The real deal
What makes the full-time MBA degree worth the investment? It offers a stimulating learning environment for professionals from all over the world who are looking for career growth and a new beginning. But it is also much more than that.
Discover the advantages of this high-level study format that is more relevant than ever in these challenging times.
It’s fast and focused
For most professionals who choose to pursue an MBA degree, it is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Naturally, you would want to take as much from it as possible. With a full-time MBA programme, you dive into it completely and immerse yourself in the full experience. What does that mean?
Most full-time MBA programmes take between one and two years to complete. These are among the fastest routes you can take. Compare it to a part-time MBA and you will see why. Barbara Coward, founder of MBA 360° Admissions Consulting, told Fortune Magazine that “most part-time students take roughly three to four years to complete these programmes”. This is because opting for a part-time MBA means you can keep working alongside your studies, which slows down the process.
Professionals who choose a full-time programme, on the other hand, have to give up their jobs and dedicate their working time to studying. Of course, this route requires long-term planning and a stable environment. But at the end of the day, it is a great option for gaining a truly valuable, focused and authentic business education.
Enrolling in a full-time programme means fewer distractions and no tricky balancing between work and study. Scott Ibaraki, who graduated with an MBA from Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder (US), realised this during his own studies.
“You won’t have to contend with the stresses of balancing a demanding job during the day with lectures at night and hoards of school work over the weekend,” he said. “This allows you to immerse yourself and focus more intently on your learning. You will also have more flexibility to explore different business interests and get involved with extracurriculars.”
It’s perfect for a career switch
Are you intending to go into an industry that is completely different to the one in which you have experience? If your answer is yes, then the full-time MBA might be the best option for you.
Full-time programmes are an excellent trampoline for professionals who want to reinvent themselves. The highly experience-based learning elements in most such programmes enable students to get a glimpse of different sectors and unfamiliar functions. They provide an opportunity to gradually and confidently ease into the new environment you might be aiming for.
“There may also be opportunities embedded within the curriculum that allow students to apply theory to practice, such as partnering with a company to solve a problem,” Harvard Business School (US) MBA alumna Shaifali Aggarwal told U.S. News & World Report. “Such experience strengthens students’ skill sets and may even be closely related to what a student wants to do in the future, which in turn can facilitate a career change.”
Because your full focus will be dedicated to the MBA and not to your regular job, you will be able to kick-start your new career while already in business school.
Next to the experience-based courses and projects, there is another aspect that adds value to the full-time MBA: internships. While part-time students continue taking classes and working during the summer, many full-time students have the summer months dedicated to a work placement.
The internship can be an important experience for people looking for a major career change. It gives them room to try a new role in a different industry risk-free as part of their MBA studies. At the same time, internships have the enormous potential of landing you your next dream job. If all goes to plan, this temporary arrangement can turn into a permanent job after graduating from business school. This is the case for many MBA alumni who jump-start their new careers straight after a full-time MBA.
Of course, each study format has its pros and cons. For example, part-time MBA students get to apply what they learn to their workplace throughout the whole programme. By comparison, the full-time MBA is more about a gradual accumulation of skills and connections, so that by the end of the programme, you have the full toolkit.
It’s better for networking
Speaking of connections: for many prospective MBA aspirants, the networking opportunities offered by graduate business programmes are as valuable as – or sometimes even more valuable than – the skills and knowledge associated with the MBA designation. When choosing to pursue an MBA, perhaps one of the most vital aspects that you need to consider is the networking opportunities that you will have access to. The MBA degree is in a category of its own when it comes to networking. Not only do business schools strongly encourage it, but they also attempt to facilitate it after graduation. Classmates and alumni networks have traditionally been invaluable resources.
It can be argued that the full-time MBA format benefits students more than other formats when it comes to both opportunities and quality of networking. Full-time students don’t have to juggle between work and study and don’t miss out on opportunities for extra-curricular activities, study programmes and social activities, which are very important in skill development and networking. Who can argue with the logic that more time spent with peers, alumni and faculty members leads to deeper, longer-lasting relationships? “The MBA is an intense experience,” says Patricia Keener, head of London Business School’s career centre. “It opens people’s minds. You’re put into small study groups and work closely together — that builds a really strong bond.”
The full-time MBA is without a doubt one of the most valuable and immersive experiences you can choose for your professional and personal growth. It is a study format available in many different countries and featuring countless perks for students. Just be sure to weigh all the options before deciding on the best one for you.