A requirement of most MBA programs is that students have both an undergraduate degree and work experience, typically three to five years in the industry. Therefore, most MBA students are in their late 20s, the average age for full-time MBA students in the U.S. is about 28 years. Due to the timing of when students pursue an MBA, many students have spouses and/or children while enrolled in an MBA program.
While it is fairly common to have children while pursuing a graduate degree, it can be tricky for parents to juggle family-life with school. In order to help student-parents succeed academically and fulfill their responsibilities at home, many universities offer parent support groups, day-care services, and flexible schedule options. Peterson’s rounds up 20 of the best MBA programs for parents in terms of the support the university offers to student-parents.
1. Boston College, Carroll School of Management
Childcare options: The Boston College Children’s Center provides a preschool classes to children two years and nine months old to five years old.
Class flexibility: Full-time and part-time MBA options, as well as evening, online, and hybrid classes.
Other resources: The Students with Kids student group offers a support system for student parents.
Advice from Bryan, a student-parent:
“Make sure you have a good plan for who is going to do what. When we had our son in daycare, we always knew our roles, what the other person was doing, and when something came up, we could work with each other to find a solution. Figure out what works for you and your spouse when it comes to responsibilities. Prepping dinner and vice-versa, figuring out what works best for your situation, etc.” — Bryan, Full-Time MBA Student, married with a son.
2. University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business
Childcare options: The University of Iowa offers connections to ten campus connected childcare centers. There are also options for back-up childcare, spring break children’s camps, and summer children’s camps. Free childcare is available for student parents during their exams.
Class flexibility: The University of Iowa offers an online MBA program.
Other resources: The Childcare Subsidy Program offers financial aid to students with children, and lactation rooms are available around campus.
3. Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business
Childcare options: ASU offers on and off-campus childcare options. Financial assistance is also offered for families in need.
Class flexibility: The Flex MBA program allows you to earn your degree in two to four years through a combination of evening and online classes. Fully online courses are also available.
Other resources: The Breastfeeding Support Committee works to make breastfeeding more available and comfortable for mothers on-campus. Currently, there are six designated spaces for breastfeeding.
4. Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business
Childcare options: The Cyert Center for Early Education provides day care and early education at two on-campus locations.
Class flexibility: A part-time online hybrid program is available, which allows for mainly online classes. Access weekends allow students to connect with classmates and faculty face-to-face. The part-time flex program is also available for students to combine both online and on-campus classes.
Other resources: There are 10 lactation rooms on campus available for breastfeeding mothers. There are also organizations such as the GSA Partner and Family Group and the GSA Parent Group to help student parents connect.
5. Harvard University, Harvard Business School
Childcare options: Soldiers Field Park Children’s Center is located on-campus and provides care for children two months to five years old.
Class flexibility: Online classes are available for MBA students.
Other resources: There are two breastfeeding support rooms for mothers to use, as well as The Crimson Parents student club, which hosts events.
“The Crimson Parents is a great group of students and their partners. It is a wonderful resource should you choose to live on campus, particularly if you have a partner who will be at home during the week with your little one.” — Katie Colgary, Harvard Business School student, married with a son.
6. University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management
Childcare options: The UCLA Early Care and Education center provides childcare to staff and students. Graduate students may qualify for childcare reimbursement through the childcare reimbursement program.
Class flexibility: Only four campus visits per quarter are required when participating in the FEMBA Flex Program at UCLA. Otherwise, students can earn the MBA almost entirely online.
Other resources: The Students with Dependents program supports expecting or parenting students in various ways, including with healthcare, childcare, social services, and academic resources.
7. University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Isenberg School of Management
Childcare options: The Center for Early Education and Care provides daycare and preschool classes to children aged 15 months to five years old.
Class flexibility: The University of Massachusetts offers an online MBA program.
Other resources: The University Without Walls program allows student parents to earn their degree at a reduced tuition rate. The program also puts on several events for non-traditional students.
8. University of Washington, Foster School of Business
Childcare options: There are four on-campus children’s care centers at the University of Washington. Students are also given enrollment priority at nearby preschools.
Class flexibility: Hybrid-formatted classes are available. Students complete work mainly online, but participate in a three to five day on-campus session each quarter. There is also a Work-Compatible MBA program and an Evening MBA program.
Other resources: There are several breastfeeding stations across campus, as well as the Program for Early Parent Support, which helps student parents connect with other student parents.
