A major decision in anyone’s life is to go back to school to take on a master’s degree program. Once that decision is made, then you have to decide whether or not to devote all available time to school or choose a part time program and continue to work. Here’s why I decided to go part-time.
For me, it was about keeping continuity in the workplace while getting my degree. I wanted to take the next big step in my career, in the direction of eventually starting my own companies, without creating a gap in my work experience. I feel an MBA is required to achieve my goals. Yes, there are plenty of people who have started successful companies without an MBA. However, having attained an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, I did not take a single business course. Therefore, I felt in order to properly start and run a business I needed to at least have the basic business courses under my belt.
For many of my peers and myself, there are two distinct schools of thought on when to get an MBA. One is that it can be done right out of undergrad with no prior work experience. The other is that an MBA program should only be started after a few years of professional work experience. I am on the side that thinks work experience is a significant benefit to getting an MBA. Not only does the MBA student with work experience benefit from their ability to relate to real work problems, his/her classmates also benefit from group discussions where real world experience comes into play.
That’s why I decided to only apply to part-time MBA programs – so I could continue gaining professional experience while learning more about business, and applying what I learned in the MBA program immediately to the working world.
Another reason I chose a part-time MBA program was so I could continue to financially support myself. Getting an MBA is expensive; pursuing it full-time with no source of income can lead to a deep hole of debt.
Balancing Business School and Other Priorities
Finally, getting my MBA part-time allowed to me to focus and thoroughly absorb the material. With a full-time load, I feel it would become overwhelming while balancing work and other activities. The material taught would not make as much of an impact. When there is so much going on and so much to do, it can be difficult to fully immerse yourself.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Getting an MBA is a hard decision to make, as well as the decision to pursue it full-time or part-time. You really have to look at where you’re at in life. For me, the benefits of pursuing an MBA part-time outweighed the benefits of pursuing it full-time.
Learn more about the benefits of a LMU’s part-time MBA program at an upcoming info session.
By Cory Shumaker, MBA ’16