How to Get an MBA as a Working Parent


  • Many graduate schools now offer flexible MBA programs with evening and weekend classes.
  • Some part-time MBA programs do not require you to submit GMAT or GRE scores.
  • Many resources exist to support student parents including childcare subsidies and financial aid.

Have you thought about how getting an MBA to further your career but don’t know how to proceed since you work and have a family? Many MBA programs are flexible, geared toward students who need a less expensive option that allows them to work full time and balance family life. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people over the age of 25 with master’s degrees rose 50.2% from 2011-2021, with a large portion of those students being parents.

Here are some practical tips to help you find the right MBA program while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Tips to Balance Work, Parenthood, and MBA Studies

Graduate school can be very demanding, and many MBA students need to work while completing their studies. Traditional MBA programs can be demanding; it may be difficult to balance work with a full-time course load. Throw parenthood into the mix, and you have a considerable challenge.

However, with many new flexible course load options out there, such as an accelerated MBA program, parents can find the perfect program allowing them to balance work and family. Here are five tips to help you prepare for the transition into graduate school.

  • Apply for a part-time program

    When applying, make sure course offerings match your availability. Many business schools offer part-time MBA programs that may suit your schedule
  • Plan financially before enrolling

    Before enrollment, be sure to craft a realistic budget. Factor in the cost of tuition, books, and a possible shift in work hours
  • Enroll in evening or weekend classes

    If you work a traditional 9 to 5, taking evening classes can help you establish a routine and stay on track to completing your MBA. Otherwise, flexible online options may meet your needs
  • Establish boundaries.

    Successful grad students establish clear boundaries between work, home, and school to ensure success. Communicating specific times you are available can help you focus
  • Find your village

    Arrange a team of family and friends to help when you are in a scheduling pinch. Sometimes you may need carpool help or just extra time to study

7 Resources for Working Parents in College

With the significant rise in parents pursuing higher education, there has been an increase in available support. From assistance programs to organizations to time management apps, here are some great ways to set yourself up on the road to success.

Expenses may fluctuate while you’re in grad school, so it is important to track your spending and create a budget. Find an app that allows you to establish a monthly budget based on your income. EveryDollar implements a system to track additional spending to help you avoid overspending and encourage you to meet your short- and long-term financial goals like paying for grad school.

After looking at your budget, you may decide you need additional funds to cover tuition. Options available include scholarships, grants, personal loans, and federal loans. You will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility. Grants and scholarships are optimal as they do not require repayment. Federal loans can be acquired at a low-interest rate.

Many states, like North Carolina, have developed programs providing childcare assistance for parents. Depending on family income, school enrollment, and work requirements, eligible recipients can receive a voucher to offset the cost of childcare. From Texas to Maryland, you can see if you are eligible for this government benefit.

Microsoft OneNote is a great, free note-taking program that can be used across all platforms through a web browser or an app. The program allows you to include audio notes, videos, images, and even attachments. As an added bonus feature, it allows for collaboration with others so you can share notes with classmates.

Cozi is the no. 1 website and mobile app for organizing busy families. Every family member can manage the same schedule through the app and quickly see who has other commitments. Users can also share shopping lists and to-do lists. Student parents may find apps like this easier than traditional digital calendars for helping boost productivity.

After you have selected your MBA program, get to know your college’s available resources. Many universities have free tutors for various subject areas and writing centers to get assistance on papers. You will also want to familiarize yourself with your professor’s office hours and the library’s textbook check-out policy.

Adding grad school to an already delicate work-life balance can bring added stressors. Students need to practice self-care, which includes prioritizing their mental health and talking to someone when they are struggling. Colleges offer mental health services on campus often at a free or reduced rate. You can also use online counseling services like BetterHelp.

MBA Programs That Support Working Parents

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Working professionals will love the design of Kellogg’s part-time MBA program. The program allows students to enroll in evening and weekend classes. You can also either start on a traditional or accelerated track.

NYU Stern School of Business

Stern’s part-time MBA program provides its students with four highly flexible program options. With weekend, Saturday, online/modular, and an accelerated two-year option, grad students have the ability to adjust their pace of completion.

Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, this historically black college (HBCU) provides working professionals and non-traditional students with both a weekday evening and an accelerated online option to pursue an MBA. Students may also apply for a graduate assistantships.

University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Known as Chicago Booth, this business school provides graduate students with two MBA options. The evening program is a good fit for Chicago-area residents, while the weekend program is aimed to recruit professionals from the Chicago area as well as around the country.

Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School

The Flexible MBA program at Johns Hopkins allows you to tailor your academic schedule around your professional and personal obligations. With fully-interactive online courses, you can choose to attend synchronously or asynchronously. GMAT and GRE scores are optional.

University of South Carolina

One of the top-ranked part-time MBA programs, the program uses videoconferencing and live-streaming in real time at eight regional sites. Classes are in the evening and on designated Saturdays with the option to attend remotely as needed.

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