The other option is the part-time MBA, which is geared towards employees who work full-time and don't yet hold leadership positions. These students tend to be 24 to 35-years-old and take classes after work, either in the evenings or on weekends. Part-timers usually share the same faculty and can take many of the same courses as their full-time counterparts. However, few scholarships are given to part-time students, so they must rely on personal savings, loans, and or employer sponsorship to pay for tuition.

Part-time MBA programs are often seen as less competitive than full-time programs and can take longer than two or three years to complete. The main challenge for part-timers is balancing work and school, many times at the expense of social or family time. Business schools located in large cities with financial hubs tend to attract part-time MBA candidates more easily, as school tends to be close in work.

The Bottom Line

Receiving an MBA can help you advance your career and earn promotions or pay raises due to the level of achievement and knowledge such a degree confers. Deciding between a full-time or a part-time MBA program is a matter of weighing the costs and benefits each option has to offer. Full-time MBAs are ideal for new graduates who can afford to delay working, but they can expect to land better paying and higher ranking jobs than those without an MBA.  Working individuals who are eager to enhance their existing career path might choose a part-time MBA program in order to remain employed while studying. For those in managerial or leadership roles, the executive MBA might be a more suitable part-time option.