The top-ranked, full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business allows students to gain a business degree in 21 months. But for aspiring MBAs who are not ready to put their careers on hold while they study, the school also offers evening and weekend MBA programs. With courses held at Chicago Booth’s Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, these options take between two and a half and three years to compete and permit participants to remain at their job throughout their studies. Incoming students in both programs have an average of six years of work experience at the time of matriculation and an average age of 30—both stats are only slightly higher than for students in Chicago Booth’s full-time MBA program (five years and 27.8 years, respectively, in the 2018 incoming class). The Chicago Booth Evening and Weekend MBA Programs stay true to the school’s spirit with regard to the flexibility of the curricula, the sense of community (despite being located in the center of one of the country’s largest cities), and the highly rated faculty.
The evening MBA option is perhaps best suited for professionals working in the Chicago area, given that classes meet for three hours once a week on a weekday. In fact, the Chicago Booth website notes that most of the students enrolled in the evening program live and/or work in or near the city. The core curriculum consists of nine classes divided into four categories: Foundations, Functions, Management, and Business Environment. In addition, students must take 11 electives, with the option of choosing classes hosted by the University of Chicago Law School or the Harris School of Public Policy, and LEAD, Chicago Booth’s flagship leadership development program. The LEAD requirement is fulfilled in the evening program via LAUNCH, a three-day orientation that the school describes as “foundational” course work. After completing LAUNCH, students are encouraged—but not required—to participate in additional LEAD offerings, such as workshops, a women’s leadership program, off-campus retreats, and selected courses. The school offers 13 concentrations students may complete, and although fulfilling a concentration is not mandatory, Chicago Booth notes that most of the program’s participants complete one to three. Beyond the core, electives, and LEAD, students can take advantage of study abroad programs, which take place over two to three weeks in such countries as France, Israel, China, and Brazil.
The Chicago Booth Weekend MBA Program is also based in Chicago but may be a better option for professionals who live outside the city—indeed, as many as 70% of the 2017 incoming class came from locations beyond Illinois. Courses are held in three-hour blocks on Fridays and and adhere to the same curriculum as the evening program, except that weekend students must complete an additional LEAD session (called ReLAUNCH) in the first quarter. Weekend students can opt to complete one or more of the same 13 concentrations available to evening students. The flexibility that is integral to Chicago Booth’s programs is evident in the connection between its evening and weekend MBA options: students are welcome to take courses at the alternate program if their schedule allows it.
Combining a demanding job with part-time MBA studies can be challenging, but the effort involved can confer notable advantages—not only in the professional doors an MBA typically opens and the leadership skills gained but also in the relationships established with classmates and faculty members. If you are considering applying to a part-time MBA program, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation with one of our Senior Consultants to get valuable information on starting your journey.