Could a Part-time MBA Program be the Right Choice for You?

part time mba program

For the relentless go-getters that never stop working, a part-time MBA program offers a chance to level up credentials while not taking time out of the workforce. At The MBA Exchange, we know the real benefits of a part-time MBA for your career and future. 

Here are just some of the reasons why a part-time MBA program might be the right fit for your education and career advancement goals.

What are part-time MBA programs?

Part-time MBA programs differ from traditional full-time MBA programs mostly in terms of the time commitment demanded from you. That’s not to say that top part-time MBA programs are any less serious, rigorous or legitimate than an equivalent full-time program!

A part-time MBA adds continuing career development to your coursework load, asking the most of your time management and multitasking skills. You earn a part-time MBA while still working, putting your nights or weekends to work for you while you keep bringing in income.

Who is a part-time MBA for?

A part-time MBA is for anyone who wants to earn the benefit of an MBA credential without leaving the workforce in order to do so. You might be a single parent, an entrepreneur or a frequent-flying traveler taking time to upgrade your business knowledge, management skills and more in order to improve your overall career path.

Most recipients of part-time MBAs are between the ages of 25-35 years old. You’ve got a good chunk of career experience, but probably haven’t gotten far in terms of leadership development as of yet. Earning a part-time MBA could be the next point in that trajectory for you.

Types of part-time MBA

Part-time MBA programs are all about scheduling flexibility. Depending on your needs and goals, you could benefit from different types of part-time MBA programs.

Here’s what you need to know about the types of part-time MBA programs available, including top part-time MBA programs and part-time online MBA programs.
Which sound like the best part-time MBA programs for you? Choosing the right MBA program takes care, consideration and research.

Evening MBA

An evening MBA program schedule lets you earn credits in the after-work hours, putting your evenings to work in the interest of your education.

Weekend MBA

With a weekend MBA, you’ll have better things to do than slack off on Saturdays and Sundays. Weekend MBA programs let you complete coursework during the weekends, slotting school into your schedule without disturbing your workweek.

Flexible MBA

A flexible MBA program has the give and take that students who want to continue working while earning a degree, and students with additional personal or family commitments, need to succeed with b-school achievements.

Part-time MBA programs often let you structure your own personalized program. You can build the components of your graduate study around your existing personal and professional commitments, maximizing your potential. 

Most programs provide counseling and support to help you make the most of flexible scheduling opportunities for part-time online MBA programs as well as in-person courses.

Lockstep vs self-paced MBA

Some MBA programs operate on a strict timeline, keeping you operating in lockstep with a part-time academic calendar schedule. Others, including many part-time online MBA programs, give you more leeway, letting you work at your own pace.

You could find that self-paced study provides the freedom you need to find your groove, or that you want to jam along with the pack and stay in pace with your MBA student cohort. Either way, you can find in-person or part-time online MBA programs to fit your needs and goals.

Part-time MBA cost & ROI

There are pros and cons to the expense of attending a part-time MBA program. On the plus side, you don’t have to put down as much upfront, because your tuition will be spaced out over a longer period of time.

But, little scholarship support is typically available to part-time MBA students. Many part-time MBA students secure partial tuition funding through employer subsidization, banking on future increases in skill level and productivity potential.
A part-time MBA opens you up to the same increased earnings opportunities as a full-time program. On the whole, PayScale reports that MBA graduates can expect an average salary of nearly $90,000 per year.

Best part-time MBA programs in the USA

Interested in earning your part-time MBA in the US? You want to know the best part-time MBA programs within your reach. Some of the top part-time MBA programs in the US are offered at institutions including:

  • The University of Chicago (Booth)
  • The University of California – Berkeley (Haas)
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  • New York University (Stern)
  • The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ross)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
  • The University of Texas – Austin (McCombs)
  • The University of Southern California (Marshall)
  • Indiana University (Kelley)

Prospective students state-side can look at program rankings to determine the best part-time programs for them, including offerings from top-rated and prestigious institutions.

Benefits of part-time MBA programs

A part-time MBA works with your complicated life, opening up new earnings opportunities and space for growth without impinging on your career or other life goals. Part-time online MBA programs and in-person part-time study lets you have it all, provided you can handle it.

With a part-time MBA added to your resume, you qualify for higher positions of responsibility, and can expect higher salary ranges. Your course of study equips you to excel in competitive, challenging roles, enhancing your skills and training you to handle dynamic management and business environments.

Part-time MBA admissions

The barriers to entry for part-time MBA admissions are notably a bit lower than those to full-time traditional programs. Expand the range of your ambitions to include top part-time MBA programs and prestigious institutions, you might be able to reach further than you realize.

While earning a part-time MBA poses other challenges in terms of completion and financing, getting your foot in the door at top part-time MBA programs may be a real possibility, even with a lower GPA or a less-than-stellar GMAT or GRE score. Learn more about GMAT prep resources.

Part-time MBA programs: making the right choice for you

Part-time MBA programs offer a significant return on your investment of time, dedication and flexibility, jumping you up to higher earning brackets and putting you in the way of promotions with an array of newly polished, honed and updated skills.

And, you can achieve admission to strong, highly-ranked part-time MBA programs without top-tier grades or test scores. Part-time MBA studies let you pay your tuition as you go, spaced out over a number of years, and may be partially subsidized by your employer.

Why not talk to the MBA admissions experts at The MBA Exchange about your plans for your professional future? Your personalized profile evaluation clarifies if a part-time or full-time MBA program could be the next step for you. Submit your evaluation request today to learn more about the best part-time MBA programs for you.

After completing a part-time MBA, you can expect higher salary and earnings, as well as increased opportunity for promotion. That’s true in the US, and globally, as well!

If so, find options that let you connect with tutors or other students, or a part-time MBA program near you where you can physically attend classes on a flexible schedule. You may be able to share faculty and classroom time with full-time students, expanding your networking and social opportunities.


You may need to research requirements for scholarships and grants. Is employer funding an option for you?

The question of when and how you want to dedicate time to earning your MBA is at the heart of selecting a part-time MBA program. If you don’t mind waiting a few more years to complete your degree, and don’t want to disrupt your current work or personal life commitments, an in-person or online part-time MBA program could be right for you.

For most career paths, a part-time MBA returns similar results as a full-time traditional MBA. A majority of career goals could be helped by earning a part-time MBA. In some cases, you might not want to step away from your work in order to earn a graduate degree. A part-time MBA may be the best fit for your career development.

 In order to complete a part-time MBA, most students need from 3-5 years. Other students end up studying for six years or more. That’s a lot of time, so think carefully about your commitment to your part-time MBA studies.

Your part-time MBA is as much a real graduate business degree as that granted by any other type of MBA program. Don’t think of a part-time MBA as second-best, but as proof of your drive and dedication to self-improvement and success.

While getting into a part-time MBA program may be less competitive than full-time counterparts, your final degree gives you the same boost. MBA graduates can expect to multiply salaries several times over after degree completion, part-time MBA program graduates or not. Completing this degree will be more than worth it!