Being a Part-Time MBA Student at Boston College

If you’re looking to get back to the classroom to earn your MBA, our part-time MBA program could be the perfect fit. You’ll benefit from an advanced degree, networking opportunities, and the freedom to do so while you work. To give our prospective students a firmer understanding of just how advantageous a part-time MBA program can be, we talked to Shannon Murphy, a financial analyst for the United States Air Force and a 2014 part-time MBA graduate, about her experiences.

Shannon Murphy

What made you decide to pursue a part-time MBA? Why Boston College?

I was contemplating changing careers, and I knew that an MBA provides a great source of real world learning and networking before making such a big leap. Initially, I chose Boston College because of the emphasis on networking and career advising; the program and resources available from these were particularly valuable in aiding my decision. In  addition, the part-time curriculum covers all the different functions and activities within a business organization, so if you are unsure of  a particular concentration, you are still provided with a wealth of knowledge to make an informed decision that best suits your interests and projected career path.

Did you have any concerns about working and getting an MBA at the same time, such as time management or stress? Did Boston College’s program address your concerns?

I was a bit concerned given the high level of demands my position required, but my concerns truly didn’t set in until my first week back in the classroom. I felt overwhelmed; however, I quickly developed a rhythm and it became second nature. The transition became seamless, especially due to flexibility from my professors. This was important because my job didn’t allow room for flexibility, and my professors understood that. They know that you are there for an education to better your future while maintaining a profession, and they respect that.

Were you surprised by anything after starting the program?

The biggest surprise for me was how great the professors were. I sat in on a class prior to committing to the program and it was the interactions between students and professors that set Boston College apart. After starting the program, my initial expectations were blown away. The professors were not only passionate about the subject matter, but also cared about getting to know their students individually. They cared about my goals and were there to help me reach them. They were also very understanding and flexible, knowing that we were all doing the balancing act between work, school, and family.

Did you feel like you were missing out on anything as a part-time student? 

I didn’t. I honestly felt that full-time students were missing out a bit! It was such a huge advantage to be able to leverage what I was learning at night and apply it during the day. Being able to directly apply the lessons I had learned in the classroom to my work setting (and vice versa) was beneficial to my organization and to my peers. The students I learned the most from were those who were able to bring real world examples into the classroom, many of which were events that had occurred that day at work.

What were the most meaningful things you did, learned, or got to experience during your time in the program? 

This past semester was my best (and not just because it was my last!). My professors had a guest speaker in each class every evening and also held off-site field experiences. The combination of these enhanced the learning and provided unmatched opportunities every night to network. One evening in my ‘High Performance Teams’ class, we went to Gillette Stadium to hear a former Patriots player speak. During another class, we went to the Improv Asylum, where the owner hosted our class prior to us watching the show.

Was getting an MBA worth it?

It was 100% worth it. It is a big investment financially and personally, but education is important to me and I knew it would benefit me in many ways for a long time to come. I was given exposure to successful leaders in the community, was able to master the art of team building, and expanded my network, all while building a solid foundation of knowledge on all aspects of a business organization.

What’s your advice for prospective students considering a part-time MBA program?

My advice would be to make a list of what you value and what you expect to get from a part-time MBA program. Then, you can use these expectations as benchmarks throughout the program and check back in with yourself. Take the time to make sure you are getting what you initially wanted out of the program. The resources and network are readily available for you to access, so jump right in and make the most of it. Oh, and have fun doing it! It will be over before you realize it, so enjoy it and the opportunities that will present themselves.