Online MBAs are all the rage right now and have tons of benefits. They allow you to study from wherever you are and on your schedule. They also give you the opportunity to juggle work, school, and your other obligations.
However, these courses are still very demanding, and in some ways, can be more demanding than traditional MBAs. That’s because they require a lot of discipline since you won’t have the same structure. But you can increase your chances of succeeding if you have the right tools and setup. Let’s take a look at a few essential tech tools for online MBA success.
The Right Computer
Let’s start with the most important tool: a computer. Most people will decide to go with a laptop here, and that’s a good decision. You just have to make sure that it’s powerful enough to handle lectures and everything else you want to do with it.
At the very least, you need a computer with a 2GHz processor. Anything under that will struggle to keep up. Also, make sure to stick to AMD or Intel there. RAM will also be very important. RAM is what allows you to multitask, and the higher the RAM, the more programs you’ll be able to run at once. The minimum here is 4GB, but you can never get enough RAM in our opinion.
Also, you have to make sure you have a reliable internet connection. 1.5 Mbps is the bare minimum but is not very fast. If your connection is below that, you may want to speak with your current provider and see if they have better deals. The router might also be outdated. You can also consider switching suppliers or getting a Wi-Fi booster. This will be particularly important if you’ll be doing most of your work in a room that is far away from the router.
We also suggest you get yourself a nice big monitor, even if you get a laptop. This will make lectures much more immersive and lifelike. 1024×768 should be the minimum for resolution, though we would recommend something in the 1920×1080 range.
Another thing you’ll have to consider is the size of the hard drive. We would suggest that you go with something on the bigger side here. While you could get by with a 64GB hard drive, it would be better if you go for 250GB or more. This will allow you to do much more, like saving hours of video on your device without worrying about space.
Last, but not least, you also have to make sure that you check the battery life. You want a laptop that will allow you to watch at least 3 to 4 hours of streaming video. If you want to start your search, these are some laptops with a great battery life you could consider.
A Portable Charger
We would also suggest that you invest in a laptop charger to supplement your laptop’s battery. You may find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to a power outlet. Or you may have forgotten or didn’t have the chance to charge your laptop before you left. In this case, a good charger will cover you for a few charges.
Here, you want to go with something with at least 20,000mAh of capacity. Something like this would allow you to charge your laptop up to 6 times in some cases. Make sure that it’s compact as well and has many ports if you want to charge multiple devices. Make sure the ports are varied as well.
Noise Cancelling Headphone
This could be your second most useful piece of technology after your computer. If you want to be able to work pretty much anywhere, or if you have a busy house, then these could make all the difference. Also, make sure that you pick headphones with a built-in microphone.
Time Management Tools
We also suggest you start looking at time management tools as well. You have your Trellos and your Evernotes, but we suggest you consider using a few distraction blocking apps as well. If you’re using Chrome, StayFocusd is a great option. It will allow you to block out certain sites for a predetermined time. Freedom and Serene are two other options you could consider.
If you want to know more tricks on how to get your most out of your program and stay focused, we suggest you check out this article. It touches on things like time management and has plenty of tips for students who want to increase their chances of succeeding.
An External Flash Drive
This is another tool you should consider picking up. You’d be surprised at how useful these can be. This is a great tool to have if you intend to use public computers a lot. These will allow you to transfer files to a public printer, for instance. It could also be a lifesaver if the internet is down and you need to retrieve files. It can also be used to backup data or to store lectures for future reference.
The bibliography is the list of references someone used to write a paper or a book. This might seem like a minor detail at first glance, but you don’t want to have to write page after pages of bibliography entries and footnotes manually. Why spend hours trying to format and compile footnotes, bibliographies, and endnotes in your papers when a tool like BibMe or EasyBib could help you properly organize and cite them in minutes?
Many of these apps will also allow you to build a master list of references as you go. This way, all you’ll have to do is drag and drop them into documents when needed. This could end up being a big timesaver.
These are all essential tools you should add to your collection if you want to enjoy your online MBA to the fullest. These will also increase your chances of excelling and getting your credentials as fast as possible.