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PART TIME VS. FULL TIME MBA - A SURVEY

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PART TIME VS. FULL TIME MBA - A SURVEY [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2007, 17:52
Hey everyone,

After searching the GMAT club forums as well as other B-school forums, its been surprising to me that I haven't found more on this topic. It would be great to get people's input on this.

Since there is no cut and dry answer to the question, please provide some background as to how you made your decision to apply for Full-time or Part-time and what were the main factors.

Here is my input:

Undecided, but leaning towards part-time. Talk to me tomorrow and I will probably have a different answer.

Why an MBA? Have about three years work experience, but not happy with my current salary or type of work. Looking to expand my knowledge and get into a more rewarding position.

Factors:
-Full-time would be an amazing experience, with opportunities to participate in clubs, activities, etc.
-Full-time would cost a ton, and leave me with lots of debt.
-I would probably still have to work part-time while going to school full-time to help pay for expenses while at school.
-I've heard full-timers get all the jobs, while part-timers don't even have access to on-campus recruiting. How true is this?
-I know many people get their MBA's part-time, but how can you concentrate on learning after a long day at work??
-My company offers tuition reimbursement, which would be a big plus for part-time. But if I leave the company, will they ask for their money back??

Target schools: NYU or Columbia
Age: 27
W/E: 3 years (mediocre)
GMAT: 740
GPA undergrad: 3.4 from U of Maryland
Extracurriculars: decent
Leadership: crap
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2007, 18:13
Definitely a good topic.

I'm still deciding on FT vs PT.

As you mentioned, part time is generally cheaper because not only are you working while you go to school, but usually you can get some tuition reimbursement via your employer. And as far as I know, if you end up leaving the company, you wouldn't have to pay them back....it would be a crappy company that forced you to do that.

It seems the real benefit of PT is the money factor.

Yes, FT will cost you more and put you in more debt, but the positives are: better recruiting/job opportunities from what I've heard, ability to join clubs, activities and feel much more part of the campus, and you can devote all your time to your studies and career search.

Now, I don't make that much or come from a wealthy background so the money factor is attractive to me, and I feel like if I go FT I still might need a PT job to afford to go, maybe not.....

In the end I am applying for FT at most of my schools and hope I get some good scholarships/financial aid. If it turns out no matter where I get in I'm looking at 70K in debt, I'll have to decide then if I want to do that or do PT.
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2007, 18:21
Before even debating FT vs PT the key question is do you plan on staying in your career post grad. If you are going to attempt to switch careers going fulltime is almost a requirement. Without an internship not many companies will take on career switchers with a part time MBA.

Judging by your own description of your profile and your seeming lack of confidence in it, admissions to the PT programs at the school you listed will be much easier.

Without understanding what you do now and what you hope to do its tough to give a recommendation. You may have to aim a little lower than Columbia for a fulltime program but with a high gmat and some good essays you have a chance at some solid schools.

A lot of people are afraid of the debt but in reality most top 20 programs will give you a pretty good return on investment. That said it is intimidating to have 100-150K of school debt after two years...for me its worth it not because of the potential salary increase but because of what I want to do post grad and an improvement in job satisfaction. You need to decide whats important to you and if you really want a job you love and money is secondary then don't worry about a little debt, follow your dreams.
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2007, 21:32
I wouldn't jump to that conclusion, it really depends on your current salary. Granted I may be a little over the hill (32), but I currently pull in about the same salary as one would expect to make from a top program (just short of six figures). So in the short term, the financial benefits are questionable. The real benefit will be my ability to switch careers without taking a massive hit in salary. Is that worth 150-200k to go full time (top 20) vs. about 80k PT (Haas)? I don't honestly know, but I'm not applying until 09.
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Aug 2007, 22:25
riverripper said everything I wanted to say (good work! :))

But to add a personal touch to this, I'm actually earning more than most school's average salary after graduation, but I'm doing the MBA truly for the career opportunities and career change. Without it, i can go about taking a pay cut (probably up to 50% cut) and dabble around in startups, look for jobs every year or so, and see if I succeed. With the MBA, I meet great people like you guys, I learn the business fundamentals in a collaborative and learning environment, I get to do an internship to "test out" whether I like the industry or not, I get tons of clubs and company events to see what all the industries are about, and finally, I get a "brand name" that will get me into doors in many of the industries I want to work in.

Is that worth losing 2 years of 100+K salary, promotions, and being 150+K in debt, just to earn roughly $150K/year if I'm lucky? To have a job that makes me happy, the answer is YES.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 02:49
I'm also hesitating between FT and PT, although I'm rather in favour of a FT BMA. I already work in Corporate finance, and would like to stay in this field. My problem is that I work for a corporate finance dpt in a low profile country, with small exposure to big deals and little chances of getting in the big banks, unless I accept a super junior position. I would like to do an MBA because it would give the boost I need to my career.

