Having a Master’s of Business Administration degree is an incredible addition to any resume, and it can be a crucial stepping stone in accelerating one’s career path. But not everyone has the luxury of pursuing an MBA degree full-time. Some people have careers they cannot leave or cannot shift to part-time. Some people have family obligations. Some people have other, more pressing responsibilities.
But you can pursue an MBA in many different ways. If you are not in the position to be a full-time student but wish to work toward an MBA degree, you can still take hold of this opportunity by pursuing a part-time MBA degree.
Most, if not all, business schools offer part-time MBA programs for students. Typically, students in graduate school are already involved in full-time careers, and universities recognize this. Offering a flexible, part-time program option for completing an MBA degree creates an opportunity for busy candidates who cannot pursue a degree full-time.
Should You Pursue a Part-Time MBA?
Most business schools offer multiple flexible options for pursuing a part-time MBA degree. It is typical for business schools to offer evening MBA programs as well as weekend MBA programs. For example, the Chicago Booth School of Business offers both of these programs to its students.
In Chicago Booth’s Evening MBA program, classes are offered once a week from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. In their weekend MBA program, classes are offered in multiple blocks, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
These programs also begin at different times of the year at Chicago Booth. The weekend MBA program only admits students for autumn and spring semesters, whereas the evening MBA program admits students during all offered semesters. Offering more than one flexible option is excellent for potential students that do not want to disrupt their already busy schedules. This way, students can pursue their degrees on their terms.
Another renowned business school that offers a wide variety of flexible part-time MBA programs is NYU Stern. NYU Stern provides an adaptable part-time MBA program for students already knee-deep in their career or other pressing responsibilities. Their full-time program follows a definitive, two-year schedule, which is not plausible for everyone.
NYU Stern’s part-time MBA program gives its students the option to complete their degree at their own pace within a six-year timeframe. Students are offered a weeknight program option with 12-week semesters. Courses are offered once a week from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in this program.
NYU Stern also has a part-time MBA program that can be pursued in the summer. Classes in this program are held two nights a week–with a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule–and semesters are split into six weeks apiece.
In addition to these programs, NYU Stern also has a weekend program for pursuing an MBA part-time. For students on this path, classes are held weekly on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
These are just two examples of many business schools that offer flexible part-time MBA programs for busy students. No matter how jam-packed your schedule may already be, there is a flexible program out there that can work for you. If you hold a full-time position in your career field and you can’t or do not wish to cut down on hours, pursuing a part-time MBA in the evenings or on the weekends could be an excellent option for you. It is all about doing the necessary research to find the best fit for your schedule as a student.
How Many Years Does a Part-Time MBA Take?
The time it takes to complete a part-time MBA program varies depending on what school you attend. Generally, part-time MBA programs take between two and three years to complete, but some schools may offer programs that take up to five or six years to complete, like NYU Stern’s six-year timeframe. These courses and programs are often designed for working adults to complete, as that is mainly part-time MBA programs’ demographic.
There are multiple different factors to consider when posing the question: “How long does a part-time MBA take?” First, it depends on your current schedule as a working professional and student. Chances are, students that work part-time are more likely to finish their part-time MBA program faster than students that work full-time. Perhaps a student decides to pursue a weekend MBA program instead of an evening MBA program, as it fits in better with their work and personal schedule. Hypothetically, it may take this student longer to complete their weekend MBA program than it would be to complete the evening program, but if it fits into their current career or schedule, it could very well be worth it for them.
This is why flexible options are crucial for part-time MBA students: it allows them to pursue and obtain an MBA degree on their terms.
Whether it takes two years, three years, or even five or six years, the end goal is the same: an MBA degree. No matter how long it takes, obtaining an MBA is an incredible accomplishment and an excellent stepping stone in your respective career.
Part-Time MBA: The Cost
Part-time, online, and flexible MBA programs are all considered professional MBAs. These programs have gained popularity because they offer flexibility and can be a more economical option over a full-time MBA program. MBA tuition costs for programs in the U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 business schools can begin as low as $12,456 total for an in-state, part-time program and reach over $100,000. This is such a significant valuation because specific costs depend on the length of the program you are completing, the number of credits you are taking, what you are specializing in, and more.
