5 questions to ask when deciding between a full-time and part-time MBA

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  • Deciding between full-time and part-time MBA programs

5 questions to ask when deciding between a full-time and part-time MBA

Deciding to pursue an MBA can be an important step in reaching one’s career goals. An MBA can open new opportunities in your workplace or industry; however, it also takes time and consideration to decide which MBA program is best for you. The University of Utah David Eccles School of Business’ MBA programs offer several formats, including full-time, online, evening, weekend, and a flex option, to ensure you are able to find a program that fits your needs. There are several benefits with each program format and something to fit everyone’s schedule.

Here are five questions to ask yourself when deciding between a full-time or part-time MBA program.

1. Do I want to make a career change?

For students who have promising opportunities with their current employers, the Eccles School’s part-time formats are advantageous as they allow students to immediately apply what they learn in their classroom to their work. For students looking to make a career change into a different industry or for those who are seeking to dramatically advance their career in a short period of time, the Full-Time MBA provides students with opportunities for experiential learning, academic immersion, and connection with high-impact networks to build the skills they need to make this career change.

Jason Zippro, Full-Time MBA class of 2018, formerly worked as a charter school eighth grade English teacher in Kansas City as a part of the national charter network KIPP. However, his goal was to move back into the technology industry after earning an MBA degree.

“It was never my intention to stay a teacher, since I was teaching as part of Teach for America, which was designed to be a short two- to three-year stint,” Zippro said. “I always had the desire to move back into technology in some way.”

The full-time format asks students to completely remove themselves from the workforce for the duration of the program; however, temporarily leaving the workforce does not mean that a student’s career stops advancing. Full-Time MBA students are exposed to a myriad of opportunities through case competitions, company visits, and career conferences, all of which are designed to connect students with experiences, alumni, and employers who can be the link to their post-graduation job offer. Zippro, with the assistance of the Full-Time MBA Career Management Center, was able to secure an internship within the technology field during the program, something that has helped advance his career prospects.

“I had a job offer as a software product manager, which is what I wanted, before graduation.” Zippro said. “My goal is to do product management for several years before jumping into starting my own business.”

2. Do I want to make a lateral move in my current job or industry?

While the Full-Time MBA program focuses heavily on experiential learning, case competitions, and intensive career exploration, the part-time formats allow students to remain in the workforce and immediately apply their acquired skills and knowledge to their current work position. Students can see the immediate impact of their coursework and take on new leadership roles and projects.

Cameron Beck, a current student in the Professional MBA program, felt early on that his career was not progressing at the rate he wanted and looked for programs that could give him business knowledge, as well as opportunities for promotion. However, it was also important to Beck that he stay working while pursuing an MBA.

“I didn’t just want the education,” Beck said. “I didn’t want to miss out on the job experience. I thought it was valuable I didn’t have to choose — I could have both.”

Beck has been able to apply his education immediately at work and has seen benefits from his employer.

“I’ve been included in different projects that I wouldn’t have been in if I hadn’t been getting this degree,” Beck said. “It’s cheesy, but they know that I am still progressing and will be learning.”

3. What obligations do I have outside of work?

Pursuing an MBA is an important investment in your future. However, the time spent in classes, on assignments, and networking can cut into time otherwise spent toward obligations such as family, friends, and other work projects. Before choosing which MBA format to pursue, it is important to consider how it will affect your other priorities. The Eccles School offers several MBA options to ensure there is an MBA to fit every lifestyle and schedule.

Sam Dominguez, Executive EMBA (EMBA) class of 2018, worked for a small consumer product startup in Salt Lake City when he was applying for the program. This gave him an idea of what it meant to run a business and motivated him to look into the program. However, when choosing between formats, he took into consideration his priorities outside the classroom.

“I have a family of six, four kids under the age of 14, so stopping work to go to school full-time wasn’t in the cards for me,” Dominguez said.

For some students, such as Zippro, the full-time format better suits their learning style, as they are able to dedicate their full attention to their studies and career advancement for the duration of the program.

“I had just finished doing another master’s degree part-time while working, and I had no time for my family,” Zippro said. “I decided that if I was going to do an MBA, I was going to immerse myself in it — no distractions — and just do the best that I could for two years, knowing that the reward for doing so would be a great job that I was qualified for.”

4. What is the best financial option for me?

With the various part-time MBA format options, students are able to stay in the workforce while pursuing an MBA, allowing them to continue to make an income while completing the program. This can help alleviate some of the costs of tuition and books while seeing immediate benefits. Students report an average salary increase of 30 percent while in the program.

For those looking at a full-time option, there is an opportunity cost associated with stepping out of the workforce. It is important to note, however, that the reward can be significant. For example, in 2018, graduates of our Full-Time MBA program reported a 102 percent salary increase from their pre- to post-MBA jobs. Additionally, 41 percent of our Full-Time MBA students admitted in fall 2018 received a full tuition scholarship. The average award across the entire class was well over half tuition.

Prospective students may find one format more immediately appealing than another, but, with the differences in each person’s financial situation, it is important to take financial obligations and opportunities into consideration before making a decision.

For Eric Frederickson, a current Professional MBA (PMBA) student, financial outcomes were a factor he heavily considered during the application process.

“I had to look at, financially, what is the difference between doing the full-time and the professional program,” Frederickson said. “Am I making really good money right now at my job? Would I be crazy to leave? Am I trying to move into a new job?”

5. How can I make the most of my network?

Student demographics differ greatly across our four MBA programs, and it can be an asset for students to connect with a program that fits their career goals as well as connecting them with the correct network. As students work through their programs, they network with other students and build connections that can create long-term friendships as well as business opportunities. In most cases, students come from a variety of backgrounds and industries before pursuing an MBA. That diversity of backgrounds is extremely valuable in allowing students to learn more about the opportunities available to them and in expanding their networks outside their current industry or function.

When Dominguez was applying for his MBA, he found that the EMBA program provided the format he needed to be successful.

“Based on the demographics shared from the staff, I felt the EMBA program fit me better in terms of age of students, backgrounds, time spent in respective fields, etc.,” he said.

2018-11-28T21:11:07-07:00November 28th, 2018|

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