Deciding Among Various MBA Program Options

MBA program optionsIf it’s still early days in your business school application journey, you may be considering a range of MBA program options. There’s a lot to think about, from where to study to which type of MBA program is best. The most important aspect to consider in these decisions is your ultimate career and personal goals.  You need make a choice based on what will suit your objectives best.

United States vs. International MBA Programs

International business has become an attractive path for both US residents and international students. To meet growing demand, a range of international MBA program options have arisen. From CEIBS to Cambridge Judge, HEC Paris to IE, the main advantage of international MBA programs is more flexibility. European, Canadian and Asian schools often offer shorter programs. Also, they typically offer a range of locations and types of programs.

Cost is another consideration that may lead you to consider international programs. Many cost significantly less than the top US programs. Combined with the lower opportunity cost of time spent away from your career, this could be an economical option for you.

If you are an international applicant, a program in your home country or region may offer equal opportunity for career advancement in your location. And as a student from the United States pursuing international opportunities, a school in your target region may have similar benefits. Will you try to find a job in the United States upon graduation? Then opt to pursue a program that’s well-known in the US, such as INSEAD or LBS. Or, target US programs instead.

MBA Program Options: Executive vs. Full-Time vs. Part-Time MBA

So, should you pursue an executive or full-time MBA program? The answer depends on where you are on your own career path. Have you worked for five years or less on a typical career path in terms of promotions? Then you will likely want to pursue a full-time MBA.

If you have been working for more than five years, you may want to consider an Executive MBA. A viable third option is the part-time MBA. Students are more similar to full-time MBA applicants. But you have the considerable advantage of staying at work while obtaining an MBA.

Isser Gallogly, Associate Dean of MBA Admissions at New York University’s Stern School of Business, said deciding which format is best depends largely on what is most important to you. “If being fully immersed in your experience in business school is incredibly important to you, a full-time program obviously optimizes that,” Gallogly told Business Insider.

“With a full-time program, there’s more investment in terms of the cost because you’re forgoing income but you have more time to invest in the program,” Gallogly said. “With part-time, you’re obviously keeping your job, keeping your income, so there’s less opportunity cost, but on the flip side, you have less time to go to business school and get engaged and involved.”

Where are you on your path?

As you consider various MBA program options, consider your own life-stage and current job. If you’re a bit older than the mean for the full-time program, you may find more success with a part-time or executive program.

If you are married with children and do not want to disrupt your family’s lifestyle, an executive program may be a great choice. Another factor is your current career path. What if you enjoy your company and do not want to change careers? An EMBA or part-time program may help you reach your long-term goals while maintaining your current career trajectory.

Whichever program you choose in your MBA journey, a great fit with your goals and lifestyle will ensure the best results from application to graduation.

This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been updated. 

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