Six Reasons a Part-Time MBA Isn’t Right for You

Universities generally offer MBA programs as both part-time MBA or a full-time MBA programs. But with changing market demands, MBA programs have begun to take new shape and new names. Sometimes called a traditional MBA, evening MBA, or professional MBA, these programs are variations on the historic full-time MBA and part-time MBA offerings.

It’s important to understand what your needs are from a program and then to investigate what a program offers regardless of its name. For instance, a Professional MBA is often designed for working professionals and therefore may be completed on a part-time basis, offer evening classes, require more work experience to be accepted or some combination of these options.

Below are six reasons why a part-time MBA may not be the right choice for you and a full-time MBA might be a better option.

1. Takes Too Long

Part-Time MBA programs require a commitment over a longer period of time, on average three or more years. The greatest advantage of a full-time MBA program is that it allows you to complete your degree program as quickly as possible. However, George Mason offers a Professional MBA program that can be completed in as few as 23 months of evening classes, and the Executive MBA program is completed in just 18 months with classes held on Saturdays only.

2. Less Opportunities for Scholarships

In many programs, scholarships, financial aid, and graduate assistantships are often limited to those students pursuing a full-time MBA rather than a part-time MBA. Generally more opportunities for aid are available for full-time MBA programs. Many opportunities for scholarships are available to MBA students at George Mason’s School of Business including those applying to our Professional MBA program.

3. Limited Lasting Connections

In many part-time programs, you generally take only a couple of classes each semester which may make it difficult for you to develop lasting bonds when you only see classmates a few times a week. In a full-time MBA program, you work very closely with a small cohort of students in numerous classes over 18 months to 2 years. This allows you to develop very strong relationships and build your professional network. While you’ll be taking classes just two evenings per week in Mason’s Professional MBA program, the program is delivered on the cohort model. This means you take all required courses with the same group of classmates and can build a strong professional network with them.

4. Fewer Opportunities for Mentorships, Associations, and Career Exploration

In a part-time MBA program, you generally are pulled between your responsibilities in your job as well as your responsibilities in your courses. In a full-time MBA program, you have more time for mentorships with professors or business professionals. In addition, without the demands of a full-time job, you have the flexibility to attend student association meetings, professional programs and events, or other professional groups to network, build relationships and learn more about industries you may want to enter. These give you a chance for career exploration that you may not have at your disposal if you are working full-time and attending classes.

5. Less Time to Get Involved

Part-time MBA students are often limited in the time they can devote to things outside of the classroom. Full-time MBA students are often the ones taking on the leadership in professional student organizations such as the MBA Association. This, however, is not always the case and many part-time MBA students have successfully balanced both career and education demands. It is often said that you get out of your education what you put into it. By taking the time to be involved in the student groups and organizations in your program, you will get more out of your education.

6. Less Time to Apply New Skills to your own Entrepreneurial Endeavors

As a part-time MBA student, time will be your biggest foe. It may seem like there will never be enough of it. Full-time MBA students have the opportunity to spend more time on class projects, and possibly even integrate their coursework with their own personal goals. Assignments for business plans in courses, or capstone projects can be completed using your own personal entrepreneurial goals. The time you put in to your studies can be considered time spent researching and preparing to create your own business. Learn more about the MBA program at George Mason School of Business.

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Jackie Buchy

Since 2011, I have served as the assistant dean for graduate enrollment at George Mason University's School of Business. In my role, I work with prospective graduate students to identify and select the best graduate program to meet their career goals.

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