Looking for the best part-time MBA programs? There are dozens of excellent part-time MBA programs across the US and Canada, and some of the best MBA programs in Canada and the US also offer part-time MBA programs. However, not all the top business schools offer part-time study options. Plenty of students studying for an MBA choose the part-time pathway for the increased flexibility, less competitive acceptance rates and benefits for working students. Part-time MBA programs can be an excellent choice for students who want to go back to school to advance their careers but want to keep working or don’t have time for full-time study. In this blog, we’ll look at the best part-time MBA programs in Canada and the US, what the admission requirements are, what the benefits of part-time MBA study are and how to decide whether a part-time MBA degree is right for you.
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Best Part-Time MBA Programs
The top-ranked part-time MBA programs in the US are:
- University of Chicago (Booth)
- University of California, Berkeley (Haas School of Business)
- Northwestern University (Kellogg Business School)
- New York University (Stern School of Business)
- University of California--Los Angeles (Anderson)
Below are some statistics for the best part-time MBA programs in the US.
What Are Part-Time MBA Programs
Part-time MBA programs are, in short, exactly like a typical MBA program but they are completed on a part-time basis. This means part-time programs take longer to graduate from, usually 3 years or more compared to the 2-year MBA full-time standard.
Part-time MBA programs are different from full-time MBA programs in more ways than one. Part-time MBA programs have far more flexibility than full-time programs, both in the sense that students commit fewer hours per week to study, and that classes are usually offered in the evenings, on weekends or online. Part-time MBA programs can be offered 100% online or are a mix of online and in-person classes. Online MBA programs are becoming more popular in recent years, and many programs have a hybrid model to offer students who are interested. This flexibility can be particularly appealing to students who want to get their MBA but don’t want to leave the workforce.
When it comes to cost, part-time MBA programs’ tuition is only slightly less than their full-time counterparts. However, students can and do work full-time jobs while earning their MBA, so chances are they are able to afford the tuition costs on their own. Part-time MBA programs also have financial aid, scholarships and bursaries for their students, although they tend to be fewer than those available to full-time students.
Part-time MBA programs are even offered at top business schools like Kellogg Business School and the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Even the best part-time MBA programs in the US and Canada are notably less competitive than their full-time counterparts. MBA acceptance rates in the USA and MBA acceptance rates in Canada are notoriously competitive, but part-time programs offered at the very same schools have acceptance rates twice as high on average. For example, many competitive MBA programs accept less than 20% of students, whereas part-time MBA programs at those same universities accept 50 to 60% of students.
Part-time MBA programs are considered easier to get into because there is less competition in the admissions pool. But the admission requirements are typically more relaxed for the best part-time MBA programs, too.
Admission Requirements for Part-Time MBA Programs
Admission requirements for the best part-time MBA programs are nearly identical to the requirements for full-time MBA programs, but statistics show they are typically less rigorous and that many programs will drop a requirement or two for part-time students. For instance, some part-time MBA programs don’t require students to take the GMAT or attend an MBA interview.
In general, the admission requirements for a part-time MBA program are:
- Undergraduate degree and transcripts
- MBA admission essays or MBA video essay
- Letter of intent, MBA personal statement or letter of motivation
- Letters of recommendation
- Work experience
Part-time MBA applicants complete all the same requirements as full-time students, but may have a lower threshold for GMAT scores, or not need to submit a GMAT score at all. Part-time MBA applicants may need to know how to prepare for an MBA interview or they may not be asked to attend one at all. Part-time MBA applicants will need at least 2 years of work experience to apply, but the average applicant will have 5 or 6 years of professional experience.
Here are some of our tips to get into a part-time MBA program:
Preparing for an MBA interview? Here are some of our top tips.
Why Choose a Part-Time MBA Program
Why choose a part-time MBA program? Because part-time MBA programs offer virtually the same education but with a more flexible schedule, a less intensive learning experience and many of the same networking and professional development opportunities as a full-time program. Part-time MBA programs are especially popular with mature applicants or applicants who have already entered the work force and made the decision to go back to school. Enrolling in a part-time MBA program gives applicants management knowledge, prepares them for leadership positions and helps them earn promotions and raises in their career without the fast-paced demand of a full-time study program. Mature students and non-traditional applicants might be especially drawn to a part-time MBA, since it leaves flexibility for students who are working full-time or who have family and personal commitments. Part-time MBA programs are ideal for anyone who wants to advance in their current career.
A few of the key benefits of studying for your MBA part-time are:
Need help writing your MBA resume? Check out this infographic.
How to Choose the Best Part-Time MBA Program
Choosing the best part-time MBA program for you can be tricky when there are so many quality, top-ranked options. While any of the best programs can offer you a great education in business, there are a few things to consider when deciding which schools to apply to. Ask yourself a few different questions:
- Why do you want to pursue an MBA? Are you looking to move up in your career and get a raise? Do you want to move into a managerial or executive position? Research potential schools to see what specializations you can pursue in your studies or whether the program’s curriculum offers what you’re looking to add to your professional skillset.
- What’s your budget? Tuition varies only slightly for part-time MBA programs, but its still a big financial commitment. Check for tuition help and scholarship opportunities at your chosen school to be sure you can get any financial aid you need.
- How much flexibility do you want? Are you looking for an online part-time MBA or a hybrid learning experience? Can you commit to weekend classes or only evenings? Different programs have flexible options for classes, so its best to know what the classroom schedule looks like before so you’ll know if it works with your personal and work schedules.
- Where are you located? If you’re not living in a city near a business school offering a part-time MBA program, your options may be limited to online classes or a hybrid model. Not every top business school has a part-time MBA option, so the schools in your area if you’re not able to relocate.
1. What is the difference between a part-time MBA program and a full-time MBA?
The biggest difference, of course, is that a part-time MBA program is completed over a longer period of time with fewer classroom hours during the week. Part-time MBA programs usually take 3 or more years to complete but offers more flexibility to students.
2. What are the best part-time MBA programs?
The best part-time MBA programs in the US and Canada are offered at the same institutions which are home to the top full-time MBA programs. Not every top business school has a part-time MBA program, but many of the best business schools offer both full-time and part-time MBA study.
3. Is it hard to get into a part-time MBA program?
Part-time MBA programs are less competitive than their full-time counterparts. One average, they have acceptance rates twice as high as full-time MBA programs. While it is easier to get into a part-time MBA program, this does not mean it’s a guarantee! You’ll still need to complete all the same application requirements and submit a strong candidacy. You can look into MBA admission consulting to help you increase your chances of getting in.
4. Is it better to do part-time MBA programs or full-time?
This depends on a student’s situation and preference. Many students choose to study for their MBA on a part-time basis for increase flexibility and so that they can continue to work while they earn their degree. Most of the time, part-time MBA students are not looking for career changes, but want to move up the ladder or continue their professional development.
5. Is a part-time MBA program worth it?
Part-time MBA programs are worth it for students who are looking for more flexibility or want to pursue an MBA to help advance their career. For students who want to study part-time and still earn their degree, a part-time MBA program is the perfect choice.
6. Are there any part-time MBA programs in Canada?
Yes, there are 35 business schools in Canada which offer part-time MBA programs, including many at the top business schools in Canada.
7. Do part-time MBA programs require GMAT?
Not all part-time MBA programs require or ask for GMAT or GRE scores. However, submitting strong test scores can help your application and increase your chances of getting into one of the best part-time MBA programs.
8. How many hours per week is a part-time MBA program?
Part-time MBA programs usually have 10-20 classroom hours per week, held during evenings, weekends and sometimes online.
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