Make the Most of Your Online MBA Program

online mba student

Once you've decided to enroll in an online MBA program, how do you stay on course if life gets in the way?

People enter MBA programs for different reasons. Two of the most-cited reasons for entering an online MBA program are better salary—salaries can grow 50 percent or more after earning an MBA degree, according to the Graduate Management Admissions Council—and more rapid career advancement.

The other pluses to getting an online MBA degree are well-documented: 

  • You'll also acquire the skills to manage any sort of business activity, from accounting to marketing, and to take on all sorts of new roles and responsibilities.
     
  • You'll grow as an employee—just as you'll contribute to your company's growth.
     
  • You'll have the flexibility of taking courses from home and choosing classes that fit into a job, family or social schedule. And you can study at any time of the day or night, and work for as long or little as you like.  
  • Don't forget you'll save time—and money—because you won't have a lengthy commute to campus and you won't need to pay for parking or gas.

Online MBA programs have been heralded as the way to go for working professionals, busy moms and people with generally demanding schedules. And it's true, earning an MBA online can be the perfect alternative to a traditional classroom program. An accredited online MBA program delivers the same high-quality education and practical training as an on-campus MBA program.

But what about that "real life" issue?

Tips for Success

Because you never know when some unexpected curveball may be thrown, make sure you have a plan that will keep you grounded during your studies. Knowing you have things squared away at home and school will help you stay on top of your workload, especially if you or a family member becomes ill, or you have to work an extra shift. Here are some things you can do in advance to prepare for earning your online MBA:

  • Set a realistic schedule, complete with small, achievable goals.
     
  • Get to know your online instructor. A good instructor will tailor your online experience to match your goals and interests. 
     
  • Find an online student friend. Having another online classmate you can confer with about class assignments and expectations will help alleviate the stress of a rigorous online MBA program. You can chat online—via email, text messaging, Instant Messenger or a social community like Twitter. 
     
  • Establish realistic boundaries and communicate with family, friends and co-workers. When you study at home, it's easy for people to forget that you're actually working. Make sure there's a mutually respectful agreement in place over common places, responsibilities, obligations and schedules.

Most important, keep your eye on the big picture. Remember, you won't be a student forever. You're working toward a goal that will change your life and help to ensure your future success. Though juggling an online MBA program with a job and family might seem daunting at times, pursuing the kind of career fulfillment that offers greater challenges and greater rewards takes an investment of hard work and dedication—an investment that will pay handsome dividends when you finally earn that MBA degree.