Are You A Candidate For An Online MBA Program?

online-mbaAre You An Ideal Student For An Online MBA Program?

You already have a great job in an organization that you admire and respect.

You’re making good money. You’re still learning new things about yourself and the business on a fairly frequent basis. You have a enviable relationship with your boss and mentor.

You may already be married and have young children.

Still, you look around your organization and notice that the people moving up or out to the best jobs have advanced degrees. Over the long haul, you could be disadvantaged in the race to get ahead. No less important, you know that some formal training in a top flight MBA program would make you a better professional.


If any of this sounds even remotely familiar, you may very well be a candidate for an online MBA program. The most obviously advantage is the flexibility online education provides. You don’t have to quit your job. You don’t have to sacrifice a lot of family time. You don’t have to pick up and move to a campus.

So we asked Doug Shackelford, the associate dean of the MBA@UNC program at Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, what kind of professionals tend to sign up for the online journey.

“The people in our program fall into two categories,” he says. “They know they are at the right age and it’s time to get an MBA but frankly they are doing so well professionally it would be a foolish move. You are 28 and making $200,000 a year and your company is saying you are on the way toward the c-suite. You don’t quit that job. That’s not the time to leave.


“We have people in our program making hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some students are making substantially more than $250,000 a year. But they know full well that they need professional business knowledge. Still, you’re not going to give up that kind of money and take two years off without knowing whether you can get back in at your level.

“In the second group you have people who just don’t want to leave their companies. An Executive MBA would be the right answer for them, but they are road warriors.  They are constant travelers and their professional schedules are not predictable and are out of their control. In an online MBA program, you can take all your classes from hotels. I had one online student who was in ten different places during the ten weeks of my course.”

And then, there are variations on these two themes. “On the personal side, you also could have a person who is part of a working professional couple. You’ve could have a situation where it is a perfect time for one spouse to get an MBA but his partner has a fabulous job. They are not going to move half way across the country so that one spouse has to give up a great job. We have a lot of those.


“And the third group of students we tend to have are those with small children. We have a lot of classes at 9, 10 and 11 at night on the east coast so a good number of our students go to class after the kids go to bed. And the last group is military and ex-pats all around the world and the spouses of military and ex-pats. They are usually trapped in places where they can’t get a job or do much of anything.

“We have in our program a woman in Afghanistan who is with a company that provides support to the military. She told me she read every book that has been written and has seen every movie that has ever been made. She has an engineering degree from MIT, and she’s in her mid-to-late 20s. But she can’t get an MBA from the traditional places while she is working in Afghanistan. She now goes to business classes at our school from that country.”

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