Back in the day, students who pursued a MBA were expected to sit in the classroom and soak up the wisdom emanating from the wood-panelled, hallowed grounds where business leaders before them had developed their million-dollar ideas.

But those days are over. As The Economist explored in a 2010 article on distance learning, most professionals are not in the position to step away from the office for an expensive, time-consuming sabbatical and collect their degree.

Distance-learning MBA programs allow students from any geographic region or professional stripe to pursue their degree as they can and at the price point they can afford. And for practicing physicians, these programs present a welcome and accessible opportunity to explore the business side of medicine without overtaxing the wallet and the clock.

As an example, are you living in the Northeast? You can still take advantage of the University of Texas Arlington’s online MBA program, which is ranked as one of the top professionally accredited distance learning MBA programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

Distance learning MBA programs differ widely

But before committing to any MBA program, do some homework. Because not all online MBAs are created equal.

“Opportunities for internships and recruiting are, by and large, far less prominent for the online student,” cautions Stacy Blackman in an article on online MBA programs in U.S. News and World Report. “Many of them also face the added stress of completing challenging course material while trying to maintain their career at the same time, something full-time MBAs usually don’t have to worry about.”

And while distance learning MBAs offer a hard-to-beat convenience factor, it can come with a stiff price tag, writes John A. Byrne in Poets and Quants. The University of North Carolina’s highly regarded Kenan-Flagler Business School now offers an MBA program online. But the cost? About $89,000 per student, which includes books, texts, and student fees, along with the cost of lodging and food for four weekend immersions. While a distance learning MBA from University of Phoenix runs about $12,000 to $38,500 and includes cost per credit, application fee, and books.

Read more about why MBA programs are hot

Next > What is a Master of Business Administration

More > Pros and cons of the MD-MBA

More > Why MBA degrees are popular

More > Where do MD-MBA programs lead?

More > Appeal of the dual degree

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Topics #distance learning MBA #distance MBA #md mba #on line MBA #online mba #physician mba