Shaping the Future Online MBA


Tim Landucci, Business School Marketing Consultant, SMRS


The online learning market has grown exponentially in recent years. Now very much established in the market, emerging trends are beginning to take hold of the global online learning landscape. AR and VR are being more widely integrated into online programmes to bring scenarios to life through simulations and virtual experiences. Gamification is starting to be used to not only enhance engagement with learning, but also to provide personalised experience and m-learning (mobile) is being optimised to improve the UX for students accessing online learning from mobile.

Within this context, the role of the Online MBA has changed significantly with blended formats, purely online and location-based options available. The application and admissions criteria is often different and the audience is typically older than for traditional campus-based MBA programmes. Flexibility and variety has become more important and many newer Online MBAs have been designed to provide huge choice and pathways into different areas of specialism, additional courses and Executive Education.

Innovation in this market is clearly moving at pace, but what does this all mean for Online MBAs? There are many questions and a new market-leading research project with SMRS and GMAC, will help to provide the answers.

Our syndicated research study will pull together global business schools offering Online MBAs and focus on the areas that will help to inform online MBA programme development and creation.

The research will help our partner business schools to understand the factors shaping:

• Portfolio development and the type of provision that is most appealing.
• The student journey and the key touch points impacting enrolment
• Where there are opportunities to enhance the learning experience
• What the perceived value of an online MBA is
• How the location and reputation of a business school influences student choice
• The choices employers and recruiters are taking

“We have conducted two large market studies into online learning across subject levels, however, there is very little global market research in the online MBA space, despite the huge importance it plays for many global business schools.

Our research will bring a much-needed international perspective to online MBA study, as well as key insight to support programme development and marketing, and we’ll be uncovering the motivations and expectations of online MBA audiences around the world”, states Tim Landucci, Business School Marketing Consultant at SMRS.

Jason Lawrence, Director, Online Programs at GMAC adds: “GMAC’s vision is “a world where every talented person can benefit from the best business education for them.” We aim to provide candidates with the necessary information to help find the program most suited for them. Likewise, through understanding candidates’ needs and motivations, business schools are best placed to find candidates most suited for their programs, and serve those candidates’ needs.

By undertaking this research, not only will we learn more about the current state of online MBA education, but we will also be able to identify trends and study areas of interest, which may influence graduate management education in the future.”

To find out how you can get involved in this research project, contact: