Note: Just because we’re blahgging about this today is not meant as a signal that you should try submitting a Columbia full-time MBA app right now! The rolling admissions means that they’re really far along with their admits and it’s got low probability of a win at this stage of the cycle. However, the Columbia…
Welp this was supposed to go live on Friday. Ooops. We reported last week how Chicago Booth assured a prospective applicant to their Weekends MBA program that recruiters see a part-time MBA the same as a full-time program, and we promised further discussion. If you have comments or questions to ask about part-time vs full-time…
A part-time MBA is not even feasible for everyone — what if you don’t live near a school that offers a part-time program, what if your job security is shaky and you are not sure you’ll be employed, which is a requirement of many P/T programs. But you may know that it’s typically way easier to get in to a part-time MBA program than a full-time program at the same school. That tends to be true at schools like UCLA and Berkeley-Haas and NYU, and it’s especially true at schools like Kellogg and Booth where getting in full-time sometimes seems to require an act of God. It can be a wide gulf indeed between the probable outcomes of your profile getting into the full-time MBA at Kellogg compared to your chances of the admit for their Evening and Weekends option. That’s also true for the Columbia Executive tracks, which these days much more closely resemble the cohorts of a part-time program rather than a strictly “executive” one. Someone might struggle mightily in getting noticed by the Columbia full-time admissions people when they try for the Regular Decision option, but then seemingly sail straight in to an admit at the Columbia EMBA Fridays-Saturdays, as just one example.
But here’s how you need to be evaluating this:
Is a part-time MBA seen as equivalent to a full-time MBA by recruiters?
(That’s not the only question to be considering, but it’s a super important one!)
Here’s what we saw asked and answered on a Chicago Booth chat many years back.
A prospective applicant asked:
People often times view a part-time MBA inferior to that of a full-time MBA. How is the Booth Evening/Weekend perceived by employers and outsiders? Is there still the notion that full-time trumps all other programs? With that in mind, what steps are being taken to demystify that perception.
The admissions representative answered:
The Evening/Weekend MBA program is perceived the same as the Full-time MBA program since it’s the same MBA. You have the same faculty teaching the same classes across programs. Employers know this about the Booth MBA and this is why they choose to hire from our program. The caliber of students is the same since classes are on the same grading curve.
There’s actually a lot to unpack, in both the question and also the answer. So let’s continue talking about different aspects of the part-time MBA over the course of the next week. If any of you are considering one, what have you been concerned about? Any comments to offer? What have you discovered in your research? Have you heard anything on the applicant admissions boards that you want validation on, in terms of the realities of a part-time MBA and whether it’s worthwhile or not? Let’s take some time to discuss it! Comments are open if you want to pipe in with your questions, observations or concerns.
We get it, the EMBA is not the preferred format for many applicants interested in bschool.
But guess what? The EMBA is a pretty darned good alternative and many excellent schools have incredible offerings!!
As our recent Post-MBA Perspective series from a former BSer has pointed out, it’s a very individual decision and sometimes people don’t come to it easily.
It’s important to counter the fallacy that you can be “too old” for a regular full-time MBA program — though there is some truth in it, as there always is in the best lies propagated on the internet. Acceptance to bschool is never predicated on age. We have seen plenty (plenty!!) of BSers in their 30s who make it into all the schools in the world. At the same time, there is a standard age range for the cohort in any given program, and the adcoms need to be specifically impressed with someone who brings more years of professional experience with them on their application, in order to make an offer if they’re significantly outside the norm. There are always a lot of moving parts to any MBA application, and to someone who has more than ten years of experience then those moving parts need to be handled carefully in how the presentation to the adcom is made.
And, sometimes it just doesn’t work out, either aiming too high for the profile, or not pitching effectively. And for a BSer who really has decided that yes, business school would be an awesome opportunity and an advantage in furthering his or her career, then sometimes it makes sense to look at other options available.
