Part Time MBA vs Full Time MBA - 10 Key Differences

Part Time vs Full time MBAAfter a few years on the job, professionals looking for that big leap in their careers will start thinking about an MBA. At this point of time, you will have two choices - Full-time or Part-time MBA.

A Part-time MBA would mean a steady flow of income and a path without any break in your career. By joining the program, professionals would save at least $30,000 per year in tuition fee. In some cases, the employer may even pay for the education. But supporters of Full-time MBA will argue that the course is an intense experience; an experience that involves interaction with a diverse experienced group of peers, traveling to global locations and solving local problems, and interning on different job functions & industries – an intensity that is lacking in a part-time MBA. Furthermore, Full-time graduates always grab the best job offers.

To help you choose between Full-time and Part-time MBA, we have a breakdown of the differences on ten key factors.

1) Admission

A Full-time MBA program has a more thorough and lengthy admission process. The reason - more students apply, and to find the best representation of MBA candidates from around the world, the Admission team conducts an in-depth evaluation process.  With Part-Time MBA program, interviews are not mandatory.
Take NYU Stern - the second best Part-time MBA program. The admission process is identical to that of the Full-time program, but Part-time program do not require an interview. As a result, students for the Full-time MBA need to apply latest by March for the start in August (5 months), whereas the Part-time applicants need to apply by May for a September start (4 months).

Moreover, Part-time students can choose from 2 or 3 start dates in a year. On the other hand, Full-time programs usually have one common joining date. For example, at Kellogg, the Part-time program has a fall, winter, spring and summer start.

2) Competition

Look at the table below, featuring the top three Part-time MBA programs. One key difference between their Full-time MBA counterparts is the average GMAT score.  Stern’s Part-time is average a full 50 points lower. What this tells us is that the Part-time program is a lot easier to get in. With an average GMAT score, a great essay and concise CV, students should have less trouble getting into a prestigious part-time MBA program compared to the full-time equivalent.

3) Flexibility

While both programs follow a near identical curriculum, flexibility is the buzzword for the Part-time program. Weekend classes, weekday classes, week long classes with a break, and a mix of all three are just some of the flexible choices offered. Most schools allow students to switch between the various options and some even allow a part of the course to be completed at another Business School, in case of relocation. Booth allows students to attend classes with the Full-time program when possible.
The Anderson School offers a Flex Program, which requires only one weekend on campus every month, with the rest of the curriculum taught online. Most Part-time programs allow a time-period of 2-5 years to complete the program.

4) Career continuity & Switching

Part-time students have the advantage of both an uninterrupted career as well as steady income growth. The flexibility in course structure will help professionals continue working in the same field, vertical or job function. By the time, a Full-time student passes out, he or she would have two years less experience than a part-time student would. For  rapidly changing sectors like technology, continuity with technology is crucial in understanding the challenges of implementing a project. Conversely, a part-time program is not ideal for career switchers. The intensity and thoroughness of Full-time learning make it the ideal option for those who wish to change tracks completely.

5) Internship

While Part-time and full-time programs both offer projects, most of the part-time MBA programs do not offer internships.
UCLA Anderson is the rare exception. Internships allow students to make mistakes and gain valuable experience. In a 2-Year MBA program, students get the time (1 year) to improve and correct their mistakes.

6) Scholarships

When it comes to financing the MBA program, most B-schools expect students to pay for their education. While loan assistance is offered, only two among the top five Part-time MBA programs offer grants or scholarships. Stern offers donor award scholarships after completing 30 credits, and Haas has its scholarships as well as support from outside sources. On the other hand, the top Full-time MBA program offers a host of scholarships. Incidentally, UCLA Anderson helps students find scholarships from outside sources.

7) Peer to Peer Learning

As full-time MBA students spend almost all their time together, their biggest source of learning is from peers. A Full-time MBA Admission team actively searches for class diversity with the goal of improving the quality of peer learning. In just one course, you will learn the challenges of doing Business in Silicon Valley, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abuja, from the locals – a perspective that no professors, who live in the host country can offer. Part-time programs receive fewer applications, and hence the luxury to diversify the class is limited. The peer learning in part-time MBA program happens at a functional level. With limited time (few hours), every week devoted to in-class experience, diversity in peer learning is not guaranteed. The learning process can be peripheral.

8) Learning on the job

As part-time MBA students are also working, they get to apply classroom lessons immediately on the job. By applying what they have learned, part-time MBA students will have a deeper understanding of the concepts learned in the class, and would also be aware of what works and what does not. On an average, a 2-year Full-time MBA student has to wait one year, for opportunities in internships and to apply their knowledge on global Business problems. A delay of one year between learning and application will diminish the recall of the Business Fundamentals. Although
experiential learning in MBA programs has negated this disadvantage, MBA programs at large have yet to adopt it.