In this case, would a part time MBA be enough? (I could get transferred to our NY offices if choose for a part-time). Or would the career opportunities be greatly reduced by the fact that I only did a PT MBA?
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 03:27
Going from what a few people I know who have got or are getting part-time MBAs...part-timers are usually work sponsored and the majority stay at their current employer post grad. The recruiting of part-time students is minimal compared to full-time. At a FT program you can go to a recruitment event every night of the year. While it is possible to switch companies your best way of doing that in a part time program is networking with any students in your classes that work there. If you have solid networking skills it probably is very doable since in a place like NYC and given your field there will be people in your classes who work for your target companies (if they are large banks).

If your employer pays for it usually you are required a certain post grad commitment to them. One of my friends has a 3 year commitment, if he leaves before that he has to pay back an equivalent portion of whatever the company paid. Some companies its a year from each course...so in the end you really only have to work for one year or you can leave and just pick up that final years worth of costs yourself.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 04:46
Since I am looking to move from more economic reporting type position to finance/investments, I think full time would help most.

Not to mention I only make 1/3 of what the average post-MBA salaries are, so I think full-time would be best for that as well. I think the debt will be worth it.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 05:11
Considering that I was just recently accepted into the PT MBA at Ohio State Fisher College of Business, I guess I'll give my $.02 on the topic!

Since I am married (no kids, though), I really had someone else to consider when deciding to go back to school. Although my husband is supportive, he really loves his job and would not be willing to move. In addition, we could not afford our mortgage, car payments, and other bills on just his salary (and trust me-we're not living high on the hog either). And since he works at OSU, I get a 25% discount on tuition. So, PT was really the only option for me.

I am also looking to change careers post-graduation, and so the PT vs. FT debate was something I was really concerned about. I asked about using the PT MBA to change careers at an info. session. I was told that, at least at OSU, the PT students have the same access to recruiting events as the FT folks. They also said that the career services office will work closely with you to evaluate your goals and help you to reach them. Plus, on the diploma, there is no distinction between FT and PT. In the PT program there are even options to spend a couple of days in Washington, DC (for a class)if you are interested in government work after graduation and they also have a class about emerging international markets that includes a trip abroad to study a particular country's market during spring break (1 week). Oh, and PT students have access to all of the same clubs and activities as the FT students.

Now, my situation is a little different in that I'm not going to attend one of the elite schools (although OSU is usually ranked in the top 25). However, since I'm planning to stay in the central Ohio area after graduation, I don't think it will be as much as an issue since OSU has great connections in this region.

So, basically, all of this alleviated any concerns I have about attending a PT program instead of the FT one.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 05:52
@ ishcabibble - First off go Buckeye's (I'm currently a project engineer on the new Student Union project).

OSU is different from alot of the elite programs in that the elite's usually do not open up their FT career services to PT folks. For example at NYU the PT people cant come to most of the on campus recruiting events. It seemed clear to me that because their school is being judged on the placement of the FT students they didnt want any of them to lose oppurtunites to the PT students. Since I'm a career switcher this definetly turned me off and forced me to look at the FT program. There are a lot of classes that the FT and PT students take together which gives them an opportunity to network but this was minimal at best seeing that the FT students are looking for positions as well. The EMBA programs are a lot different in that most of the people in the classes are already established with exspansive networks of their own.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 07:08
Quote:
OSU is different from alot of the elite programs in that the elite's usually do not open up their FT career services to PT folks.


Before attending an info. session, but after reading these boards, I was really starting to worry about this. That's why I was so happy to see that OSU Fisher is different in this regard.

Like at NYU, the PTers also take a lot classes with FTers. The main difference, as far as they explained it, is that although all the classes are open to everyone, the PTers must take the evening sections of the core classes (although they are open to FTers also), and the PT people get priority scheduling for evening sections of all classes. However, if say I have some kind of weird work schedule and I'd like to take a daytime section of an elective, I can do that also. And unlike the FTers who have to finish in 2 years, the PTers can take up to 5.

And I agree that the EMBA is a whole other can of worms, though. They are completely separate from everyone else and do most of their coursework online.

Oh, and I cannot even tell you how strange it is go up to campus now and not see Ohio Union there! What's the timeline for the new union?
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 11:11
ishcabibble wrote:
Oh, and I cannot even tell you how strange it is go up to campus now and not see Ohio Union there! What's the timeline for the new union?


The final phases of the project should bid in November with contracts going out January. It should be ready for turnover sometime in 2009. There will probably still be some work being done but it will be occupied. It will be one of the premier unions in the country. If you interested in construction at all stop by my office. Were located accross the street on college.
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 12:02
this was also a question i had to think of when i first initially thought of b-school. For me, I decided to go PT because of the opportunity cost and since I wanted to stay within the same area of concentration (Finance).

There are pros and cons to both which everyone has listed above. At least for my school, PTers have full access to the career center except for internships. Also PTers and FTers will interact with each other to make connections and in some cases, FTers will get jobs from PTers because of the vast number of companies that us PTers work at...
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 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2007, 14:46
My situation is probably different from most. I am only about 15 years away from retirement, so going deep in debt for my MBA is out of the question. I am applying to a PT program, using my company's tuition reimbursement. I don't plan at this point to change careers, but that will depend on what my options are with my current employer after I get the degree.

If I were young again..............I would definitely go full time, and try for one of the top 20 schools.
  [#permalink] 24 Aug 2007, 14:46
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PART TIME VS. FULL TIME MBA - A SURVEY

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