Thursday, August 22, 2013

Exploring the Part-time MBA at Booth


Although a top full-time MBA has and still is my goal, I'm seriously exploring the part-time MBA at Booth.  There are obviously pros and cons.  Let's go through them.  


Pros

1. Admission selectivity:  the part-time MBA is significantly less selective than the full-time program, so from an admissions standpoint it's not a high hurdle. 
2. Location: this is very minor, but given that Gleacher Center is pretty close to my apartment, it's good to be able to walk to class rather than take the train down to Hyde Park.
3. Continuing work and extracurriculars: I would be able to continue what I've been doing without having to start from scratch, so to speak.
4. Same classes and faculty:  the Booth part-time program is remarkably well-integrated with the rest of the school.  Faculty is mandated to teach at least 1 class in the part-time program, so you are still taking classes from the same world-class faculty.
5. OCR: a double-edged sword.  On one hand, part-time students don't get access to ocr for internship recruiting but do get access for full-time recruiting once they've taken 12 classes. 

Cons

1. OCR: if you're gunning for a standard post-MBA industry such as banking or consulting, not being able to use ocr for internship recruiting is a huge disadvantage since most of those firms fill their incoming classes with previous summer interns.  Moreover, the part-timers are unable to use bid points to get interviews with their top choice firms.
2. Social life:  totally different culture from the full-time program.  Since the students are working, you're not going to have access to the awesome social buffet that characterizes the full-time MBA.  As a result, aside from having less fun, I would not be able to develop as many strong professional and personal relationships with my classmates.  To put it bluntly, the part-time MBA will not be the transformational experience that I am seeking.
3. Potential credibility gap:  this one is more of a mixed bag, and I'm not quite sure yet.  A lot of people have told me that people don't really ask whether you did a part or full-time MBA and that at the end of the day you will have an MBA from the world-renowned Chicago Booth.  However, I have also heard cases where interviewers would ask you which program you're in, and they can usually tell by dates and lack of a summer internship that you're a part-timer.  This could make a potential career switch more difficult since the employer might wonder why you did not do a top full-time MBA.  Unless your explanation is super convincing, they will assume that you couldn't get in, thereby damaging your credibility.  It's definitely shallow, but that's the business world.  Branding MATTERS, for better or for worse.  I am thus worried about this potential weakness of the Booth part-time MBA but hope that I can make up for it in other ways if I do go this route.




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