Full-Time or Part-Time MBA, That Is the Question

Today we feature a guest post from Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant Nita Losoponkul. Nita is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant and UCLA Anderson MBA graduate. She received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study.

Full-time or part-time… That is often a question that many business school applicants gloss over and don’t even consider asking. Many MBA candidates automatically exclude part-time MBA programs assuming that the programs are either less rigorous (a check box for executive resumes), impossible to balance with work, too expensive, only for older candidates, or less beneficial for networking. While the part-time MBA program is not for everyone (and I am slightly biased as an alumna of the Fully-Employed MBA program at UCLA Anderson), here are some reasons you, a non-traditional part-time MBA candidate, might want to at least explore this possibility as you begin your business school search:

  • You live in “close proximity” (definition of close varies by state and by person) to a top-notch part-time MBA program: if the commute is feasible (by car or by plane – Southwest companion passes come in handy here) you ought to at least take a look and weigh the cost of the commuting, compared the loss of two years of salary and bonuses (and any potential raises and promotions) that you trade-off by going full-time.
  • You are on a high-potential/upward trajectory at your current job: while there are still some employers that will pay tuition/books/fees fully to any employee that stays employed and maintains their grades, if you are highly valued by your employer, it might be worth having a conversation and see if they would consider helping with the cost of school in exchange for three more years of service (during school) from you.
  • Your undergraduate performance was not super stellar: while your academic record is still important to part-time MBA programs, it may not be AS crucial as it is for full-time MBAs. Many part-time students have a few more years under their belt, and if they have been rock star work years, schools may be less apt to hold a poor grade in a course from 10 years ago, against you.
  • You are a great multi-tasker: part-time programs have made huge advances to ensure that student clubs, networking activities, study abroad opportunities and course electives are available to part-time students as they are full-time students. But part-time MBAs are like buffets – lots to choose from but if you eat everything things may not end up so well – you’ll need to pick and choose and balance it with your job, your family, and school.
  • You may be looking to stay with the same employer (in a more advanced position), or in the same industry: especially for quickly evolving industries (like high-tech), leaving for two years could hurt your chances of returning to that industry (or to your employer) and a part-time program may make more sense.
  • You have managed employees/strong leadership experience (military experience is included here): even if you only have two or three years of work experience and think you may be a more typical full-time MBA candidate, having directly managed people AND projects AND budgets can also make you a fantastic candidate for a part-time MBA program.

Ultimately, there is not necessarily one right answer to this question. For many young professionals, a full-time program and a part-time program may both make sense. But, if you consider all of the things mentioned above, odds are that you will make a smart decision that fits you and your career goals.

If you’re wondering whether a part-time MBA makes sense for you, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!