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Best Part-time MBA in California: UCLA Anderson (FEMBA) and Berkeley Haas

Part-time MBA

Not everyone can chuck their job and head off to business school. There are personal and professional reasons when Part-time MBA programs are a better option compared to regular full-time MBA courses. Almost all the top universities offer part-time MBA degrees.

The admissions process for some these can be pretty tough. Consider folks working in Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, New York City (NYC), Chicago and other such regions where job opportunities are plenty.

It’s a tough call for professionals like Pankil Shah who want to keep their career graph going and yet want their skills and qualifications to also get an upgrade to stay competitive in the corporate world. That’s where a part-time MBA from USA or any other country that you are currently working in, can help.

How I got into the best Part-time MBA programs in California

by Pankil Shah

My Pre-MBA Background

Postgraduate from BITS, Pilani, I have 10+ years of software development experience including product development and customer implementations.

I started my career with Wipro Technologies in Bangalore, moving to Massachusetts, US in 2008. In 2010 I changed gears from software development/support to product development lead by joining Estuate Inc and working as IBM Archiving Product Development Lead for PeopleSoft.

Since then I have done multiple customer implementations, and demos as Software Implementer.

Having donned various technical roles I wanted to move to business role and felt the need for an MBA.

Why Part Time MBA

Part time MBA gives me the flexibility to pursue MBA while continuing to work. This would reduce the impact of financial burden. Also it gives me a chance to implement my learnings at work place.

How I prepared for GMAT / TOEFL


I began my GMAT prep using the staple books – Manhattan GMAT (MGMAT) Books, GMAT Official Guides and I scored 550.

I was disappointed and prepared again along with MGMAT in-person classes. I scored 620 again and realized that my time management was problem.

I decided that if I cannot formulate an approach in 30 seconds I would guess and move to next question.

I practiced this approach and in my 3rd attempt not only scored 650 but also improved on my IR percentile crossing 80%.

Still not cracking 700-barrier was troubling me, so I discussed with Sameer (Founder MBA Crystal Ball) about my chances. He suggested that admission chances couldn’t be decided just on GMAT scores. It is just one parameter. Before making any decision he suggested that I read Beyond MBA Hype Book.

After reading and further discussions with Sameer I decided to apply to Berkeley Haas and UCLA Anderson part time MBA programs.

TOEFL preparation

For TOEFL I followed 3-week plan and scored 109/120.

MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) Review

After exams, my next hurdle was writing MBA essays. I decided to work with MG at MCB. He is soft assassin who helps you through ordeal of MBA essay writing.

In our first meeting he helped me build a convincing story. Further interactions helped me get more clarity about my story and essays.

MG is honest, brutal and very punctual in his work. Without his help I would not have been able to write such honest essays. He would respond to emails in 24 hrs and some time within 15 minutes!!!

He went out of his way to make sure I do not miss my UCLA FEMBA R2 deadline.

Part-time MBA Interview Experiences

Interviews are part of Part-time MBA admissions. I prepared for standard questions available on websites like mbacrystalball and clearadmit.

For Berkeley part-time MBA, I had a face-to-face interview with Ad-com and for UCLA I had phone interview with Alumni.

I have shared more details about my part-time MBA interview questions and answers on the forum. You’ll find the links below.

Results of my Part-time MBA applications

I was admitted to the UCLA FEMBA program!

MBA Admission Tips

For aspiring MBA applicants, I would advise the following:

1. Check your expectations

There is no point in having unrealistic expectations. MBA is not money minting machine.

It just gives you an opportunity to get into your desired business rule through education & existing work experience.

2. Read Beyond The MBA Hype

This book was very valuable to me. I would suggest you to read it before beginning your preparation.

3. Crack the GMAT at least a year in advance

GMAT is most exhausting aspects of profile where nobody can help you improve so spend enough time to prepare for your exams. After a false start it took me 3 attempts to ‘respectable’ score.

GMAT Verbal and Integrated Reasoning (IR) take a bigger toll on the mind than GMAT AWA Essays [try this: GMAT AWA Essay Rater] or GMAT Quant. I would suggest to spend more time analyzing your performance in mocks rather than doing tons of practice. This would help you improve your score in general.

4. For MBA Applications give MBA Crystal Ball a serious thought

If you are a serious candidate willing to put in your share of effort, you will not regret it.

All the best!

– Pankil Shah

Pankil shares much more on his interview experiences our MBA forum. Read about it here:
Berkeley Haas Part Time MBA interview questions and answers
UCLA Anderson FEMBA part-time MBA interview questions

Also read,
UCLA PGP Pro for Executives – Costs, eligibility, application and essay tips, career prospects and more
Why and how to get into Berkeley Haas MBA when you’re already earning $125,000

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Manish Gupta
About Manish Gupta
Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Email. Or follow on Linkedin, Facebook.

6 thoughts on “Best Part-time MBA in California: UCLA Anderson (FEMBA) and Berkeley Haas”

  1. Hello,

    I have enrolled for a 16 moths executive MBA program. But few of them tell me that its not valid master’s degree outside India.I would like to know is there any restrictions like this?. Will a 16 months program just become equal to a diploma?.


  2. As a rule of thumb, most part-time Executive MBA programs won’t carry the same weight (vis-a-vis Full time MBA programs) even in India, forget other countries.

    Before you joined the EMBA program in India, it would’ve been better for you to have a clear view of what you are getting into and why.

  3. Hey , i have a plan to do mba from usa in 2017 or 18 , i am currently working in in operations department as mid offic executive since a year and half. I have a job offer for equity sales. Please tell how this profile is and how will it affect in my MBA admissions. Is it a good profile to go with or stay where i am in kindly suggest!

    Thank you.

  4. Hi Manish,

    I have 5+ years experience working in the indian IT industry and I am currently employed with a big four MNC as a senior technology consultant. My professional experience includes delivering large-scale end to end SAP implementation and support projects. I have also had the opportunity and experience of working onsite at a large MNC client location(India) for a period of over 3 years. I have been involved with team building, recruitment activities and also have an experience with leading a team of up to 5 individuals. My primary experience is with Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Healthcare Insurance Payer and Retail clients.
    I plan to diversify my profile by venturing in to pre-sales and other client engagement activities, hence, the MBA. With one month of dedicated preparation, recently I gave my gmat and scored a 640 (q46, v33). I was scoring in the early 600s in the mocks and was quite satisfied to see an improved score only to know it’s never enough in India. I am very much interested in the pgpm course at sp jain. Their brochure mentions an average gmat score of 680.

    I am not confident whether another shot at gmat would be any better for me. Hence I wanted to know if my profile is strong enough to be considered for pgpm. If not, I still have time before the admissions begin in July. So would like to know if I could do something to improve my profile.

    My acads are average / consistent with 81% in SSC, 86% in HSC, 71% in BE ( 76% in the final year ).

    Kindly advice.

    • Varun,

      It would be prudent to work on that score. If you have not taken professional help, go sign up with a coaching service provider (virtual/classroom). Your profile is pretty interesting but with that score, you will always be playing a bit of bet. So there is definite merit in another shot at it.


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