A working professional looking to make a drastic career change to fields such as investment banking or brand management might need the summer work experience folded into a full-time program, according to Julie Barefoot, associate dean of M.B.A. admissions at the Emory University Goizueta Business School.
And someone with a pressing job offer that's contingent on quickly earning an M.B.A. may be better suited for a full-time, accelerated program, Nova Southeastern's Preziosi says.
Even for M.B.A. candidates for whom a part-time program makes the most sense, there are potential issues beyond finances to consider. For part-time Pace University Lubin School of Business student Saj Sahni, balancing his responsibilities poses daily challenges, he says.
"It's really difficult with the workload and your deadlines at work and trying to balance your school work," says Sahni, who squeezes in homework during lunch breaks at Morgan Stanley. "It's tough, but you have to do it for the short run."
Balance is key, school officials say. Some part-time programs keep students on a rigorous time table toward graduation; for instance, at the Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business, part-time, evening options can be completed in either 19 or 21 months. But other programs may allow M.B.A. students to complete classes at their own pace—and it's important not to go too easy, says Preziosi, who once had a student take five years to earn his M.B.A.
"That person's résumé reflected that not much was going on; they were kind of moseying on through," says Preziosi, who would instead recommend a time table of 18 to 27 months. "You need a pace that shows you're awake, attentive, and moving ... but not one that's going to kill you."
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