Last Updated: July 29, 2021
Finding the Right MBA Program
Candidates who wish to pursue an MBA will be surprised to see that this professional course comes under different titles which will essentially have the same content but will be different in the underlying structure and format. Since the course is professional in nature and since the candidates that apply for this course come from both educational and professional backgrounds, the course has been designed to provide equal opportunities for all candidates to obtain the degree.
Types of MBA Programs
The four types of MBA programs available in most business schools are:
- full-time or traditional MBA
- professional or part-time MBA
- executive MBA
- online MBA
These four MBA programs focus on the credits the candidate can achieve during the duration of the course and the time they have to spend on a daily basis for the course. The kind of course, the candidate opts for must be based on their career goals, admission requirements, and the time commitments the candidate will have during the course.
Full-Time MBA programs
Full-time MBA programs have been designed for younger students who wish to apply for an MBA right after the completion of their undergraduate courses. Even when schools require the candidate to have a minimum number of years of work experience, they prefer candidates who enroll as soon as the work experience requirement has been fulfilled. The course is also targeted at candidates who can easily afford this expensive course without having to do part-time jobs.
A majority of candidates that apply for a full-time MBA will be below the age of 30 and the admission criteria for this course is highly selective in nature. This is often because the school’s reputation and ranking for all of its MBA courses tend to be dependent on the full-time MBA program. The full-time program is the most commonly provided MBA program in all business schools. It is a 2-year program and can be done by specializing in a particular field like marketing, strategy, financing, consulting, etc.
The workload for this course is more intense when compared to the other programs, with a full-time class schedule and students typically live on or near campus. Candidates who wish to pursue a full-time MBA but are concerned about the cost of doing the course will be able to find financial aid
for MBA in the form of scholarships, fellowships, grants, etc. Candidates will also be able to secure teaching assistant positions while doing the course within their own campus.
Part-Time MBA programs
Candidates who plan on doing the MBA while working will be able to do the same by choosing the part-time program. These programs allow students to continue to work full-time while pursuing an MBA. The part-time MBA is also called the working professionals MBA at some universities. Candidates who pursue a part-time MBA program will generally have more work experience than full-time MBA students. They will also be older in age. Part-time MBA is slightly more popular among candidates than full-time MBA due to the flexible nature of the course.
The part-time program has its classes held either at night or on weekends to accommodate the work schedules of all the candidates. The program also has a longer duration than full-time programs taking up to 3 or 5 years to complete. Many students decide to pursue a part-time MBA for financial reasons. In these programs, candidates continue to work in their full-time job while going to school. Employers may have a tuition reimbursement program and pay for all or a percentage of the education. Though there is employer-specific aid that candidates can receive for doing a part-time MBA, this is rarely received. The admissions for part-time MBA are less competitive in nature and can be obtained by any interested candidate irrespective of their qualifications.
Executive MBA programs
Executive MBA is essentially different from full-time and part-time MBA due to its accelerated nature. EMBA programs are more expensive, and students’ employers usually pay all or almost all of the costs. These programs require students to attend classes on the weekend, which provides the opportunity for students to participate in EMBA programs outside of the city they live in. EMBA programs often waive the GMAT
test for applicants. They focus more on work experience than aptitude tests for admission.
This program is opted by people who are already in leadership positions as the course title suggests and is often done for receiving promotions upon the recommendation of the company that they are in. These programs are accelerated in nature when compared to part-time programs and candidates will be taking classes with the same group of students even though the classes are held only on weekends.
Online MBA programs
Candidates who plan to do an MBA but are worrying over the cost and time that has to be invested into the same can apply for online programs. Over the last several years, the number of online MBA programs available has increased. This is significantly less expensive than other MBA programs but is also deemed less selective. Candidates who wish to advance in their career but do not have flexible schedules or have travel-related issues will be able to choose this form of study.
