Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals.
Most part-time MBAs work full-time during the day and attend classes in the evening.
Some schools offer both a full-time and a part-time program.
Here are some considerations when exploring part-time programs.
- Courses are scheduled year 'round and do not allow for internships.
- Some part-time programs offer the same ability to specialize (through concentrations and open electives) as full-time programs, but others only offer a limited number of concentrations.
- Some part-time programs require fewer courses than their full-time counterparts. Their curriculum usually includes a core body of knowledge and does not offer the ability to specialize.
- Some part-time programs require the same number of courses as a full-time program, but spread out over a longer time. For example, you might take one to two courses at a time over four or five years for a degree requiring 20 courses.
Part-time programs are popular among career enhancers (who have a good foundation of experience and want to further their career in a chosen field). They are also good if you already have a network in your field to aid in a job change.
The following are also advantages:
- Classes are scheduled outside standard business hours.
- Students develop new skills without interrupting current employment.
- Students can bring current, real-world problems into the classroom and explore workable solutions they can implement on the job.
- Loan money is available for eligible students.
- Part-time may be a good choice if your employer offers tuition reimbursement as an employee benefit.
- The cost is spread over a longer period of time, helpful to those who must continue to earn an income or who are unwilling or unable to take on more debt.
If you can't relocate
Part-time programs may offer some geographic flexibility if you are unable or unwilling to relocate. A two-hour commute might be palatable for one class a week, but not daily.
You should consider the following things when deciding whether a part-time program is right for you.
- Scholarship money may not be available, because you can work and spread out the expenses over time.
- Career services may be limited. Many placement offices are closed in the evenings, when part-time students are on campus. This practice varies widely but is of particular concern for people who wish to change careers once they receive their degree.
- If you travel or relocate frequently for work, you may have difficulty completing a part-time MBA degree. Some programs do allow students to fulfill some course work through distance learning, but you should check the flexibility of the programs you are considering.
- Do not assume that you can take some MBA courses part-time, then transfer to a full-time or other kind of program. Most programs do not accept transfer credits.