How to Decide If a Part-Time MBA Program Is Right for You

Posted by Graduate Management Admission Council on Mar 12, 2020 7:30:00 AM

In our most recent alumni survey, we recorded and analyzed responses from graduates of several different programs, including full-time MBA programs, executive MBAs, and part-time MBAs. When asked whether a graduate management education helped advance their careers, alumni not only said yes, but they also said that their advancement happened at a faster rate than it did for peers without a graduate business degree.

The question is no longer whether or not to consider business school, but to consider which type of program is the best fit and investment for you. Across many program types, 4 out of 5 business school alumni rated the value of their education to be outstanding or excellent.

If you are considering a part-time graduate business education, consider the following as you make your decision.

Immersion and Community Considerations

One important consideration when contemplating a part-time MBA is how important immersion and community are to you. Is networking especially important to your career goals? If so, then a full-time MBA might be a good fit. However, this is not to say that part-time programs don’t have a lot to offer in this realm.

While part-time MBAs are often characterized as less immersive because students typically work while attending classes, many part-time programs recognize the need for immersion and networking. NYU Stern offers full-time and part-time MBA options, and accepts the Executive Assessment (EA) for both. Students in both programs are eligible to participate in networking events, retreats, and other activities outside of the classroom.

Financial Commitments

For 40% of b-school candidates, earning a raise is a top motivation. However, financing the education needed to earn that raise is also a top concern. Our own research has found that “The cost of a graduate business degree and the need to take on student debt are the most likely reservations to impact prospective students’ pursuit of a GME.” Employers are also less likely to help fund employee studies, meaning that many students are self-funded.

Part-time MBAs have several advantages to offer in this regard. For those self-funding their studies, the ability to work while studying helps to lessen the financial burden involved. Spreading the cost of education over several years can also help to alleviate financial concerns, making it easier to access a b-school education.

Want to know more about financing your graduate education? Check out 3 Ways to Fund Your Studies as a Part-Time MBA Candidate.

Time Commitments and Schedule Flexibility

When searching for schools that fit your finances and interests, you will also want to look at the amount of time you wish to invest in your education, both day-to-day and long-term. A part-time MBA program can offer more flexibility and a smaller time commitment on a day-to-day level. Students can often choose from a wide variety of options, including self-paced course curricula or lockstep programs, flex schedules, and more.

However, for part-time MBA students, graduation may be two to eight years away, as studies are spread out over a longer time period. If earning your degree quickly is a higher priority, then a full-time program can be a better fit. If, however, you prioritize flexibility, then part-time options can be ideal.

The Typical Objectives of Part-Time MBA Students

Part-time MBA students tend to be working professionals who wish to advance along the career path they are already on; they tend not to be pursuing an immediate career transition. Full-time MBA students are often looking to make a significant change more quickly, sometimes moving to a new industry or specialty, which is why they choose to focus solely on their MBA.

Ask yourself whether you want to maintain employment at your current company and open growth opportunities, or if you want to pivot to a new career path. The answers will help you decide which type of program is right for you.

Want to know how the Executive Assessment will factor into your graduate education?

Learn more about preparing for an taking the EA!


Topics: Executive Assessment, Part-time MBA, part-time MBA program

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