27 January 2021

Interview with Francois Thérin

« An online MBA is only a different way to address professional objectives, which provides a high-level of flexibility and a rich experience »

In a context marked by a global pandemic and the emergence of new challenges, the “online MBA” is positioned as a major asset to achieve one’s professional objectives in an innovative way, with a high level of flexibility. The Online MBA developed by Africa Business School is addressed to all those who are willing to acquire new skills through advanced concepts and ways of thinking, in order to help them develop their decision-making skills and adapt to the future challenges of this new complex era.

Insights with Professor François Thérin, Head of Open Programs at Africa Business School.

According to your experience, what are the reasons that drive students to choose an MBA program?
François Thérin: An MBA is the opportunity for learners to update their knowledge and soft skills after a few years in their professional life. It is nowadays necessary to relearn constantly to adjust managerial decisions to the volatile and uncertain business world we are in.
In an MBA program, students can share their experience and learn from their peers. It is also a great opportunity for networking, for now and for the future, including for business or career change.

What are the different types of student profiles applying for MBAs in general and for the Africa Business School in particular?
François Thérin: An MBA generally comes mostly after a few years of practice and in some cases for more experienced managers. There is no more a specific profile. We can have people in their early 30’s or in their 40’s and coming from very different backgrounds and industries. The common characteristic is a certain level of managerial experience, managing people or projects, the willingness to benefit from new insights and to share with peers.

Why has ABS opted for the online MBA and what are the objectives of this program?
François Thérin: The Online MBA has the same learning objectives as any other MBA at ABS: We train creative and autonomous leaders, who embrace complexity, integrating technology and analytics in their management, act as catalyst of learning, innovation and growth, in a socially and ethically responsible framework, adding value to an organization or the society, in Africa and beyond. An online MBA is only a different way to address these objectives, which provides a high-level of flexibility and a rich experience.

Who should participate to this online MBA?
François Thérin: The ABS Online MBA is for professionals who want to do an MBA but think that, because of their location or professional and family commitments, they cannot commit to a specific schedule every week, weekend or month. The profiles of the students are otherwise similar.

What is the benefit of choosing an “online MBA” instead of a traditional MBA?
François Thérin: The ABS Online MBA offers a high level of flexibility, as it is asynchronous and also lots of time to think, reflect, really work in team, for example on our action-learning project. All these activities are much more difficult to fully achieve in a week-end MBA for example.

Some might think that the “quality”, if one can say so, or the “prestige” of the MBA could be “altered” in the case of an online MBA, since face-to-face is often the “best formula for learning”, one might say… What do you think?
François Thérin: This is a « before Covid” question that has become even more irrelevant in 2021. There are studies showing that the learning experience is in fact richer in an online MBA and that, for some types of learners, the level of interactions is higher.

What are the different modules of this ABS online MBA?
François Thérin: The ABS Online MBA is structured around 3 integrative modules, which is really innovative for an MBA, followed by 4 core modules, one action-learning project – another innovative approach for an online MBA, 3 electives and a final dissertation. Through the integrative modules, we are addressing pressing issues for any manager such as the development of a Growth Mindset, How to create sustainable value for the organization or How to manage with and within complexity.

Do you think online MBAs will appeal to students?
François Thérin: This question should not be in the future tense. There are thousands of students already in Online MBAs, some offered by the most recognized business schools in the world and there are many more to come.

Interview with Francois Thérin - Africa Business School