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Learn while you earn: How blended learning lets you pursue an education and career

Learn While You Earn
  •  Author: USB
  • Jul 23 2018


As a working adult who has completed your initial studies and who is now balancing work and family responsibilities, finding the time to build your career through postgraduate studies can be daunting. Yet, building your business management competencies is often essential to achieve your goals.

With this in mind, what are the different types of academic programmes that you can pursue? And how suitable are they for time-poor individuals? There are a number of formats to cater for the circumstances and preferences of such students:

Full-time learning

Full-time learning will allow you to focus on your studies and to complete it in the shortest amount of time. This makes it ideal for career-switchers – those who would like to prepare themselves for a new career by setting the time aside to acquire the new skills they need.

Full-time programmes are therefore a great option for individuals who want to immerse themselves in their studies without the stress associated with working a full-time job. This type of learning also offers additional benefits, such as better social cohesion within the class set-up and better use of speaker and networking events on campus.

Modular learning

Modular learning is a type of part-time study. Classes are offered in modular fashion, which means in blocks of on-campus classes spread over time. If a one-year postgraduate diploma is offered in four modular blocks, you only have to travel to the campus four times a year. Depending on the programme, you may have to attend short blocks, which are typically one week each, or long blocks, which are typically two weeks each.

One of the major benefits of the modular format is that it allows you to study while you work, since arrangements can be made to take leave for the modular blocks. It also allows those further away from the campus to attend because they only have to travel to the campus a few times a year.

While this format offers more flexibility than full-time programmes, it may not meet the needs of all individuals who want to study while they are working.

Blended learning

Blended learning, sometimes referred to as hybrid learning, is another part-time learning format. Where modular learning still requires you to attend classes on campus and in person, blended learning combines e-learning technology and methods with traditional classroom learning practices to create a hybrid way of learning.

This means you can choose to attend the class on campus or via any internet-linked device from anywhere in the world. The online option is delivered synchronously with the on-campus option. Those who follow the classes via an internet-linked device, can also ask questions and interact with the class.

Programmes offered in blended learning format are usually presented in sessions of around four hours each, once every week. This holds the following benefits for students:

● Access from anywhere in the world
● Minimum time away from work
● Lower opportunity cost to acquire a qualification as they only have to travel to campus once or twice (depending on how the programme is structured).

Students opting for programmes offered in modular or blended learning formats can immediately apply their newly acquired skills in their workplace.

USB’s blended learning options

At USB, we offer a number of blended learning courses. These include the MBA (generalist option) and the MBA streams in Health Care Leadership (MBA HCL) and in Managing International Organisations (MBA MIO). You can also complete the Postgraduate Diploma BMA and MPhil in Futures Studies programmes through the blended learning format. Find out more about these blended learning programmes below:

MBA in blended learning format

This generalist MBA is suited for managers, specialists and entrepreneurs interested in gaining the skills for senior leadership and management positions. This programme will help you to develop expert decision making skills, leadership competencies and the strategic skills you need for these roles.

The blended learning generalist MBA runs over two years. During the first year, students are required to attend a single block of classes on campus, after which they attend weekly classes either on campus or online (via any internet-linked device). In the second year, there are two on-campus blocks that are compulsory.

This format allows you to continue working while you study, and to start implementing the skills as you acquire them. This format requires the minimum time away from work.

For more details on this course, you can access our website and download the course brochure.

MBA in Health Care Leadership in blended learning format

Healthcare workers such as general practitioners, clinicians, managers and senior nurses who want to take up leadership and management roles in the public or private healthcare industry should consider USB’s two-year MBA in Health Care Leadership (MBA HCL). The MBA HCL covers all the functional areas of management while giving you a contextual understanding of the principles of clinical governance and current health care reform initiatives such as National Health Insurance, the policy landscape and more. The stream-specific modules and electives focus on, among others, the challenges of finance and funding in health care reforms.

In Year 1, MBA HCL students start off with either the modular MBA (on-campus study blocks of one week each) or the blended learning MBA (weekly evening classes on campus or online). During their specialisation year, which is Year 2, MBA HCL students attend one on-campus block (one week) at the beginning of the year, followed by blended learning classes on Wednesdays (16:00 – 20:20) and one on-campus electives block towards the end of the year.

For more details on this course, you can access our website and download the course brochure.

MBA in Managing International Organisations in blended learning format

USB has partnered with the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) to co-design an MBA with modules focusing on the management for international organisations (MBA MIO). This two-year MBA has been designed to meet the needs of those already employed in international organisations, or those who are interested in expanding their ability to engage with organisations on a global level. The MBA MIO will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to successfully manage in a complex global environment.

During the first year you will follow the core MBA modules. You can start off with the modular MBA (on-campus study blocks of one week each) or blended learning MBA (weekly evening classes on campus or online). The stream-specific MIO modules are presented during the second year (blended learning, i.e. weekly evening classes on campus or online). These modules are co-delivered by senior UN leaders. You will, among others, learn about leadership in international organisations, finance for development and international ethics.

For more details on this course, you can access our website and download the course brochure.

PGDip in Futures Studies in blended learning format

The one-year PGDip in Futures Studies is about learning the skills of strategic long-term planning. This is a vital role in any organisation looking for solutions to help them achieve their long-term goals.

This blended learning course consists of one on-campus block, which runs over three days in late January. Classes then take place on Tuesday evenings for the remainder of the year. As with USB’s other blended learning courses, students can attend lectures on campus or online.

For more details on this course, you can access our website and download the course brochure.

MPhil in Futures Studies in blended learning format

The two-year MPhil in Futures Studies builds on the PGDip in Futures Studies and will significantly deepen the knowledge and skills you need to draw up long-term strategies and to design the ideal future for your organisation. This will enable you to spot opportunities ahead of your competitors and to mitigate risks. You will learn about consultation, project management, stakeholder analysis, and scenario and strategic planning.

During the first year you will be required to complete five core modules. These lectures can be attended on campus or online. The second year you need to complete a research assignment.

For more details on this course, you can access our website and download the course brochure.

PGDip BMA in blended learning format

The PGDip BMA teaches general management skills – such as financial, operational and people management skills – that can be applied in any company in any industry. It has a strong focus on entrepreneurship and technology for the modern work environment, which makes it the ideal start-your-own-business programme.

This one-year course has an initial on-campus block at the beginning of the year, after which students are required to attend weekly classes on campus or online (blended learning). A final block covers the electives at the end of the academic year.

For more details on this course, you can access our website and download the course brochure.

These are the blended learning options that you can pursue at USB. If you’d like to find out more about our modular or full-time academic programmes, please take a look at the complete list of courses on offer at USB.

Here’s more info about our Postgraduate Leadership Diploma

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