The VCU School of Business Online MBA program recently graduated its first class. In 2017, the university began offering a highly interactive online version of its AACSB-accredited MBA program (ranked 57th by U.S. News & World Report). The two-year program features the same world-class faculty, rigorous curriculum and career management services offered to students on campus but in an online format.
“Our Online MBA program currently has a 93 percent retention rate, and momentum and enrollment continues to grow,” said Robert Clarkson, MBA Program Manager at the VCU School of Business. “Our students have an average of 12 years of work experience for students in the program and 55 percent are women. It’s exciting to get our first cohort over the finish line with such satisfying results.”
VCU created its Online MBA program to offer convenience and value for working professionals, parents with young children, “road warriors,” military personnel and those unable to attend a traditional, on-campus program.
The Online MBA features an innovative learning blend and a market-responsive program that educates students on the most vital business topics of the day like cybersecurity, globalization and innovation. The Class of 2019 consisted of 21 students who particularly valued the program’s weekly synchronous sessions. The collaborative online class uses the latest technology to strengthen engagement with professors and classmates in a way that advances learning and ensures that distant students stay motivated and on track.
The Online MBA program also features three weekend residencies that help students expand their professional network. On the weekend of August 24 and 25, students from all three classes converged on the Richmond campus for their weekend residencies.
Beginning of Year One: The Class of 2021 residency and orientation featured comprehensive training on the latest online learning tools. In addition to being introduced to faculty and staff, the cohort participated in sessions on team building, mindfulness and career development.
Beginning of Year Two: The Class of 2020 returned to campus to engage with one of VCU’s many corporate partners on a challenging corporate social responsibility project.
End of Year Two: The Class of 2019 closed out its Online MBA program with a “hackathon” to research and then present solutions to a strategic dilemma faced by one of the many corporations in Richmond’s thriving business community. The weekend concluded with a graduation reception.
"We are extremely proud of our first graduating class and of our online MBA program. Being a later entrant into the online MBA has allowed us to incorporate best practices from other well-established programs into ours and these outstanding students in our first batch have benefited from that,” said Jayaraman Vijayakumar, associate dean of Graduate Programs at the VCU School of Business. “We are grateful to several schools for their help and willingness to share their experiences. We’re off to a great start offering tremendous value to students with a program that is on par with the best."