Why we chose it: You don't have to live in Beantown to take advantage of BU's eight-month online program. The school offers four case-study-intensive courses, each requiring about 15 hours of work a week. Students receive advice on creating a business and marketing plan, plus a primer on finance. Everyone admitted to the program must be a business owner or have a viable venture idea so that students can apply their coursework directly to their own business pursuits. Trish Wadman, 39, is a stay-at-home mom with a concept for a skin care and specialty soap business. She says she chose BU because "it had courses that really applied to my goal of opening my own business." New to entrepreneurship, Wadman believes the education will help her startup succeed. "I've never run a business before; I've always worked for an established company," she says. "I've also been out of the workforce for five years, and I think it's important to keep up with trends." By studying the business decisions of others, and developing specific plans tailored to their own ventures, Wadman and her online classmates gain valuable experience.