In today’s fast-paced, digital world, more and more students are choosing to pursue their MBA degrees through online programs. Online MBAs offer incredible flexibility and accessibility – you can advance your education and career without putting your life on hold. However, being a successful online student requires discipline, organization, and focus.
Without the structure of in-person classes, it’s easy to fall behind or get distracted. Online learning calls for more self-motivation and time management skills. The good news is there are proven techniques you can use to get the most out of your online MBA courses. Applying these strategies will help you stay on track, fully engage with course material, and ultimately gain the maximum value from your degree.
Create a Dedicated Study Space
Having a consistent, distraction-free workspace is key for online learning. Set up a quiet study area just for schoolwork:
- Make sure it has a comfortable chair and desk at the right height. Proper ergonomics helps you stay focused.
- Eliminate clutter and decorate minimally. A clean, neutral space is less visually distracting.
- Ensure adequate lighting. Natural light is best, but avoid glare on screens.
- Supply the space with needed items – laptops, notebooks, textbooks, chargers, snacks, water, etc.
- Minimize noise and interruptions by using a do not disturb sign. Silence phone notifications.
- Boost motivation with inspirational quotes, vision boards, or plants.
Associating a certain space with studying trains your brain to focus there, and having an organized, relaxing study area makes learning easier.
Access Campus Resources Online
Even at a distance, tap into your university’s academic support system. Make sure you enroll in an MBA online program at a reputable institution; they provide all the essential tools and knowledge you need to reach your career potential and help you in digital learning. For instance, one such institution is the University of Southern Indiana, which offers a diverse range of MBA programs that include concentrations in accounting, data analytics, engineering management, healthcare administration, human resources, marketing, and project management.
If you find yourself uncertain about any aspects of your courses, you can
- Email professors and teaching assistants with questions. Request Zoom office hours if needed.
- Use tutoring, writing centers, career services, and library resources virtually.
- Join study groups or group chats via messaging apps to connect with classmates for motivation and collaboration.
- Use the IT help desk for technical issues and online learning tips.
Don’t hesitate to reach out. Professors and support staff want you to succeed in this new environment. Stay engaged with your campus community.
Stick to a Consistent Schedule
Treat online school like an on-campus job by mapping out a weekly schedule:
- Set specific times for watching lectures, reading, completing assignments, studying, and taking breaks.
- Schedule your most challenging work during peak energy times and easier tasks for when you expect to be tired.
- Be sure to add in buffer time for technical issues or questions.
- Treat study time as non-negotiable. Show up on time.
- Set reminders for deadlines and assignments. Use a planner or calendar.
Regular routines foster discipline and help avoid procrastination. Approach virtual learning with purpose by adhering to a schedule. Consistency and organization are key.
From social media to household chores, distractions are everywhere. Distractions sabotage productivity and learning. When studying, make sure you:
- Silence phone notifications and exit extra browser tabs and apps. Disable pop-up notifications.
- Use noise-canceling headphones or instrumental music to block out background noise.
- Put up a “do not disturb” sign on your door and ask others not to interrupt you.
- Clean and organize your study space. Visual clutter is distracting.
- Focus solely on studying during study time. Schedule chores and social media around it.
If distracted, gently return your attention to the task at hand. Be patient with yourself. Avoiding distractions helps you enter a state of productive focus or “flow.”
Take Regular Breaks
While intense focus is good, marathon study sessions lead to fatigue and burnout. Take short 5-10 minute breaks every 45-60 minutes. Other things you can do include:
- Getting up and stretching, taking a short walk, grabbing a healthy snack or hydrating drink.
- Taking brief mental breaks, allowing your brain to reset and solidify new information.
- Breaking tasks into chunks with built-in breaks. Use a timer app.
- Taking longer 30-60 minute breaks for meals and rest. Nourish your body and mind.
- Doing an enjoyable hobby to give your brain a change of pace.
Proper breaks boost productivity, retention, and motivation. Don’t neglect self-care. Balance focused effort with rest.
Regularly reviewing material is better than cramming. Here are some points to follow:
- After each lesson, summarize key points, do practice problems, explain concepts aloud, and quiz yourself.
- Revisit notes, flashcards, and practice tests to reinforce retention. Space out the review over time.
- Identify areas of weakness and focus review efforts there. Ask the professor for help.
- Study with classmates and quiz each other. Teaching others boosts your own learning.
- Ensure you understand the material before moving forward. Don’t just reread; actively recall and apply.
Frequent, active review strengthens neural connections so you retain key information. Don’t just cram before the test.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Without the structure of in-person classes, it’s easy to fall behind or procrastinate. Be proactive about holding yourself accountable:
- Set a weekly schedule with specific times for watching lectures, completing assignments, and studying. Break larger tasks into smaller milestones.
- Identify your most productive times of day and do your hardest work then. Schedule breaks to recharge.
- Use productivity apps to stay on track with deadlines and reminders. Apps like Forest or Freedom can help minimize distractions.
- Share your schedule and progress with a friend, classmate, or family member. Ask them to check in on your progress and keep you motivated.
- Reward yourself when you meet goals.
Remember that you’re investing time and money into this degree. Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t lose momentum. Only consistent effort leads to success.
Actively Participate in Online Discussions
Online classes can feel isolating without face-to-face interactions. Make an effort to actively participate in discussions to get the most out of your classes.
- Contribute thoughtful, insightful responses that show you’ve done the readings and absorbed key concepts. Back up ideas with examples.
- Reply to classmates’ posts to keep discussions flowing. Offer different perspectives.
- Ask good questions that spur more conversation and analysis.
- Share relevant personal experiences that relate course topics to real life.
- Maintain an active presence in discussions even when not required. This keeps you engaged.
Thoughtful participation demonstrates engagement, helps cement your learning, and builds connections with peers. An active presence in discussions makes online classes feel more dynamic.
Online MBA programs provide outstanding opportunities, but require self-discipline and organization. Following these tips will help you create productive habits, stay engaged, minimize distractions, and fully grasp the material. With commitment and focus, you can thrive in the virtual classroom.