Obtaining a distance-education masters in business administration (MBA) degree is an attractive choice for busy professionals who work full-time. An MBA has been shown to increase potential earnings as well as job security. Harvard University, one of the most respected universities in the world, offers many distance-education classes that business professionals can take advantage of; many use those classes to earn an MBA.

Considerations

While there are institutions, such as the University of Phoenix, that offer an MBA solely through distance education, Harvard University does not yet allow that option. However, there are a number of business courses available through the distance-education program at Harvard that are applicable towards your MBA.

Types

There are several MBA degrees available. According to Business Week, as of 2011, the most popular MBA is in finance followed closely by the MBA in marketing. Your choice of MBA programs largely depends on your personal focus and career path.

Time Frame

Most MBA programs have a set time schedule and this varies with each institution. You will be working largely at your own pace, taking classes when you have the time and inclination. After you have taken the required courses, you will get your degree.

Most MBA programs tell prospective students to allow between 2 and 4 years to earn their degree. This will vary based on how much time you put into your studies. On average, any distance education degree takes as many hours to earn as the same degree would via on campus studies.

Benefits

Earning your MBA through distance education classes allows you to continue to work and further your business career simultaneously. This is especially important in the business world. Networking and making business connections while working are almost as important as obtaining additional education. Because distance education allows you to continue working while earning your MBA, you can continue to make these valuable business connections.

While a distance education MBA may cost less to earn than a traditional degree, that factor depends on the individual institution. However, due to the usefulness of the additional education, many companies provide continuing education incentives to their employees to help defray the costs.

Potential

The Department of Education anticipates that distance education will continue to grow rapidly for the next 5 to 10 years.

MBA programs should keep this pace if not exceed it based on the MBA being both well suited to the distance learning format as well as it allowing the business professional to continue working.