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Student Discovers Long-term Benefits of Part-Time MBA

Rachel Miklas

Even in high school, Rachel Miklas (pictured right) knew she wanted to attend DePaul. After getting her bachelor's degree in business at DePaul University in 2006 and working as an event coordinator for a large entertainment venue, she wanted to return to earn her MBA. But she hesitated.

Should she return to DePaul or branch out? She worked full-time — would she find a program that would fit her work schedule? Also, what about networking? Would going to school at night hinder her networking opportunities?

There was one answer to all of Miklas' questions — the DePaul MBA program.

"I visited other Chicago graduate programs and searched around for ones that fit with my interests and goals," says Miklas, who uses the Double Demon Scholarship, a DePaul alumni tuition discount program, to help pay for her graduate school. "DePaul was the only school with the Hospitality Leadership Program and the Part-Time MBA."

Part-Time MBA Most Popular

Nationwide part-time MBA programs are the most popular among MBA options. Their enrollment outpaces the traditional all-day, full-time MBA programs by two to one.

Erich Dierdorff

Erich Dierdorff, associate professor of management at DePaul and a graduate business school expert, says it's not difficult to understand the program's popularity.

"People who are strongly career-focused, are intellectually curious and want to learn while working are prime candidates for the part-time MBA," says Dierdorff.

But what may not be so apparent to prospective students are the factors that distinguish one part-time program from another.

Dierdorff has studied part-time MBA programs all over the nation, and he says DePaul's program is unique because it caters to the working professional.

"Our program is focused on substantial practical or real-world training," says Dierdorff. "Students learn tools and techniques for effective organizational management as well as participate in hands-on learning experiences."

In addition, Dierdorff points out that DePaul has the largest network of MBA alumni in the Chicago area.

Nearing the completion of her degree, Miklas said DePaul's Part-Time MBA offered the ultimate in practical application — the opportunity to start her own business.

Part-Time MBA Leads to Full-Time Opportunity

For years, Miklas had worked in bars and restaurants helping to train their staff. She became an expert in BASSET, the Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education Training courses.

Working as an event coordinator for a local bar, Miklas taught BASSET training to the staff. And when a new law passed making it mandatory for anyone in Illinois who serves alcohol to be BASSET certified a business opportunity was born.

"In the part-time MBA program, they teach you about finding the opportunity in the marketplace," says Miklas. "When the law passed, I realized that many bars and restaurants would have an increased need for BASSET-certification training. Several of the key people who helped me launch my business were colleagues of mine from DePaul's part-time MBA program. The timing couldn't have been more ideal. It was like the stars aligned!"

Now the owner of BASSET Chicago, Miklas spends her days teaching courses and her evenings in school. She loves the flexibility of DePaul's Part-Time MBA program, but ultimately, it's what she's learning in her classes that keeps her here.

"Some people why bother with graduate school when I own my own business," Miklas says, "But what I'm learning at DePaul, it's helping me run my business, it's helping me make professional connections and it's offering access to resources that aren't readily available to others. There is no doubt in my mind that choosing DePaul's Part-Time MBA program was one of the best decisions I have ever made."

Learn more about the DePaul MBA.