Getting your MBA is a great tool to advance your career and expand your opportunities within your industry. However, some can be hesitant to start a program because of how long it can take. Time spent on your MBA potentially means time spent away from your job and family. Of course, it is important to consider all of these things when deciding.
What Is An MBA And Why Should I Get One?
Before looking at what programs are available to you, it is important to understand what value you will get out of an MBA program. A Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is a masters level degree. The focus is around business administration which can also branch out into a variety of fields. This includes finance, accounting, human resources and consulting. MBA’s tend to have a stigma around it where it is believed to hold less value than other masters programs such as those relating to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). However, Forbes and PayScale reported that an MBA and its related fields are some of the highest paying jobs for recent graduates.
What Type of MBA Programs Are There?
Luckily, when it comes to selecting an MBA program, you will find that there is no shortage of options. Each option provides a varied approach to obtaining your MBA which allows you to select the program which works best for you.
Full-Time MBA: 1-2 Years, Full-Time Course Load
A full time MBA program is your traditional path. It resembles an undergraduate experience where you will be taking a full course load and will be a full-time student. It may be difficult for you to continue your normal job during this period. However, this is one of the quickest ways to obtain an MBA.
Part-Time MBA: 3+ Years, Part-Time Course Load
As the name suggests, a part-time program allows you to keep working your normal job and you will likely take classes in the evening after traditional work hours. While you do get to keep working as normal, you will likely have less time during your work week to spend time relaxing or with your family.
Online MBA: 2 Years, Full-Time Course Load with Personalized Schedule
An online MBA is becoming an increasingly popular option for some. It allows you to continue working at your current job while creating a personalized schedule which will best fit in with your other obligations in life. One downside to this is that there may not be much face to face interactions with your professors, which can be valuable for some.
Executive MBA (EMBA): 2 Years, Full-Time Course Load generally held on weekends, For Business Executives
If you are a business executive with around 8+ years of experience and you want to continue your education, this program is built for you. It is essentially a Full-Time MBA for Executives. However, unlike a Full-Time program, it can be completed while working full-time, as most of these programs meet on the weekend. For example, the Wharton EMBA and MBA programs both offer 19 credit units and are both completed within 24 months. However their EMBA program only meets alternating Friday/Saturday weekends with some mandatory weeks of travel.
Early Career MBA: 2+ Years, Full-Time Courseload, For Recent Undergrads
Most MBA programs require students to have some work experience in their field before attempting an MBA program. However, with an Early Career MBA, you can enter an MBA program with less work experience. This is ideal for recent undergraduate students who want to get a head start on their masters.
How to Pick The Best Program
While some programs are no doubt limited to those who qualify (such as an EMBA program), you still have a variety of programs to choose from. Two of the biggest considerations to make while selecting a program is cost and time.
Your total costs for completing an MBA is not just tuition. You have to consider living costs if you are moving. Additionally, there are books and supplies such as notebooks and food costs. On top of that, some schools will charge more or less depending on residency. There are also smaller fees that most schools charge such as parking, facilities fees, technology fees, etc. The average cost of an MBA is around $130,000 for a two year program. However, that is not including the cost of potential lost income you will experience while doing your MBA. Some companies pay for you to get your MBA or some of the cost. Additionally, there are plenty of scholarships available to graduate students, so there are ways to get around the high costs of attending.
As seen above, most MBA programs take around 2-3 years to complete. You should also consider the requirements to get into these programs as some will require different lengths of work experience.