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Is a Part-Time MBA worth it?

MBAs come in all shapes and sizes – Full Time (FT), Executive, Dual, Distance, Short Term and Part Time (PT). [Read – Types of MBA Programs]. But taking the more common full-time MBA courses, for comparison, the way part-time differs from it is mainly in the execution. Part time courses are usually offered as evening, or off-office-hour courses, covering essentially the same amount of coursework but over a longer duration.

They are offered by the same schools, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

Here’s a list of the top ten part time business schools, in the US, based on US News Rankings, in 2019. Also read Best Part Time MBAs in the world.

School Ranking
University of Chicago #1
University of California Berkeley Haas #2
Northwestern University Kellogg #3
New York University Stern #4
University of California Los Angeles Anderson #5
University of Michigan Ann Arbor Ross #6
University of Minnesota – Carlson #7
University of Texas Austin McCombs #8
Carnegie Mellon Tepper #9
Emory University Goizueta #9
Indiana University Kelley #9


So part time MBAs are legitimate and respectable, and certainly not a conspiracy by some shady back alley enterprise, looking to con you off your money. It provides an alternative way to seek an MBA to further your career. And much like anything you buy, or invest in, you need to evaluate the pros and cons of enrolling in such a study. How effective is it? Is it good, bad or ugly when compared to a traditional full time course? Will it be purse friendly? And the all encompassing, is the part-time MBA worth it or not?

Is a Part-Time MBA worth it?

In this article we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of a part time study, for you to infer its potential success tailored to your situation. To begin with, let’s start with the good news before moving on to the bad one.

What are the benefits of Part-time MBA degree programs?

Part time MBAs are designed for working professionals who want to continue with a steady flow of income whilst getting their degree. They also have the advantage of sticking around, at your job, and not having to start afresh, like full timers have to. A lot of companies offer to purse the program in view of an opportunity for employee growth.

Part time MBAs seem to provide a pretty flashy ROI, based on an alumni survey by GMAC, the company that conducts GMAT. We do have to keep in mind that this GMAC survey was conducted based on responses from 14,279 graduate business alumni out of which 6,961 provided valid financial data for the ROI calculations. A larger data set might give a bigger better picture. But you get the idea.

Is a Part-time MBA degree worth it?
Median Investment and ROI at various stages, after graduation, for different kinds of Business degrees (Class years 1986 to 2012). Source: 2016 GMAC Alumni Perspectives Survey Report

On top of the apparent monetary relief, they also give an opportunity to mingle with similar working professionals, thereby increasing the pool of your professional network.

But as you might have guessed, not all is golden in the world of part timers. There are certain aspects you should keep in mind before taking the night train to college town.

What are the possible drawbacks of getting a Part-time MBA?

Well, for starters, most part time MBA students are not eligible to avail the On Campus Recruitment service. Now that may not be as important given the fact that these students are already with jobs. However the chances of shifting careers, or jobs, become a bit unstreamlined.

There is also a general sense of unwantedness in Investment Banking and Consulting Firm companies. Their recruiting processes are quite rigorous and they usually offer jobs to successful interns.

And internship is yet another facility usually unavailable to PTs. They are usually employed in finance, wealth management and other sectors. So if you are specifically targeting a Wall Street banking career, then PT might not be the right move for you.

Also to keep in mind is that recruiters often rely on the traditional highly selective admissions process that full timers are subjected to. Compared to that, part time MBAs are much less selective about their enrollment.

But these are highly unmeasurable and subjective reservations. There are also quite a few people, among recruiters, who know what kind of candidate, they want, and are able to easily filter them out, irrespective of whether a degree was obtained before or after sunrise. In other words evaluate your situation against your goals.

The final, more personal, disadvantage of enrolling in a part time MBA study is the huge onus on time management. Most of these students are working professionals, with a family and other responsibilities. Factoring in all of them, it is hard to downplay the significance of time. So if you are looking to attend evening classes, you may need to organize your life for everything else, while keeping yourself from burning out for the duration of the course. Difficult but doable.
The conclusion of this discourse is for you to derive. There are aspects that may not have been covered in this article, but you can get a general sense of what can you expect to gain, or lose, from the more flexible part time MBA. Hope you are able to decide well and do let us know whether it was worth it, for you!

