Monday, June 22, 2009

Full-time vs. Part-time MBA

Here's an easy MBA post in response to a question I got from a reader last week, written mainly from the Booth perspective.

If I had lived in or near to a city with a top program I probably would have done a part-time program. I also considered executive programs. But it definitely is a very different experience from a full-time program and I have to say I am glad that I went full-time.

At Booth, there is no academic difference between the part-time and full-time programs. It's the exact same faculty and you can take class at either campus (with some restrictions). Both programs also have a considerable amount of flexibility in how quickly or slowly they complete their studies. Both programs participate in the same graduation ceremony and get to participate in on campus recruiting. (Ask career services for the fine print on part-time participation though.) (I think they have a different admissions team?? Anyone know this for sure?)

The big difference comes in the way of the student experience. There is definitely a different feel in the Gleacher classes. Virtually all part-time students are working jobs which gives them much less time to devote to study groups and social events. (The guy who hired me for my internship came out of the part-time program and called us full-timers a bunch of slackers ... and he's right :) They are real adults with, you know, jobs and families. The part-time program has a separate set of student groups. (Some cross-registration is allowed but mostly the two programs stick to themselves on this one.) And to the extent that networking and social stuff is a huge piece of the MBA value - then it seems like they miss out. One only has so many hours in the day.

In sum, if you want the full student experience and aren't up for the work/school/life grind, I would do the full-time program. If your employer will foot the bill for a part-time program only/you can't bear to part with your paycheck/you are worried you might graduate unemployed in the worst recession in recent history/you just want the degree and some classes, then I would do the part-time program. But, at least at Booth, the line between the programs is a bit blurry, so keep that in mind.

That's my two cents.

Hot damn, it's hot around these parts. Chicago was not meant to be lived in sans A/C. By the way, just discovered the best bagels ever ... in Hyde Park! Wish I could take them with.


Anonymous said...

A couple of thoughts as a part time student:

I think the post captures my opinion as well.

However i will add if one is a career switcher i recommend the full-time program. The part time students aren't eligible to participate in the On-Campus internship recruitment process. One can always do their own internship search (i know couple of students who have done that).
The part-time program has its own recruitment folks but the process for full-time employment is pretty much the same.

In the end it depends on the level of motivation to switch careers and how much risk one can take in this economic climate.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 1 (sorry for taking over your Blog MAYBEMBA), when you talk about career switching, are you refrencing IT to IB/MC or does this encompass the so called career enhancers? I'm in Corprate Finance and looking to use the PT program to get into a Finance Rotation program as a way to broaden my skills set and boost my career. Do you have any insights on how folks that stay in their functions fare in your program? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

When i mean career switchers i'm referring to folks who are looking for jobs they have minimum or no prior experience. In your case i guess that would not apply since you are already in Corp Finance and have a lot of transferable skills you can take to your target job.

It is hard to measure how folks who stay in their functions fare since it is hard to measure the causal effect of the MBA.