Executive MBA? Part-time, Online, or Full-time MBA? Which Is Best For You?

With so many MBA choices out there, it’s completely normal that you might be contemplating questions like “Which type of MBA is right for me?” or “Is an executive MBA worth it?”. Not to worry, Angela Guido is back to give you a rundown on the different types of MBA in this week’s MBA Monday. 

Discover the benefits of the traditional full-time MBA, as well as the part-time MBA and executive MBA. No matter your path, there may be a thing or two you’ve not yet considered. So tune in to get the 411 on the different types of MBA programs and figure out which ones is best for you!

#MBAMondays #TypesOfMBA

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Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

Diving Into Different Types of MBAs

Ever wondered if you should be applying to a full-time MBA or a part-time MBA or an executive MBA or an online MBA? Today I'm going to answer that question for you. My name is Angela Guido. I'm the founder of Career Protocol. And this is MBA Monday.

So there are four major types of MBA programs with some overlap, some differences and some hybrids that fall in between and on this spectrum. First, I want to talk about the three major types of in-person programs, which include full-time MBAs, part-time MBAs and executive MBAs. There's a fourth category of MBA, which is the online MBA program, and that's in a slightly different class which I'll talk about at the end.

1. Full-time MBA

So when most people talk about going to business school and certainly the programs that most of our clients are targeting, we're talking about full-time MBA programs. These are, by and large, two-year programs that you'll do on campus, or in the days of covid, some kind of hybrid remote and on campus learning, with a cohort of classmates that you go through the whole program with, together, build relationships with and form your network. A slight variation on the two-year full-time MBA are the one-year or one and a half year full-time MBA programs, notably like Columbia's J-term, the Kellogg one-year MBA INSEAD program which is condensed, also fit into the full time program. The biggest difference is that in a two-year MBA, you've got a summer internship where you're sort of forced to go out into the working world, try something, ideally build a pathway towards your full-time post-MBA goal, and then come back second year and keep learning. The shorter programs typically don't have an internship. But the commonalities among all of these programs and in fact, this is true of all of the in-person type learning that you're going to do, is you're going to get a great education in the classroom, you're going to build your network with your classmates, peers, professors and other community members, and you're going to get that stamp on your passport that says you have an MBA.

2. Part-time MBA

Most part-time MBA programs have a lot in common with the correlating full-time programs at that same school. The only difference is, instead of taking two years out of your career to study full-time, you're studying in conjunction with full-time work. The quality of the network will be pretty similar in a part-time program. The quality of the education should be pretty similar, if not identical, in a part-time program. The benefit to part-time programs is that you are not missing out on the opportunity cost of income because you're still working while you're studying. In my anecdotal experience, I also find that employers really value part time MBAs because it's one thing to study full-time and get all of your coursework done. It's an entirely other thing to get all of your coursework done when you're also holding down a full-time job. So people who complete part time programs tend to be really good at self-management, really good at efficiency. They tend to be pretty savvy professionals. If you're worried that the brand of a part time program isn't going to be as solid as the brand of a full-time program, I would frankly really challenge that assumption. In my experience, recruiting at BCG and working at BCG, some of my very strongest classmates and the ones who advanced the most rapidly were actually part time MBA students.

3. Executive MBA

Executive programs are in a very different category from the other two. People who attend executive programs are typically much more senior in their career, 10 to 15 years into their career. They are typically sponsored by their employers and intend to stay at the company during and post-MBA. That's the general rule. It certainly happens that some people start their executive MBAs a bit younger. They do so with the intention to switch careers and they're not sponsored by their company. All of that is possible. But on average, at an executive program, you're dealing with a much more senior network, a much more senior group of fellow classmates and people who are more or less already where they want to be in their career, because it's meant to be just kind of an executive kicker to where you're already at. The executive MBA is not really designed to facilitate a career pivot in the same way that the other two types of programs are.

So as you're considering whether you should be applying to full time programs, part time programs or executive programs, really think about where you are in your career, where you want to get to next, and what kind of network you want to build so that you can target the programs that are right for you.

4. Online MBA

And then the fourth type of program is the online MBA. And the primary difference between the in-person MBA and the online MBA is that you're studying online. So, you will have minimal, if any, opportunities to interface in person with the network that you're building. So, the primary difference, even if the education, the educational experience, the content, the courses, what you're learning in the online MBA is as high caliber as possible, the quality and experience of the network is going to be different. So especially if you're looking to switch careers, make a big change through your MBA, the ability to network with your classmates may be very important, and that may mean that the online MBA is not going to be the best choice for you. But if you're looking to study while continuing your work and you're just trying to amass more knowledge and experience so that you're more qualified for senior roles a little bit down the road, then an online MBA could be a really, really good option for you. Not only because they tend to be more affordable and somewhat easier to get into than full-time programs, but because they also allow you to keep your life more or less as it is as you go through the program.

Which MBA Course Is Best? That’s Up To You!

So, as you're looking at which schools to target, your first line of logic is really where am I at in my career? And therefore, which kind of echelon of program is going to fit me best? And then, of course, you need to dig really deep and do specific research on all of your schools, which we've got a ton of videos on MBA Monday about how to do that. So, check out the links in in the description for more information about that. That's it for this #MBAMonday. I'll see you next week.

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Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

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