We all know how to use our networks to keep up with friends and colleagues. Have you ever wondered if social connections could have a positive impact on your online MBA education?


Building communities on Facebook can benefit current and prospective students. Open groups can help prospective students learn what it is like to study in a particular online MBA program and ask questions of others. Meanwhile, closed groups can help students build their own private “classroom” beyond the formal parameters of the education portal.

When interviewed by U.S. News & World Report, Stephen Rapier, assistant professor of marketing at the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management, put it this way: “It kind of supplements the potential loss of not being in the classroom, not having that social aspect.” Students can create a community with or without faculty, depending on their goals for online interactions.


Dialogues occurring via student communities on Facebook and other social media channels can be supplemented with Twitter updates using hashtags. Hashtags attached to specific discussions can help further alert students to important news in micro-bursts of information. (For example: New comments added to shared document, #MKTG681.)

Instant Messaging

Tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, and multiple others provide a mechanism for instant messaging in real time. This allows project partners and newfound friends to share thoughts and ask questions outside the larger classroom. Depending on the app, there may also be the opportunity to arrange video chats among smaller teams.


LinkedIn may be the most valuable of online tools for MBA students because of its position as the leading professional network for job seekers and recruiters. Connecting with fellow students and faculty members can lead to greater visibility. There are also opportunities to follow thought leaders whose work is studied in online MBA curricula.

Keeping your profile up-to-date regarding your online MBA degree is a must. It’s important to add specific courses and skill sets as you gain new knowledge that can be actionable in your current role or with a new employer.

Posting on LinkedIn is another way you can gain visibility with your connections. The more relevant your content, the more frequently you will show up in your followers’ feeds. Joining professional and university-specific LinkedIn groups can also help build your social reputation.

Online Survey Tools

While not a social media channel, online survey tools can help you conduct focus groups and other research within your social communities. There are a number of free apps available to help you gain insights that either support or dispute a particular business stance or professional argument.

Think of all the quizzes and surveys that you and your friends have participated in on Facebook. Asking your network to share their thoughts and opinions is a no-brainer. After all, that’s what social networks are all about.

To learn more about social media and its impact on your online MBA degree, visit Pepperdine University online.