There is no doubt that earning an MBA is beneficial to your career. But if you are like many professionals, you'd love to go back to school, although you aren't sure that you have enough time. Balancing a full-time career with your family and personal responsibilities keeps you plenty busy as it is—the idea of adding classes, reading and homework to the mix feels like an impossible task.
Or is it? For many professionals, online MBA programs offer enough flexibility that they can build the knowledge and experience to get ahead in their careers without sacrificing their sanity. The idea of an "MBA anywhere" has become mainstream, with most employers no longer concerned about distinctions between online and on-ground programs. The result is that thousands of accomplished professionals have been able to achieve their dreams of an advanced business degree, thanks to the flexibility of online learning.
Barriers to Enrolling in MBA Programs
The time factor is one of the most oft-cited reasons for a reluctance to work toward an MBA. Not only do you need to balance all your responsibilities, but working professionals are typically limited to classes held at night and on weekends, which can present scheduling challenges and barriers—and it leaves little time outside of work for completing coursework. However, the simple fact that more than 90 percent of online MBA students work while completing their degrees is powerful evidence that the flexibility of the programs is attractive to working professionals.1
Location is another common barrier to an MBA degree. Unless you live in an area where you can easily attend on-campus classes—assuming there is even a competitive MBA program available in your area—taking classes can be difficult, if not impossible. For most people, commuting long distances isn't practical, nor is relocating closer to campus. Online coursework can be accessed and completed anywhere—even if you live in a rural area or a significant distance from the closest campus—removing location from the equation entirely.
Finally, some people have concerns about their ability to fit in with other students. If you have a few years of work experience under your belt, you might be afraid that the age difference between you and your peers will make it difficult to relate to each other. Research shows that the typical online MBA student is older than their on-campus counterparts. The average age of an enrolling MBA online student is 33, as opposed to 27 years old for on-campus students.1 And because online programs attract students from a variety of demographics, geographic areas, and industries, the diversity of experience will only enhance your learning.
The Benefits of Online Programs
Much of the online MBA flexibility comes from the way that the curriculum is delivered. Unlike traditional courses, in which students attend class during a defined period, online courses are asynchronous. This means that you can access your course modules at any time, from wherever you happen to be. That means you can watch a lecture video during your lunch hour at work, and participate in a discussion from home after dinner. Instructors will set timeframes and deadlines for completing tasks, and you may occasionally have scheduled discussions or live broadcast lectures, but in general, the online platform allows you to attend class and complete your work on your schedule.
The William & Mary Online MBA program even offers the W&M Connect mobile app, so students can easily access their courses literally from wherever they happen to be. It's this "MBA Anywhere" approach that make the online MBA the most flexible option for working professionals who want to make the most of their time.
The William & Mary Difference
When it comes to providing maximum online MBA flexibility, the William & Mary Online MBA is difficult to beat. Students typically take one course at a time (six per year), which lasts about 7.5 weeks, meaning you won't be juggling a full course load on top of work and family, but instead have a defined period of intensive study in each subject area. The online classroom environment offers a rich multimedia experience that allows you to fully engage with your peers and instructors, while accessing the learning modules and assignments on your schedule. You'll stay organized thanks to the user-friendly home page, which clearly highlights the week's objectives and the tasks you need to complete.
However, because building your network benefits from face-to-face interaction, your MBA curriculum also includes a residency weekend. You will spend one weekend during your two-year program on William & Mary's campus in Williamsburg, networking with your peers and instructors, and attending workshops, discussions and panels on topics relevant to your learning. These residencies are offered twice per year, allowing you the flexibility to choose when you visit campus.
The flexibility of online education is one of the major reasons that it's become a popular option for students at all levels, in all programs. For a busy professional who wants a program that fits their life, William & Mary's Online MBA offers a top-notch, future-focused education with the flexibility to fit into your schedule.
1Retrieved on January 30, 2018, from usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/articles/2017-05-23/us-news-data-the-average-online-mba-student