Part-Time vs. Full-Time MBA Programs: Learning the Difference

What is the difference between Part-Time vs. Full-Time MBA Programs? All details about Duration, enrollment, Structure, and Cost. A master’s degree in business administration (MBA) is critical to advancing in the corporate world. The professionality of an individual in the business field depends upon their qualification, which determines their level of skills and job opportunities. If you seek a promotion on your current job and aspire to transcend towards a better paying job in a much more compatible environment, then MBA might be it for you. Entrepreneurs should have an MBA degree to steer their businesses towards a successful path in a competitive atmosphere. As the business world becomes globalized day by day, the industrial rivalry is reaching new heights. It has compelled firms of all sizes to retain their creative employees and hire appropriately-trained talent. An MBA degree helps you gain the proper skillset and abilities to become a considerable candidate in today’s competitive situation. It enables you to become more acquainted with the concepts of strategic planning, financial decision-making, business analytics, accounting, and other crucial business units. Students can also specialize in their chosen and concentrated career paths like marketing, research, and development, human resources, and leadership. Generally, there are two routes to pursue an MBA degree: a full-time and a part-time program. Let’s have a look at significant differences between the two:

Overview of Part-Time MBA Programs

A part-time MBA is a flexible option for students working a full-time job and taking up leadership roles that require them to advance in their educational expertise. These students are usually in their 20s, have a bachelor’s degree, and wish to take classes during weekends or in the evening. But, programs like online MBA no GMAT can be even more flexible, allowing them to choose the most suitable time. Virtual education helps them save up on transportation and living costs while also allowing them to fulfill their social and familial obligation. The ‘no GMAT’ feature also allows them to save up on preparation and test fee. These students get to share the same faculty and many of the same courses as their full-time peers. There is another type of part-time MBA, which you may know as the executive MBA (EMBA). It is specifically designed for professionals in leadership roles who have experience in the business field but are looking to expand their networking skills. These are much shorter programs but much more expensive than regular MBAs. Overall, part-time MBA programs can take more time to complete than full-time MBA programs, and hence they are less competitive, more flexible. Students often find it challenging to manage their work-study-life balance during part-time educational programs, but they help them learn time management skills.

Overview of Full-Time MBA Programs

Younger students who have recently completed their bachelor’s degree and want to pursue a master’s degree in continuation should opt for full-time MBA programs. These full-time students cannot work alongside their studies because their course structure has a tight schedule. Entering into a full-time MBA program will not allow you to earn much while completing the degree; but you will be done with it much sooner than with a part-time MBA and get equally promising job opportunities. This program is usually structured for 20-30-year-olds who either want to finish their degree before stepping into professional life or can take a break from their professional career. These students should be living near the campus and attend compulsory classes to complete their master’s degree program on time. The academic workload for these students is much more significant because of the time constraints and scheduled lessons. These students are more eligible for scholarship programs because business’ schools’ reputations mainly depend on their enrollment for full-time programs.

Who Should Enroll?

Depending upon the type of program, an average MBA student has about six years of professional experience. The classrooms of these programs have learners enrolled who might be in their late 20s; especially those in part-time MBA programs. Since these individuals are already working, they have sufficient business experience as a professional and wish to reach towards more rewarding or management positions in their work field. On the other hand, students who seek full-time programs have much less professional experience. After graduation, they are thorough learners who have immediately enrolled themselves in a master’s program. Some of these students are not from the business field; they are looking for a career after acquiring an undergraduate degree in another area. There are, however, no limits to whoever wishes to enroll in an MBA program; no age restriction, and neither specific professional experience eligibility. Many individuals who have self-actualized in their leadership programs often go for executive MBAs to expand their skills and educational expertise.

Duration of the Program

Students enrolled in any MBA program, part-time or full-time, must complete 36-40 credit hours. Schools have structured them between strategic and conducive business courses which enhance their basic business skills; electives that help them become more specialized in their respective fields; and capstone experiences that help them gain more practical knowledge. The duration of the MBA program for full-time students is typically one to two years. Some business schools offer shorter-termed programs, but they require students to complete some of their MBA courses during their undergraduate studies. During full-time MBA, students get their summers off, enabling them to go for internship programs. Meanwhile, part-time MBA students take only one to two classes each term, usually on weekends or evening hours. Some business institutes grant their part-time students’ credits for professional business experience based on their workplace. Hence, depending upon their course structures, part-time students need approximately three or more years than full-time students to complete this degree.

Structure and Cost of the Program

There are a few standard business core programs under specific courses for an MBA degree. Students study financial accounting, consumer behavior, human resources, marketing, financial institutions, analytics, and organizational behavior as primary program cores. Full-time students have more options to choose from for their electives and concentrations; and they utilize school breaks to partake in experiential learning. On the other hand, part-time students, including those enrolled in EMBAs, pursue weekend courses, leaving them limited options for electives. As for the cost, MBA programs are usually more expensive than an undergraduate degree. Statistically speaking, top universities in the US cost $100,000 annually for master’s programs. Full-time students take up term-based tuitions, so the rates are lower. At the same time, part-time MBA students pay per credit, which costs them more. However, most institutes now have shifted to the pay-per-credit fee for all kinds of students. But there are fewer scholarships available for part-time students, and hence, full-time MBA students can access more financial aid opportunities. Fortunately for part-time students, they often get tuition assistance from their employers or reimbursement programs which helps lower the overall cost.

Bottom Line

If you’re wondering which type of program to go for, the bottom line is that it depends on your availability. If you’ve just completed your bachelor’s degree or you can take a break from fieldwork for about two years, then go for a full-time MBA. But, if you’re currently employed and want to expand your academic learning while working; then you should go for a part-time MBA.

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