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Do I Have Time to Earn an MBA?

Nathan Wilgeroth / Abound: MBA »

Are you thinking about getting a Master’s of Business Administration? If so, you likely have a laundry list of questions, a crucial one of which might be, “How much time will it take?” That’s a legitimate concern; especially if you’re a few years out of school, you likely have a lot of constraints that make it hard to imagine squeezing in an education.

The short answer is: Well, it depends.

There is no clear-cut answer here, as MBA programs come in a variety of structures. Luckily, different tiers exist specifically to accommodate students with varying work and life circumstances. Every person’s situation and schedule is different, but we can narrow down common trends into three general stressors that are likely to influence an adult’s availability. Depending on how greatly these factors affect your own life, you may find one MBA’s format and timetable more favorable than another. Let’s explore the common stressors that may be weighing down on your decision to pursue an MBA; knowing where your priorities lie will give you an idea of which program to choose and how long it will take you to finish.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Degree Plan

School isn’t meant to be a breeze, but an adult must deal with ancillary difficulties that may hinder their choice to enter an MBA program. Here are three limiting factors that are typical for adults:

Time: For many adult learners, it can be extremely difficult to find the time to commit to attending class and learning. With adulthood comes unavoidable responsibilities, and if one is under too large a pile of tasks, it’s best to find a program that partners with a busy schedule.

Support Systems: Many adults working toward an MBA need extra support, whether that be in terms of childcare, costs, or other necessities that must be taken care of outside of the classroom. A firm foundation of support—from friends, family, your employer, or your college—can make all the difference in your ability to thrive. Students with children may benefit from such support systems as on-campus childcare, while working students could benefit from increased flexibility or tuition assistance from their employer.

Finances: No matter what, American education doesn’t come cheaply. A student’s income greatly affects their ability to attend expensive college classes and may be at less/more of an advantage than others. Financial constraints and general sense of security will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the decision to invest in an MBA program.

What is the Length of an MBA Program?

You might be relieved to know that there is no set timeline for an MBA program. Thousands of programs globally offer formats that cater to different lifestyles and situations. Below are common program types that may or may not be suited for your individual time, support, and financial resources.

Full-time MBA Program

While full-time MBA programs may mean that you could have a day of classes that only runs three hours, this program isn’t meant to accommodate a busy work schedule. Most full-time programs will have students devoting 40 hours per week to their studies.

Part-time MBA Program

A part-time MBA curriculum is almost identical to a full-time program but with a spread-out timeline. Students can expect to devote 12-15 hours per week to studies during a part-time program, taking fewer courses at once throughout a longer overall period of time.

Accelerated MBA Program

Accelerated MBA programs move through material at lightning speed without sacrificing content. The accelerated pace makes entering a career a much quicker process.

Executive MBA Program

An executive MBA program is a special program for business executives with several years of management experience. The program is typically the same length as a full-time MBA but with adjusted schedules and course material specific to highly experienced professionals.

Dual MBA Program

A dual MBA program adds to the MBA a second master’s degree in an area of specialization. This format streamlines two programs while avoiding the costs of two exhaustive programs.

9 Unique Reasons to Pursue a Master's Degree

Which MBA Program Do I Choose?

If you have too many life responsibilities tugging at your attention, you may benefit best from a part-time MBA that will afford a flexible schedule. And if you require childcare or work assistance, you should suss out your available support from friends/family as well as the breadth of resources offered by your school itself. The amount of support you have may then be a deciding factor for whether you choose a full- or part-time program.

If you have pressing financial concerns, you can opt for an accelerated program that could cut an entire year of costly tuition and send you into the workforce at a quicker pace. That said, if you still have to put in the time to support yourself while you’re a student, you might want to choose a part-time program that comes with the flexibility to balance both work and your studies (understanding, of course, that you would have to consider an added year of tuition).

Find an MBA Program that Works for You with Abound

Abound provides a gateway to finding an MBA program tailored to your specific needs. Put our MBA database to use and make a positive change in your life with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.


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