Part Time MBA Programs: A Solution For Working Professionals
Part time MBA programs offer a variety of benefits and drawbacks compared to full time programs. Virtually all part time students hold full time jobs and study in their spare time. The major advantage is that you get to keep your day job, allowing you to earn money while you go to school. However, this flexibility comes at a price. The quality of your classes, career switching opportunities, and work life balance all stand to suffer in part time programs.
To help you figure out if part time MBA programs are a good choice for you, we've compiled a list of defining characteristics below. Think of it as an answer to the question: "What am I getting into?"
Focus on Education, Not Networking
A part time MBA is geared toward education. If you have an established career and are looking to accelerate your trajectory with limited disruption, a part time program is the perfect solution. The downside is that virtually all part time students hold jobs and have little time to devote to socializing. Consequently, don't expect the same networking opportunities as you would in a full time program.
Expensive...but You Keep Your Job!
A part time MBA can be just as expensive as its full time brethren in terms of tuition , but the opportunity cost of foregone wages disappears. Classes are normally held in the evenings of weekends, so you can hold onto your day time job, so long as you're not working sixteen-hour days as an investment banking analyst. If you're in a high paying position, the ability to work and go to school translates to significant savings.
No Internship Opportunities
Since you'll be working at your full time job in the summer, you won't be able to apply for internships elsewhere. This is only costly if you're a career switcher, as internships are an outstanding way to build experience in a new field. However, if you're using the MBA as a way to boost your existing career, this becomes a nonissue.
Mixed Quality Programs
The record of part time MBA programs is rather mixed. This is due to the fact that it's often easier to get into a part time MBA program than a full time one. Moreover, since almost all students hold full time jobs, they are more likely to be less focused and dedicated to school. The combination of lower admissions standards and working students can have a negative effect on your experience.
Higher Likelihood of Tuition Reimbursement
You stand a better chance of getting financial support from your employer if you enroll in a part time MBA than a full time one. Some larger companies sponsor their employees' education entirely, while others provide aid in the form of subsidized loans. After all, you'll apply what you learn in school in your job, day in and day out. And by the end of the program, you'll have a new credential and become more valuable to your company.
One of the biggest complaints of part time MBA programs is work life balance. Holding a job and studying part time for your MBA is a lot to juggle, particularly if you have a family, a demanding career, or both. Research your school's course schedule and time commitment ahead of time to make an informed decision.
Longer Time to Earn MBA
A part time MBA program may take longer to complete than a full time one. Consequently, instead of completing your studies within one or two years, it may take two or three. This isn't necessarily bad, it simply means that your journey will be a longer one.