Part-Time Vs Full Time Mba: Admission Requirements, Cost, Duration

Generally, earning an MBA ( Masters In Business Administration) degree can help professionals enhance their career opportunities, receive increased compensation and job promotions. As a prospective student aiming to earn an MBA, you are probably stuck in choosing what to enroll for between a full-time or part-time program. Here is what you need to know in the part time vs full time MBA debate.

Full-time and part-time MBA programs have their similarities, but there are distinctions that can help you decide between the two when applying to business school.

However, to choose from either of the MBA program options, you have to ask yourself and know what form of study will suit you best.

So, in order to help you in your selection and decision process, this article has been written simplifying these distinctions in the part-time vs full-time MBA debate. You will get to see what makes a full-time MBA unique and different from the part-time option from the admission requirements, schools, costs, and duration of the study.

In addition, you will get to know about the types of MBA program options and factors to consider before selecting one.

Here is a table of what to expect:

What Is An MBA?

According to Investopedia, an MBA (master of business administration) is a graduate degree providing theoretical and practical business or investment management training.

An MBA is basically designed to help graduates gain a better understanding of general business management functions. 

MBA degrees can have a general or specific focus in fields such as accounting, finance, management, or marketing.

Types of MBA Program Options

Types Of MBA Program Options

Below is a tabular representation of the types of MBA program options with their duration, required years of experience and schedule:

PROGRAM LENGTH PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE SCHEDULE
Full-time MBA 1–2 years 3+ years Full time courseload
Part-time MBA 3+ 0–3 years Evening classes allow students to keep working full-time
Online MBA 2 years 0–3 years Personalized schedule to be followed from home
Executive MBA (EMBA) 2 years For execs with 8+ years Generally meet on weekends to accommodate student’s busy work schedule
Early Career MBA 2+ years For recent college grads Full time courseload
Global MBA 1–2 years For execs (middle- and upper-level managers) from all over the world Full-time courseload
Certificate Programs 1–2 semesters (varies by school) Not required 4 to 6 courses
Note

A certificate program is not an MBA, but it does confer expertise in important business fields. Therefore, they can be quite valuable.

For the interest of this article, our focus will be on the full time and part time MBA programs.

Learn more about Masters Of Business Administration MBA | 11 Facts You Need To Know.

What Is A Full Time MBA?

The full-time MBA degree is a general management degree that seeks to give students a detailed understanding of how business functions and how business leaders rise to meet an ever-changing set of circumstances and challenges.

A typical full-time MBA program is an intensive and structured curriculum that typically takes two years to complete.

Also, most full-time programs have rigid roadmaps to graduation. While students can learn a lot during the immersive experience, the program leaves little time for familial and personal responsibilities.

So, if you enter an MBA program as a full-time student, you won’t make much money for two to three years as you won’t be able to hold a full-time job while enrolled.

Who Can Enroll For A Full Time MBA Degree Program?

Full-time MBA programs are most popular with younger students recently obtaining bachelor’s degrees.

Typical full-time MBA programs are structured for 23- to 30-year-olds who can afford to leave the workforce for a while. There is also the expectation that full-time students will live on or near campus and regularly attend classes.

So, if you are not thinking of holding a full-time job in the next 2 to 3 years, you can apply for a full-time MBA program.

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Full-Time MBA Degree Program?

It takes about 2 years to complete a full-time MBA program. However, some can last for 3 years.

You may also like to see How To Get Online MBA Sustainability Degree: Schools, Requirements, Cost, Jobs

What Is A Part Time MBA?

Basically, a part-time MBA program is structured around the student’s schedule and responsibilities. It is geared towards full-time employees who don’t yet hold leadership positions. 

This type of MBA program is designed for professionals who want to keep working in the field while studying, those with families and lives that can’t be put on hold during the two years that a full-time MBA commitment requires. Rather, students can typically build the program’s schedule and pace according to their preferences, taking one or two classes at a time over several years, usually with a limit of six years.