Do you know how many Executive MBA programs there are? Quite a few! At many of the very best schools.
Here’s a quick lay-of-the-land to get you acquainted with what we would nominate as “the best” EMBA programs in the U.S. for you to consider:
EssaySnark’s Loosely Organized List of Notable Executive MBA Programs
(Basically, any top school that offers an EMBA is going to be on this list; it’s roughly organized by level of selectivity.)
- Wharton EMBA SF and Philly – probably the most selective EMBA programs around. Really tough to get into! And worth it if you do.
- Columbia EMBA NY – various formats including Friday/Saturday, weekends-only, and partnered EMBA with LBS, etc. More EMBA options than perhaps any other school. Also quite flexible on who they’ll accept; need not be a senior exec to demonstrate fit to a CBS program.
- MIT Sloan EMBA – they go for specifically more senior professionals in this track; they also have a shorter format one-year Sloan Fellows MBA for those with more experience than would be a fit for their regular two-year program.
- Chicago Booth EMBA Chicago, London or Hong Kong (and part-time MBA programs in Chicago too) – also more flexible on admissions, and currently catering to larger geographies including folks commuting from places like NYC (presumably who didn’t get into Columbia?? commuting for school is really a drag, though more and more students are doing it, to more and more places, especially up and down the West Coast)
- Kellogg EMBA Evanston (Chicago) or Miami – where a GMAT isn’t even required! Their Miami option caters to Latin America business, though not exclusively.
- NYU Stern with a variety of EMBA and part-time tracks on offer, including a recently launched Washington DC EMBA program, and their very exclusive TRIUM for senior execs
- Berkeley Haas EMBA which oddly we don’t hear many BSers being interested in, possibly because Haas has a part-time format which is a very strong draw for those in the Bay Area who want to stay working while pursuing their degree
- Michigan Ross EMBA including Global EMBA that had traditionally catered to an international student body interested especially in supply chain and overseas business, though this has changed in recent years
- UVA Darden which has had a Global EMBA for some time and has for several years also been expanding into the Washington DC area (Darden went to DC before NYU did, and of course Georgetown McDonough is also in DC)
- Yale EMBA which is one of the longer programs (22 months) and which, like Berkeley, we just don’t get that many people saying they’re interested in, but it’s well respected and a high-quality offering
- UCLA Anderson EMBA with different cohorts in LA and also through a joint program at National University Singapore
- Cornell EMBA with a new-ish NYC option along with a long-running joint program cohosted in Ithaca and at Queen’s University in Canada
Phew! That’s quite a list!
So who’s missing? Well, Stanford GSB has a non-EMBA EMBA — meaning, they have a unique offering that is targeted to the same type of more senior professional as other Executive programs, yet its got a totally different format (full-time residential, much closer to a standard full-time MBA) and a different degree (a Master’s, instead of the coveted little letters of “M-B-A”). It’s nearly identical to the Sloan Fellows program noted above (it was founded through a grant from Alfred Sloan, way back when, just like the MIT version was, and then renamed in the last ten years; LBS has a Sloan format too). The Stanford MSx is an awesome opportunity but we’re carving it out separate since it’s not technically an EMBA. But, it may as well be, in terms of the education offered, and, well, it’s Stanford. Not easy to get in!! At least as competitive as Wharton EMBA. But definitely a valuable option to consider if you’re in the market for a top-notch business education.
Where can you NOT go for an EMBA? There’s actually a handful of schools that don’t offer any formal MBA degree to this cohort, notably Harvard Business School and Dartmouth Tuck.
Some of the EMBA programs listed above are quite accommodating in terms of who they will consider for their programs based on age and career trajectory to date and overall levels of experience (Ross, Columbia, Darden); others (notably NYU, Berkeley, some of MIT’s tracks, etc.) are much more restrictive. Plus, the programs themselves vary widely. Some include travel to different locations with your cohort every semester; others only meet at your university’s campus. Most will require nearly as much group work as a full-time program does with your fellow students, though obviously the manner in which those projects are completed will differ greatly based on the distributed population. So the experience of going to class and meeting with teammates will not be the same. But, if you have diverse responsibilities already based on where your career is at and/or family obligations, then having a more flexible format might actually end up as ideal.
