Product Managers have long struggled with the idea of getting an MBA. Sure, it seems like a good idea, but who has the time or the energy to haul yourself off to some college campus several times a week to attend classes. There are those “online” universities that let you get an MBA online, but they still seem just a big shady. Isn’t there another way to get the results that you want?
Say Hello To The Hybrid MBA
Business schools have heard the cries of product managers (and others) and they have responded by creating a new product for them: the hybrid MBA. This type of MBA involves limited time on campus and a lot of time online.
The target market for this type of MBA are students who want to get an degree, but who simply either don’t have the time or the ability to make it to campus several times a week. Schools like to offer these programs because they are generally less costly for the school because the students in the program are on campus less often.
It’s important to note that these hybrid MBA programs generally end upcosting the student roughly the sameas they would pay to attend a traditional full-time MBA program on campus. However, the good news is that the courses will be taught by the same professors who teach the full-time program.
One of the main ways that students learn in a traditional MBA program is byworking in teams on projects. The hybrid programs use the same concept, the only difference is that the students interact via either conference calls or by using Skype.
Similar Yet Different
Let’s be frank here, a hybrid MBA program isnot the sameas an on-campus MBA program. There are some key differences that any product manager needs to be aware of before starting one of these programs.
One of the nice differences between hybrid and in-person programs is that it’s often easier to get intothe hybrid program – entrance requirements are lower. Some don’t even require that you take the traditional gatekeeper exam: the GMAT.
You won’t get a chance to become as well-rounded as you might like. Since not all MBA classes will be part of the hybrid program, some of theelective coursesthat you might have taken to broaden your skills won’t be available to you.
Some of the most important parts of any MBA program arethe access to professorsthat it gives you along with the ability to make use of on-campus resources (think “career services”). Simple because you’re not going to be there as much as full-time students, you won’t be able to tap into these two resources as much as you might like to.
Another key part of any MBA program isthe networkthat you build with your fellow students. Once again, this can be hard to do in a hybrid MBA program since you won’t be working with them shoulder to shoulder.
Who Do These Hybrid MBA Programs Work Best For?
So all of that brings up a good point: what type of student does a hybrid MBA programwork best for? People involved with the programs say that they work well for internationally based professionals who can’t take two years off of their careers to spend on campus.
Additionally, if you are working for a company and you’d really like to position yourself fora future international assignment, a hybrid MBA might be your ticket to doing so. You’ll be able to keep working while you get the degree that will open doors to future assignments at the same time.
What All Of This Means For You
Whether or not to spend the time and money to get an MBA isa personal decisionthat every product manager has to wrestle with at some point in time. One of the biggest obstacles to getting this type of degree is the time and effort that going to campus for classes may pose.
The arrival of the hybrid MBA may solve this problem for some product managers.Trips to campus are minimized. However, it may not be the best way for product managers who have a technical background to pick up the team skills and soft skills that they’ll need in their future career.
If you do decide to get an MBA, you now haveone more optionfor how you actually go about getting it. You’ll have to make the decision as to how important it is to learn in a classroom or learn online. More knowledge is always good for you, no matter how you get it!
Question For You: How do you think firms that hire product managers will treat a hybrid MBA – is it the same as an on campus MBA?
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