As a whole, part-time MBA programs’ tuition is generally pretty comparable to other professional business school degrees. Costs typically depend primarily on the school you choose to attend and how long it takes you to complete your program.
If cost is a concern for you while deciding if you should pursue an MBA, a part-time MBA program is a great option because it allows you to earn a salary while simultaneously pursuing your MBA degree. Business schools that offer part-time programs understand and prioritize the work/life balance dynamic by offering these flexible options to their students.
Are Part-Time MBA Programs Less Competitive?
Part-time MBA programs are objectively less competitive compared to full-time MBA programs. For MBA admissions, acceptance rates for part-time MBA programs can be two to four times those of the full-time MBA programs offered at the same institutions.
This is a significant aspect to be aware of when applying to these prestigious business schools to pursue an MBA degree. If you are concerned with your stats and getting into your dream school, consider applying to that school’s part-time MBA program. It may be possible to switch to the full-time program later on in the program, depending on the school you attend.
A perfect example of the stark difference in acceptance rates and competitiveness between part-time and full-time MBA programs is UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The prestigious school’s acceptance rate for full-time applicants is 13.2%, the average GMAT score is 717, and the average undergraduate grade point average is 3.62.
However, if you apply to Berkeley’s part-time MBA program, the acceptance rate is 43.4% –more than three times higher than the acceptance rate for the full-time MBA program. The average GMAT score for the part-time program is 692, 25 points lower than that of the full-time program, and the average grade point average of admitted applicants is 3.37.
This is not the only school that presents trends like this. Many prestigious schools have similar numbers in their part-time programs versus their full-time programs.
Pursuing a part-time MBA, in most instances, is less competitive than pursuing a full-time MBA program. If competitiveness is a concern for you when applying to business schools, pursuing a part-time MBA may be the better path for you to follow. At many schools, it is an option to switch to the full-time program at a later time.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time MBA Programs
Although a part-time MBA and a full-time MBA have the same core business curriculum and the same end goal, there are some significant differences between the two types of programs. Whatever program you decide to pursue will still provide you with valuable knowledge and skills to prepare you for leadership positions in your career and boost your salary significantly.
In recent years, part-time MBA programs have grown in popularity amongst applicants. Part-time MBA programs typically offer students more flexibility and more options for customization, therefore providing students with the ability to pursue an MBA while still maintaining their regular schedules.
Part-time MBA programs are a popular option for those already knee-deep in their career field and cannot or do not want to work part-time at their current job. This means that many students in part-time MBA programs are already experienced business professionals. This is an opportunity in itself: for networking and collaboration.
The part-time MBA program is also a popular option for those with familial responsibilities. Part-time MBA programs often offer their classes in the evenings or weekends, so you can efficiently work classes into your busy daily schedule. Due to this, part-time programs do take longer to complete. Compared to full-time MBA programs, part-time MBA programs can take 1-2 years longer to complete.
Full-time MBA programs are taught more quickly, as all students are enrolled as full-time students. Full-time MBA programs are typically completed in 1-2 years because students are attending more hours of school during the week. Students in the full-time MBA program also have more options in concentrations and electives, a perk that part-time MBA students may not always enjoy. With being a full-time student, there are also opportunities on campus that part-time students may not enjoy, like clubs and organizations within different MBA concentrations.
There are positives to each program and negatives to each program. It all depends on which program is the best fit for you, your schedule, and career goals.
Are Part-Time MBAs as Good as Full-Time MBAs?
Part-time MBA programs are just as good as full-time MBA programs. There are pros and cons to each program, but it is about the best fit for you as a student. Consider all factors when making this decision: what type of student are you? Do you learn better face-to-face or online at your own pace? Do you wish to put your career on pause to pursue your MBA? Or do you prefer to attend classes in the evenings or weekends so that you can work your current job normally during the day? Do you wish to graduate as soon as possible, or would you like to pace yourself and take your time with your degree?
There is no right or wrong answer here. Part-time MBA programs are just as good as full-time MBA programs. Full-time MBA programs are just as good as part-time MBA programs. The most important thing to consider when choosing which MBA program to pursue is what is best for you as a student.
Pros and Cons of Part-Time MBAs
Here are a few pros and cons of a part-time MBA program. While some of these may not apply to you, it’s important to take each of these into consideration as you embark on your MBA journey.
