Part time MBA considerations
Evening and weekend formatted MBA programs, better known as part-time programs, are a great way to earn an advance degree in business and may provide better suitability to your life and career progression. Of the top 10 full-time MBA programs, 4 of them offer a part-time option (US News World Report). All part-time MBA programs are ranked in a similar format to the executive and full-time programs. This data makes it easier to research and compare. I encourage all applicants to visit the school in person, sit through their information session, set up coffee with alumni, and attend a class where you can talk with current students and teachers. This will give you a holistic view of the program to determine if it is the best fit for you.
Location. You will not have to move to attend a program that is local. The school will likely be in a location that you are familiar with. This will eliminate moving costs, and adjustment period to a new location.
Career Progression. You will not be taking two-years off from the professional world. You retain the ability to expose yourself to promotions and career growth opportunities.
Income. You will not lose income for two years, you have the ability to earn money, and still keep exposer to earn additional money (e.g. promotion, bonus or raise).
Flexible. You’re on your time to complete the degree requirements. You are not confined to the two-year or one-year model to complete your degree work. The average student takes 2.5 years to complete their degree work.
Funding. Your employer may be able to help supplement the cost of your degree.
Balance. You had a life and a career before you started going to night school, and you can retain that – school is now added. Full-time, your life swirls and is absorbed in the program.
Networking. Everyone in the program, like you, is hoping to connect and build lifelong friendships. It is no different with a part-time program, it is just a smaller time slot to engage – make the most of it.
Internship. You will not be able to participate in this experience, which is a major part of the full-time program.
Access. In a full-time setting, a student lives in the eco-center of the school. Professors, Speakers, and Seminars are richly available. You may not be able to see them as easily as a full-time student.
Recruiting Season. Similar to internships, this is almost exclusively a full-time experience. Part-time programs do offer career services; however, it is not the same level of intensity that is given to full-time students. Remember, you have a job. They are trying to get the full-time students employed.
Commute. It is not uncommon for people to commute to schools for their part-time program (e.g. live in Indianapolis, and commute to Chicago on the weekend for class). This can taxing to a person on many levels, it is important to consider.
Social Events. Part-time programs have far less social events when compared to full-time program. However, as a part-time student you have access to the full-time events. Keep in mind, that many of them happen during the workday, which may disadvantage you.
Leave the Military behind Go in there with a clear mind. You have a once in a lifetime experience being given to you, you want to be the biggest sponge you can be. Embrace it all, and soak it all up.
Do everything If there is an event, sign up for it... even if it is out of your comfort zone - over extend yourself. I attended things I never thought I would, just because I wanted to be able to speak the language and know what people were talking about around me. No matter how much you have on your plate at B-school, it will never be anything close to what you have done in the Military. You have the bandwidth; it's just up to you to fill it.
Network Make as many friends as possible. This will be easy if you put yourself out there. Kellogg is known for being one big family - it is. The hard part is knowing how you are going to keep in contact with them once you leave. I do postcards - send a couple out a month to random folks. Easy, makes them feel special, and it is fun.
Don't think that you know what hard work is because you have deployed and been in the Military Everyone there worked their tail off to get into school. I got this advice from a Navy Kellogg grad prior to me enrolling, and he was dead right. All the folks there know how to work long hours on thankless work and away from their families. Don’t come in with a chip on your shoulder.
Start reading the Wall Street Journal and the Economist Every class talks about current events and you don't want to be behind the power curve, and you want to have context.
Take an excel course if you can, even if it is just online You will find that you are going to be the bottom 10% in excel skills. This is not good, because excel if you are good at it, can save you a lot of time with your work. Everyone coming from the private sector are NINJAs at Excel. No matter how good you think you are, you are not that good...
You will likely be the only person in your class that has led or managed more than four people So use that strength. Be the leader, don't shy away from it. The only person that might have been in charge of more people would be the other military guy in your class. It is shocking how none of your classmates have really ever been in charge and understand the human condition like you do.
Be smart on where you live.
Be active with the VETs You are now in an elite fraternity of TOP MBA VETS - use the power! Meet up with VETS at the sister schools (e.g. Booth and Kellogg or Sloan and Harvard)