An MBA is always a valuable asset for anyone seeking a head start or a leg up in the business world, whether one is just entering the highly competitive sector or is already a veteran manager.
Now with the economic downturn it makes even more sense for business people to have a career-enhancing edge that an MBA provides and which could be the crucial factor in landing that desired first job or new position when things turn around.
Business education professionals say the economic situation has affected potential MBA students in different ways. Among those who are currently employed, there are individuals who may be hesitant to give up their job and salary to return to school full-time. As a result, these people are more likely to pursue a part-time program.
On the other hand, a recent university graduate or displaced professional may be more likely to sign on for a full-time program because they now have the time and opportunity. While a full-time program will postpone their return to the job market, once they obtain the MBA their prospects for being hired are much improved.
According to the U.S.-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) which groups more than 1,100 education institutions, businesses, and other organizations around the world focused on advancing business education, the number of part-time MBA students is increasing.
Compared to the previous academic year, in 2008-2009 AACSB member schools reported a 4.9 percent rise in students enrolled in part-time MBA programs, but a 5.2 percent decrease in student enrollment in full-time programs.
Of students enrolled part-time, 11 percent participated in an online program, whereas less than 1 percent of students enrolled in full-time programs were participating in programs delivered through an online format.