To navigate and thrive in business today, managers have to be able to think strategically, respond to ever-changing circumstances and foresee future challenges. Also essential is an understanding of global business practices, an ability to make informed business decisions and a hunger to continuously improve personal performance.
Our Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) can help you develop all these skills and more, a fact no one appreciates more than course leader Dr. Chris Cramphorn.
Steering the learning of this course, Dr. Cramphorn draws on his own experience developing a successful sustainable management consultancy and advising on best practice and innovation in learning, teaching and research around the world.
Here, Dr. Cramphorn explains why he believes our online MBA is an effective and futureproof route to becoming a more dynamic, insightful and agile business leader:
Tell us a little about the online MBA in your own words.
“Our online MBA gives students a real opportunity to learn while they are still working. This is really important because you can make sure that you are applying your learning straight away, and, as you are still working, you can carry on earning and progressing your career,” he explains.
What do you think is the most important element of the course?
“The most important thing I think is talking to other students, who come from a really diverse range of backgrounds. I think this is absolutely crucial for MBAs - to understand how business works and to have multiple ways of actually seeing the world.”
Dr. Cramphorn continues, “[T]he ability to learn from peers, make friends and understand that there are opportunities outside of existing networks job roles allows our students to push the envelope and say; 'What I would really like to do is X, Y and Z.'”
However, it’s not just about having networking opportunities, as Dr. Cramphorn adds; “[T]he flexibility of being able wrap studying round working and family life is also really important.”
Your module teaches students about using data to inform decision making. Is this understanding becoming more important with the rise of big data?
“Many organisations are ‘data rich and information poor’. They have lots of data but managers don't know what to do with it. So, one of the first tenets of the Business Information and Decision Making module is to ask - What do we really need in terms of data and information to actually make us better decision makers?”
“The ability to use good data to make good decisions is crucial for all organisations. And the amount of information out there that we can use for making decisions, as individuals and organisations, is really important,” Dr Cramphorn adds.
How does having an international student body change the dynamic of the course?
“As we see more development of global supply chains, being exposed to an international cohort is absolutely vital to making you a better manager. Unless you can cope with the differences in culture across the globe, you are not going to be an effective international manager.”
Do you think that having an MBA still makes a difference?
“I think the MBA is still a good qualification to have for two main reasons. Firstly, it’s a high level qualification with a strategic viewpoint about how an organisation should operate. Secondly, it gets you to think about yourself, what you are good at and where you want to go.”
He continues, “[T]hat actually helps you make better decisions about what you want to do and which organisations you want to move to. You are much more passionate about developing good business.”
Is it credible to do the MBA online, and will future employers still hold it in high regard?
“Yes. I think the idea of only being taught in a room with other sets of people is a 20th century perspective. As we see a much more flexible workforce - particularly the rise of generation Z, of millennials – I think we’ll see that the way we educate is going to change over the next few years.”
Dr Cramphorn adds, “[L]ook at the number of different MOOCs we can see, look at the amount of online training - I think online MBAs also fit into that movement.”
What do you enjoy most about teaching the Business Information and Decision Making module?
“I love the student experiences; the stories and ideas they bring which challenge you as a tutor. Some of the stories students tell of their experiences are absolutely vital to making me a better manager in the outside world. Most importantly, it gives me something to think about. When you stop thinking I think that's when you stop innovating,” he explains.
What would you say to someone thinking of doing the online MBA at NTU?
“I would say, if you are unsure, take the risk. MBAs allow us to reflect on what we do, what we're good at and what we're not so good at. They allow us to reimagine ourselves and rebuild ourselves based on what we really want to do.”
“One of the real strengths of our online MBA is the modules, such as the Professional and Leadership Development module, which focuses on personal development. Being self-reflective can often be painful, but it helps you learn more about yourself and the module supports you through the process.”
Do you think the future of post-graduate degrees will be online?
“I think there still needs to be space for people to come in and learn on campus, partly because it allows you to interact with people. But as we see the rise of more online training and inductions across different areas, I think online learning is here to stay.”
He concludes; “I think more and more really good quality learning that can be applied to real-world business will be carried out through an online environment, alongside a demanding career.”
To find out more about our online MBA and how it could help you get ahead in business, take a look at our course pages or get in touch using the online request form.