A better part-time MBA through rewarding academics & unmatched flexibility
Modern business leaders aren’t created in a vacuum — and guiding the next generation of these leaders into the world requires rewarding academics, unmatched flexibility and unlimited opportunities. The Evening & Weekend MBA Program at Kellogg has all three.
At Kellogg, you’re in control of your career. No one knows this better than strategy professor Mike Mazzeo. He’s spent the last 25 years educating and uplifting Kellogg students, and he’s now helping shape the school’s balance between profound coursework and impactful flexibility.
We talked with Mazzeo about program updates at Kellogg, how it prioritizes students and what it takes to build modern business leaders.
Kellogg: What sparked the recent push for increased flexibility in the Evening & Weekend Program?
Mazzeo: We have always prioritized flexibility for our working professional students. We know it is extremely important, so every year we add new options in terms of updated courses, formats and more.
Coming out of the pandemic, we learned that some students really appreciated the opportunity to take particular courses in a synchronous virtual environment, and we learned how to make those courses interactive and engaging. We turned them into real Kellogg experiences. We’ve accumulated all these new opportunities and pushed flexibility onto an even higher plane.
Kellogg: How does this flexible learning support a student’s balance between work, life and school — something that’s always been a cornerstone of our part-time program?
Mazzeo: Every student is different in terms of what they are experiencing outside of the classroom. We want to give each student the opportunity to fit Kellogg into their lives in a balanced way. A student may not want to take any classes during a particular quarter because they have an important work project or family commitment. They might want to take three or four classes in a quarter because they’d like to graduate before starting a new job.
Work and family obligations can make it challenging for students to be in Chicago every week. The flexibility to take virtual classes and week-long immersive courses can be very helpful in those circumstances. Before the pandemic, flexibility at Kellogg meant courses offered on the weekends. Now, virtual and in-person classes are available to those in both the greater Chicagoland area and farther outside Chicago. A flexible work arrangement can mean coming to Chicago for in-person classes during the week or taking advantage of virtual options. And, of course, a student’s situation may change during the course of their academic career.
If you get offered an amazing promotion that requires you to relocate, we want you to take that opportunity without worrying about being able to complete your Kellogg degree.
Kellogg: How do core and elective courses work together to build the strongest business education?
Mazzeo: The curriculum at Kellogg is specifically designed to train leaders, and business leaders often oversee the entire scope of an organization. It is, therefore, essential that our students have training in all of the core business disciplines. Elective courses build on lessons from these core classes and go deep into specific areas that students find useful for their own personal and professional development. In a typical term, students in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program are enrolled in over 100 different courses — different disciplines, topics, schedules and formats — that they choose to meet their needs.
Kellogg: How might students structure their coursework between remote and in-person learning?
Mazzeo: Each quarter, courses are listed along with the modality option available. Many courses are run in a traditional face-to-face format, and some are offered in a synchronous remote setting. It is then up to students to choose what to prioritize in terms of their own course selection–depending on their circumstances.
Certain courses will also be available in a hybrid format with most students meeting in person and some joining remotely in real time. We’re guided by the goal of maximizing student options while maintaining our high-quality classroom experience.
Kellogg: Is there a limit to the number of classes a student can take remotely?
Mazzeo: We recognize that remote models work well for some students. Still, because we understand the value of an in-person experience, we limit the number of classes a student can take remotely. Students must attend at least 25 percent of their courses in person over the course of their study at Kellogg.
Kellogg: We offer flexibility designed for working professionals, adjusting location, modality, timing and pace. What do these four flexible options look like in practice?
Mazzeo: These four categories are the core of the Kellogg Evening & Weekend MBA Program’s flexibility. I’ll start with pace. We recognize that students are often well prepared in some of the fundamental business disciplines based on undergraduate coursework, so we offer the possibility of finishing the degree more quickly with fewer required course credits. Students can also customize their pace by choosing how many credits to take each quarter.
For timing, students can take classes in the evenings, during the day or on Saturdays. Several courses are also offered in an intensive, compressed format. For example, Kellogg offers a course that is completed over one weekend.
Students can also choose the location of their studies. Courses are offered in-person at both our Chicago and Evanston campuses. Students can also participate in immersive global courses around the world or take remote classes anywhere they choose.
Finally, students can select the modality of their courses, attending either in-person or remotely.
Kellogg: How do you see the future of flexibility at Kellogg?
Mazzeo: I would expect to see even more experimentation over the next few years as we work closely with students to discover which choices work best for them. We plan to utilize our Miami campus for immersive and short-term courses, and we are exploring additional spots around the country and worldwide to expand that model.
We plan to leverage opportunities for Evening & Weekend MBA students to connect with other Executive MBA students by creating “deep dive” coursework in specialized areas building off the innovative set of healthcare courses that launched last year. This allowed students with varying levels of experience to work and study together. Meanwhile, of course we will continue to rely on the best technology possible to enhance student learning.
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