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Choosing Between Part-Time, Executive or Full-Time MBA Programs

by Christine Bassitt
Forté Fellow and MBA Candidate 2014
University of Southern California (Marshall School of Business)

When looking into all the different MBA programs out there it’s important to consider several items. 

First, you need to assess what you really want to get out of the program.  Often the greatest networking opportunities come from a full-time program.  On a similar note, assess what type of skills you are looking to achieve from the program.  If you’re a career switcher like myself, you may need a more intensive program.  However, if you already have the functional proficiencies of the job down, an executive program may be a better choice.

I’ve noticed that many of my classmates and I share a similar trend.  We all worked incredibly hard during our jobs coming out of undergrad.  While an MBA program is no vacation, it is a break in some ways, and an opportunity to take a step back and analyze your big strategic plan in life. 

Having to complete school while still working does not often provide this chance to get a high-level view and creates a great deal of stress.  I know a few people who have ended up leaving their jobs to try internships or finish their degrees sooner.

Finally, when thinking about the financing aspect it’s important to realize that you’re not only paying for the MBA itself, but also losing out on two years of pay in the process.  Many schools and companies offer scholarships and loans are definitely available but it is definitely a huge financial undertaking. 

The career trajectory that an MBA provides should of course outweigh the costs, but it is something that only you can decide.

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