Part-time MBA programs are designed to meet the needs of experienced working professionals who want to engage in rigorous business studies without leaving their jobs. Students attend weekend or evening classes and often space their studies out over more than two years. Part-time MBA programs typically involve the same curricula, faculty and academic requirements as full-time programs, but deliver the education in a more flexible format to accommodate working students. The degree granted upon completion of the program is also the same as any other MBA degree earned from the same business school.
When to Pursue a Part-Time MBA Program
Part-time MBA programs are ideal for experienced professionals who want to advance within their current organization or along a similar career path at another company. Individuals who have achieved much in the business world but need additional skills, knowledge, credentials or connections to advance further will be well-served by an MBA degree. The chief advantage of the part-time format over other MBA programs is the ability to continue working during your studies. This allows you to avoid the opportunity costs associated with full-time programs, while allowing you to immediately apply what you learn in the classroom to your professional work.
When to Avoid a Part-Time MBA Program
While part-time MBA programs have distinct advantages over other program types, they are not for everyone. Balancing business school, work and personal commitments requires discipline and organizational skills that some professionals lack. In order to meet these challenges, many students reduce their hours at work or take some time off while earning their degrees, particularly during key moments in the school year. Students should also be mindful of how factors such as commuting time and family obligations will affect their professional and academic commitments. Those who require even more flexibility than part-time MBA programs offer should consider #distance learning MBA programs.
What a Part-Time MBA Program Means to Your Career
A part-time MBA degree typically brings with it higher earnings, accelerated promotions and an expanded professional network. Part-time MBA program students average an annual salary of $76,000 at their first post-graduation jobs, according to the GMAC. Once you have earned your degree, you should be well prepared for the challenges you will face at higher levels of management within your current organization or any other.
Part-Time MBA Program Rankings
Several publications compile rankings of the top MBA programs each year according to various metrics. Each of these rankings differs to some degree, although the same cluster of elite business schools tends to appear near the top each year. These rankings are useful as a rough indication of the quality of various institutions, but they are not precise enough or individual enough to tell you what business school is right for you.
According to U.S. News and World Report, these are the top 10 part-time MBA programs:
- Northwestern University (Kellogg)
- University of California — Berkeley (Haas)
- University of Chicago (Booth)
- New York University (Stern)
- University of California — Los Angeles (Anderson)
- University of Michigan — Ann Arbor (Ross)
- University of Texas — Austin (McCombs)
- University of Southern California (Marshall)
- Indiana University — Bloomington (Kelley)
- The Ohio State University (Fisher)