The very word “part-time” gives suggestions of a laidback schedule and mediocrity to many people. Probably, this is why b-schools take particular care to stress the intensiveness and commitment that their part-time MBA courses demand. There is nothing casual about these programs.
Part-time MBA is specifically designed for working professionals. It is a feasible option for those who cannot leave their jobs and salary and take up a full-time MBA program. Full-time programs are expensive options, and MBA aspirants who are employed may not be able to make the financial commitment, particularly without a salary. Full-timers have to resign their jobs and re-enter the job market after the MBA program. But the reputation of the b-school or the MBA program may not guarantee employment.
The only way out for those in this situation is enroll for a part-time MBA program. Top universities offer part-time programs, and according to a QS survey quoted in the Top MBA website, part-time programs are gaining popularity in these times of economic uncertainty, when leaving one’s job to attend a study program is risky.
Many good part-time courses are very nearly comparable to full-time programs in organization and content; they are just as immersive and also offer flexibility. The degree from a part-time course at a reputed school is considered more or less on a par with a degree from a full-time program. Their usefulness is obvious from the fact that some organizations sponsor their employees with potential to attend part-time programs.
The opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge without disturbing one’s normal schedule is obviously the biggest advantage. As they are employed, part-time students can simultaneously practice at their workplace what they have learnt at school, says an article in the “MBA Rendezvous” portal. If they practice the MBA ideas successfully, they will convince their bosses of their capabilities.
Well-known b-schools now have convenient part-time MBA programs held on weekends and holidays. In addition to in-person courses conducted on school campuses, online courses are also available.
Of course, there are disadvantages, too. An article on the Top MBA website says many students find it a tough trick to juggle work, family and social life, and a rigorous MBA program. The interaction between student and peers and professors suffers somewhat because of the hustle and bustle of the part-time program and the lack of time available compared with a full-time program. Because of the lack of interaction, students may lose out on networking opportunities, unless they make a special effort. Part-timers can’t temporarily shelve their careers and family and social responsibilities to focus on their program, while full-timers can. Also, no on-campus recruitment is available.
In India, recruiters don’t take part-time-MBAs too seriously. The main reasons are the suspect motivation of these MBAs (many join programs only to tone up their CVs, not to learn more) and the rather lax admission criteria (almost anyone who can pay the fee is admitted, whereas this is not the case with full-time courses).
Experts say that part-timers can make the best use of their efforts and make their degrees count by focusing on the curriculum, networking well, managing their expectations of advantage to their careers from their MBA degree, convincing their employers of the skills acquired from the course, and learning about and contributing to a corporate function in their organization that can use an MBA.
Here are the best b-schools in the world for part-time MBA, according to a survey by the portal US News and World Report. One or more courses start each year in the schools mentioned. Programs for employed candidates, with classes after office hours and on weekends (Saturday/Sunday), excluding Fridays, are covered here.
Best part-time MBA programs in the world
University of California, Berkeley (Haas)
Part-time MBA (Evening and Weekend MBA) students earn their degrees in about three years at Haas, attending classes in the evenings and on Saturdays. The part-time-course fee is $3,363 per credit. After the program, graduates advance in their careers or are able to switch to preferred jobs, and benefit from a 46 percent salary increase, according to Haas.
University of Chicago (Booth)
Booth has Evening MBA and Weekend MBA programs. Evening MBA classes are held one evening every week (6-9 pm) and Weekend MBA classes on Saturdays (either 9 am-12 noon or 1.30-4.30 pm) in downtown Chicago. The duration of the programs is two-and-a-half to three years (average of two courses per quarter of 11 weeks, for a total of 20 courses, in addition to a leadership program). The tuition per course is $7,130.
Northwestern University (Kellogg)
Kellogg also has Evening MBA (weeknights, 6-9 pm) and Weekend MBA (Saturdays, either 9 am to 12 noon or 1.30-4.30 pm) programs. The programs, both of which are held in downtown Chicago, include an accelerated option along with the traditional mode, to enable students to bypass core courses and complete the MBA more quickly. The duration of the traditional-mode Evening MBA is one year and three months to five years, and the duration of the accelerated mode is one to four years. The Weekend MBA in the traditional mode runs for two to five years and in the accelerated mode one year and six months to four years. The tuition per course is $6,950 (students can take up to four weeks per quarter).
University of Los Angeles—California (Anderson)
The Fully Employed MBA has three flexible schedules for the core topics: (1) Classes on Saturdays (9.30 am-12.45 pm and 2-5 pm); (2) Tuesday and Thursday evenings (6.30-9.45pm), and (3) one weekend per month on campus and the rest online. Electives have different schedule options. The fast-track program can be completed in two years and a quarter and the traditional part-time program in four years. The part-time program fee is about $40,000 a year.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ross)
Michigan Ross offers both evening and weekend programs. Students in the Evening MBA can attend classes at night or on weekends, or during the day, when possible, along with peers from the full-time program. The program can be completed in three to four years. The Weekend MBA program has classes every other weekend. Ross’s cohort model ensures that the students take their courses with the same group of part-time students, which helps build meaning contacts and friendships. The tuition for both programs is about $130,000.
University of Minnesota Twin Cities (Carlson)
Students at Carlson’s Part-Time MBA can learn from a broad variety of core courses and from over 100 electives. It is flexible and customizable, with classes being offered in the week and Saturdays. You can also choose to take the courses online.Between the various credit courses, the classes meet between 1 to 2 times a week. If you prefer a more condensed format, then the number increases. Overall, you can finish the degree between 2.5 to 4 years. Choice of specializations include Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems, Management, Marketing, Medical Industry, and Supply Chain. You can also create a specialization from other options like Accounting, Human Resources, Integrative Leadership, etc. Fees include about $1,500/credit with the options of 2-4 credits per course.
University of Texas—Austin (McCombs)
The Texas Evening MBA is a two-and-a-half-year conducted at McCombs, Austin, every Monday and Tuesday (6-9 pm). To ensure adequate coverage of topics, intensive seminars are occasionally held over weekends. The tuition for the program is about $105,000.
Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper), Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
The Tepper School has two part-time MBA formats—the Part-time Online Hybrid and the Part-time on Campus programs—both of which run for 32 months. The first is a year-round program, in which evening/online classes are held six times each year. The second is also a year-round program but with classes two evenings a week and optional daytime sessions for electives. The annual estimated cost of attendance for both programs is about $24,000-$25,000.
Ohio State University (Fisher)
Fisher conducts the MBA for Working Professionals program, with classes twice a week (6.15-9.30 pm) with an option to take them earlier in the evening (4.30-6 pm). Students usually complete the program in two-and-a-half years. The total estimated annual expenses for the program is about $60,000.
New York University (Stern)
Stern holds two part-time MBA programs—the Part-time MBA Manhattan and the Part-time MBA Westchester programs. Under the Manhattan program, students can attend classes on weeknights (6-9 pm) or on Saturdays (9 am-12 noon and 1-4pm). The program is usually completed in two-and-a-half to three years. A year-round Accelerated Program enables students to complete the program in two years by taking classes Monday through Thursday (6-9 pm) and Saturdays (9 am-12 noon and 1-4pm). Under the Westchester program, students take classes on Monday and Wednesday evenings. The program usually runs for three years. The cost of attendance of the part-time MBA programs is $64,000-$70,000, including $31,000-$38,000 tuition.
Read this related article:
– Best Part-time MBA in California: UCLA Anderson (FEMBA) and Berkeley Haas
– Is a Part-Time MBA worth it?
– Working part-time during a full-time MBA