The following post is a guest post by Chase Jenkins. Chase is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. MyCollegesandCareers.com helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online schools they can choose from to reach their goals.
These days, you don’t necessarily need an M.B.A. to create (or improve upon) a successful business enterprise, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. If you don’t want to take away precious time from growing your business, however, an online education is definitely your best bet. Need convincing? Here are a few reasons studying online makes sense for entrepreneurs:
Apply Skills Immediately
If you’re an entrepreneur new to the game, then you’ll need all the help you can get. An online education provides you with an impressive set of credentials that can benefit your business greatly when appealing to investors for monetary support. Banks, venture capitalists, and even grant foundations can look to your training as a symbol of your commitment to your enterprise. And a successfully completed online education shows special commitment and initiative, since it’s an extremely independent activity and there’s limited accountability. Importantly, being that your courses are mobile, you can apply and reinforce your newly minted skills as soon as you finish learning them. (For example: Finished a section in your human relations course during your lunch break? Apply those lessons to that ongoing scuffle between competing employees in the office. Aced that exam on financial planning? Impress your partners with your new lingo in that upcoming conference call. Etc.)
Work From Anywhere
With online degree programs, you can log-in to class from anywhere as long as you’ve got an internet connection. No classes with time-consuming commutes, hours of lecture, or mandated seminars. Traveling will probably account for a significant amount of your time as an entrepreneur, but flying long distances to meet clients and close deals need not cut into your education time — just get yourself to a local Starbucks when you’ve got the time and sign-in, worry free!
Network and Find Mentors
Unlike in traditional university environments, you won’t have to search too hard for your professors in an online setting — it’s their job to be as accessible as possible, since face-to-face time is null. That means instant messages, frequent e-mails, and social networking setups are common — and for the busy, traveling businessperson, that means less time trying to track down teachers via phone or make your way through piles of teaching assistants. Additionally, you’ll make contacts fast with your classmates — other busy entrepreneurs. These are both excellent kinds of alliances to make and will greatly benefit your career in the long run.
Manage Own Assignments
One of the best arguments for attending school online? They give general deadlines for assignments weeks or months before they’re due. There’s no classroom-style test-taking (the tests are usually open book and research-heavy) and usually no specified time and place for meetings — great for entrepreneurs, who often can’t predict the course of their busy days. As long as you log in often, you’ll be able to keep up easily.
Sometimes You Don’t Even Have to Pay
Don’t want to drop $400 on a summer finance class at the local private university? Look no further than the internet. There a number of useful, free online resources that you can use to supplement your real-world training as a business person. For example, MIT’s OpenCourseWare project allows virtual students to take undergraduate and graduate-level courses from their highly-ranked Sloan School of Management (over 50 courses are available). The Financial Management Center offers 20 free courses (that include comprehensive exams) and evaluations for those seeking Continuing Professional Education credits. And the government’s Small Business Association website offers a varied selection short, 30-minute refresher courses for those on the go.
[Editor’s note: For another take on the subject, see the following article: MBA – High Price, High Reward]