Meanwhile here is an article for inspiration – first hand story from a candidate with a Part-time MBA at UCLA and Berkeley Haas.
Sources:1, 2, 3

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

9 thoughts on “Is a Part-Time MBA worth it?”

  1. Hi Sameer,
    I am 2009 batch B.Tech pass out from UPTU lucknow, college being just avg though my overall percentage is not so bad (close to 70%), the biggest mistake I did to do full time 2 yr mba from a central university which has no resources but that time I didn’t realize it.
    Today I have 5+ yrs of experience and I am currently working in sales profile in a MNC but still I find I am not able to fully utilize my MBA ( since it has little credential specially for any MNC). So I am thinking of either second MBA or executive MBA from a top college. I came to know about some part time executive mba’s like xlri/iit Delhi for working professional,
    kindly guide what could be best option for my situation. I would consider only indian colleges, as there are no plan to go abroad currently.


  2. Hello my name is Bimosh ,I am 30 years old .I have done M’tech and am currently working as an Asst Professor in an Engg college with 3 years of work experience.I want to switch over to MBA because career prospects in academic field are not so bright anymore.So please suggest what type of MBA should work for me viz. part time, full time, executive mba etc .Should I aim for international universities.Please guide me.

  3. I am going to complete my +2 class and i have decided go to australia to get bba mba degree .i am not understanding how much does it cost in whole procedure and how much could i get through part time jobs

  4. Hey, thanks for the information…was really helpful. Anyways i still have some question which i want to be clarified. So…i am pursuing my btech(final year) as an agricultural engineering in Arunachal Pradesh, and i am considering to apply for GMAT exams so that i can get into a good business schools. My first problem is that i belong to a middle class people and i don think my family can really afford to send me to study abroad (as a matter of choice Harvard if i happen to get selected) to what i have checked the fee structures of Harvard, is there any alternatives or solution to my problems. Secondly, i am a sincere and always topping the class type of student, not added much to the leadership skill but there are some of the achievements and even failure during my schools and in my college times where i have lead many programs to full potential. Since i and my college belong to a rural place so i don have any work experience with any companies and no part time so should i still be keeping hopes of getting selected into Harvard or some other top bschools.

  5. Hi Sir
    I m not good student in school or in college.
    My 10/12/ and percentage
    49.4%/ 47%/& 46
    And I m working at my shop with my uncle after my father’s death
    Since 2013.
    So I want to leave my shop for better future.
    So I can do part time MBA???
    And which one is best option???

  6. @Thiru: Sorry, I’m not aware of city specific options. We focus on international programs such as the ones listed in the artice above.

    @Anky: Going for a part-time MBA after a full-time MBA won’t help you much. Folks who work with us for second MBA applications target full-time programs that have a strong track record. Be careful not to repeat the mistakes that you regret now.

    @Bimosh: For career-changers, a full-time MBA can provide better opportunities. However, be aware of its limitations as well. Your pre-MBA experience will matter when you start job-hunting.

    @Tarun: Why rush into something that you don’t completely understand at this stage? Be patient, complete your basic graduation, get some experience and then think about going abroad when you have more clarity about the risks and rewards of studying abroad.

    @Rizwan: You can do a part-time degree, but it may have limitations as the article above suggests. You can also try working with other businesses at junior levels and learn new skills. That doesn’t require any investment.

    @Roni: If you are good at studies, you should be able to crack the GMAT. It’s one of the important aspects admission officers look at while making admit and scholarship decision. Also focus on building a strong profile and useful skills before applying to the top MBA programs like Harvard. Here are some scholarship stories for inspiration.

  7. Hi, I am a current EWMBA student at Berkeley-Haas, just a factual correction in your article, Haas, Booth and Anderson provides same career services to both FT & EWMBA’s. All EW’s are allowed to participate in on campus recruiting. The reason companies also don’t discriminate between the programs because of very selective entry criteria and low acceptance rate for EWMBA’s, so quality is not diluted.

  8. Hi , Im 2019 passed Out…….Im working as a pipe designer for 1 year thinkin about doin Mba without leaving my job . So Should I go for Executive Mba or Part time MBA?


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