The latest technology ensures students are more receptive online when working together to complete assignments BUSINESS SCHOOLS frequently promote the networking opportunities offered through classmates and tutors as one of the most important facets of an MBA programme, but distant learner Tony Lam believes this is, in part, a myth. Mr Lam, a property manager for Hongkong Land, opted to study an MBA in Construction and Real Estate from the College of Estate Management in Reading, England, because it allowed him to plan his life around school work, and not the other way around. He said technology allowed distance learning students to be more receptive online when working together to complete assignments. Students are given contact information of all the students studying locally and around the world. 'There are local sessions with the students twice a year, where the tutors from the school come to teach and an online forum through which students can participate and interact with staff and other students 24/7.' Deciding that property would be his career, Mr Lam said a streamlined MBA provided advantages on an educational and personal level. 'Educationally, you gain more exposure with case studies applicable to your field, and you can put actual theory into practice immediately. 'Personally, you can widen your network of contacts in the industry who can help you, or vice versa with your career within this field.' Also, his decision to gain a British qualification was less to do with its country of origin and more to do with a programme he believed was the best available. 'I had many concerns with taking a distance education programme, but most of them have disappeared. The school provides good quality, up-to-date study materials. The balance of assignments, exams and a dissertation is a well-rounded approach to learning.' Support through numerous online resources and face-to-face sessions with academics and industry professionals made the course stand out from others, he said. On target to complete his studies in time to graduate at the end of this year, Mr Lam anticipates promotion, a salary increase and perhaps new career avenues.