Nowadays, the best business schools offer very well-organized part-time MBA courses that provide alumni with the same qualifications as a full-time MBA degree. Also, part-timers usually share the same faculty and can take many of the same courses as their full-time counterparts.

What Are The Types Of Part-Time MBA Degree Programs?

There are two main types of part-time MBA programs.

  • Executive MBA (EMBA)
  • Part-time MBA

The executive MBA is designed for students with years of work experience in executive or leadership roles. These students are usually between 32 and 42 years old.

EMBA programs majorly focus on networking. So, there is generally little interaction between EMBA and other MBA students.

An EMBA program can last as long as 2 years (24 months), equivalent to a full-time MBA program in scope and requirements. 

However, these executive MBA programs are often smaller than full-time programs and carry a heftier sticker price, as employers are expected to foot some or all of the student’s tuition bill.

Who Can Enroll For A Part Time MBA Degree Program?

Part-time MBA programs are usually targeted at 24-35-year-old or older students. In fact, Part-time MBA programs appeal to working professionals and those who are more established in their lives and careers.

Those who can’t put on hold on their careers and lives for the 2 years the full-time program requires.

How Long Does It Take To Complete A Part Time MBA Degree Program?

Typically, part-time MBA programs are often seen as less competitive than full-time programs and can take longer than two or three years to complete.  In fact, it takes about 3 to 6 years to complete a part-time MBA program. This is so because of the flexibility that comes with the program.

Part Time MBA Vs Full Time MBA: What Are The Distinction?

One of the major differences in the part-time MBA vs full time MBA debate is that the Part-time study provides the flexibility some students need to fulfill other commitments and responsibilities. On the other hand, the full-time study enables students to focus their attention on getting the most out of their MBA program and business school.

Here are other distinctions between the part-time and full-time MBA programs:

  • Who enrolls
  • Duration
  • Structure
  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Others

#1 Who Enrolls

Full-time MBA programs are popular among students who are either recent graduates or in the early stages of their careers. Students here tend to have fewer responsibilities and more free time and can dedicate serious and consistent energy to their studies.

Part-time MBA programs appeal more to working professionals and those who are more established in their lives and careers. Students here may have a personal, financial, career, or family obligations that necessitate a more flexible graduate-level program.

#2 Duration

A typical full-time MBA program can be completed in two years, however, there are some accelerated one-year programs available to full-time students.

Most part-time MBA programs take between three and five years to complete. This is, however, dependent on the student’s pace.

A full time program lets you to finish more quickly while a part time MBA allows you to keep your job while attending school. However, Part-time study allows students to continue earning money and adding value to their company.

#3 Structure

The school and its curriculum largely determine the structure of full-time MBA programs. Although there may be opportunities for personalization (that is, in selecting electives or specialization), generally, the structure tends to be rigid.

For instance, the first year is usually spent on learning management and business fundamentals, and the second year may be spent on electives and specializations. While online programs offer some independence in scheduling, coursework looks less like a traditional undergraduate menu, and more like a specific roadmap.

On the other hand, each student creates the structure of their MBA program for part-time study. In fact, the structure tends to be relatively fluid, as each student can assemble the program around his or her life.

This is why part-time programs have a longer completion time: some students choose to structure their part-time MBA over four years, while another might use six. Also, most part-time MBA programs provide mentors, counselors, and other resources to help students mold a curriculum in a way that is best for them.

#4 Pros: Full Time Vs Part Time MBA

Below is a tabular representation of the pros (advantages/benefits) of both s full-time and a part time MBA program:

Shorter time to graduation.

  1. Immersion learning.
  2. Strong professional network building.
  3. Better opportunities for scholarships and fellowships
  4. Helpful in career changes
  5. More collaboration

#5 Cons: Full Time Vs Part Time MBA

Below is a tabular representation of the cons (disadvantages) of both s full time and a part time MBA program:

Full-time MBA

  1. Requires significant outside financial and family support
  2. Higher barrier to entry
  3. Heavier class loads
  4. Delayed career advancement 1. Longer duration.
  5. Fewer scholarship options
  6. Limited networking opportunities
  7. Staggered learning

#6 Others

  • Part-time MBA programs help you to maintain ongoing commitments. As you know, life doesn’t stop in grad school, and many students need (or want) additional time for family, personal, and social commitments. So, part-time programs help keep busy students balanced. 

