Time is Money: The Case for Online MBAs

In economics, two of the most important concepts are efficiency and scarcity.  Efficiency refers to a state where every resource is optimally allocated to minimize waste. Scarcity refers to limitations – insufficient resources, goods, or abilities to achieve the desired ends. Figuring out ways to make the best, most efficient use of scarce resources or find alternatives is fundamental to economics. Economics is all about tradeoffs, but when it comes to MBA programs, there are some institutions that make these tradeoffs less costly from a personal perspective.

For most people, time is their most precious commodity. Between family, friends, work, and hobbies, everyone is trying to fit more activity into the same number of hours every day. Despite the growing number of apps and services available to help us save time, we always seem to have less and less of it. Anything optional, such as furthering your education, is often the first thing to be cut or excluded even if something like an MBA degree ultimately helps in the long run.

A traditional full-time MBA program requires students to quit their current jobs and maybe relocate to another city for two years before reentering the workforce. It’s a method that favors the unattached student, and it subtly discriminates against women given that the average MBA student’s age corresponds to the optimal time for women to start a family.

It’s no surprise that MBA programs struggle to get their female enrollment above 25%. It doesn’t take an MBA to figure out that the return on the investment in education doesn’t add up if a woman plans to exit the workforce, even briefly, to start a family. In a recent article for The Wall Street Journal, authors Nikki Waller and Joann S Lublin explored why more women are not present in the upper ranks of corporate America. They found that worries about balancing work and family life rank among the biggest deterrents for women interested in an executive role.