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Upgrad online MBA Program Review: From a Student's Perspective

Updated: Jan 29



Upgrad online MBA Program Review: In today's fast-paced and highly competitive job market, earning a Master's degree in Business administration (MBA) can make a significant impact on one's career growth. The UpGrad’s online MBA programs are a popular option for professionals looking to upgrade their skills and knowledge. But with so many MBA programs available, it can be challenging to choose the right one.


In this blog, let me provide a comprehensive review of the UpGrad MBA program from Deakin University from a student's perspective, covering everything from the curriculum to the course delivery and more. Aim is to help many aspirants make an informed decision about whether this program is the right fit for you and your career goals.


First let us look into the factors to consider, while choosing online MBA programs.


Online MBA Programs: Factors to Consider before joining

  1. Accreditation: Look for a program that is accredited by a reputable organization, such as AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) or EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) or AMBA (Assiciation of MBAs).

  2. Reputation: Consider the reputation of the program, the school offering the program, and the faculty members involved.

  3. Curriculum: Make sure the program covers a comprehensive range of business and management topics that align with your career goals.

  4. Flexibility: Evaluate the flexibility of the program, such as the availability of online or part-time options, to ensure that you can balance your studies with other responsibilities.

  5. Career Services: Look for a program that offers comprehensive career services, such as job placement assistance, resume and interview preparation, and networking opportunities.

  6. Networking Opportunities: Consider the opportunities for networking with other students, alumni, and professionals in the industry.

  7. Cohort Diversity: Consider the diversity of the cohort in terms of background, experience, and perspective.

  8. Cost: Evaluate the cost of the program, including tuition fees, books, and other expenses, to determine if it fits your budget.

  9. Entrance Requirements: Evaluate the entrance requirements of the MBA program, including any standardized tests, such as the GMAT or GRE, and any other prerequisites, such as a bachelor's degree or minimum years of work experience.

  10. Rankings: Check the rankings of the program and the school in reputable sources such as U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times, and The Economist to gain insight into the quality and reputation of the program.

  11. Location: Consider the location of the program and how it will impact your personal and professional life.

  12. International Recognition: If you have plans to work internationally or travel frequently, consider the international recognition and validity of the MBA Degree and the school.

  13. Eligibility for Further Education: If you are interested in pursuing further education, such as a PhD or other advanced degree, consider the eligibility requirements of the MBA program and the school. (Some PhDs don’t accept part time MBA degrees or they require a minimum number of credit points).

  14. Eligibility for Government Jobs: If you aspire to work in the government sector, consider the eligibility of the MBA degree for government jobs.

  15. Credit Transfer and Accreditation: Some programs may allow you to transfer credits from prior coursework, while others may have strict requirements on accreditation. This can impact the length of time it takes to complete the program and the cost of tuition.

  16. Student Reviews: Research the experiences and opinions of current and former students through online reviews, student testimonials, and other sources.

By weighing these factors, you can make an informed decision about which MBA program best suits your needs and career aspirations.

Image Source – Upgrad website

Personal Review of UpGrad MBA program from Deakin University


In the next sections, we will delve deeper into the various aspects of the UpGrad MBA program from Deakin University in a question and answer format. This format will make the information more interactive and easy to read, as well as provide a clear and concise overview of the program.


Why did I choose this MBA course?


MBA has been an aspiration for me since many years. I couldn’t join a MBA course mainly due to the following reasons:

  1. Could not take a break from work to pursue a full-time MBA degree

  2. Amount of time to be spent to crack the entrance exams to get into reputable colleges

  3. Could not find any highly reputed university providing online MBA programs (few years back)

  4. Costs involved to pursue an MBA


I have been closely following Upgrad for 2 years before I decided to enroll in the Deakin MBA program in September 2020. This program is my ideal choice, meeting all my primary requirements:


  1. Highly reputed and accredited universities are aggregated on the Upgrad portal

  2. The costing is considerably less and fits within my budget

  3. No entrance exam to get in, just need to submit experience details.

  4. Highly flexible with number of hours to be spent each week and options to defer

  5. The curriculum of Deakin University Global MBA covering multiple executive topics

  6. Dual degree of PGPM from IMT Ghaziabad and GMBA from Deakin University Australia.

  7. EQUIS Accreditation as I was contemplating to work in Germany.


Upgrad MBA: Deakin University Vs Liverpool University


The first year is common to both the streams where we need to complete the Post Graduate program from IMT Ghaziabad. The second year, we had to pursue with our chosen university either Deakin or Liverpool (currently there are more university options to choose from).


