If you are early in your MBA application process you may be considering a range of options from where you may pursue an MBA to which type of MBA program you should consider. The most important aspect to consider in these decisions is your ultimate career and personal goals, and to make a decision based on what will suit your objectives best.
United States vs. International MBA Programs
As the world shifts in focus and international business becomes an attractive path for both US residents and international students, a range of international 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 programs often offer programs that can be completed in far less time than a traditional 24-month program in the United States and can offer a range of locations and types of programs.
Cost is another consideration that may lead you to consider International programs. Many programs are significantly less expensive than the top US programs, and combined with the lower opportunity cost of time spent away from your career, 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. If you are seeking jobs in the United States, it is often a better option to pursue either a program such as INSEAD or LBS that is well-known in the US, or a US program.
Executive vs. Full-Time vs. Part-Time MBA
The key element in your decision to pursue an executive vs. full-time program is where you are on your own career path. If you have been working for 5 years or less and are on a typical career path in terms of promotions, you will likely want to pursue a full-time MBA. If you have progressed rapidly in your career, or have been working for more than five years, you may want to consider an Executive MBA. A viable third option is a part-time MBA. Students are more similar to full-time MBA applicants, yet have the 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, says 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 recently 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.”
So be sure to consider your own life-stage and current job. If you are an applicant 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. If you enjoy your company and do not want to change careers, an executive or part time program may allow you to pursue 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.