Things have changed in the world of business since Judy Kovacs got an undergraduate degree in the mid-1980s. That’s why the Forest Park Finance Director spent the last two years earning a Master’s in Business Administration in a program that emphasized new technology as a subject, as well as a way of learning.

Kovacs, who became Forest Park’s Finance Director last November, enrolled in a program called Flex Net, which is operated through the University of Phoenix’s Schaumberg campus. Kovacs earned her MBA in traditional classroom settings as well as working over the Internet and telephone.

“The most exiting thing was learning about E-commerce and E-business, which were not around when I was getting undergraduate degree,” said Kovacs. “The thing that impressed me the most is how much there is to learn in the world today. There’s so much to know you can never stop learning.”

It can mean a lot of hard work to earn an MBA the way Kovacs did. The six-week-long classes run back to back. Students show up on campus only on the first and last day of class.

For the remaining weeks, students work from home, most often as teams. Kovacs said she put in around 10 to 15 hours a week. That is in addition to her full-time accounting job.

“The instructors were fabulous,” she said. “They were all really committed to teaching. You admire people who are doing what they enjoy.”

Mark Pyszkowski says the program is geared towards students like Kovacs, professional adults who lead busy lives.

Pyszkowski, the Campus Director for the Chicago-area University of Phoenix’ campuses, said the Flex Net program is becoming more popular.

“It gives the students to ability to control the time and place of study,” said Pyszkowski. “It gives them kind of the best of both worlds-social interaction and the convenience of an on-line environment.”

Kovacs said the degree strengthens her work as Forest Park’s chief accountant.

“A finance director has to have a level of professionalism that an advanced degree shows,” she said.

Will her new degree change the way Forest Park does its accounting?

“I have some ideas about what I’d like to do,” said Kovacs. She says she would like to set up more on-line bill payments for customers and citizens, and notes that the village is already doing more on-line transfers among its vendors. The village also is paying its bills and debts on-line. She added that her degree involved a lot of project-based work, which she said will transfer well into her Forest Park job.

“I’ll be more comfortable doing that,” she said.

It was a difficult-and expensive-two years, reflected Kovacks.

But in the end, for her it was worth it.