The University of Maryland's (UMD) Robert H. Smith School of Business will begin offering an online Master of Business Administration degree program in January 2014. Patterned after the school's on-campus MBA, students will start and finish the online program with in-person residencies at UMD's College Park campus. The remainder of the degree is to be completed online, taught by the same faculty that oversees the traditional MBA program, with technology provided by Pearson.
"This is a major step forward for the university and for business professionals who need flexible access to academic excellence," said UMD President Wallace Loh. "The Smith School is combining a state-of-the-art online platform with the academic rigor that makes it a leader. University-wide we are exploring how best to use technology-based learning, and this is an excellent model."
While most of the coursework can be completed on an individual's own time, each class will have two synchronous, hour-long online sessions per week. These will have to be attended at specific times during the day. Once logged in, students will have the ability to interact with both instructors and peers in a virtual classroom.
Students can choose from one of four concentrations within the MBA, including information systems and analytics, accounting, marketing, and finance, or pursue the general track. Curriculum covers a broad range of business topics, such as entrepreneurship, information systems, managerial economics and global economic development. Students can expect to participate in team projects and group discussions that take place online. These projects will involve challenges or opportunities encountered at a real company, and the group will have to work together to come up with possible solutions. Presentations will be conducted online as well.
The goal of the new program is to reach busy adults looking to expand their business expertise. "Different educational formats work best for different kinds of learners -- this program is best for working professionals who can learn within a rigorous, structured program, but more-so on their own time," said G. "Anand" Anandalingam, dean of the Smith School of Business. "The elements that make our MBA degree programs so successful will still be in place with this program, but the key difference will be the level of flexibility."
The online program is designed to be completed in 21 months, and is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Note: At the time of publishing, the information in this article was deemed to be accurate. However, accreditation status can change over time, so please check with the school for the latest information on their accreditation.
"Maryland Smith partners with Pearson for high-tech online MBA," ft.com, June 18, 2013, Adam Palin
"University of Maryland launched online MBA program," bizjournals.com, June 17, 2013, Sarah Gantz
"University of Maryland's Smith School of Business Launches Online MBA Program," rhsmith.umd.edu, June 17, 2013