In this blog, we explain how The Essex MBA programme has been developed to give part-time students the flexibility to combine their studies with their professional careers – enabling them to instantly put their learning into practice.

MBA enquirers to our part-time programme are always keen to understand more about how they can fit the course around their professional and personal commitments.

At Essex Business School, we’ve developed our part-time MBA to offer students flexible study without compromising the course content or quality. You can study the MBA module by module, over two to three years, giving you the freedom to decide how many modules to complete each year. We recommend committing to completing the course within three years to ensure that the knowledge and skills you acquire are still as relevant as possible to the current business landscape. The world of business moves swiftly and you don’t want to be left behind!

Find out more about our part-time MBA programmes.

What do our students have to say?

We're starting with the most important source of advice for prospective students, our students! Joseph Price is currently studying for an MBA part-time, whist running his own business. This is what he has to say of his experience so far.

MBA 2022 student Joe Price

“I was slightly dubious before enrolling on an MBA, unsure how I would manage the added work that studying would bring. I met Nicolas the MBA Director and he explained how I could study over a longer period of time, rather than the usual twelve months as a full-time student, so I enrolled in a three-year pathway and am now in my second year.

Juggling a work-life balance with regular assignments, three children and a partner whilst running a business has had its challenges. Some modules require more time spent on them than others but, all in all, the same time is required for all assignments. I have had to make sure that I have allotted studying time before and after upcoming modules to ensure that I am fully prepared and stick to a set structure, however with all the additional knowledge and information that each module provides I have found that I am improving as a business owner and becoming more efficient with my studies.

Having a business does take up most of my spare time, as my MBA studies are quite time-consuming.  However, I was fully aware that some things would have to give if I wanted to achieve something great and the modules that I have attended so far have proved to be exactly that.

If you have a business and home commitments and you have concerns regarding managing your time, do not let that stop you, spread your studying over a longer period and take the leap, you won't regret it!”

Develop your networking

A particular feature of The Essex MBA is that our full-time and part-time students share the same teaching sessions; we don’t have individual ‘streams’ for full-time and part-time students. This has the benefit of enabling you to make the most of the vast networking opportunities presented by your fellow MBA students.

As a part-time student, you’ll have the advantage of getting to know at least two full-time cohorts if you spread your course part-time over two years. This really allows you to grow your connections and learn from a wide range of peers from a diverse range of business backgrounds and cultures.

Teaching structure 

Mindful that our teaching has to be effective for both full-time and part-time students, we teach the MBA in a modular format, with the core teaching elements of each module taking place within one week. 

For some modules you may be required or recommended to complete some prior learning before the module begins, making use of Moodle, the University’s virtual learning environment. For other modules you may engage with this content after the module workshops have taken place. On Moodle, you will find a set of learning resources for each module which may include quizzes, exercises and articles, specially selected by the module leader. You can work through the materials at your own pace, spending more time on areas that you find challenging. You don’t need to take time off work or away from your business to complete the independent learning as it is available on Moodle for whenever you have the time. 

During the main module week you will usually have four days of module workshops, where you work alongside your classmates to explore case studies, share relevant professional experiences and apply your learning to real business and management situations. In essence you’ll be working with your group to present, discuss, pitch and do! These take place during the working day (usually between 9am and 5pm) and  take place face-to-face on our Colchester campus. 

Timetabling the module workshops together  within a single week has really benefited our part-time students, who are often juggling professional and personal commitments around their studies. Instead of spreading module teaching over an entire 10-week term, as we do for other postgraduate programmes, MBA students have to commit to only a handful of days within a single week away from work or home, making it a much more flexible proposition.

Shortly after the module workshops, you’ll have one more group meeting (usually via Zoom) with the MBA teaching team to ensure you have everything you need to begin work on the assignment or assessment for the module. Approximately four weeks later, you will be expected to submit your assessment for marking. 

Time commitment 

Many prospective part-time MBA students ask us how many days they'll need to be away from their work or business and how many hours they need to study for their MBA. There's no perfect answer to this as the time needed for independent study and assignments will vary for each student, however you can start to get a good idea by considering the number of modules. 

The full MBA is made up from the following components:  

  • 11 standard modules (each including up to four days of workshops as described above) 
  • One Director's Workshop module (a series of ad hoc activities scheduled throughout your first year on the programme - approximately six to eight days in total) 
  • One Business Planning module (takes place as a week-long business simulation activity, usually towards the end of your MBA) 
  • One MBA project (undertaken as an independent piece of work over several months during your final year) 

For the full time MBA this means a new standard module every other week throughout the academic year, plus the project at the end.

For the part-time MBA you can roughly divide the number of modules across the number of years (you can choose from two year, three year or modular pathways), with the project added on in the final year. As an example, students on the two year version are likely to take six or seven modules in the first year, then the remainder plus the project in the second year. This would mean there could be seven weeks throughout the year when you would need up to four days away from work or your business to attend the workshops.

Students on the modular pathway have the most flexibility to fit the MBA around their work and other commitments. Each module will be scheduled to run once or twice per year and modular students can liaise with the MBA administrator from term to term and year to year to decide what they will do when, only needing to sign up for modules one term at a time. Occasionally there may be a recommended order for modules but generally MBA modules are self-contained and can be taken in any order. The business planning module and MBA project will always be in your final year.

On top of this you'd also need to find time to complete the independent work and assignments for each module. 

Find out more about The Executive Essex MBA


This post was updated 25/08/2022 with the revised course structure for 2022/2023.