Working Moms: Want to Get an MBA? What to Expect & How to Cope

MBA

(Photo Credit: News One)

About 1 million Americans are enrolled in an MBA program, but only around 156,000 graduate with an MBA each year, according to the Digest of Education Statistics.  Professional working moms run into numerous scheduling obstacles when pursuing an MBA, so it’s important to know what to expect and how to create a plan for dealing with the increased demands on your time.

Reasons to Make Time

Students graduating with an MBA from the McCombs School of Business in Texas earn an average of $110,251 a year plus bonuses, the school’s site reports.  Unless you have an arrangement with your employer, an MBA doesn’t automatically come with a pay raise.  A Journal of Education for Business study found that pay for MBA grads increased by 56% within five years of graduation.

MBA vs. Master’s

Unlike traditional master’s programs, MBA programs use rolling enrollment.  You travel through the program with the same group of students, enabling you to develop strong working relationships that come in handy for study groups and projects.  MBA classes concentrate on real-word case studies and hands-on application in addition to traditional studies.  The availability of different types of MBA programs allows you to select from online learning, hybrid courses, weekend classes or part-time studies.

Specific MBA Program Examples

Virginia Tech offers four MBA programs, including full-time, professional, executive and weekend courses.  The executive program runs for 18 months and includes alternating weekend classes in Arlington, Virginia.  Designed for individuals who are already in a company leadership role, the classes require two Fridays and two Saturdays a month in addition to a considerable amount of individual and group work.  The design of the courses minimize time away from the office.

Alliant University’s San Diego MBA program offers students the chance to reduce the number of classes required for a degree if they already have a bachelor’s degree in Business.  The school also provides online learning opportunities and evening classes to accommodate a professional’s work schedule.  You can find other examples of flexible degree programs throughout the country.

Expected Workload

Although you can customize your MBA experience to meet some scheduling needs, no option is likely to be light on workload.  The Chicago Tribune reports that most successful part-time MBA students commit a total of 15 hours each week to class attendance, study, and homework.  MBA students are expected to participate in group projects, write several lengthy papers, conduct research, create business case studies and make presentations.

Balancing Life, Work & Education

It’s not impossible to carve out time for an MBA, but make sure you understand the sacrifice in doing so.  Have a sincere talk with your partner and family about the increased demands on their time, as well as a spelled-out understanding with your employer.  If everybody’s on board and you find the program that best suits your life, go for it.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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