Debating Part-Time vs. Full-Time MBA

I’m wavering between taking a full-time MBA course and taking a part-time one.

Most of my Asian friends and family have strong opinions about the subject. They lovingly suggest that I take the part time course given that I enjoy my job, like my colleagues and sacrificing my current salary is too big a cost to take off 18 months “with no other purpose but to have fun.”

My colleague from whom I got my referral from said that part-time is only the option for me. “How can you even consider the full-time one if we need you here? You’ve already established a franchise in the organization and is already the go-to person. Why give it up for something that offers you no benefit in getting a job you later want (e.g., an equity salesperson role).

Another colleague warned that job markets in 18 months may not be as peachy as it is now when everyone’s hiring again. “It may be really bad. You should get in part-time if you want to stay in the same industry post-graduation.”

In terms of quantity, those in favor of part time is more numerous. Nobody seems to be supportive of me doing a full-time degree.

However, I do have some allies. Those closer to me and more liberal in thinking agree with all the rest, but recognize my pig-headedness and wayward focus.

One good friend said, “Yes, doing part-time is status quo and the safest thing to do because you have a back-up plan. But knowing you, I think it’s hard for you to half-ass anything. If you did part-time, you’ll only do partly well with your job and education and may very well hate both. You can’t really maximize the value of your sacrifice.”

Another has been more adamant saying that jobs will always be numerous post-graduation. That’s because if you do your MBA really well, you’ll be a hot property and everything will play its part. At the very least, with part-time, it’s difficult to really jump to a new career, but with a full-time, you have no choice but to be flexible with your career choices.

Personally, I’m in the middle.

I’ve already sent in my application for a part-time program but I’m still thinking about it. 🙁

Yes, I do love my friends and family but the main question is, “What will make me happier?”

I can do the part-time program and still work, but my work itself is very demanding. I work for a top-tier investment bank so the requirements of doing a job well is high. There were times when I would kill myself for a project, how about adding a rigorous part-time program to the mix? I don’t think that if I did a part-time program that I’d even have the time to spend with Trader so that should suffer too!

Secondly, I’ve ALWAYS wanted an MBA. Not for job prospects or contacts, but for the sheer joy of fulfilling my dream and self-improving myself. The full-time program enjoys better teachers because of the chase for the higher rankings, and I can devote enough time to my study. This is my dream. It may be a weird unpractical dream, but still, it’s what I want to do.

And lastly, firms can always find new people to replace you. Sometimes, it’s all about just being your time or not. I’ve had a great run in the last 3.5 years in my current firm, and managed to make great friendships along the way. However, everyone has their own phases in life. My life has always been different. Maybe this is my time to switch to a new phase in my life.

NOTE: And if anyone in the firm complains, I can even recommend some other person to replace me. She’s very very good and works in a different department. However, I think she can fit quite well.

This is my life. My dream. My future.

I just want you to go in with eyes wide open,” Trader said. “I think part-time is a big mistake.”

But I think a part-time program would really strain our relationship. From 8:30 am to 6pm, my work has precedence, and afterwards and 0n the weekends, the MBA path gets my attention. So where am I going to find the time to even spend with him unless he moves here?

Furthermore, I have confidence that I can maximize the opportunities offered by an MBA program. I’m not a silly bunny who’s never been in a place where she can start over.

I started working for a computer company despite not knowing what a DRAM was.

I started at my current company without even knowing exactly what it does. No, really.

I’ve already reached a point in my career where I know exactly what to do and is very good at it. My firm rewards me well and my colleagues respect me, but there’s no more growth that lies beyond it. Just more money and a higher ranking, but the work itself is something I’m confident I can do, and that’s it.

I like to be challenged, and this is no longer a challenge.

At 29, am no longer young and cannot afford to play. People warn me that I have to start being responsible.

Dude, I’ve been responsible all this time, earn a great salary and live in a decent place in one of the most expensive cities in the world. And I started from scratch, earning TWD25,000 per moonth for a one-year scholarship. That was around 8 years ago, and I’ve come a bit far.

My mom tells me that I should keep Trader in mind. Waiting and waiting till he’s ready to pop the question and when I can go with him and we live happily ever after.

I do have Trader in mind, but can I selfishly live my life too if I can afford it?

I have some savings and my dad can help. So Trader won’t be burdened by my financial demands. And I think that it would be nice post-graduation to see where I head to. Sure, it’s a risk but it’s not as if I’m quitting my job and just bumming around. Many people follow their jobs to do their dreams. I’ll be improving myself and being a better person.

So if I enjoy it, then what is wrong with that?

Sigh, I hate to disappoint my friends and family who are adamant against me taking the full-time degree. Wouldn’t it be just great for them to simply say, “Whatever you want, Bonita. WE support you all the way.”

That means a lot more to me.

However, because I love and respect them, I will keep their concerns in mind. And for now, willl remain applied to the part-time MBA program.

So if anybody else can say their piece and offer their advise on how for me to proceed, let me know. Really appreciate it, and have a great weekend!

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