Home' Forge : Vol 1 No 3 Contents 66 // education
that this and the networking
opportunities give students the best
possible experience in an MBA.
I also think that, while students
demand online, they also still like to
have some face-to-face.
‘Having said that, online is not
more personal and personable
experience. We run online that is
of extremely high quality, and is
not just data warehousing but is a
virtual classroom, providing a very
rich experience for students who
are remote or can’t, for whatever
reason, make it to class.
‘I think students demand
information accessibility, and lots of
information. They want to be able
to access information [whenever
they want], in a format that is
best for them, and to meet their
individual learning style. We help
students early on [in their degree] to
understand their learning style, and
that enables them to get the most
from their educational experience.'
Manasantivongs says that the big
focus now at many institutions is
on moving to a ‘blended’ model,
combining online and class
learning. He says getting it right is
the big challenge.
‘One of the benefts of a traditional
in-person MBA is the personal
relationships you build with your
classmates and networking. When
you have an online MBA, the blended
model is a compromise between the
two. You have to give thought to how
you best replicate that. How do you
enhance that with in-person contact
to build a genuine relationship?
‘That’s one of the reasons that
people do an MBA. Certainly,
they want to get the functional
knowledge that they haven’t
been exposed to before, but just
as [important] is getting to know
people who come from other
industries that they may want to
target, or who could be useful later
on in their career when they are
trying to pursue a joint venture, or
move into a certain geography.
‘Many schools that started out with
an online MBA have either added
a blended component, or have
transitioned into a blended MBA.
‘With an online MBA, you have to
give thought to the trade-offs. One of
the benefts of an online MBA is being
able to do it from home; but the trade-
off is that you are not fxed to being in
a class from 9 am until 5 pm.
Vieceli says that studying overseas
is now an important part of the
package, and that MBA schools
provide options to do this.
‘Students realise that gaining
experience overseas is vital.
This can be done via a range of
study tours, projects or programs
with partner universities. In
a global world, students need
to be connected actively in
the marketplace, and to have
a network far beyond their
immediate circle,' he says.
Manasantivongs says that MBS goes
out of its way to facilitate this. All
MBS students are required to do
an international study component.
MBS students can study at one of
MBS's 30 partner business schools,
including London Business School;
the Kellogg School of Management
at Northwestern University
in Illinois; The University of
California, Los Angeles (UCLA);
and the Fuqua School of Business at
The use of practitioners – people
from industry – as opposed to or
in conjunction with academics,
will vary from business school to
Some business schools have gone to
a ‘professors of practice’ model that
involves practitioners who teach in
Vieceli says that Swinburne offers a
mix of academics and practitioners.
‘I believe [that practitioners] deliver
value that, as academics, we
struggle to deliver,’ he says. ‘They
are at the coalface every day, and
they can deliver war stories that
are current – which students adore.
So we have a blend. Academics
provide the academic rigour, and
practitioners come in and provide
what’s happening in business.’
That said, there are limitations.
Practitioners like accountants
might be terrifc at teaching
students how to decipher accounts
and watch out for telltale signs in
a balance sheet, but they might not
be that good at teaching something
like strategic foresight, which
requires academic rigour.
‘Students also need to experience
practitioners, but there is a balance
here,’ says Vieceli. ‘I believe that
practitioners are important, but
so are PhD-qualifed, research-
active academics. It is the balance
that we strive for. Practitioners
provide current practice and war
stories, but academics provide the
academic rigour and theoretical and
conceptual gravitas to the program.'
What's more critical, he says, is
having students mix with others to
create networks. It teaches them to
innovate and build companies.
‘At Swinburne, we mix MBA and
MEI (Master of Entrepreneurship
and Innovation) students,' Vieceli
says. ‘We have ample opportunity for
MBA students to meet and work with
all sorts of other students, including
MEI, MSF (Multicultural Student
Fellowship), MSIP (Master of Social
Links Archive Vol 1 No 2 Vol 1 No 4 Navigation Previous Page Next Page