Now, let’s dive into some of the pros and cons to help you decide whether it is in your interest to apply.
Many potential applicants do not have the ability to give up a full-time job or the time required to manage life and family responsibilities. Through part-time MBA programs, they can earn their MBA degree while maintaining other responsibilities.
Students who are able to maintain employment while getting their degree may have more financing options available to them. Some companies pay for the continuing education of their employees. These companies will reimburse the entirety of, or part of, tuition fees. This helps cover the cost of their graduate studies while continuing to work can help finance the rest.
If the employer is unable to cover the costs of the MBA, and you are working throughout, you can still use some of your salary to pay for the program. Part-time programs are also often more affordable than full-time ones.
As aforementioned, some programs offer flex or weekend options where their students do not necessarily have to live in the same area as the university. They can travel to the campus on a weekly or monthly basis to take classes, removing the difficulty of moving for a degree.
Students who opt to enroll in a part-time MBA program usually do not need to go looking for employment after graduating because they never left their initial employer. This relieves the stress of job hunting and improves promotion opportunities within the company.
Less Academic Involvement
Since the classes are held on a weekly, or even monthly, basis, there is less time for students to interact with teachers and classmates regularly. With online classes, it is also often more difficult to build relationships with professors and network with peers.
As part-time MBA programs are held either off-campus or during a limited schedule, students may not be able to participate in all of the activities available to full-time students. This may involve clubs and on-campus events, among others.
Due to the nature of the program, part-time MBA students may have to juggle both studying and working and this can lead to additional stress, which has the potential to affect mental and physical health. Interested students should make sure they are in the position to balance multiple intensive commitments to protect their well-being.
Top Part-Time MBA Programs:
If you’re interested in a part-time MBA, it’s good to know your options. According to US News, the top part-time MBA programs are ranked in the following order:
1. University of Chicago (Booth)
The part-time MBA program at Chicago Booth comes in two formats. The Evening MBA Program is a good fit for residents of Chicago who are interested in weeknight classes. The Weekend MBA Program meets on Saturdays and enrolls professionals from the Chicago area and all around the country. 70% of the students in the weekend program live outside Illinois and commute to Chicago for their classes. Both programs are designed for curious, high-achieving professionals who plan to continue their careers while earning their MBA degrees.
Discover more here: Part-Time MBA Programs
2. University of California - Berkeley (Haas)
Haas also offers their part-time MBA in the evenings or on the weekends. They also have an online option that allows students to attend class remotely. At Berkeley, they emphasize that you can take what you learn in class each day and apply it immediately to your work for a faster return on investment. The Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Programs produce leaders who use new ideas to deliver innovation of all kinds. This can include strategic, operational, and organizational skills. Haas teaches quantitative and analytic rigor and encourages students to apply skills in critical thinking, communication, and adaptability.
Read more here: Evening & Weekend MBA Program
3. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
Kellogg’s top-ranked part-time MBA is designed for leaders who are intelligent and ambitious and want to advance their professional development without needing to put their careers on hold. During their Evening & Weekend MBA, you will learn management skills and build your network in order to realize your highest potential while earning your MBA part-time. They believe that only at Kellogg will you find the broadest choices of global opportunities, an unparalleled approach to leadership development, and a curriculum that will build well-rounded leaders.
Learn more at Evening & Weekend MBA Program
4. New York University (Stern)
The Part-Time MBA at Stern is designed for working professionals who are looking to use the knowledge and tools of an MBA program to advance their careers. This is a highly flexible program since it can be completed in 2-6 years, allowing for maximum flexibility. They offer four program options: Weeknights, Accelerated Two-Year, Saturday, and Online/Modular. There are 27 different options for specialization.
Learn more about it at Part-time MBA | Academics
5. University of California - Los Angeles (Anderson)
The UCLA Anderson School of Management offers a “Fully Employed MBA Program” where students who wish to fast-track their degree have the option of acquiring it in 27 months. If you need more time to complete the complete course requirements because of personal or career reasons, you can extend it to up to five years. There are three scheduling options available: all day Saturdays, Tuesday and Thursday Evenings, and a hybrid of on-campus attendance and online study.
Learn more at UCLA Anderson School of Management Full Employed MBA
6. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (Ross)
Michigan Ross’ Part-Time MBA program is for students who would prefer to attend classes over weekends. You will be able to pursue your specific interests and build out your network by taking advantage of the many on-campus opportunities for MBA students, from student clubs to case competitions, to the Sanger Leadership Crisis Challenge. They advertise their curriculum as action-based and you will get the opportunity to put business concepts into practice. As a part-time MBA student, you are able to take part in their Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP) or their C-Level Thinking course where you will address a real business challenge.
Check out more info at Michigan Ross’ Weekend MBA
7. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
The Tepper School of Business offers two formats for their part-time MBA: an accelerated program and a flexible program. The Part-Time Accelerated Program is for undergraduate business graduates who want to earn their MBA through a two-year, online hybrid format. They offer Access Weekends, which are immersive opportunities to connect with classmates, take classes, and participate in professional development activities. The Part-Time Flex Program is designed for Pittsburgh's working professionals. They will attend Access Weekends as well but via online classes held two evenings a week. Each class will also include additional offline content that you can complete at your own pace. After completing the core courses, you are able to tailor-fit your MBA with on-campus or online electives.
8. University of Texas - Austin (McCombs)
The McCombs School of Business at UT Austin offers two part-time formats: the Evening and Weekend MBA. The Weekend MBA can be taken in two locations: Dallas and Houston. The evening MBA is for those in Austin who can attend on-campus classes at night. In both programs, you will enjoy the hallmarks of a UT Austin education, including their renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, and a dynamic alumni community. You will earn your degree in 28 months without career interruption. The Evening MBA starts in January with classes held every Monday and Tuesday night at the Austin campus. The weekend MBA starts in August with classes held on alternating weekends.
9. University of Southern California (Marshall)
The part-time program at USC Marshall is also designed for working professionals over a timeline of 33 months. Students receive an exceptional education from the university’s leading faculty, have access to top-notch career services, and are able to join their extensive alumni network. They have a robust core curriculum with a wide range of specialized coursework. During the first year, students select one of three schedules: Monday and Wednesday evenings (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm), Tuesday and Thursday evenings (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm), or every Saturday (9:00 am – 3:00 pm).
Visit Part-Time MBA | USC Marshall to learn more.
10. Indiana University (Kelley)
The Kelley School of Business offers an evening MBA program where students will have access to the full curriculum and classroom experiences with a blend of structure and flexibility. This allows their students to gain a high-quality education that leaves room for work and personal commitments. Admitted applicants can complete a general administration degree or choose one of the five majors: finance, management, entrepreneurship, marketing, or supply chain management.
See more details at Evening MBA: Kelley School of Business.
Applying to any kind of MBA program can be a stressful process. Leland is here to help students at all points of their MBA journey. Our coaches are uniquely positioned to help you succeed in deciding your top schools, applying, and preparing for enrollment. See some of our top coaches for part-time MBAs below and browse all of your options here.
Here are a few other articles you may find helpful as you research and apply to MBA programs:
- How to Choose an MBA Program: The Discerning Student's Guide
- A Guide to MBA Financial Aid
- How to Write a Powerful MBA Essay—With Examples
- Why Should You Get an MBA? An Expert Coach's Perspective
- MBA vs. MPA: How to Decide Which One is Right For You
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