3 Quick Tips for Making a Professional MBA Work for You While You’re Working

Whether you graduated a year ago or a decade ago, you might reach a plateau in your career that leads you to ask: do I need an MBA? According to a Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) survey, professional (aka part-time) MBA programs rank as the third most popular option, attracting about 22 percent of all MBA applicants. The Boler College of Business offers three distinct MBA programs: 

  • The Boler Online MBA program can be completed in 1-3 years and requires a total of 33-45 credit hours.
  • The Emerging Leader MBA does not require professional work experience and can be completed in an (accelerated) 12 month schedule, or students may take up to 3 years to complete the degree part-time. 
  • The Professional MBA is a part-time, cohort-based program that focuses on live projects, team-taught courses, a leadership sequence and exposure to leading industry executives. 

The value of an MBA for a full-time professional can be felt long before graduation. We offer these 3 Quick Tips for anyone considering a professional MBA.


Look for opportunities to apply what you learn in class immediately at work — this will allow supervisors to see you in a new light during your workday.

Tip: Look for the right time to share an informed opinion on your company’s finance decisions, supply chain options or brand management. Co-workers and supervisors will take note. Take good notes when CEOs and other business leaders speak to your cohort, and share their insights with colleagues and on social media. 

Data point: 71% of part-time MBA graduates report an earnings bump. (Source: GMAC)


Look for special projects announced within your work team and other opportunities to put fresh MBA knowledge to work for your employer.

Tip: When special projects get assigned, make a case for why your MBA can add fresh insights to the team. Frame the time you spend in evening classes as a value-add, rather than an obstacle, for your participation.

Data Point: Employers worldwide list “continuous talent attraction” as their #2 concern. (Source: Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends).


Look for like-minded people in your cohort who might allow you to test your risk tolerance and flex your start-up muscles within the relative safety of a live company project or startup competition.

Tip: Join the Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship and meet business owners who know what it takes for a new business to succeed. 10% of a typical MBA class contain people who have already started or plan to start a company (Source: GMAC)