I am no fan of MBA programs but given a chance and a full financial support from an institution, I would still prefer part-time programs over full-time programs.
There is no better teacher than experience and spending two years inside the classroom and some fast food burger stand eating snacks is a bad career move. While MBA programs could boost your value, it is by no means a guarantee that companies would prefer you over their long-term people who has mastered their system and has proven their worth to the organization.
I recognize the need to acquire knowledge and enrollment in MBA programs would not only educate you but it could also help you grow your network of friends and colleagues beneficial for your career progression or growth.
Working on a part-time program would give you the most flexibility in a lot of areas most importantly in the finance department. While scholarship programs pay for your tuition and minimum allowance, salary from a full-time job could save you loads of burden by keeping your standard of living and continuously pay for bills, insurances, loans, and even savings.
Enrollment in a part-time program and keeping a full-time job ensures you remain competitive in the environment. It also helps you appreciate your daily learning in school as you are able to apply and relate it right away from the workplace.
Forbes has written the facts and figures to support that part-time programs are better than full-time programs. Below is an excerpt of the article:
Only 20% of business school students are enrolled in two-year, full-time programs. Part-time evening and weekend programs account for half of current students; the rest are enrolled in executive, distance-learning and other smaller programs. The cost of full-time studying, in forgone salary as well as tuition, is just too great for a lot of prospects. And then they don’t have the confidence their predecessors did that when they get out they can breeze into high-paying jobs that will liquidate the debt in short order. In 2000 Goldman Sachs hired 46 graduates from Columbia Business School. Last year Goldman took only 18.
Our fourth biennial ranking of business schools shows why students are embracing part-time programs. Our survey ranks schools based on return on investment–meaning compensation five years after graduation minus tuition and the forgone salary during school. The top part-time school, Stern’s Langone Part-time M.B.A. Program, had a median five-year gain of $166,000, greatly helped by the absence of forgone salary. That sum beats the $134,000 gain of our top-ranked full-time program, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. In acombined ranking of part-time and full-time U.S. programs, Tuck and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School are the only full-time schools that would make the top five. (For the first time Harvard Business School is not the top-ranked school.)
“Part-time programs are the staple now,” says John Fernandes, president of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the M.B.A. accreditation group. “Growth in these programs is reflective of society at large. Everyone is too busy to stop their careers and go through a concentrated two-year program.”
The Graduate Management Admissions Council, which issues the GMAT exam, found that 46%of part-time programs reported an increase in applications this year versus 20% of full-time programs. For the 90 full-time programs that completed our M.B.A. survey, only 3 saw an increase in applications (HEC School of Management-Paris,the University of Alabama and the University of Connecticut), and there was an average decline of 33% between 2002 and last year. Top-ranked schools like Tuck and Kellogg at Northwestern saw declines of 47% and 44%, respectively. Harvard, the gold standard of M.B.A. programs to many people, saw a 31% drop in applications. (The number of M.B.A.s awarded in the U.S. has increased 6% annually over the past 35 years, to an estimated 130,000 last year.)
Many business school deans blame demographics for the drop in full-time applications. The 25-to-29 age group (the most popular for full-time applicants) has been flat in the U.S. since 2000. A bigger issue is the decline in students from overseas. In the Class of 2006, 28%are from outside the U.S. Four classes prior, 31% of students came from outside the U.S. In the last five years hundreds of programs have started outside of the U.S., in places like Germany and China (for foreign schools, see “Brain Drain”). Students outside the U.S. have also had to struggle with getting student visas as a result of the Patriot Act. Applications for student visas to the U.S. fell from 323,000 in 2002 to 289,000 in 2003.
But the biggest reason for potential students shunning full-time programs is the monetary cost, according to Albert Niemi, dean of the Cox School at Southern Methodist University. “Part-time programs are going to dominate the M.B.A. market as far as we can see because of the large opportunity cost at a full-time program,” Niemi says. A degree at a top full-time M.B.A. program like the Johnson School at Cornell University costs $71,000 in tuition plus something like $130,000 in forgone compensation. Tuition at the top part-time programs is pushing $80,000, but these students get to keep their jobs. In addition, employers often foot part or all of the tuition for part-time students.
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