Part-Time MBA vs. Full-Time MBASeptember 26, 2014
Choosing the right MBA program to suit you and your goals can be a difficult process, especially once you’ve already left school and begun your career.
Thankfully, the number of MBA programs that exist facilitates a variety of structures and options for prospective students. Whether you’re working full-time and looking to complement your practical experience with an advanced degree or seeking to make school your primary focus, it’s safe to say an MBA program exists – whether online or on-campus – that suits your needs. When choosing between a part-time and full-time MBA program, there are several distinct points to consider.
Amount of Available Time
The difference between part-time MBA and full-time MBA programs is, somewhat obviously, the amount of time spent in class or doing assignments on a weekly basis. The general recommendation regarding graduate-level coursework is that, for every credit being earned in a semester, students should expect to study for three hours in a given week. What’s considered a full-time academic schedule can vary greatly, but it’s safe to assume that students will enroll in at least two, three-credit courses each semester, with some taking on more.
The part-time structure may take a longer time to complete, but it does offer a bit more freedom to live and work simultaneously.
What’s Best for Your Professional and Personal Life
Particularly in the case of an aspiring MBA, as career advancement is such a driving force behind pursuing the degree, what’s best for a student’s professional life is a significant consideration. There’s no notable difference in salary when considering a part-time vs. full-time MBA graduate, so the choice is purely time-driven. From an academic perspective, you’ll benefit from the same faculty and quality of education as any other student regardless of how you structure your approach to the program. Ultimately, the credential, the experience, and the networking opportunities are what can gain you the most ground in your career.
That said, since both courses of study are equally comprehensive, it’s worth considering the impact that school will have on your personal life. Time with family and friends may have to be sacrificed to complete your MBA. Each candidate should consider their priorities, and how going back to school will affect their time.
Employer Reimbursement, Cost, and Financial Aid
As the degree is so professionally focused, those interested in earning an MBA can sometimes qualify for tuition reimbursement from employers seeking to encourage employee development and training. That said, prospective MBA’s should be sure what their company is willing to cover, and if there are any stipulations regarding the time to complete your program.
Of course, cost is always a consideration when choosing an MBA program. For some students, smaller, more periodic tuition incurred by part-time MBAs may help them parse out their payments and make the cost manageable.
Difference Between Part-time and Full-time MBA
It’s all about time. If you have the resources and availability to both work and tend to a sizeable academic load, then full-time MBAs offer an accelerated path toward enhanced career opportunities and potential growth into a leadership position. If you’d rather pursue a flexible structure that won’t compromise your work-life balance as significantly, part-time might just be for you.
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