free and this is clearly stated in our Terms and Conditions. We take pride that our strength is our expertise on producing MBA assignments is tailored to your needs. MBA Winner is an outstanding academic service provider because of the breath of knowledge and expertise that consultants bring to you.

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