Deakin University Global MBA provided general executive management topics on Business strategy, Design thinking, International Business strategy, Finance Strategy and High performing organizations. However, the offering from Liverpool was into specific streams like HR, Marketing, Finance etc. Since my interest was into executive roles and to be a generic manager rather than deep dive into a specific expertise, I have chosen Deakin GMBA.


With Liverpool University, I have also come across a debate online: Liverpool John Moore’s University (this is what Upgrad is offering) Vs University of Liverpool. I couldn’t get a clarity on what is what and this MBA option was out of my list.


How tough is the online MBA course?


The initial 1 year of PGPM course, we had to spend daily and hour or two or had to reserve more time over the weekend. Every lesson had objective questions and end of module there are objective questions from a HBR case study covering all the concepts. Clearing each of these modules is a milestone every month for all the 11 months. At the end of 5th month, we had a test with both objective and subjective questions. A similar test at the end of 11 months covering the remainder of modules (6 to 11).


Initial 3 months it was a cake walk with the initial enthusiasm, but as days progressed, we had to put in extra efforts to complete all the modules and case studies.


Deakin MBA program was much tougher compared to IMT PGPM. The lessons and concepts were more in depth and the exam format made it quite challenging to balance time between work, family time and academics. Every week up to 15 hours effort is expected. I remember some of our batchmates even applying leave to complete the reports before due dates. Some deferred to other batches and some students from earlier batches have completed along with us.


What is the Course Delivery format for Deakin online MBA Program?

  • Course text content and videos from the university professors

  • Theoretical frameworks and real time case studies

  • Recommended, additional and essential readings

  • Summary pdfs for revision

  • Q&A Online portal for doubts

  • Weekend live classes for course lessons and assignments

  • Weekday live doubt resolution office hours

  • Dedicated student mentor for any other support etc.


Exam Format for Deakin GMBA?


The Global MBA is comprised of 5 distinct courses, each of which is divided into 2 modules. The duration of each module is one month, and it concludes with a homework assignment. This assignment consists of writing a detailed report of 2500 words using the knowledge gained and applying it to a real-world issue statement. You will need to use the ideas that you have learned.


There are a total of ten of these kinds of academic papers that need to be written for the entirety of the class. Each report needs to be supported by academic references and pass a plagiarism check before it can be considered complete. The minimum score required to pass each of them is 50 percent. The culminating assignment and a market simulation would take up the final two months of the course. There is no other examination apart from assignments.


Pros of the Upgrad online MBA Program


1. University Reputation:

The Deakin University has an excellent reputation and ranking. Among the top universities in Australia and acclaimed for online education format, it is highly recognized by employers internationally making it a great investment for career growth.


2. Course Materials:

The course materials are well-organized and provide a comprehensive overview of the subject matter. The course materials are up-to-date and relevant, making them valuable practical application. Each lesson would have test, videos, additional reading materials and a summary.


3. Program Costs:

The program is reasonably priced, especially considering other MBA programs from same universities. As of Jan 2023, the cost of the MBA program without immersion is 5,50,000 INR which is 10 times lesser than the costs of same degree if one pursues from Australia which comes to around INR 60 Lakhs plus. The significant cost reduction is possible because of the program structure. Out of the total program credits, the 1st year PGPM program credits come from the Indian University, IMT Ghaziabad.


The program offers easy emi options, making it more accessible and affordable.


4. Course Flexibility:

The course format allows to balance my education with work and personal responsibilities, making it an ideal fit for my lifestyle. If required students can defer to later batches. New batches start every 3 to 4 months. The course lessons, we can complete at our own pace within a month. Even for the assignment report submission date, it can be submitted up to few days with some penalty each passing day.


5. UpGrad Student Mentors:

This is one of the best things with Upgrad courses. Their support is crucial at moments like setting up an additional one to one session for clarifications, addressing late submission issues, changing the batches, etc The student mentors are knowledgeable, approachable, and always available to provide guidance and support.


6. Report Writing:

This is the most valuable skill I have learnt from this GMBA program. Conducting research and conveying your approach to a given problem statement backed by references. This is a critical skill which will be helpful in business operations at any career level. The program emphasizes the importance of clear and concise communication, which has greatly improved my report writing and presentation skills.


