Universities are more flexible

Even before the recent outbreak of COVID-19, an increasing number of universities began integrating online learning. Lockdowns have only accelerated this process, which will eventually make higher education more accessible than ever before. Online learning means you can access educational resources from practically anywhere with a wifi connection.

Moreover, online learning tends to be much more flexible. For example,  teachers can upload pre-recorded lectures, letting students study at a time that suits them. This opens up a huge amount of educational opportunities for those for whom traditional university courses are out of reach. These include mature students, working parents, professionals looking to push their careers forward, and young people living in different time zones or developing nations.

And while some governments are already talking about a possible COVID vaccine in time for the spring, online learning is here for the long haul. Mark McCormack, senior director of analytics and research at Educause, tells EdScoop, "Institutions have discovered new ways of doing things. Whether that's course delivery or how they offer their student services, it will continue in a post-pandemic world. They won't want to go back to those old ways."

Online classes help students find success

Forbes recently published an article titled Online Education: From Good To Better To Best? It looked at research comparing educational outcomes for classroom-based learners and those studying online, and showed how online students outperform those enrolled in traditional degrees.

Similar trends are occurring in US law schools. The first time pass rate for online learners taking California's First Year Student Law Exam (FYSLE) was 34.8%. The figure for classroom-based learners was just 17.1%.

So why are online learners doing so well? Again, it appears to come down to flexibility. In other words, students who have the opportunity to take charge of their learning seem to learn more effectively.

This is certainly the case for Brandon Busteed, President of University Partners and Global Head of Learn-Work Innovation at Kaplan. He says, "I experienced this when I completed an online business program. As a busy executive, I was able to access lecture portions from my iPhone while sitting on a plane and do my coursework on a Saturday morning. It was as good an experience as I've had in traditional classrooms – it met me where I am in my career and life."

Business degrees are always valuable

At times of crises, the world needs new leaders. And graduates with a solid business degree are well-positioned to help us overcome current challenges, as well as whatever comes our way in the future. Many business schools have already incorporated COVID-related content into their courses. Students are seeing how economic disruption can create winners, such as Zoom, and losers.

More importantly,  these graduates can truly appreciate the value of innovation and adaptability -- two things every successful business thrives on, whatever the circumstances. "The impact of COVID has been so significant that the lessons learned are just beginning to become evident and will likely evolve for years to come," professor Rebecca Krysiak tells U.S. News & World Report. "But we don't want to produce MBA graduates that are only good at crisis management. We want to help them develop broader skills such as innovation. While change may occur much more quickly in times of crisis, it is constant in business."

You don’t have to put your future on hold

Right now much of our lives are on hold. Many career plans, personal goals, or academic ambitions are on pause mode until the pandemic ends. In fact, the U.S. State Department recently halted routine student visa services, and it's not unclear when the suspension will end.

Online students have some huge advantages -- they can learn from anywhere and at any time. It means international students can still access world-class educational services and benefit from the life-changing opportunities that can follow. “[Online learning] is an advantage for international MBA students,” says business professor Gregory Prastacos. "[They] can continue to work in their home countries and start their graduate education during future semesters." So if you're fed up with waiting for the world to start turning at full speed again, then online learning is an excellent option.

ESCP Business School

As the world's oldest business school, ESCP has spent the last 200 years producing highly-educated business leaders and entrepreneurs. Much of ESCP’s success is due to its willingness to innovate, embrace change, and meet its students’ changing demands. That's why ESCP now offers a range of hybrid business courses, as well as 100% online and flexible business school programs fit for the 21st century. These innovative programs are available to international students worldwide, including those in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the USA, and the United Arab Emirates.

ESCP is an excellent place to launch your career. It's also the perfect stepping stone for professionals looking to climb the corporate ladder. The Online Executive Master in International Business (EMIB) was specially designed for business professionals who want to develop additional skills to succeed in today’s increasingly globalized and competitive markets.

This course is taught 100% online in English or French -- two of the world's most popular business languages. Students take nine core modules, including strategy, digital marketing, and cross-cultural management. They also get the chance to tailor the course to their specific career goals through elected modules, like operations management and financial management. And there's the chance to learn about one of the 21st century's fastest-growing sectors: big data and business analytics.

Communication adviser Margaux Chauve was looking for the opportunity to learn new skills without taking a career break -- and that's exactly what she found with the EMIB program. "I wanted to make sure I could still focus on my career [while studying], keeping lots of flexibility," explains Margaux. "The added value of the EMIB program was big. I can now evolve in the company I'm working for in lots of different fields." And Margaux's success story is just one of many...

In the Financial Times' Executive MBA 2020 rankings, ESCP was the number one school based on career progression, with 78% of graduates expecting to increase their salary after completing the course. "Counting ESCP among the Top Executive MBAs worldwide is an incredible achievement for our community, declares ESCP dean Frank Bournois. "It is their unparalleled passion that has allowed EMBA to flourish and provide tangible value to our students."

The Online Executive Master in International Business (EMIB) is now accepting applications. The next intake is January 11, 2021, and anyone who confirms their inscription by November 30 can take advantage of the 15% Early Bird offer with a promo code EMIB_Keystone_2020!

Article written in association with ESCP Business School.