Students after completing their MBA program

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA while Working Full-time


Obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) has become a common yet necessary move for ambitious individuals who look forward to unlocking new career opportunities and likewise, propel their success to new heights. The prospect of pursuing an MBA while managing the demands and challenges of a full-time job is a daunting. However, this is the only popular and feasible path for working professionals seeking to expand their skill set and knowledge. The allure of gaining a competitive edge, combined with the convenience of continued income, makes this venture a very attractive proposition. And amongst the numerous questions swirling around this challenging pursuit, one looms above all: “How long does it take to get an MBA while working full-time?”

This question is a testament to the curiosity and drive of countless professionals who aspire to enhance their qualifications without sacrificing their careers. To embark on this journey, one must navigate a maze of considerations, balance commitments, and devise a well-thought-out plan that assures both academic excellence and career stability.

I will be providing you with the intricacies of completing an MBA program while working full-time, while we discuss on the various factors that influence its duration. 


What is an MBA? 

A Master of Business Administration, commonly known as MBA, is a prestigious postgraduate degree. During the course of this program, individuals are equipped with comprehensive understanding of business principles and management strategies.

MBA program is designed to nurture a breed of aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs. Ultimately, the purpose is to provide these aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs with a diverse skill set to thrive in the ever-evolving corporate landscape. 


Importance of MBA Program

The significance of an MBA in advancing one’s career cannot be overstated but overemphasized, as it opens a plethora of opportunities and sets the pace for professional growth.

Here are a few significance of obtaining a Master of Business Administration degree: 

Comprehensive Business Knowledge

An MBA curriculum covers a wide range of business disciplines, including finance, marketing, operations, human resources, and strategic management. Individuals who put in for this program gain a deep understanding of the overall function of organizations, allowing them to contribute to various business domains.

Leadership Development

MBA programs focus on leadership and interpersonal skills, to mold individuals into effective managers and decision-makers. Students are developed to handle challenges and guide teams towards success.

Networking Opportunities

Business schools provide a platform for students to build robust professional networks. Day-to-day Interaction with diverse and intellectual groups, experienced faculty, and industry leaders fosters useful connections that can lead to career advancements and business partnerships in the future.


An MBA holder is more marketable and will most likely attract potential employers. An MBA degree is a symbol of dedication, expertise, and ambition, making ideal candidates out of many in a competitive job market.

Entrepreneurial Ventures

For aspiring entrepreneurs, an MBA can provide vital knowledge and insights into running successful businesses. Because, in the course of completing an MBA program, you will be equipped with the necessary tools to develop business plans, and put them in motion, understand market dynamics, and seek funding opportunities.


Types of MBA Programs: Pros And Cons

Let’s take a look at the various types of MBA programs, their advantages and disadvantages.


Full-Time MBA

The traditional full-time MBA program is designed for individuals willing to commit themselves entirely to their studies. As a process of study, students attend classes on-campus during the day and take part in all the activities taking place themselves in the academic environment. A full-time MBA program provides an intensive experience, allowing students to focus solely on their education and personal growth. Full-time MBAs normally last for a period of two years.


Pros of Full-time MBA

  • This type of MBA offers extensive exposure to real-world business scenarios through internships and experiential learning opportunities.
  • On-campus interactions facilitate strong networking connections.
  • Compared to others, a full-time MBA is quicker.


Cons of Full-time MBA

  • You will have to take a break from work to face studies and as a result, you may run into stagnated finances and career advancement.
  • Tuition fees and living expenses for two years is substantial


Part-Time MBA

Part-time MBA programs are solely for working professionals seeking to balance their career and education. Classes are fixed in the evenings or on weekends, allowing students to maintain full-time employment while pursuing their degrees. Part-time MBAs are more flexible and offer an extended timeline for completion. Completion duration is usually between three to four years.


Pros of Part-time MBA

  • Students can maintain their jobs while pursuing higher education. Generally, you will avoid any career interruptions.
  • For students who work in their field of study, they can rightly apply the knowledge acquired in their workplace. This could also result in practical understanding of what you are studying.
  • Students can ease the financial burden on them because a part-time program gives you more room to work and earn


Cons of Part-time MBA

  • Balancing work and studies extends the overall program length.
  • Since part-time is less immersive than full-time, fewer networking opportunities are available as a result due to less interaction.


Online MBA

With advancements in technology, online MBA programs have gained popularity. This type of program is more flexible. An online MBA allows students to complete coursework remotely. Therefore, an online MBA is more ideal for those with geographical constraints or demanding work schedules. Online MBAs can be completed in as little as 18 months or extended up to five years, depending on the program’s structure and the student’s pace.


Pros of Online MBA

  • Students can access course materials at will. In addition, participation is at your convenience.
  • Suitable for those managing family commitments or job responsibilities.
  • Participants often come from diverse geographic locations, thereby creating a globally inclusive learning environment for everyone.


