(Source: Bentley College)So you're thinking about joining the growing ranks of those pursuing an M.B.A. part-time or online. You'll earn the same degree, right? Sure. And gain the same career advantages? Sorry to say, no.
Consider this from the Wall Street Journal:
Part-time, online and executive M.B.A. programs may be growing in popularity, but the traditional full-time degree still rules with corporate recruiters.
In the short run, students who take an alternative approach to a full-time, two-year program are reducing their opportunity costs by continuing to draw a paycheck. But they aren't necessarily getting the degree that will most impress corporate recruiters and jump-start their careers.
Given the choice, for example, Lori Massad generally will pick a full-time graduate over a part-timer when she recruits for the management-consulting firm Marakon Associates. She has an especially keen perspective on different types of M.B.A. programs, having taught both part-time and full-time students as an adjunct professor at New York University's Stern School of Business.
M.B.A. Lite—that's what many corporate recruiters call the various alternatives to a full-time program. In The Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive survey, recruiters viewed all three of the major alternative approaches, particularly online programs, as inferior to full-time degrees. About 30% of recruiters said they don't believe executive programs build students' skills nearly as well as full-time programs, while slightly more—34%—found part-time programs much less effective.
The verdict on online degrees is much more negative: About 80% of recruiters said these programs aren't as effective in developing skills as a full-time M.B.A. In fact, nearly 40% of recruiters rated them as "not at all effective." Doina Timpau, a survey respondent and competitive-intelligence manager for Shell Hydrogen BV in the Netherlands, says what's missing from online programs is the valuable student interaction. She often learned the most as an M.B.A. from fellow students who brought abstract business problems to life for her.
In most corporate recruiters' hierarchy, the full-time degree would be on top, followed by the executive M.B.A., then the part-time program, and on the bottom, the online option.Not terribly encouraging news for those who don't have the option of attending full-time. At least be aware of the bias you'll encounter down the line.
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