So today’s post is just to help you keep an open mind, and consider your options.
Let’s continue what we started on Friday! Here’s a Q&A from EssaySnark to a long-ago Brave Supplicant who’s now made it all the way through the process, completed his MBA, and been spit out the other side. Catch up on Part 1 if you missed it, and here is Part 2!
## **EssaySnark:** How did you determine if a school met those priorities or not? What was the best resource you used or action you took to learn about the school and decide if it was a fit for you?
**former BSer** Any school on my list would have been fine. Heck, any school in the top 20 or 30 would have worked for my original consulting goal. Mainly this was because I didn’t care about recruiting. After networking into BCG on my own without an MBA, I knew I did not need to depend on the usual recruiting game.
What really changed everything was the visits.
My first visit specifically.
Ah, Tuck! Tuck is like the high-school crush you move on from, but always remember with a sigh. My visit was amazing, and it helped me realize what all the jabber about “fit” really meant. This, ahem… refocused my priorities, and it’s why Darden eventually rose to the top.
You see, Darden is akin to a southern Tuck, which made it a fantastic fit for me. Furthermore, Darden prides itself on an educational experience built around the case method classroom, which is exactly what I needed to do better in consulting case interview. (The GMAT proved it wasn’t a mental horsepower issue, and my earlier networking provided it wasn’t a fit issue. This left confidence as the problem, and so a classroom built on the case method would be perfect).
The school visits changed my thinking.
At Tuck, I fell in love with the school.
Then, at Wharton, I felt like a number in a large system. A good friend with a Wharton MBA would later tell me that it took her almost a full year to find her crew. Looking back, that would not have been the best place for me. (Wharton is a fantastic school, and “not the best for me” is nearly a distinction without a difference).
At Kellogg, I had a good time. Almost too good of a time. Actually, I was beginning to suspect the hardest part of my MBA would be keeping up with all the twenty-somethings late night shenanigan-izing.
At Darden, they let me visit a real class. And I still remember it clearly. It was the last session of a first-year strategy class. The interactivity and thoughtfulness of the classroom discussion blew me away.
Best classroom I’d ever seen. Hands down.
Darden only lets you visit one class, but I charmed my way into a second one, because I figured the one I had seen was a fluke. So I visited an operations class. I saw the same level of interaction. It was as if the students were teaching the course, while the professor was conducting or directing the discussion.
As you guessed from all that gushing, Darden went to the top of my shortlist.
Actually, Darden turned me down for their regular MBA but wanted me to interview for the EMBA. I was so totally and emotionally invested in the MBA that it took a couple weeks to work through my feelings to make an objective assessment. I boiled the situation down to a simple question. Was an MBA worth $200,000 more than an EMBA? (This is a simplistic estimate based on lost wages and loans, disregarding the NPV of future income, but it was the key question that focused my analysis of the choice.)
Because I had been so caught up in my plan to get an MBA for consulting, it was difficult to admit the EMBA was actually a far better option for me. However, I still stand by this assessment. It would have been a personal and financial step backwards for me to go into a regular MBA.
Hmmmm….. the plot thickens! More to come as we follow along retrospectively with this former BSer’s adventures to bschool! UPDATE: POSTED HERE! In the meantime, we can offer this post from the ‘snarchive on related topics….!