    On the other hand, with a full-time MBA, you can take advantage of the opportunities on-campus. Unlike part-time students, full-time students typically spend more time on campus socializing with their peers and getting to know professors. Often times, there are also extracurricular events and networking opportunities for MBA students that may be more difficult for part-time students to pursue. 

  • In a part-time program, you get to study with a senior executive. For instance, seasoned professionals in senior positions might consider an EMBA, for students with executive work experience. Classes are here typically offered in alternative formats, such as online or in weekend sessions. Also, EMBA students are smaller groups, making for a powerful professional network after graduation. 

What Are The Factors To Consider While Choosing The Right MBA Program For You?

There are certain factors to consider while making your decision on the best MBA program for you. Here are four major factors you should consider according to the PrincetonReview:

  • Admissions requirements
  • The amount of time you are willing to commit
  • Cost
  • Career goals

Admissions Requirements: Are You Experienced?

Do you have the required experience? The amount of work experience required varies between programs.

Some full-time programs (especially those offered as part of a five-year BA/MBA degree program) require little or no work experience. However, most full-time programs require at least three years of post-undergraduate professional experience.

So, as a recent college grad, you might want to consider an Early Career MBA program.

On the other hand, part-time programs typically prefer three years of work experience, although they admit students with less sometimes.

Meanwhile, EMBA candidates, often need at least eight years of professional experience at the management level.

This is different for Certificate programs as they typically have the least stringent admissions requirements; work experience is rarely required.

The Amount Of Time You Are Willing To Commit: Are We There Yet?

If you want the degree as soon as possible, then, you should consider enrolling in a full-time MBA program. This is so because some deliver the degree in as little as 12 months.

On the other hand, Part-time programs often require three to four years, although students with undergraduate degrees in business can sometimes place out of certain coursework.

Meanwhile, both EMBA and online programs generally take two years to complete. Between work and school obligations, EMBAs are extremely time-consuming. So, prepare to forfeit nearly all of your free time if you pursue this option. However, [f you’re looking for a quick fix, a certificate program may be the way to go as it typically complete over two semesters. That’s a relatively small commitment that can yield big rewards

Cost: Who Pays?

Generally, just like other graduate degrees, MBA programs aren’t cheap. There are some scholarship money is available for full-time MBA students, but awards tend to be less generous than at the undergraduate level. 

On the other hand, students enrolled in part-time, EMBA, and certificate programs receive partial or full reimbursement from their employers in most cases. In turn, most reimbursement programs require recipients to remain with the employer for a number of years after earning their degree. So, if the employer has no reimbursement program, then, the student will foot the bill. 

Career Goals: Upgrade or Clean Break?

If you want to improve your position with your current employer, then, a part-time or certificate program is a good fit. Each of them allows you to enhance your professional skills and also, increase your value. The best part of it, you can usually do it at your employer’s expense. In addition, online MBA programs also allow you to complete your courses from home or work.

However, if you want to start a new career or find a new job, a full–time program is probably your best bet. This is because a part-time program will slow your progress, and one of the main incentives to study part-time (employer reimbursement) probably won’t be available.

Also, look for online programs that offer plenty of opportunities to network with professors and fellow students (usually during weekend immersion projects).

How Much Does An MBA Program Cost?

According to Investopedia, an MBA from a top business school can cost nearly $100,000.

A yearly tuition rate of $40,000 for an average school can easily be increased with $20,000 in additional boarding and book expenses, depending on your location.

So summing it up for 2 years in case of a full-time MBA option, that is, $80,000 for tuition, $40,000 for boarding and books, $20,000 for peripheral expenditures brings the total MBA cost to around $140,000.

On the other hand, if you are thinking about attending a more prominent business school, the MBA costs shoot up.

