Why a part-time MBA is the sane way to learn Business in London

Lior Frenkel, CPO and Partner at Jolt
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August 25, 2019

Wasting time on the wrong thing is my biggest fear

It's the era we live in. It's hard not to look around and see what others are doing. Where they stand. Which career ladder they've decided to climb. And which step they're are now. Am I moving at the pace I thought i was? Am I where I want to be? FOMO used to be a phrase that needed explaining. Not anymore.

So it makes sense my biggest fear is wasting time on the wrong thing.

I hear the same from my friends, wife and colleagues. People worry they'll sign up for the wrong degree, start working in the wrong workplace, or take any wrong step in their career. Have we lost our patience?

Probably yes — we've lost it. But it's not our fault. In a world that is moving so fast; where new professions are coming to life every morning and evening; where other jobs disappear — there's a significant penalty for making a move in the wrong direction. You could finish your degree to find out you were off target.

Taking this into account, we need to ask ourselves:

Should I go for a part-time MBA or full-time?

Well, what do YOU think? For me — part-time is the only option that makes sense. I guess that’s why it is the most preferable option for most people:

Part-time MBA is the most popular
Share of MBA enrollment in the United States in 2013/14, by program type


On the one hand, quitting everything and going for a full-time degree - say - for two years, is a great idea. It gives you the focus to acquire the knowledge. It provides you with a chance to spend the time and energy needed to learn in-depth, to prepare for tests, and to do the homework. But on the other hand...

Well, let's begin to list the other hands:

Because (1) A full-time MBA is freaking expensive

It's a financial matter. Few can afford to take on a full-time MBA

Costs of full-time MBA programs in the UK
Costs of full-time MBA programs in the UK

And beyond the astronomical costs of MBA degrees, (especially in London and other major cities), there are additional costs you need to take into account:

And even if you had the money

Let's assume you can fund those costs. And you don't mind losing two years for the diploma you receive at the end (not that an official degree is as significant as it used to be). Still -

There are many reasons why a part-time MBA (especially if you live in London or any other big city) makes a lot more sense than full time. For example -

Because (2) Working while studying is the best way to practice what you learn

Studies are a means to an end. For sure if you're going for a business school — you're not learning for the sake of the knowledge. It's not a philosophy degree, right?

Instead, you want to be more attractive in the job market. You want to acquire new business skills. Finally, you want to make new connections. So the thing is — these things work better if you study while you work.

Remember what you learned in your first degree? You've probably forgotten most of it. We all do. It's because we learn so much in class, but then we (maybe, hopefully,) use what we've learned only years later — learning while working means that you can practice what you learned yesterday, in your work today. And that's attractive both for you and the company you work for. That's especially right for business skills.

working while studying part-time MBA

And learning part-time means, you can use the network you're building at school - right now. You don't have to wait for all of you to finish school to start enjoying the connections. And that still leaves us with the most significant benefit — 

Because (3) Part-time MBA means you start enjoying your new status immediately

If you learn business part-time, you're already declaring that you are on the way to own an MBA degree. Therefore, your status gets an immediate push.

part-time mba is a way to higher your status at work

At my company (Jolt — an alternative business school here in London), I manage the product and marketing teams. I have employees on my team studying business part-time. From the moment they've started school, I automatically put them in the A list. The list of "Potential Managers" or the list of "Potential promotion in the future." I don't have to wait until they graduate to know how serious they are.  

For me — those are people who have decided to invest extra time and energy beyond work — to acquire more skills, to invest in themselves, to invest in education.

It's a signal for me. Especially in today's world. Why? Because

I want adaptable and up-to-date players on my team

Because I need people who can adapt to the rapid changes in our world. And I need people with business skills that are relevant and innovative. And to the extent that the place where the person decided to study part-time is modern and creative - I get an employee who is sometimes more up to date than I am; one that can teach me new tricks; one who brings value to my team and our company daily. 

But there's one last reason why part-time MBA makes so much more sense - and it doesn't have to do with the organization you work for — it has to do with you. Learning part-time is the right thing to do mainly because — 

Because (4) it makes learning so much more effective

Because not only can you immediately take to work what you learned last night at the MBA. It is also works the other way around. You can take your work to school. And that's what makes this learning so much more effective.

Remember in your undergraduate, professors used all kinds of case studies from other companies, to demonstrate what the theories they've taught?

So when you study a part-time MBA, nothing is theoretical. You sit in the classroom, and when the teacher speaks, you apply it to an example you have from work. This is the most effective way of learning - the kind that gets into your memory. You'll have better questions to ask the lecturer, and you'll have more to contribute to the class.

Hope I was able to explain myself — and if you have one good reason why full-time programme makes more sense than a part-time MBA, please DM me on Twitter.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?

Because almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Charles Darwin took long walks around London. Kurt Vonnegut made listening to jazz a daily priority. Fiona Apple disappeared for 6 years after the release of her third album.

So why do so few of us have creative breaks?
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I ask because I can often be found agonising over the "more". If only I posted on Instagram more, I'll think in the bath. I'd have more followers if I pitched to more publications. I need to post 2 more times a week, minimum. I could go on...

Between you and me, I've got frustrated with myself for browsing Facebook or watching too much TV more times than I can remember.

And I'm not alone. So many of us are terrified of taking a break, creatively speaking. We won't let a moment pass without listening to a podcast, consuming an article or sharing something.

The cognitive load is real, y'all.

But like Vitamin D, sleep and good food, it's not only ok to take a break, it's essential.

Living a successful life is also about knowing when not to work. For your best output, you need to focus on your input, too.

The world won't end if you disappear from the internet for a week or so. Your creativity won't suddenly stop. Your time is now, but your time was also then and it will be again.

Your dreams don't have an expiration date.

Many of us confuse being "busy" with being constructive. But you can only do your best work by taking breaks.

And science backs it up, too. The brain requires substantial downtime to do its most innovative thinking. The ideas you have while driving or in the shower aren't coincidental. They're a result of you taking a step back, whether you're aware of it or not.

Here's a challenge for you

Let yourself take a wonderful and indulgent break. Several breaks. Hell, get downright bored.

Put airplane mode on for a while. Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it.

Wallow in it. Don't be afraid of it. Push it as far as you can.

When you leave your laptop behind, something always happens. A new idea or a fresh perspective appears.

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"A spark of inspiration needs an empty cave."

Take proper breaks, often. Completely clear your mind. Your next best idea depends on it.

Could you get to the top 1% of your industry?

"Sure! If you work 16 hrs/day or your dad is the CEO"

Wrong! Successful people use micro-skills, the right network, and a growth mindset to climb up the career ladder. Our sane alternative for an MBA — The NAMBA Business Programme - taught in cinematic London campuses — could give you the edge.