Home Media SCU Leavey Blog Faculty in Online MBA Programs: Qualifications, Teaching Styles, and Student Support

Faculty in Online MBA Programs: Qualifications, Teaching Styles, and Student Support

12 Jun
Faculty teaching an SCU class

The right online MBA program gives you the opportunity to learn from exceptional faculty. Whether you’re looking to start a new company or move up the corporate ladder, the business acumen, leadership skills and problem-solving abilities you gain in graduate school will define what you’re capable of accomplishing professionally. Selecting the program that offers the best possible educational opportunities is essential.

An exceptional online MBA program will offer an education no less valuable than one gained on campus. It’s important to choose a program led by experienced faculty who know how to drive students’ success. Excellent online MBA professors are equipped to motivate students and make the material engaging—even as students learn on their own time rather than interacting with a group during instructional sessions.1 Faculty with a diverse range of backgrounds and experience can offer challenging, enriching educational experiences.

Regardless of whether an MBA program is on campus or online, the faculty's role in student success is crucial. A savvy educator will vary his/her/their teaching method—making transitions from lecture style to demonstrator style to coach style, and so on—to increase student engagement, impart deeper understanding of course material, and accommodate different styles of learning that help students thrive. According to a survey of students at two-year and four-year institutions, as reported by Inside Higher Ed in 2023, it’s important that faculty foster a productive educational experience by adapting to student needs and expectations.2

Read on to learn about what to look for in your online MBA faculty, such as the necessary qualifications, accessibility, and level of student support.

Qualifications of Online MBA Faculty

Online MBA faculty qualifications can give you clues about what to expect from the program. Look for faculty with education and experience that relate to your interests and career aspirations. Note where each professor studied and what each one has accomplished professionally. In reviewing each program, ask yourself, “Do I want to learn these subjects from these people?” When the answer to that question is a strong Yes, you’ll have taken a big step toward finding the program you want.

In business school, it can be an invaluable asset to learn from faculty who have practical experience. They have lived through professional challenges that textbooks and case studies only touch on. They can use their hard-earned insights and innovative problem-solving tools to illustrate complex material. Further, experienced faculty members are likely to have a broad network of colleagues in the industry: potential guest speakers—and possible future employers—who can enrich the course material and your online MBA experience in unique and lasting ways.

The MBA faculty in the Leavey School of Business are seasoned veterans of the highly competitive, rapidly evolving environment that is Silicon Valley.

Program Formats and Methodologies

Many online MBA programs offer asynchronous instruction, in which a professor records lectures and posts class materials online for students to access when they wish.3 With this type of course delivery, you may interact with other students through message boards or online groups. One of the many benefits of asynchronous learning is that it’s flexible, enabling you to complete coursework at your convenience. Since the material is pre-recorded, you can also speed it up, slow it down, and repeat sections as often as you need to absorb the material.4

Other programs offer synchronous instruction in which all students attend online classes and have discussions at the same time. Synchronous learning gives you a chance to ask questions, receive answers, have lively discussions with fellow students, and access multiple viewpoints on the subject matter in real time.5

However the courses offered in online MBA programs are presented, look for a program with engaging, interactive learning opportunities: tools such as simulations, case studies, internships and other experiences that help you connect with and retain the course material. These tools enhance the learning process by teaching you how to apply what you’re learning in real-world situations.6 Whether you're on campus or in an online learning environment, experiential learning broadens your critical thinking skills and helps you learn how to evaluate business situations from multiple angles.

Student Support and Engagement

To offer an educational experience on par with on-campus learning, it’s important for faculty to be accessible. Online MBA student support is often comparable to what you would experience on campus. Faculty members in the best online MBA programs are responsive and available when students have questions or need help outside class time.7

As a prospective online MBA student, you can gauge faculty members’ availability by looking to see if they post their office hours and procedures for virtual consultations. Ask if they provide one-on-one guidance and mentoring beyond office hours to help students develop communication, decision-making, conflict resolution and other leadership skills. Find out if they provide feedback and guidance on assignments in a timely manner. If a faculty member lacks availability, student education can suffer.

Collaboration and Networking Opportunities

Peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration is a hallmark of a high-quality online MBA program. In your career, you will interact with multiple people every day, and collaborating in an MBA program nurtures the skills for doing this well.

When researching online MBA programs, investigate whether various faculty members assign group projects and encourage students to engage with one another. Because online classes are often smaller than in-person classes, they can help you hone your communication skills.8 Frequent interaction with the same people helps you recognize different communication styles. You can learn, for example, to assess how your peers change their tone when they’re frustrated or how they present ideas when they’re not fully confident about them. Working with the same group of people also helps you develop the ability to disagree respectfully and collaborate with people whose viewpoints differ from yours. Read through the program’s curriculum or talk to alumni to determine how much you will be able to collaborate with your peers throughout your online MBA program.

Strong online MBA programs also offer varied networking opportunities that help you build connections with students, program alumni, and other university-affiliated professionals in your field. In addition to online and in-person events, look for student organizations to join, newsletters and other publications that can help you stay informed about changes and opportunities in the industry, and skill-building events at which you can work with innovative business owners, executives, and corporate consultants.

Continuous Improvement and Feedback Mechanisms

Wherever you land in the business world, you will be required to develop metrics and measure outcomes to guide your success. You should expect the same from your online MBA professors. When researching programs, consider how each school evaluates its faculty for effectiveness.

A reputable program will take students' feedback into account and work to keep improving their experience. Some online programs use algorithms to analyze student facial expressions and discussion comments to assess faculty performance in real time.9 Research how the school uses feedback to make beneficial changes to its course materials or teaching styles.

To become the best, learn from the best.

Choose the authority-led, experience-based, career-defining MBA program that aligns with your ambitions.

The acclaimed Online MBA program from the Leavey School of Business features a robust curriculum designed to create Silicon Valley Professionals. You’ll gain skill, connections, and experience through collaboration with your cohort and new relationships with alumni leaders and the seasoned industry veterans of our prestigious faculty.

Pursue a broad-based MBA or complete a concentration in data science and business analytics, marketing, finance, entrepreneurship and new ventures, or leading innovative organizations. Each option provides the benefits of online learning: You can study from anywhere, on your schedule, without interrupting your professional or personal commitments.

With one choice, you can shape your career and your future. Start by scheduling a call with an admissions outreach advisor today.