According to US News & World Report, the average cost of the top 10 business schools in the US in 2020 was over $140,000 for tuition in a two-year MBA program.

Check out the Best Student Loans for MBA (Business Students).

What Are The Admission Requirements For MBA Programs?

Although the admission requirements may differ among school and program options, here are the basic admission requirements for MBA programs:

  • A strong undergraduate GPA.
  • Work experience showcasing achievements and leadership ability
  • GMAT or GRE scores
  • Recommendations
  • Essay answers
  • In-person interviews.

Typically, international students and students whose native language is not English who wish to enroll in a US-based MBA program often need to complete specific examinations to showcase their English language proficiency.

These include the following tests:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE)

However, this is not always the case. For instance, the policy at Stanford exempts students who obtained undergraduate degrees from universities that provided instruction entirely in English.

Supporting Documents For MBA Programs

Intending MBA students are to submit the following supporting documents with their application forms:

  • Resumes
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Reference letters
  • Essays (Personal Statements)
  • GMAT or GRE admissions test score reports (in some cases).

Which Schools Offer Part-Time Mba Programs?

Here is a list of universities that offer the best part time MBA programs in the world. Do well to click on each of the schools for more information on their part time MBA program.

Which Schools Offer Full-Time Mba Programs?

Here is a list of universities that offer full-time MBA programs. Do well to click on each school for more information on their full time MBA program.

FAQs On Part-Time Vs Full Time Mba: Admission Requirements, Schools, Cost, Duration

According to Investopedia, an MBA (master of business administration) is a graduate degree providing theoretical and practical business or investment management training.

1. Full-time MBA
2. Part-time MBA
3. Online MBA
4. Executive MBA (EMBA)
5. Global MBA
6. Certificate Programs

The full-time MBA degree is a general management degree that seeks to give students a detailed understanding of how business functions and how business leaders rise to meet an ever-changing set of circumstances and challenges.

Basically, a part-time MBA program is structured around the student’s schedule and responsibilities. It is geared towards employees who work full-time and don’t yet hold leadership positions.

Typical full-time MBA programs are structured for 23- to 30-year-olds who can afford to leave the workforce for a while. So, if you are not thinking of holding a fulltime job in the next 2 to 3 years, you can apply for a full-time MBA program.

Part-time MBA programs are usually targeted at 24-35-year-old or older students. In fact, Part-time MBA programs appeal to working professionals and those who are more established in their lives and careers.

It takes about 2 years to complete a full-time MBA program, however, some can last for 3 years.

It takes about 3 to 6 years to complete a part-time MBA program.

Here are factors to consider while choosing the best MBA program for you:
1. Admissions requirements
2. The amount of time you are willing to commit
3. Cost
4. Career goals

1. A strong undergraduate GPA.
2. Work experience showcasing achievements and leadership ability
3. GMAT or GRE scores
4. Recommendations
5. Essay answers
6. In-person interviews.

In addition, international students and students whose native language is not English often need to complete specific examinations to showcase their English language proficiency. They include:

1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
3. Pearson Test of English (PTE)

Conclusion

There are many reasons to get an MBA, ranging from the job prospects to salary and transferable skills that will help you do well in both business and your personal life. There are two major routes a prospective student can take when pursuing an MBA: a full-time or a part-time program.

Although both still gets you an MBA degree at the end of the day, they also have distinctions. From offering a different level of study intensity, full-time and part-time MBA programs offer slightly different things, with pros and cons.

We advise that you go through the differences in this Part time vs Full-time debate and choose the one that best suits you.

I hope these tips help you in your decision-making.

Good Luck And Success!!!

References

  • ThePrincetonReview – Part time MBA vs Full Time MBA Programs
  • Investopedia – Part-Time vs. Full-Time MBA: What’s the Difference?
  • TopMBA – Part-Time or Full-Time MBA: Which is Right For You?
  • BSchools – Full-Time vs. Part-Time MBA Programs
  • TopMBA – Part-time MBA Guide
  • TopMBA – Full-Time MBA Guide
  • FindMba – Top 10 Part-time MBA Programs Globally

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