SOM Blog

Is the Part-Time to Full-Time track right for you?

Is the Part-Time to Full-Time track right for you?

While the Simmons School of Management has both full-time and part-time tracks for earning the MBA, there is a third option to help students transition from pre-MBA life to the full time program: the part-time to full-time track! Not sure if you're ready to take on a full-time MBA program, but want to graduate sooner than later? Maybe the part-to-full time track is right for you. As a part-to-full timer, I'm happy to share my experiences!

At the School of Management, prospective students are given the opportunity to transition from part-time to full time as a means of accelerating their degree. I am one of those students who started in the spring when this track is available. All spring-start students start with a part-time load, but have the option to accelerate in the fall by indicating this preference in the application. As someone who hadn't been in school in quite some time, I was nervous about being a student again. I knew however that an MBA would enhance my career prospects and I didn't want to be off of the job market for too long. After careful discussion with my admissions representative at the SOM, I decided the part-to-full time track was the way to go.

Full-time students typically take at least 4 classes a semester, with classes meeting either once or twice a week, in the evenings or during the day.  While some students are able to jump right in to the full-time routine, I was skeptical of my own endurance and had a full-time day job at the time that I wasn't ready to leave! Like many other prospective students, I wasn't sure if I could handle so much change at once--but that's why the part-time to full-time program is so great! Part-time students typically take 2 classes a semester, which both meet once a week in the evenings from 6PM to 9PM. This schedule is most helpful to students who have day jobs, leaving plenty of time to get to campus after work (professors usually don't mind if we eat dinner during the start of class too).

Once I got in, there was plenty to get used to! While being a part-time student may seem like it's half the energy of a full-time track, that's definitely false. There is a steep learning curve in the MBA program--time goes by quick and taking anything for granted is a big mistake. In order to offset some of these challenges however, the SOM introduces business school to each new cohort with a course called Foundations of Business, which is held the week before the semester starts. This course exposes students too business school culture and expectations, while also giving helpful hints and recommendations for getting everything done. I admit that while the point of Foundations was to make us more comfortable, it didn't feel that way at first--that first night was pretty intimidating as I looked around the lecture hall to see so many people, but they were all just as nervous as I was. Over four meetings, Foundations forced the cohort to meet each other, work together, and ultimately feel more comfortable. It all paid off on the first night of class when I didn't feel out of place because I had met most of my classmates the week before!

As the semester built momentum, not only did I get used to sitting in class for three hours after a full day's work, but also was able to participate, adding to the discussion and asking questions when I had them. It was definitely exhausting as weekends were spent preparing for the following week's classes, but by the time finals came around fifteen weeks later, it had become the norm and paid off with great grades! The summer was a continuation of the part-time schedule since classes are usually condensed and it's not recommended to take a full-load at that pace. After taking two required core-courses in the spring, the summer semester gave me the chance to take elective classes that completely expanded my perspective on business! I had developed an efficient routine of studying, learned how to actively sit in class for hours at a time, and now had the opportunity to see what a business school education could offer! Gone were the days of doubt and apprehension--I had proved I could do it in the spring, and here I was in the summer eager to keep the momentum going.

Knowing that I would be doubling my load at school, I did the math (and made it work), and left my full time job. While I had butterflies about being a full-time student I reassured myself that the past two semesters hadn't been a fluke! I understood my learning style and knew exactly what I needed to do to succeed; I spent two semesters going to the tutoring center, talking to Student Financial Services, establishing supportive study groups, and finding opportunities to enrich the possibilities of my future! There are always so many great opportunities to learn and expand my network on campus that being a full-time student pays for itself  (on top the accelerated graduation date).

If you're in the program to change the trajectory of your career, but aren't sure about diving in head first, the part-time to full-time track is a great opportunity to transition into this change. Spring and summer semester is plenty of time to get ready for life as a full-time student, and will ultimately get you your MBA faster. 

Student Experience