Most prospective MBA students have several years of work experience; in fact, for many schools and programs, having some real-world business acumen is a requirement for admission. But does that have to mean dropping everything in the middle of your career to quit your job, uproot your family, take an apartment in a new city, and hemorrhage money while you go back to school full-time?

Not necessarily. Today, online MBA programs make it possible for adult learners to earn their degrees online, while still staying in their full-time jobs, caring for their families, and paying their bills. But do employers take these online degrees seriously? Yes, they do – many of the nation’s top business schools offer online MBAs, and these programs are just as academically rigorous as traditional brick-and-mortar programs. Not to mention, earning an advanced degree while working full-time and juggling a complex schedule shows initiative and stands as proof of your work ethic.


Online MBA Programs Offer Flexibility

While it’s not impossible for a student to go straight from an undergraduate program into an MBA program, it’s unusual. That’s because most business schools want to admit students with work experience. More than 89 percent of full-time students admitted into MBA programs have some work experience – about four years of it, on average. Students entering executive MBA programs have even more experience – 97 percent of these students have logged more than 13 years in the work force.

But, once you’ve entered the workforce, it can be hard to drop everything and go back to school. That’s where online MBA programs come in. The administrators who run these programs understand that their students have full-time jobs, spouses, families, mortgages, and all the other responsibilities that come with being an adult. Most courses are structured so that students can complete their work according to the demands of their own schedules, so you won’t need to worry about blocking out an hour a day at 2:00 p.m. to attend class. You’ll be able to access the course material at a time that works for you, so you can do your homework on your lunch break, at night after the kids are asleep, or at 4:00 a.m. if you so choose.


Studying Online Can Save You Money

The cost of getting an MBA can easily exceed a quarter million dollars, once you factor in tuition, books, the cost of moving to a new city and taking an apartment close to campus, the costs of transportation to and from campus – and, of course, the opportunity cost of leaving the work force for two years to go back to school full-time.

But when you enroll in an online MBA program, you’ll save most of those costs. You’ll be able to stay in your current home, in your current city, and since you’ll be doing your coursework online, you won’t need to worry about bus fare, gas, parking, or other costs associated with traveling to and from class. You won’t need to uproot the kids or quit your job. You may even save on the cost of tuition – your employer may be willing to reimburse you for it.


You’ll Get the Same Education You’d Get on Campus

Online education no longer carries the same stigma that it once did, now that a growing majority of reputable, accredited schools offer online courses and degrees. When you enroll in an online MBA program, you’ll be taking the same courses, with the same professors, as students who attend classes on campus. You’ll get the same education and the same mentoring opportunities.

You’ll also get the same chance to network with other students in your program – and, because online MBAs attract more international students, you’ll actually have a better shot of networking with a more diverse cohort of up-and-coming business people. Many online MBA programs still give students the chance to network face-to-face through on-campus residencies and immersion study opportunities at universities abroad. You’ll get to know students at all different stages of their careers, from a range of countries around the world, and from diverse industries. At the same time, you’ll get the chance to become proficient in the latest business technologies as you complete assignments and communicate with professors and classmates.

You don’t have to press pause on your career, pull up stakes, and go into suffocating debt in order to earn your MBA. When you enroll in an online program, you can keep your job, stay in your community, and save a lot of money, perhaps even cashing in on your employer’s tuition assistance program. It’s a no-brainer. Start your online MBA applications today.