Are you unsure about whether to apply to a full-time or part-time MBA program? The first step to determine which business school program is the right one for you is to assess your career goals and what you are trying to get from an MBA program, your financial circumstances, and your personal situation.
Below, I dig into each of these three areas in more detail.
What are your career goals and what are you trying to get from an MBA program?
Where you are in your career trajectory as well as your future career goals will influence whether a full-time MBA program or a part-time MBA program makes the most sense for you. For example, if you are looking to progress within your firm, a part-time program may be the better option since any knowledge/skills gained in the classroom can be applied right away. On the other hand, if you are looking to make a career transition, then the full-time program may be better since opportunities such as summer internships are available.
Also, depending on what your career goals are, having exposure to a more diverse classroom may or may not be important. Note that full-time MBA programs tend to have student bodies that are more international in nature given that students are taking two full years off to immerse themselves in an academic environment. Moreover, there may be additional opportunities to network with fellow peers in the full-time MBA program.
What are your financial circumstances?
The opportunity cost for full-time MBA programs is often higher than part-time MBA programs; students are forgoing two years of income to study on a full-time basis. Since students can still work while studying when enrolled in part-time MBA programs, these programs can be more appealing from a financial perspective. Furthermore, part-time programs may be a better fit for those who are able to get their tuition subsidized by their current employers (as a result, part-time MBA students tend to incur lower debt than full-time MBA students).
What is your personal situation?
Your personal situation will also influence whether a full-time MBA program or part-time MBA program is a better fit. Part-time programs are conducted in the evenings and on weekends, and so students need to determine how balancing professional responsibilities, academics, and personal priorities will come into play.
Also, from an academic perspective, is studying for the GMAT/GRE something that you can make a priority? Note that the academic requirements of full-time programs tend to be more rigorous than part-time programs (i.e. average GMAT scores tend to be higher for full-time programs).
There is no right or wrong answer as to which MBA program is the better option; I have worked with clients who have pursued the full-time MBA path and others who have enrolled in part-time programs, and they are all finding success in their careers. If you are on the fence, I would encourage you to think about these three questions and do some introspection to determine the right fit for you.
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.