As a follow-on to yesterday’s post on joint MBA + Master’s programs and is it easier to get in, here are some specifics on how things are evaluated. Most universities handle admissions separately for each of their schools. It’s like each school — the business school, the law school — is operating individually within the…
We’ve previously spoken of applying for an MBA along with another graduate degree and today we’ll offer additional points to consider as you’re thinking about dual-degree application strategy, including the perennial question of “Is it easier to get in?????” New programs typically do not get that much interest, so app volumes are usually lower, which…
We often stay in touch with certain former BSers as they go through the actual GOAL of this whole process and launch into their MBA adventure, and it’s so helpful and interesting to get reports back from the field. One comment from a current student in a recent private exchange with us is worth sharing:…
Happy Groundhog Day, Brave Supplicant! To continue with our Round 3 Reality Check series, today we’ll talk about programs that might be in range for an admit even at this stage of the season. In case you missed them: What about Round 3? To Round 3 or not to Round 3 Who / what situations…
Hey BSers! We’re reblahgging this from 2015 because dang, that was three years ago, and this info is timely for where some of you are at today!!!
And yes, we realize that those answers were unsatisfying to many of you.
“You’re telling me to WAIT, EssaySnark?? Why in heck would I want to WAIT? I procrastinated my way to this point where I missed out on my prime opportunity to apply – but now I realize that that was a mistake! Now I know that I **NEED** to go to bschool. Now I’m ready to do this thing! Why on earth would I WAIT??”
There are in fact a few other options to consider at this time of year. Here are ones for you to consider.
1. A lower-ranked program often still has openings in Round 3.
You don’t even need to go too far down the rankings to find a program that could still be open to an app from you. While we don’t encourage it, we have seen people make it into Cornell, Ross and Darden with a last-round application. If you’re even more flexible (and you have a halfway-decent profile) then a school like Georgetown or USC or Vanderbilt should be in range. It depends on your priorities, and of course on the school. We talked about some bschools where Round 3 is viable before.
2. INSEAD has multiple intakes and rolling admissions.
This means that they sometimes have openings during parts of the season when other schools are full. The more competitive candidate pools will not have the best shot in any INSEAD Round 3 but depending, again, on your profile, there could be an opportunity for you to try for INSEAD right now.
3. LBS also has four rounds – so Round 3 is possible for them.
You’re good to go with a Round 3 on any school that has four rounds. LBS is the main hold-out among top schools that still does this (besides INSEAD but they have a year-round apps, rather than the standard September/October to March/April season). NYU also now has four rounds but their schedule is more like Tuck and Duke, where they all have three deadlines in the timeframe where their peers have two. Anyway: Yes to LBS. It is definitely more competitive than their Round 2 but it’s doable, and you have some time remaining before that date hits, too.
4. Part-time programs are often not yet at capacity. Same with Executive MBAs.
These programs are often still accepting candidates through the summer, and Round 3 is nearly always still feasible. We discussed possible programs where a Round 3 app might work previously.
5. If your profile is ah-maz-ing, you could still make it into a top school.
The problem with this advice is that few people understand what “ah-maz-ing” really means. You can check out our posts here on the blahg about “the Harvard type” as a hint – you need to have a profile that’s near that caliber even if you’re trying for a school like lowly old Tuck in the last round. If you want some guidance on whether you’re all that (or not) – or just get a sense of what you should really be focusing on right now – you can go for our Late Season Strategy Review to get some help on evaluating your chances. And of course, our little booklet-thing called Everything You Need to Know about a Round 3 Application lays all of this out for you in greater detail.
The most important consideration when you’re thinking about applying now: Will it mess up your chances next season if you end up as a reapplicant? That’s a real risk (we go into all of it in the Round 3 booklet). You need to be looking at your cross-season strategy right now. It may seem like you’ve got nothing to lose to submit a bunch of apps at the tail end of the admissions season but that’s not actually how reality works. You need to consider your options carefully.
But yes, every year we see BSers squeak in under the wire in Round 3. We don’t recommend it but if you play your cards right, it can happen. Mostly we see people NOT get in, so don’t get your hopes up too terribly much – but we’re around to help if you want to do the Hail Mary!!!