9) Market changes

On an average, most part-time MBA programs are completed within 3 years; many of them might take up to 5 years. So while, a professional may have targeted a specific function or field to work in the future, that area may have become less appealing over time. What’s more, MBA curriculum undergo constant reviews. Many courses will be added or removed. What this means is that a Full-time MBA curriculum could look a lot different from a Part-time by the time a part-timer completes the program in 3+ years. The Kellogg Part-time MBA program has thoughtfully provided the option to pick up to four courses that are newly introduced as part of the curriculum.

10) Campus recruitment & Employment

Campus recruitment is the highlight of a Full-time MBA program. A lot of time and resources are spent preparing students as well as attracting corporates into campuses. Most Part-time programs allow students to utilize these resources. However, some Business Schools like Stern do not allow Part-time students to participate in this process. Kellogg, Booth, Haas, and Anderson allow part-time MBA students to participate in the Full-time MBA recruitment process.

Business SchoolAverage GMATAverage Age Average Work Experience (Years)
Kellogg Part-time665316
Kellogg Full-time700285
Stern Part-time669285
Stern Full-time719275
Booth Part-time680295
Booth Full-time719285

2018 MBA Research Guide - Choose your MBA

"I attended three MBA Tours in US and Canada. I could just scratch the surface compared to what the guide has included. Thank you guys for the amazing book"

F1GMAT's Comprehensive MBA Research Guide will teach you how to select MBA programs through a bottom-up approach. 

Articulating your Post-MBA Goals and Career Path is the FIRST step. Which program will give you that hike in Salary, Switch in Career, Change in Location or Job Satisfaction?

We cover them all through our extensive analysis. 

Pages: 500

+ How to Choose the Best MBA Program: Factors to Consider
Define Post-MBA Goals
Pick your Path: Generalize or Specialize
Use Moral Algebra Method 
Use Multi-Attribute Utility Theory
Understand the Top 5 Risks
Measure MBA Career Service Team's Effectiveness
Use Bookending to Calculate MBA Admission Chance
Use Net Present Value to Calculate MBA Return on Investment
Don't Fall for the Mere Exposure Effect
Best Practices to find the truth in MBA Information Session or MBA Tour

Comprehensive MBA Research Guide:
Top MBA Programs by 19 Specializations:
+ General Management
+ Finance
+ Consulting
+ Marketing
+ Strategy
+ Operations Management
+ Supply Chain Management
+ Luxury Management
+ Information Systems
+ Hospitality Management
+ Accounting
+ Energy
+ Non-Profit
+ Wine
+ Sports
+ Sustainability
+ Leadership Development
+ Military &
+ International

+ Top MBA Program Ranking
Top 20 MBA Programs - Tuition Fee (2018)    
Top 31 MBA Programs in United States – Total Cost & Salary (2017)    

Top 60 MBA – GMAT and GPA (Average & Median)
Top 20 European MBA Programs - Tuition Fee, Total Cost & Salary    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Based on Actual Salary Increase)    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Short-term return on investment)    
Top 20 Affordable European MBA Programs    
Top 10 MBA in UK – Salary & Fee (2018)  
Top MBA Destinations Based on Happiness Index    
Top MBA Destinations based on Innovation Index    
Top 10 MBA Job Markets based on Cost of living and Purchasing Power    
Top MBA Destination: By Economy    

+Comparisons - Top MBA Programs
Wharton vs. Columbia MBA (2018)  
MIT vs. Stanford MBA   (2017)
Haas vs. Ross MBA    
Kellogg vs Ross MBA    
Booth vs Wharton MBA    
MIT Sloan vs Tuck MBA    
IIMA vs. ISB   

Harvard vs. Stanford MBA (2017)

+ MBA in France (2018)
Top Industries in France   
Top MBA Programs in France  

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in France
External Funding 

+ MBA in the UK (2018)
Top Industries in the UK   
Top MBA Programs in the UK

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in the UK
External Funding 

New Visa Rules: Post-Brexit

Download F1GMAT's MBA Research Guide (2018)
*Free updates and new Chapters added to your premium account every week

Navigate F1GMAT

F1GMAT Services (MBA Applicants) 

MBA Research

MBA Salary(Latest Salary Data)
MBA Admission Interview Tips



MBA Application Essays

GMAT Tutorials (Free)

GMAT Question Bank

Top MBA Programs

Get F1GMAT's Newsletters (Best in the Industry)
Included in the Newsletter:

  • Ranking Analysis
  • Post-MBA Salary Trends
  • Post-MBA Job Function & Industry Analysis
  • Post-MBA City Review
  • MBA Application Essay Tips
  • School Specific Essay Tips
  • GMAT Preparation Tips
  • MBA Admission Interview Tips
  • School Specific Interview Tips
  • Funding Guidance and
  • Special Consultation Service (only for Subscribers)

Subscribe to F1GMAT's Newsletter