Open University - MBA

#1

I am currently looking at the various different options available to me when it comes to completing the MBA and am at the moment looking at the Open University. I know there are some negative suggestions on the MBA and whether I’d be better off taking a more scientific masters degree but currently I feel that the Masters in business administration has the best possible opportunities. One issue which I am particularly aware of the fact that it would be best to undertake this Masters whilst working so that I can also put the experience on my CV.
In looking at the Open University I am aware that it is triple accredited (the AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA) and I’m sure that whilst this looks impressive, does it really make a difference to the employers? Has anyone studies at the Open University and did they find that it worked well for them or was it too difficult to remain focussed etc? I have noticed that there are residential courses, did you attend these?
Sorry for all the questions!
N

#2

Okay I may not be very popular with this point of view but I thought I would add my own thoughts to these questions. I must say I’ve always viewed the open University is a bit of an easy option predominantly I guess because there isn’t a lecturer looking at you day in day out. In reality though I would say now that I am coming at it with a bit more maturity that doing the Open University is considerably harder as you have to be self disciplined.
I can’t help but feel however that it is a lot harder to really grasp subjects without the human interaction so it is even more important to partake in weekends or group discussions where possible.
In terms of the quality of work I would say it is as good as any other place but is much more down to the individual students so there will be a lot more variance.
S

#3

Well I am glad to see that Stella has come round to her current thought process. I say that as my wife is studying through OU and I can assure you that it tough, stringently supervised, with excellent student support and camaraderie and great teaching weekends.
My wife, who is Russian, is studying Business, Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility which as you can imagine has a particular resonance in view of her country of origin. The level of studies is exactly that which you would expect of a quality university and as I hold an MBA from a leading USA university I am I suggest well qualified to comment on this. The weekend teaching seminars are fierce and challenging and equal to anything I have seen elsewhere. When it came round to studying statistics in business the OU brought in a specialist teacher, Rev Dr Morgan who is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematicians so there is no holding back on quality.
The question as to whether the degree holds good on status will clearly depend on the employer but my wife is employed by a major conglomerate in the Oil & Gas industries and the MBA is sponsored by them. If they value it then why should others not do so?
You may of course ask why the OU but with constant and irregular trips to Russia and Kazakhstan the flexibility of the study pattern is vital. This I think is the one feature that is underplayed. Working people who are on international assignments will find this university most accepting of their programmes.

#4

Thank you for your opinions! I must say that when I have mentioned the OU to some of my friends they have given the impression that they see it as an easy option (but I will add that none of them come from a position of authority so it is just a general feel). All of my research and by speaking to others who have gone down this route has suggested the OU is actually massively challenging. I am a bit concerned that I will have to really fit it in around my day to day life and this won’t be easy. I am hoping that there are structures in place so that I can talk to others studying the same courses and of course the weekends will be central.
I will let you know how I progress!
N

#5

I was talking yesterday to a OU grad and she substantiates the view that it is b*****y hard work. The self discipline is enormous and the need to balance study with work cannot be underestimated.
She is now taking a Masters at UEA and is finding this so much easier than OU as there are no distractions.
The OU is not an easy option and the comments of Pomponian on his wife’s study are reflective of what I was discussing yesterday.
It is certain that there will be student forums and weekends that will give support and bonding and that can only bode well for any student as they do not wish to feel isolated.

#6

I certainly get the message that open University is by no means an easy option! To think this is down to the fact that it is the open University or is it something that is inherent with distance learning? I’m getting all sorts of distance learning courses will require a large amount of focus as you don’t have the weekly discipline and lectures or whatever else would be used in a more normal learning environment. Over the years, however I think it’s fair to say that the open University has set itself apart from its competitors by being one of the most renowned organisations when it comes to distance learning and I’m guessing this makes it a much tougher course than perhaps the other distance learning providers would offer. Then again, if the standards need to be uniform across professional courses I fail to see how one provider could be much easier than the other.
So what is it that makes open University so much harder than other providers and does this results in the open University being more respected than other distance learning courses or do employers to recognise open University also likely to recognise other distance learning providers.

#7

One of the things that set the OU apart was the fact that some of the tutorials were conducted on TV. The discipline that was needed to watch these programmes at the unearthly hours that they were run added to the individuality of the study programme. What truly sets the OU apart from others is that they are the university that established this type of learning and of course were government backed. There is a lot of history the university and thus this all combines to create individuality. What makes it harder is that the standards are consistently high and that the degree stands out with employers as being well worth while and hard earned. That is not to denigrate other universities, just that expectations are high at OU.
The other issue is that the university only operates on distance learning and thus its reputation is built around that.