Going back to school for an MBA requires a strong time and financial commitment. The majority of full-time MBA programs take two years to finish, so many students decide to complete their MBA via part-time programs so that they can continue to work while completing their Masters. With the average cost of an MBA ranging from $40,000-$80,000, it certainly can make sense to work while going to school so as not to forgo the lost wages while paying for the expensive school costs. Another, less common option is to attend one of the full-time, one year MBA programs that are offered throughout the country. Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each of these options as you consider which is the best MBA program for you.
Full-Time MBA (Two Years): The conventional two-year full-time MBA from a top-ten school is the key to getting into Wall Street, so if that’s your goal, this is probably the best MBA program for you. This option will allow you to complete an internship over the summer, which may make it easier for you to get a full-time job upon graduation. The full-time MBA will also allow you lots of chances to work closely with your classmates, which may make for some great networking opportunities. Of course, this option is the most expensive and will mean that you will not have a steady income for two years (although you will have a chance to make money during your summer internship and if you choose to work part-time during school).
Full-Time MBA (One Year): The one-year full-time MBA program is not offered by many schools – schools that do offer this program include the University of Pittsburgh (Katz Graduate School of Business), Cornell (The Johnson School), and Northwestern (Kellogg School of Management). A one-year MBA program can be the best MBA program for some, as you get to focus on your studies for a year without working and give up only one year of income (note that I am biased towards this option since this is the path that I chose). The major drawback to a one-year MBA is that you won’t get to complete an internship, which may make it tougher for you to find a full-time job, especially if you are making a career change.
Part-Time MBA: Financially, this may be the best MBA program because you are not giving up on 1-2 years of salary while completing your studies. Many employers will help with the cost of your classes, giving this option a further boost. However, going to school part-time may mean that it takes you three or more years to complete your MBA, so this option would not be your best bet if time is of the essence. Getting your MBA through a part-time program may also mean that you do not get to complete an internship or as much networking time with your classmates (especially if you are completing an online MBA program), which may also be drawbacks. Finally, working and going to school at the same time is very challenging, so you run the risk of burning yourself out if you decide to pursue an MBA through a part-time program.