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Part-time MBA

The part-time MBA, like the EMBA, allows students to keep their full time jobs while attending business school. Unlike the EMBA programs, however, part-time MBA programs are designed for the less experienced professional or for those seeking to learn the necessary skills to change careers. Some part-time programs also incorporate distance-learning options making them flexible for those who travel frequently as well as for those that do not necessarily live nearby the school they attend. Schedules also differ from program to program, so you will want to find a timetable that works best for you, your family and your employer.

Challenges

The most significant challenge for part-time students is changing careers. Those who do not seek to make a dramatic change are generally satisfied with their choice. However, students who want to make a more extreme change in field tend not to be as satisfied with part-time MBA study as do full-time MBA students.

o Time

Full-time MBA students have time off to engage in summer internships or take a part-time position in a different field during the school year. This increases their potential to be able to change fields. Part-time MBA students are more limited in this respect. They may necessarily have to keep the jobs they currently hold, but often find it more realistic to move into a position that combines their experience with the new interests and skills gained in the classroom.

At the same time, part-time MBA students have a lot of time. The programs, being part-time, take an extended time to complete, and thus provide additional time for students to contemplate the direction they want the degree to take. In addition, it’s important for part time students to make use of campus resources, career counseling, and career assessment tools as they move along in the process. After three or four years in a program, goals may change, so these tools should be used when evaluating the MBA process.

Part time students will need the support of their employers and families too, as both studying and working will require large time commitments.

o Money

Some part time students receive funding from their employers to complete the part time MBA. Larger companies are generally more likely to fund MBA programs. Even for those who do not receive funding from their employers, part time MBA students have a financial advantage over their full time counterparts in that they are continuing to earn money during study, often enough to cover expenses.

Some part time students who seek to change careers post-graduation will find that their salaries do not increase and may even decrease. This is because companies still hire and determine wages based on proven experience. One way to mitigate this is by seeking to combine the expertise developed in your current field with your interest in a new field. Also, money need not be the single determining factor in your post-MBA professional choice. Though many go into MBA programs seeking to improve their earnings, many also seek to change jobs. With this in mind, try to find a position that will allow you to grow and learn. Consider options that complement your long-term goals and don’t just consider your post-MBA pocketbook.

Posted on April 23, 2009 by Manhattan Review

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A recent study conducted by the GMAC suggests that MBA graduates are largely satisfied with their decision to attain an MBA. The study is based on factors such as increased long-term income and financial stability, connections gained as a result of their MBA, increased confidence, and respect accorded to them after their MBA. The study chooses not to focus on immediate financial rewards as these, though motivating factors in seeking an MBA, are not necessarily representative of overall satisfaction.

The study is based on recipients of full, executive, and part-time MBAs (online and distance MBAs etc. make up only 1% of those surveyed). A majority of those surveyed (58%) were in full-time MBA programs.

Especially interesting are the high satisfaction ratings among MBAs who desired to change or switch careers following their programs. Among these MBA recipients, very high rates of satisfaction are expressed in the areas of post-MBA marketability as well as post-MBA long-term financial stability.

MBAs were also surveyed as to the degree to which they feel satisfied in their skill development as a result of their MBA program. Skills such as strategic thinking and technological skills among others were included in the survey. In terms of skill improvement, it was again evident that those interested in career change were more satisfied. However, those MBAs who pursued the degree with the intention of enhancing their pre-MBA career expressed lower degree of satisfaction in their skill improvement.

This survey did not take into account additional demographic factors (location, ethnicity, nationality and race). Such factors too might have resulted in interesting findings.

The above discussions are based on GMAC Research Report “Satisfied MBAs: Career Switchers and Career Enhancers from Around the World,” written by Sabeen Sheikh & Kara Siegert on 7 June 2007.

Posted on April 30, 2008 by Manhattan Review

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