Cons of Online MBA

  • Learning online demands strong self-motivation and time management skills.
  • Fewer networking opportunities


Executive MBA (EMBA)

Experienced professionals seeking to advance to top management positions usually consider this type of MBA program. It’s designed for senior executives and individuals with substantial work experience. EMBA programs offer a condensed and intensive curriculum that can be completed in 18 months to two years. Classes are often held on weekends or during residential sessions to accommodate the busy schedules of executive participants. 


Pros of EMBA

  • The program focuses on advanced leadership and strategic management skills.
  • Ideal for professionals aiming for C-suite roles or entrepreneurship.
  • Participants are opened to more experience


Cons of EMBA

  • It would be difficult and as well challenging to balance executive-level responsibilities with academic commitments.
  • Students must be ready to invest significant time and effort.


What are the Benefits of working full-time and Pursuing an MBA?

Working full-time while pursuing an MBA allows you to maintain a stable income and financial security. In addition, students can immediately apply newly acquired knowledge and skills to real-world business scenarios to enhance their problem-solving capabilities.

Furthermore, employers who know  the value of an MBA degree will try their best to offer financial assistance, make work flexible for you, and in any way possible, support you to obtain one.


Challenges of Working Full-time and Pursuing an MBA

Firstly, working full-time comes with a lot of responsibilities, on the other hand, running an MBA program comes with daunting demands as well. Hence, balancing the demands of a full-time job with academic studies will require effective time management and discipline. Likewise, you must be ready to may deal with the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with it which may likely affect either your job performance or academic success.

Secondly, since you will be spending most of your time working, you will have limited time to participate in extracurricular activities or engage in on-campus events.

Generally, The need to manage other things outside learning might extend the overall duration of the MBA program.


How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA while Working Full-time?

Since this question is not something we can just answer abruptly, let’s turn to data and statistics from sources we can trust.


How Long Does It Take to Get a Full-time MBA while Working Full-time?

Working full-time and pursuing a full-time MBA would sound practically impossible, however, it’s not. According to the data available on the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), those working full-time can complete a full-time MBA within 2 and a half years to 3 years. Full-time MBAs are for those who can dedicate their whole time and effort to studies. Obviously, a full-time MBA as a full time worker is not an option! 


How Long Does It Take to Get a Part-time MBA while Working Full-time?

Part-time MBAs are more flexible. A study conducted by National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows that students who enroll for a part-time MBA program will finish within the period of 3-4 years. This is because study schedules are balanced to accommodate full-time work.


How Long Does It Take to Get an Online MBA while Working Full-time?

Online MBA programs are the most convenient due to its flexible nature. Here, students go at their pace with their flexible schedule. Data from the Online MBA Report shows that the average duration for completion of an online MBA while working full-time is 2 years. An extension will see you completing the program in 2 and a half years. 


READ ALSO:How to Respond to Query Letter for Negligence of Duty


How Long Does It Take to Get an Executive MBA while Working Full-time?

Designed for professionals, Executive MBA programs require fewer credit hours than traditional MBAs. This is because participants are assumed or expected to be savvy. The completion time for an EMBA while working full-time is around 18 months to 2 years.


Variations in Program Length By Region

All that said, how long it takes to get an MBA while working full-time may also be dependent on other factors. In other words, factors like curriculum design, school philosophy, and regional accreditation standards can cause variation in the duration of MBA program for business schools.

Let’s see some of these variations by regions!

North America

The average duration for full-time MBA for working individuals in the United States and Canada can range from 2 and a half to 3 and a half years, depending on your choice of school. Some top-tier institutions offer accelerated options or summer intensives, allowing students to complete their degrees in just two years, while others offer extended part-time schedules for those with more extensive work commitments.


Full-time MBA programs in Europe typically follow a two-year model, similar to North America. However, some European schools run a one-year MBA formats for experienced professionals seeking an intense and quick learning experience.


MBA program durations in Asia can range from 1 to 2 and a half years. Countries like India and Singapore offer various options, including accelerated formats and part-time schedules.

Latin America

Latin America business schools run diverse program structures. They range from full-time two-year programs to part-time formats lasting up to four years. 


It’s important to note that regional variations are influenced by cultural norms and the demand of people for flexible study options.


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This article is everything you need on how long it takes to get an MBA while working full-time. Also, for those who would be interested in accelerating the completion duration of their MBA program, you can as well try Credit transfers and PLA method. PLA is an abbreviation for prior learning assessment. Here is how it works!

With credit transfers, you can transfer credit from from previously completed courseworks at accredited institutions. Basically, you can usecredits from completed business-related courses and apply them to the MBA program you are running. This allows you to skip unnecessary coursework. 

Hope this helped you? I’m more than happy to share in your journey. Cheers!

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