Cons of the Upgrad online MBA Program


1. Program Onboarding:

The onboarding process was confusing and lacked adequate support, making it difficult to get started with the program. The initial 1 month of both PGPM and also the GMBA were a complete chaos. No clarity on when the classes would start, no clear go to persons, etc. Only with the academic instructors helping with admin related queries and support we could get some clarity. Remember couple of students dropping out at the initial phases itself because of the disconnect with students and program onboarding.


2. Too many students:

The program has too many students, making it difficult to get individual attention from the supporting staff. At the start of the program, we had 1 person attending all the queries from 150+ of us. With so many batches and with so many students each batch, in few years every other person might have an MBA from upgrad, where the exclusivity of the Global MBA degree might be lost.


3. Support for Assignment Reports

To address the clarifications for assignments, we had office hours. They were definitely helpful, but in many cases there seems to be a disconnect between what the Deakin university professors recommend, the way instructors in office hours interpret and how the graders expect. This lead to many reevaluations and also has been brought up to upgrad on many occasions.


Sometimes I felt the office hours did more harm than help, especially the ones on design thinking. In the office hours it was told that design thinking is all about creativity and no right or wrong answer. But when we got the grades, it was completely other way, where the graders were expecting precise specific way of report.


4. Evaluation mistakes:

The course delivery is over upgrad portal. Instructors are from the University, but the evaluation and grading happens from Upgrad. Students lives depend on the marks and grades in a degree. But there seemed to be less diligence practiced in evaluation.


There have been multiple mistakes in the evaluations, leading to incorrect grades and confusion. On one occasion the assignment given was for X company, but the grader simply copy passed the remarks from Y company for a group of students. Though upgrad reevaluated all those papers, its very disappointing to see such single point of failures.


The evaluation process is also subjective and inconsistent, making it difficult to gauge performance accurately.


5. Less Networking Opportunities:

The program lacks opportunities for networking and professional development. Maybe for us due o covid there were no physical events, but even virtual there were hardly any. We didn’t even have a watsapp or telegram group to interact with all our batchmates. There was just a one sided telegram channel for announcements. We somehow managed to create an informal watsapp group and added batchmates we knew. But even on the last months of capstone, people were being added to that.


6. Too much push marketing for Immersion Program:

The program constantly pushes the immersion which is optional to the main program. Even declining it, I remember getting 20 plus calls, every time a different person speaking and asking why don’t I opt for immersion. There were hardly any takers, that the immersion program had to be postponed twice.


The disappointing here is that , there is not even a single follow up if we have received or marks cards or certificates on the completion of the program, but got bombarded with immersion program over mails, WhatsApp texts and direct calls.


7. Jobs portal with no relevant jobs:

This is another disappointing area. In two years, I could hardly find any suitable job matching my profile. The jobs portal is not updated frequently and does not offer a wide range of job opportunities. All the jobs shared and which we get over mail are at entry or junior level and not as per our experience. I am into Agile and IT Project Management and somehow, I couldn’t see many openings for these roles. These are the same thoughts resonated by most of us in the batch.


Did the MBA help in my career growth?


Yes and partially No.


Yes, it helped to better my CV with an MBA degree. Many of the managerial job openings have this criterion in the additional requirements. The way how I approach my day-to-day work challenges has considerably changed with a structured approach to problem solving.


Partially No because I did not get any opportunities or growth just because I did this MBA. Nothing directly linked where I can say that I got a promotion or salary increment or new job offer just because of doing this MBA. But it supplemented to whatever I had before.


Big Question: Finally, Is an MBA from UpGrad worth it?


Yes!


The UpGrad online MBA program offers a comprehensive education for individuals looking to advance their careers and enhance their business skills. From its diverse curriculum to its experienced faculty, the program provides a well-rounded educational experience for students. The online format offers flexibility and convenience, making it covinient to pursue.


If you're considering the UpGrad MBA program, we hope this comprehensive review has provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision. And, if you're ready to take the next step, don't forget to use this referral discount code, which offers up to 30,000 INR off the MBA program and up to 80,000 INR off other UpGrad programs PAUL367. Drop a message on programstrategyhq@gmail.com for any further guidance.


Wish you best,

Jacinth

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