Home Online Business Blog The Role of Faculty in Online MBA Programs: Guidance, Mentoring and Learning Opportunities

The Role of Faculty in Online MBA Programs: Guidance, Mentoring and Learning Opportunities

02 Feb
Senior female professor addressing her students in an online program.jpg

In an online learning environment, interaction and engagement with faculty members helps students perform better and develop core competencies, including problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.1 Faculty members who are skilled in using digital tools and platforms can make the course content applicable to real-world scenarios and provide hands-on collaborative learning opportunities.2

This post will explore the role of online MBA faculty and how they can help you get the most out of your online MBA program.

Expert Guidance and Support

Today’s students are comfortable learning digitally, with 90% regarding the internet as their primary information source. Because of this, students are more likely to regard professors as guides rather than their sole source of knowledge. Online MBA professors with real-world experience can share practical insights, study resources and strategies to get the most out of their digital learning materials. Online MBA guidance can help students understand complex topics and perform well on evaluations.1

When faculty members are subject matter experts who are active in their fields, they bring practical knowledge to the academic environment, bridging the gap between theory and real-world application.

However, it’s not enough for professors to be established experts. They also need to communicate effectively and be available to students for discussions and to answer questions.

Mentorship for Professional Growth

Many online programs understand the importance of mentorship and integrate it into their curriculum. Mentorship in online MBA programs connects students with alumni, industry leaders and faculty members. This relationship can help you meet specific goals, such as career guidance, networking and skill development, and is an invaluable part of your education.3

Personalized mentorship focuses on individual career goals and professional development. Online MBA mentors can meet with you in one-on-one sessions for advice, including negotiation strategies, industry insights and leadership skills development.3

Facilitating Interactive Learning

The combination of highly qualified instructors and the resources available in the online experience can make for an interactive, immersive education that prepares students for real-world business leadership. To facilitate interactive learning, faculty should offer a combination of various study materials, interactive class discussions and real-time group work.4

Collaboration is central to effective online MBA programs that will prepare you to lead a business and solve today’s complex, global problems. The online MBA academic staff will foster collaborative learning through tools that allow cohorts to brainstorm, create mind maps, engage in joint writing assignments and solve problems together.5

Some online programs provide additional opportunities for interactive learning through in-person residencies. While online learning provides many benefits, including flexibility and convenience, an on-campus residency allows you to meet and interact with faculty and peers in person while applying the skills you’ve learned. This is also a great opportunity to take advantage of networking events and experience a bit of campus life.

Beyond the Virtual Classroom

Online learning shouldn’t mean learning alone. An excellent online MBA program will provide just as much connection and support to students as they would get from an on-campus program. This includes faculty participation in extracurricular events, from casual conversations to networking get-togethers to student clubs.

In addition to your business skills and knowledge, your career development will depend on building your network. There’s no better place to start than with your MBA program. Between your professors, alumni and peers, you’ll be surrounded by some of the brightest minds in business. Faculty support in online MBA programs can help you create connections that will benefit your career for years to come.

Measuring Success Through Faculty

When you’re evaluating an online MBA program, the quality of the faculty should be a top priority. There are several metrics you can use to measure the success of a program through its faculty, including the following:

Graduation Rates and Student Satisfaction

High graduation rates often indicate effective teaching methodologies, comprehensive support systems and a curriculum that resonates with students. Student satisfaction can also help you gauge the quality of the learning experience and the overall effectiveness of the faculty. Satisfied students are more likely to complete their online programs successfully and recommend the MBA program to others.

Employment Outcomes and Alumni Achievements

While graduation rates can tell you a lot about a school’s success rate, ultimately, the end goal of an MBA is to advance your career. Knowing where graduates are employed will give you a good idea of possible career paths. Many online MBA programs will list the notable places their graduates have worked on their web pages. Success stories of alumni, especially in leadership roles or entrepreneurial ventures, reflect well on the program. You can also often find employment rates and average salaries in publications such as U.S. News and World Reports.6

Surveys and Feedback on Faculty Performance

Most classes offer a feedback mechanism for students to rate their professors at the end of the course. These surveys ask questions about various aspects of professors’ teaching ability, course organization and student engagement.7

Your program’s online platform may provide information about teacher evaluations. If you haven’t chosen a program yet, you can look for data in independent ranking organizations such as Poets & Quants.8

Online MBA Courses and Online Teaching Styles

Evaluating online MBA programs based on course listings, touching on both the content of the courses and the structure of the program, can give you insights into whether the program and the faculty expertise will be a good fit for you. Aspects you should consider include:

  • Relevance: Review the course titles and descriptions to see how relevant they are to your career goals and current industry trends. Are there courses that cover cutting-edge topics like digital transformation, data analytics, or sustainability?
  • Curriculum depth and breadth: Analyze the scope of the courses offered by each of the online MBA programs you are considering. Does the program provide a strong foundational knowledge in core areas such as finance, marketing, operations, strategy and leadership? Are there elective courses that allow you to specialize or gain deeper knowledge in specific areas?
  • Faculty expertise: Investigate who teaches the courses. What is their background? Do they have relevant business experience and academic qualifications? Having a diverse faculty with real-world experience can enrich the learning experience
  • Pedagogy and learning styles: Consider how the courses are taught. Does the program use a variety of teaching methods such as lectures, group work, simulations and discussions? How are they adapting the learning experience for an online environment?

These are areas that are great to ask the admissions team about as you consider your options for online programs.

Elevate Your Career With the Faculty of William & Mary’s Online MBA Program

William & Mary’s Online MBA is a top-ranked program due in large part to our expert faculty. They are dedicated to your success not only in class but also in your chosen industry. As an online student, you will get to know your faculty just as well as, if not better than, our residential students. You can and should expect a high level of engagement and communication with each and every professor.

Our MBA faculty members are industry experts who have actively engaged in their respective business fields and work tirelessly to teach immediately relatable and highly actionable content. In a testament to our standards of distinction, The Princeton Review has ranked our professors as the No. 5 Best Business School Professors nationwide.9

Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor today to learn more.