“When I came across the hybrid format that I came across at UW, it seemed like such a great opportunity for me…I really wanted to go back to school I wanted to get this education. Finally there was a format and an opportunity that fit my really busy life. I have kids, I have a full time job, and suddenly I had the opportunity where I could still fit in all these other things that are required of my schedule, and also be able to go to school.” — Jessie Salchert, Hybrid MBA Student at the Foster School of Business
9. Appalachian State University, Walker College of Business
Childcare options: The Appalachian State University Child Development Center provides childcare for student parents, and continues to operate during academic breaks for working parents. The center can be reached via the university’s bus system, and payment plans are income-based.
Class flexibility: An MBA student may pursue their degree full-time, part-time, or online.
Childcare options: CORA’s Early Years La Salle provides daycare and preschool in partnership with the university.
Class flexibility: The La Salle University Part-time hybrid MBA program is a true hybrid, as each class is 50 percent online and 50 percent in-person.
Other resources: The Pregnant On Campus Initiative provides resources and support to expecting parents and parents, including clothing and food assistance, counseling, and peer-to-peer support.
Childcare options: There are four centers available for childcare for students and university staff and faculty. There is also a free short-term daycare center on-campus.
Class flexibility: A hybrid MBA program is offered at both the Bend and Portland Oregon State University locations. In-person classes are held in the evenings or on weekends.
Other resources: The Family Resource Center provides a space for families as well as numerous resources, including lactation rooms, laundry facilities, and information about financial aid resources.
12. Augusta State University, Hull College of Business
Childcare options: The Augusta University Child Care Center offers care for children of students and university staff and faculty. The center takes care of children six weeks old to four years old. Older children can also receive care during academic breaks and holidays.
Class flexibility: Hybrid, weekend, and online courses are available for students pursuing an MBA.
Childcare options: The Campus Alliance for Resource Education office provides resources for students seeking childcare, by helping them locate nearby daycare facilities. The university provides an after-school program for children five years old and older.
Class flexibility: Texas Woman’s University offers hybrid programs to MBA students at all three campus locations.
Other resources: The Student Pioneers Also Raising Kids (SPARK) program provides resources for mothers to learn about financial aid and other support programs. This program also connects mothers to other mothers.
14. University of Illinois, Chicago, UIC Liautaud Graduate School of Business
Childcare options: The Children’s Center at the University of Illinois, Chicago provides early childhood education to children of preschool age. The center does not accept children younger than two years old.
Class flexibility: MBA students have the option to participate in a weekend MBA program, meeting on Saturdays, or a flexible MBA program, where students take classes at night, online, or on Saturdays.
“Working full-time and going to business school, while taking care of a baby was a bold move. UIC worked with me and let me take time off from my studies without penalty. I also benefited from its flexible program which allowed me to take classes at the times best for my family. One tip I would give everyone in a similar situation is to take advantage of the large pool of potential babysitters you can find on a college campus.” — Elizabeth Barry, Director of Marketing at Peterson’s and graduate MBA from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
15. Kent State University, College of Business Administration
Childcare options: The Kent State University Child Development Center is an on-campus childcare center that cares for children 18 months to six years old.
Class flexibility: An online degree program is offered to MBA students.
Other resources: The university’s Literacy and Independence for Family Education program provides resources like academic and family assistance, as well as parent workshops and information about scholarships for student parents.
Childcare options: The Children’s Institute at Eastern Michigan University provides on-campus childcare for children 18 months to six years old.
Class flexibility: MBA degree courses are offered online and in hybrid format.
Other resources: The Keys to Degrees program provides support for student parents to complete their degree while balancing a family. Fellow students participate in a babysitting cooperative and provide support to each other.
17. University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management
Childcare options: The University of Minnesota Childcare Development Center offers childcare for children zero to three years old.
Class flexibility: Full-time, part-time, and online MBA degree options are available.
Other Resources: The University of Minnesota offers two residential apartment buildings for students with families.
18. University of Florida, Warrington College of Business
Childcare options: The Baby Gators program at the University of Florida provides childcare and early education to children six weeks to five years old.
Class flexibility: Online and weekend course options are available to MBA students.
Other resources: Student housing is available to students with families.
19. American University, Kogod School of Business
Childcare options: The Child Development Center provides childcare and education for children aged two to six years old.
Class flexibility: American University offers an online degree program for MBA students.
Childcare options: There is an on-campus Children’s Center for student parents to utilize for childcare, conveniently located near the library.
Class flexibility: The University of Tennessee, Martin also offers a hybrid MBA program which mixes online courses with five UTM visits.