Back to School: A Professor's Perspective on the Evening MBA
Like many universities across the nation, Virginia Tech paused all of its in-person graduate classes during the pandemic. This exercise required a reassessment of the graduate program offerings and led to the launch of a fully Online MBA program. In the fall of 2021, in-person learning fully resumed within the Evening MBA program. Today, many professors are reflecting on the impact Covid has had on the Virginia Tech MBA programs over the last few years:
"Covid required all of us to take a step back and reevaluate how we do things and what we value," says Pamplin Professor Dr. Steve Hood. "I believe this resulted in a richer Evening MBA program."
For example, when the university pivoted to virtual learning, professors needed to rethink course content to provide a similarly engaging, collaborative experience online, and students needed new networking opportunities after losing the ability to connect in the hallways or before and after class.
"Now that we're back in person, I can see that students value these collaborative interactions even more," Hood notes.
Online versus Evening MBA
Now, prospective MBA students can choose between the Online MBA program and the Evening MBA.
"Course content and quality are the same," Dr. Hood shares of the two programs. He points out one key difference — student interactions, which are important for building quality friendships and career networking.
“Obviously, the in-person aspect of the Evening MBA makes it more natural for students to interact with other students and faculty."
While networking is different in the online program, Hood notes that it's not impossible. And there are perks to networking within the Online MBA as well.
"One great thing about the Online MBA is that there is a much greater geographical diversity of students, and this brings interesting perspectives and networking opportunities not typically available through the in-person Evening MBA," he says.
Coursework prepares MBA students for real-world situations
Dr. Hood teaches both International Marketing and Marketing Policy and Strategy. He aims to prepare students to apply their classroom learning in the real working world.
"I like to create assignments and projects that require students to internalize theory and models learned in class and apply them in real-life settings," Hood explains. "I think this makes it easier for students to remember key content, and many marketing and management consulting firms use an applied approach in their interviews."
A word for MBA hopefuls
Dr. Hood has two words of advice for anyone who may be on the fence about pursuing an MBA: "Just start!"
"The reality is that it will take some extra time. However, you will gain personal and professional relationships, as well as skills, that in the long run will compensate for any time costs," Hood says. "Think of it as an investment — both personally and professionally."
Read more about the Evening MBA program at Virginia Tech.