While looking at online programs, it is important that candidates look at the kind of opportunities each program offers. Networking between professors and other candidates doing the same course is an essential factor often priced more than taking the subjects that are required for the course. This is where candidates will be able to build connections that will help them eventually in business or other work matters.
Comparing Full-Time, Part-Time, and Executive MBA
If the three types of MBA programs are to be compared, the full-time program offers candidates the option of taking a proper master’s degree with a specialization of their choice that can help them advance their career. The part-time and executive MBA can seem similar in nature considering how both of these courses do not have classes on a daily basis. But the executive MBA program is almost always fully funded by the company the candidate works in whereas part-time students rarely get financial aid for doing the course.
The other specifications and differences between the three programs have been listed out below-
|Program Type||Full-time MBA||Part-time MBA||Executive MBA|
|Program Duration||1-2 years||3+ years||2 years|
|Schedule||day/evening on weekdays||Mostly weekday evenings||Weekends|
|Average Student Age||~23-30||~24-35||~32-42|
|Average size of cohort||223 students||143 students||71 students|
|Professional Experience||0-3+ years||0-3+ years||Executives with 8+ years|
|Admissions requirements||Higher average GMAT score||Lower average GMAT score||Focus on experience over test score|
Benefits of Doing Part-Time and Executive MBA
The benefits of doing a part-time MBA lies in the financial and time investment candidates have to make with respect to their employment status. The fee for part-time programs is relatively lower than full-time programs. And since the candidate will already be working a full-time job, they will be able to cover both their living expenses and educational expenses without other risks. Candidates will also not have to go through a time period looking for other employment opportunities while applying for or after completion of the course.
Candidates will have a-
- Reduced Risk of Unemployment-
While pursuing a part-time degree, candidates will have flexibility on when they change job positions. When they attend school full-time, they will have a risk of being unemployed at the end of the two years or of accepting a job opportunity they weren’t interested in to avoid unemployment. With significantly increased debt, this can be intimidating.
- Reduced Cost-
Part-time MBA programs can be less expensive for students if their employers provide tuition reimbursement. However, candidates should keep in mind that some companies will require them to stay a set number of years after completing their MBA. If they fail to do so, they will have to reimburse the tuition fee to the company. These programs can also be cheaper because candidates will continue to work and earn during the year they attend school.
Benefits of Full-Time MBA
The benefits of doing a full-time MBA include that of candidates being fully invested in the course. They will not be juggling between work and school thereby tiring themselves out. Candidates will also be able to do internships that can enhance their learning. Full-time programs also offer a lot of financial aid options for candidates.
Candidates will be able to:
- Focus on School-
When candidates attend a full-time MBA program, they will be able to focus on graduate school only without worrying about working at the same time. This will give them more time to join clubs, get involved, attend career fairs, and explore all the future career possibilities. This full-time investment of time and effort will let the candidate grow within the field better. Candidates will also be able to specialize in the field of their choice taking this extra time they have.
- Participate in a Summer Internship-
A great aspect of a full-time program is being able to intern the summer between the first and second year. Many graduate students secure their post-graduation jobs at the end of their summer internships. It’s also a great chance to try out a new career and company and see how it fits.
- Available Scholarships-
The majority of scholarships are awarded to full-time MBA students, which provides an easy way to offset some of the costs with not working and paying tuition.
Doing an MBA can seem life-changing to most candidates due to the kind of change it brings in the career prospects of candidates. Completing an MBA and specializing in a particular field within MBA often lets candidates double their salary after course completion. The course offers candidates with new skillsets and enhances their existing skills shaping them to suit leadership roles. The course also lets candidates climb up the ladder and take up managerial posts rather than remaining at the lower rung of the corporate sector.
The choice of doing an MBA program is dependent entirely on the candidate and the decision can be made only by considering factors like career goals, personal cost, and benefits, salary expectations, etc. Doing the course will always add to whatever status the candidate has at the moment and will only be beneficial to the candidate.