The process of earning an MBA is an exciting and often transformational time in someone’s life—and for some people, the faster you can get through it, the better.
The benefits of earning an MBA, such as increased post-graduate salary, career advancement potentials, and development of a strong business network, remain true regardless of how long it takes to complete your Degree Program. Completing your degree quickly just means reaping the benefits faster, while limiting the amount of time without an income.
MBA graduates are a diverse group—not only are they rising business leaders, but they are also parents, community organizers, and working professionals. With so many different types of MBA programs available, such as Online or Accelerated MBAs, students can choose the best program for their busy life and time constraints.
The average time it takes to complete your MBA can vary depending on the school, program, and type of degree. Below, we’ve rounded up the most important information regarding the average program length and schedule for a variety of MBA programs throughout and beyond the United States.
How Fast You Can Earn a Full-Time MBA?
With so many options to truncate the amount of time it takes to complete an MBA, it may seem strange that someone would still choose to pursue a full-time degree. Nevertheless, there are still numerous benefits to pursuing your MBA full time. Among these benefits is the increased opportunity for full-time students to get fully involved in the goings on of their university and business school. From student organizations to case competitions to hands-on experiences, full-time students have committed their full schedule to their business education and most certainly reap the benefits when it comes to skills and network development. Furthermore, taking time off of work to pursue your degree full-time leaves you open for more opportunities- such as traveling for study abroad, business plan competitions or corporate visits- that likely wouldn’t be possible for someone working while they’re in school.
The average full-time MBA degree today typically require around 30-60 credit hours, with variation depending on the program. With the typical course load asking students to take three courses (nine credits) per semester, the average full-time MBA can be expected to be completed in two full years. Most full-time programs begin in August or September and take four semesters for students to complete their required work, earning their degree by May or June of the second year.
Since the number of credits required by a particular program can vary, some full-time MBAs may be able to be completed faster than two years. Whereas programs like the full-time MBA at NYU’s Stern School of Business takes two years and requires 60 credits, a program like the full-time MBA at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business can be completed in as few as 16 months.
How Fast You Can Earn a Part-Time MBA?
A part-time MBA is the perfect option for someone who doesn’t want to put their career on hold while they earn a degree. With a flexible and often self-paced schedule, students are able to complete their degree in a time frame that works best for them, with classes typically offered at night or on the weekends.
While the benefits of a flexible schedule are enormous, one downside is that taking less courses each semester will ultimately extend the amount of time it takes to complete your degree. Typically, students pursuing their MBA part-time will earn their degree in three years, but this can vary significantly—not just depending on the program, but the person! For example, the top part-time MBA program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management can take anywhere from 1.25 to five years to complete.
What About an Accelerated MBA?
It’s right there in the name—the Accelerated MBA is all about earning a quality business education quickly and jumping right back into work. Most accelerated MBA programs can be completed in just twelve months if pursued full-time, or twenty-four months on a part-time schedule.
Of course, completing a degree in this length of time takes an impressive commitment. Unlike other programs that have winter and summer breaks between the semesters, many Accelerated MBA programs have shortened vacation periods and will require students to continue working throughout the summer.
Not every school offers a One Year or Accelerated MBA options, but those that do take these programs seriously and ensure that the same quality education received in a full-time degree program can be provided to students in just one year. Programs like the One Year MBA at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School boast impressive statistics, such as a 5:1 student to faculty ratio and a 93 percent success rate for graduates receiving employment within three months of completing their degree.
Is An Online MBA a Faster Option?
The world of Online MBAs is a diverse one with a wide array of options to choose from. Really, the only commonality between all online programs is where the classes take place—online! These programs provide for maximum flexibility where students can pursue their education from the comfort of their own homes—or wherever the world may take them.
Online MBAs come in all shapes and sizes, but typically require an average of around 30 credit hours. Depending on the university schedule, this can take up to two years to complete. At Temple University’s Fox School of Business, for example, the Online MBA program can be completed in 20 months, and includes a one week long opening residency. Some schools may also offer their part-time or Accelerated MBA programs in an online format. At the Kogod School of Business at American University, their AACSB-accredited online MBA involves 48 total credits but can be completed in just one year.
What About an Executive MBA?
The Executive MBA is a program designed for professionals with several years of work experience under the belt, who are looking for an MBA education to enrich their professional experience and open new career opportunities. Since this degree is targeted towards working professionals, it is typically structured so that students can keep working full-time, taking classes in the evenings and weekends.
On average, Executive MBA programs will take up to two years to complete, though this is typically a very part-time schedule. One of the top ranked EMBA programs in the country is the Executive MBA at Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, which can be completed in 22 months by attending class for one three-day weekend per month.
From your first day of classes to graduation, a world-class business education is typically no more than two years away. However, the flexibility of many programs put the power in the student’s hands: important factors like your schedule, finances, and the impact of taking time off of work should all factor into your decision about what type of MBA to pursue.
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