Working at your own pace
If you are the type of student who does not like to rush in your learning process, a part-time MBA program could be an excellent option for you. Taking one or two classes at a time can allow students to pace themselves and take the time to learn the concepts being taught in their course. This is a great consideration for those who work full-time or have familial responsibilities to tend to every day.
Better chances of being admitted to prestigious business schools
Part-time MBA programs are statistically less competitive than full-time MBA programs. Even if you wish to switch into a full-time program later, applying and beginning as a part-time MBA student allows for a much better chance of acceptance.
Most business schools recognize that their key demographic of applicants are already working professionals, and they want to cater to that. In accordance with this, part-time MBA programs offer evening classes and weekend classes for students to choose from so their courses do not interfere with their current job. This is also an excellent option for people with families to tend to or other pressing responsibilities that do not allow for full-time participation.
Longer to complete than a full-time MBA
A part-time MBA program typically takes 1-2 years longer to complete than a full-time MBA program. If time is a concern of yours when considering which program to apply to, it is essential to note that a part-time program will take longer to complete.
Missed opportunities in networking
Many full-time MBA programs offer clubs and organizations on campus based on different concentrations in the MBA program. This is an excellent way for students to network and collaborate with other fellow business professionals.
Top Part-Time MBA Programs
There is a wide variety of excellent part-time MBA programs all across the U.S. It is all about finding the best fit for you and your needs as a student personally. Some of the top part-time MBA programs are even discussed in this article.
- The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
This is one of the top-ranked part-time MBA programs, and rightfully so. Booth prioritizes flexibility overall with two different part-time MBA programs (the Evening MBA program and the Weekend MBA program) that can be completed in 2.5-3 years, which is not much longer than it takes to complete a full-time MBA program. Booth also offers 13 different concentrations and more than 130 different courses to allow students to craft their academic experience to exactly what they want and need.
- The University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business
UC Berkeley Haas offers another top-ranked part-time MBA program that can also be completed in 2.5-3 years. More than half of their core curriculum for the part-time MBA program comprises electives that allow students to personalize their learning structure and what exactly they want to study and concentrate on throughout the program.
These are just a few examples of many top-rated part-time MBA programs. All of these programs offer excellent benefits and opportunities for applicants. It is all about finding which program suits your needs as a student.
1. Does a part-time MBA have value?
A part-time MBA has just as much value as a full-time MBA! A part-time MBA program takes longer to complete, as classes are offered on weeknight evenings or the weekends instead of throughout the week. In the end, the goal is the same for both programs: obtaining an MBA degree.
2. How long does a part-time MBA take to complete?
The duration of a part-time MBA program depends on which school you are attending and what pace you choose to follow. Typically, students can complete their part-time MBA program in 1-2 more years than a full-time MBA program. Other factors to consider when looking at duration are your current work schedule, familial responsibilities, and more.
3. Is a part-time MBA program more expensive than a full-time MBA program?
Pursuing an MBA, regardless of the program you choose, is a significant financial investment. Typically, a part-time program and a full-time program can cost the same, but it depends on which school you attend and the pace at which you study. It is common for part-time students to pay per credit for their courses, which can cost more. But this is not always the case. Every business school is different.
4. Is it easier to get a part-time MBA?
Part-time MBA programs and full-time MBA programs offer the same core curriculum for MBA students. However, a part-time MBA program may be easier than a full-time MBA program for students already working full-time in their field or have other pressing responsibilities that prevent them from pursuing an MBA full-time.
5. What are the benefits of a part-time MBA?
There are many benefits to a part-time MBA. A part-time MBA can prepare students for new leadership positions, more robust perspectives in their respective business fields, and a significant boost in salary.
6.What is the best school to attend for a part-time MBA?
Many excellent business schools offer part-time MBA programs. Determining which school is “best” for a part-time MBA is situational and depends on what you are looking for and what you need as a student.
Pursuing an MBA degree is a significant commitment that requires a lot of thought and consideration. However, it provides an excellent reward for those looking to boost or even change their career path for the better.
Part-time MBA programs provide working students with the excellent opportunity of boosting their careers without putting them on pause. Part-time MBA programs are a great addition to any resume, and the experience you gain is invaluable.