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I've got a great interview today for any readers who are thinking of pursuing an Executive MBA. I recently had a chance to interview an Executive MBA student at a top-15 school in the country.
Typical Full-Time programs at top schools like Harvard and Wharton are discussed at length on WSO on an almost daily basis. I know there are plenty of folks who'd prefer a part-time program but might be uncertain about making the jump.
Read on for some insight into the reasons someone might attend a part-time MBA program and what life is like when you're balancing a full-time job with a part-time education.
TheKing: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your current role and what kind of institution do you work for?
ExecMBA: My job title is Senior Manager. I work at a fortune 200 company that also happens to be a top 5 US bank. My job family is "Business Analysis."
TheKing: What's your background? What path did you take towards your current position?
ExecMBA: I started out working at a start up company for two years, and I've been with my current firm for the past seven years. I did the 'become a subject matter expert THEN get promoted' path, instead of learning how to leverage others.
TheKing: I understand that you're pursuing an Executive MBA at a top program. What led you to pursue an MBA? What do you hope to gain from the degree?
ExecMBA: I decided to pursue the program for a few reasons. Namely, difficulty getting the best out of my direct reports and not knowing the correct levers to motivate them, learning how to delegate better, and being able to view decisions outside the silo of my department. I want to be able to view decisions from an enterprise perspective, not just a department perspective.
TheKing: What made you choose a Part-Time program over a Full-Time program? Is your company sponsoring you?
ExecMBA: My company is footing the bill, so it seemed like a simple solution.
TheKing: What's it like to balance a job and an MBA program? Has your work load lightened or are you burning the midnight oil to keep up with both?
ExecMBA: It's a lot of work, I'm not going to lie. I spent the first month burning the midnight oil. I've had discussions with work about cutting the week at 40-45 hours, they said I should learn to delegate more - which resonates with what I'm learning. It's a balance - however a top tier grad school is going to give you 20-30 hours a week minimum. It's up to you if you want to do 2-4 hours a day or give up a good portion of your weekend.
TheKing: In your opinion, what kind of person is best suited for an Executive MBA?
ExecMBA: Somebody that is up for the work. It's fantastic being able to implement the stuff you learn the next day at the office. I think I will ultimately get a lot more from the degree through the Executive experience. Plus the other classmates have so much more experience then the average 26 year old in the full-time program.
TheKing: Any other pieces of advice you'd like to give to the readers of WSO, Executive MBA related or otherwise?
ExecMBA: Don't underscore the value of work/life balance in the program. I couldn't imagine the impact if my commute went from 75 minutes each way once a month to four hours every two weeks.
I'd like to thank the Executive MBA for taking the time out of his extremely busy day to answer some questions for me. It seems like, in short, a part-time MBA is great for those with more experience and more years under their belt than the average full-time MBA student. And it seems like a great way for someone whose looking to make the leap forward in their current role to get it done without the opportunity cost of leaving the work force for two years.
If anyone has any follow-up questions, leave them in the comments. I'll try and get some more info if we've got a critical mass of questions lined up.