What’s Your Schedule?
There’s no question that a graduate-level education is going to require a lot of your time and effort. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to put your entire life on hold to get your degree! MBA programs come in all kinds of formats so that even working professionals are able to work and study without sacrificing their standards. Below are a few possible formats for you to consider as you think about your current obligations.
An MBA program can last from just few months to a number of years. Of course, the length of time it will take to earn your degree depends heavily on how much time you can commit to your program at once.
In a full-time program, you will be expected to dedicate much of your daily life to your education—similar to the traditional collegiate lifestyle—committing to class, fieldwork, and homework on a regular basis. Programs that operate on a full-time basis generally last around 2 years.
Some schools also offer accelerated program, which may enable you to complete your degree in as little as 1 year.
Part-time MBA programs are less clear-cut, varying greatly across institutions in order to remain flexible for different lifestyles. Part-time programs typically take a longer amount of time, spacing out the courses so as to keep students from juggling too much work at once. Some part-time programs are designed to last around 2-3 years, but many allow students themselves to determine their own pace. In fact, those with very limited time are even able to find programs that can be spread out across 6 years or more! Plenty of part-time programs come with this flexibility with the understanding that many adult students may need to enroll in one course at a time or even take a whole semester off.
With the understanding that many adult students are simultaneously employed, colleges tend to offer different course schedules to fit around normal business hours.
Time of Day
Daytime classes occur between the traditional hours of 8am and 5pm. Because these take place during the standard workday, they are most often delivered to students who have enrolled full time.
Evening classes take place at 6pm or later throughout the week—hours during which the bulk of adult students are able to set time aside for their studies. Weekend classes, too, cater to a busy lifestyle. Daytime classes on Saturdays and Sundays are often reserved for longer, interactive lectures.
The frequency at which you will be asked to attend class is determined on a course-by-course basis. Full-time student may find themselves taking classes that meet multiple times per week. Other classes meet once weekly, once every other week, once a month—it’s all up to the school and each class’ professor.
Many online and blended courses are much more fluid with fewer dictated meeting times, if any at all. You may have the option to enroll in asynchronous courses, which include self-paced coursework and access to recorded lectures and 24-hour discussion boards that allow you to learn and work independently. Online courses may also be delivered synchronously, which requires students to log in at a specific time.
As you explore your MBA options, look for those that allow you to live a balanced life in which you can excel both in and out of school.