Have you wondered if there is a way to complete an MBA in a shorter amount of time? In today’s world, we are busy. There are so many responsibilities. Deciding to pursue an MBA will add many time requirements into your already busy professional and personal lives. To appeal and cater to a growing number of students that would like to finish their degree in a short period, many schools have begun to offer the option for an accelerated MBA degree program. What does this mean? Is it the right degree option for you? Below is an overview of the accelerated MBA that should help guide you in deciding if it is the best decision for achieving your future goals.
What is an Accelerated MBA?
Online and on-campus accelerated MBA programs are a quicker alternative to otherwise traditional two to three-year programs. Individuals that undertake an accelerated MBA can expect to complete their studies within ten to fifteen months while earning the same degree as traditional MBA students. As most accelerated MBA programs take a year to complete, it is sometimes referred to as a one-year MBA. To fit the required 30+ credit hours into the shortened time frame, students might have to complete extra business courses before applying and take summer courses during the program.
Choosing the Right Program
While more and more universities are offering accelerated MBA options to meet student needs, there is no shortage of schools that do so for their advantage, with little regard to valuable instruction or successful student outcomes. You certainly do not want to choose one that is lacking in quality or excellence. To avoid falling into a trap, students must gauge the value of the program. Check out the main components to look for in an accelerated MBA.
One aspect that you should look at is the business school and MBA program rankings. Attaining an accelerated MBA from an unknown or poorly recognized school will not add much value to your career. There are many ranking systems, like US News and World Report, that rank top business schools and MBA programs. You can also check out MBACentral’s Top Fastest Accelerated MBA ranking and Top Fastest Online MBA ranking.
Accreditation by a respected accrediting body displays the high-quality education the institution provides for its students. Universities and colleges are regionally accredited, while business schools and programs have business-specific accrediting bodies, including the AACSB, ACBSP, and IACBE. By choosing an accredited program by a well-respected regional or national accrediting body, you know that the school has passed a rigorous review process and strives for excellence in its MBA programs.
The final component involves professional development. Quality MBA programs that provide a top-tier education with an accelerated option challenges students to develop professionally through rigorous academic coursework and first-hand experiences. For example, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management’s One-Year MBA program builds course plans based on the student’s own business experience. It provides the option for a cross-functional integration of courses in “emerging areas and evolving industries.” Their program also challenges students to advance by completing experiential learning opportunities.
Advantages of the Accelerated MBA
The accelerated MBA offers many advantages over the traditional MBA option. Here are some of the main ways it is beneficial to choose the accelerated MBA path for your studies.
Brief Time Requirement
The median age for an MBA student is 29 years old, an age where most have already begun their careers and are working toward climbing the ladder. Also, most are still paying their student loans at this age. The idea of being out of the workforce for two years or more is simply incompatible with the career goals and reality of many individuals. With an accelerated MBA, you can avoid this problem and boost your career by completing your studies quickly.
Not only is an accelerated MBA shorter, but it is also cheaper than a traditional MBA. Rather than spend two years’ worth of tuition, commonly amounting to over $100,000, you can choose an accelerated option that will cost you one year’s tuition. This option will save you thousands of dollars and proves a wise investment for many students to avoid hefty student loans.
An assumption most students make is the quicker the option, the less they get out of the program. Just because you are choosing an accelerated option does not mean you need to compromise on quality. Many accelerated MBAs offer excellence and opportunity throughout their program. You can get into an accredited program and still have a demanding, rewarding experience.
Specialized Skill Set
One final advantage is that some accelerated MBA programs allow students to focus on an industry-specific area of specialization, like marketing, management, or sustainability. With a shorter, intense amount of time concentrating on one area, students are assured to develop a specialized skill set. This entire experience works towards enhancing their opportunities and advancing their careers.
Disadvantages of the Accelerated MBA
As students decide whether an accelerated MBA is a right path, they need to consider all of the pros and cons. There are two main disadvantages to an accelerated MBA program. Let’s take a look.
No Summer Internship Option
Due to the tightened time frame, students sacrifice internships and work positions during the summer months. The work experience that can be gained during summer breaks is a way to shape a career and gain a strong foundation in an area of interest. If you find that you aren’t willing to sacrifice your summer internship, then an accelerated option may not be your best option.
Less Top School Degree Options
The accelerated MBA program is developing at more and more top universities across the US. But, it is not as common of a program as the two-year full-time MBA, part-time MBA, or online MBA. Your options of top schools offering accelerated MBA programs are limited.
Overall, suppose you are looking to minimize your debt, reduce the time you are out of the workforce, and still attain a quality education. In that case, the accelerated option is exceptionally appealing. Just don’t forget to make sure that your chosen program is accredited and meets your educational and career needs.