Erika Ewen

"I would like to add to my knowledge and be able to sit for my CPA exam."

Although she holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, Erika Ewen has been working with numbers since joining her family's auto-parts business after graduating in 1996.

''When I started there, they did everything by green ledger,'' she recalls. ''So I learned accounting the hard way.''

With on-the-job training, Ewen has built a successful accounting career and currently works as the controller for a Memphis commercial real-estate firm. But seeking to fill the void she felt without an accounting degree, she decided to pursue an online M.B.A in forensic accounting through SNHU starting in September 2012.

''I would like to add to my knowledge, because everything that I know is just from experience,'' she says. ''And I want to be able to sit for my CPA exam.''

A single mother of two middle-schoolers, Ewen credits her SNHU advisor for helping her reacclimate to academic work. She has found that she derives more from online discussions than traditional classroom discourse.

''I try to post each weeknight, after the kids are settled in,'' she says. ''I also try to do my homework while they're doing theirs.''

Studying forensic accounting, a discipline in which accounting principles are applied to investigate allegations of financial abuse within businesses or organizations, will help her career regardless of its future direction, Ewen says.

''There are a lot of instances where a background in forensic accounting is helpful,'' she says. ''I've always had this dream of working for the FBI or something like that, so you never know.''