While there are many Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, not all are created equal. Business schools understand that one size does not always fit all; thus, each MBA program offers different strengths. Not every student learns best in a traditional classroom listening to lectures. Similarly, not every student is right for an online MBA program. There are certain characteristics that make a good online MBA student, and those considering an MBA degree online should consider whether this form of instruction is right for them.


People suited to online study understand that, ultimately, they answer only to themselves. Of course, they have deadlines they must meet, but they know that only they can motivate themselves to complete those tasks. Many online MBA programs allow students to work at their own pace. However, that pace must eventually match the course’s schedule. Fortunately, the discipline pays off. Dr. Donald E. Wetmore of the Productivity Institute contends that “By taking 1 hour per day for independent study, 7 hours per week, 365 hours in a year, one can learn at the rate of a full-time student.” It takes a disciplined student to dedicate their time consistently.

Time Management and Organization

An online MBA program requires a self-directed student who knows how to manage her time effectively. Many online MBA programs offer flexible scheduling, but this means the student must largely budget her own time. Many courses do not have a set meeting time, but students must still stay current on the course materials and meet assignment deadlines. Further, an online MBA program can be rigorous, and for the working student, this means juggling many obligations at once.

An article in the Harvard Business Review describes these challenges: “To address the stress of your workload, assess how well you’re doing in these key areas: planning your workloadprioritizing your workdelegating taskssaying no, and letting go of perfectionism.” A good online MBA student can make progress in these areas and budget her time more effectively.

Work-Education-Life Balance

Working professionals make up the majority of students in online MBA programs. These students are looking to further their education while continuing their careers. As such, students seeking an MBA degree online often face greater demands on their time, including the responsibilities of work, home and education. If these students are unable to balance their obligations, they run the risk of burning out early. The ideal online MBA student can wear many hats and still take care of herself.

An online MBA program is not for everyone, but for some, it provides the flexibility they need to further their education while advancing their careers. Students considering an MBA degree online should think first about their own skills and learning styles to ensure this path is appropriate.

Learn more about the TAMU-CC online MBA program.