In order to be hired by many businesses, whether as a project manager or in strategic management positions, you will find yourself in need of a master of business administration (MBA) degree. But earning one takes time, and you may not want to spend four years working toward this degree.
Well, what if we told you there is a faster way to earn an MBA by enrolling in an accelerated MBA program? While you will still have to spend plenty of time studying in an accelerated program, that time will be cut drastically.
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In this guide, you will learn what exactly an accelerated MBA program is, how it can benefit you, and some of the best programs and schools to enroll in. Essentially, you should be able to find everything you need to know to decide if an accelerated MBA program is right for you.
What Is an Accelerated MBA Program?
In an accelerated MBA program, you will be able to complete your degree in as little as 12 months. By cutting your college time in half, you can start your career earlier, and as a result, jumpstart your career and path to success.
During an average on-campus or online MBA program, students will spend around two to three years studying. This can work out well for many students, but others cannot afford to spend time in a two-year program. If that sounds like you, you should consider an accelerated MBA program instead.
Unfortunately, as fantastic as accelerated MBA programs are, there can be a few downfalls. Many universities offering this type of program are only doing so in hopes of rushing their students through school and fail to ensure quality education. But, if you take the time to study school rankings, resource guides, and individual programs, you can definitely find a good one. Of course, as with any program, there will be a few requirements.
Accelerated MBA Prerequisites and Requirements
Every school and program will have different requirements and prerequisites for the accelerated master of business administration programs offered. Before applying to any programs, double-check the requirements of the program to ensure you have met all of them.
The most basic prerequisites and requirements you can assume you will need to meet include your GPA, prior education, and when you submit your application. Most MBA programs will require a GPA of 3.0 or higher, though with accelerated programs, this often shifts to a 3.2 or higher.
You will likely need to have completed a degree or certificate program in a business-related field before applying to an accelerated MBA program. Finally, you will need to ensure your application is submitted well before the program start date, and there will probably be a deadline listed for the program.
Why Should You Enroll in an Accelerated MBA Program?
There are many reasons you may want to enroll in an accelerated master of business administration program. Some people choose to do so for the option of starting or continuing their career sooner, while others do so to save money.
However, there are also a few things you may want to consider before choosing an accelerated MBA program because, as with anything, there are a few downsides. For example, not getting a quality education or feeling rushed through college.
We have compiled a list of the biggest pros and cons of accelerated MBA programs below to help you make a decision. By taking the time to read through these and compare the pros to the cons, you can more easily determine if this is the right type of program for you.
Pros of Accelerated MBA Programs
The biggest pros of enrolling in an accelerated MBA program are the ability to finish school quicker, not having to put your career on hold, being able to study with more mature peers, and having an easier time finding employment opportunities.
Being able to finish your MBA degree in 12 to 15 months rather than two to three years is a big difference. Many students choose to enroll in an accelerated program for this reason alone. It can be exciting to finish school earlier than expected and it definitely saves you money since you won’t have to pay college tuition for as long.
Another pro of an accelerated MBA program is that you won’t have to wait to start your career or put an already blossoming career on hold. For many, attending school for an MBA degree can be difficult when trying to advance their careers, but an accelerated program makes it much easier.
Whether you decide to continue working and manage school for only 12 months alongside your work, or take a shorter pause than you would with a regular program, it is easy to see why accelerated programs can be beneficial in this aspect.
While your peers are not often a concern when applying to graduate programs, they do come into play in accelerated programs. Most of the time, students who enroll in accelerated programs are older and more mature than typical college classmates. This would allow you to study with more like-minded people.
Finally, an accelerated MBA degree may help you to find employment easier. While it is not a guarantee, it is very likely for potential employers to be impressed by your ability to complete an MBA program in an accelerated fashion rather than the traditional route.
Cons of Accelerated MBA Programs
There are a few cons to accelerated MBA programs as well. The main cons of these types of programs include sacrificing a good education, missing out on a summer internship, and fewer college options.
While not every accelerated MBA program is bad, there are quite a few of them offering subpar education. Unfortunately, this is done because many colleges care more about rushing students through as quickly as possible rather than helping students to achieve a high-quality education. With accelerated MBA programs, this is all too common.
Most traditional MBA programs require students to enroll in a summer internship, which can be a fantastic way to get your career started. However, if you opt for an accelerated program, you will likely find there is no opportunity for internships, and this can make finding employment a bit more difficult upon graduation.
Finally, perhaps the biggest con of an accelerated MBA program is simply the lack of program options. Since this type of program is still relatively new, there are very few colleges offering accelerated MBA programs.
Combine this with the number of poor quality programs, and there are unfortunately very few options. However, there are some great accelerated MBA programs out there if you can find the right ones.
The Best Accelerated MBA Programs
Since it is difficult to find high-quality, accelerated master of business administration programs, we have done the hard work for you. Though you will have to do some of your own research to determine if these programs are right for you, we have used the quality of programs to influence our list below.
The following are our top five accelerated MBA programs.
Texas A&M University
Through Texas A&M University’s online university, you can enroll in an online accelerated MBA program. While this program isn’t completely accelerated, it gives you the option of completing it in your own time. You’ll be able to take as much or as little time as you need to complete the degree, as long as your completion falls between 12 and 30 months.
This program is designed to help you learn important leadership skills and problem-solving skills. Many graduates of this program easily find employment in entrepreneurship, business operations, human resources, nonprofit management, and even consulting.
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Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers a fantastic online accelerated master of business administration program with eight different certificates that can be earned alongside the degree. The focus of this program is student success, and by offering many different certificate options, Saint Mary’s university opens all sorts of career paths up to its students.
Though choosing a certificate path is not required as part of the degree program, you can choose to pursue one of these paths to customize your degree. The options are business analytics, finance, healthcare administration, healthcare analytics, human resource management, international development, nonprofit management, or project management.
You can meet with an advisor before choosing a certificate path to discuss which option is best for your personal career goals.
Florida International University
If you enroll at Florida International University, you can enroll in a totally online, flexible MBA program. This program, while not technically an accelerated MBA program, has degree paths that allow students to graduate in 18, 21, or 33 months depending on their personal preference.
Eighteen months is a few months longer than typical accelerated MBA programs, but sacrificing a few extra months of study for a better education is a good decision to make.
In this program, you will focus on learning business strategy, finance, law, and management. You will also have the opportunity to choose between eight different specializations for your degree.
These include entrepreneurship and innovation, finance, international business, marketing channel strategy, business analytics, strategic negotiations, leadership, and real estate. So, if you are torn between an MBA and an international business degree, this program is perfect for you.
Western Governors University
Western Governors University offers many respected online degree programs, and their flexible MBA program is no different. This is another MBA program that technically is not an accelerated program, but offers the chance to be. If you choose to enroll in this program you can advance through the courses as quickly as you can master the material. This means you can take as little or as much time as you need.
This program is also fantastic for those who have no idea what the difference between a GMAT vs GRE score is, as neither are required to apply to the program. So, with one in five students completing this program in under a year and no need to take the GMAT or GRE test, we can safely say this online MBA program is the holy grail of accelerated degree programs.
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona offers many variations of an MBA program, but this online version is by far the most flexible. Allowing students to take anywhere between 14 months and 2.5 years to complete the program, this is one of the best options for an accelerated MBA out there.
While enrolled in this program, you will be able to choose from six different specializations to better tailor your degree to your career goals. These specializations include entrepreneurship, finance, healthcare management, management and organizations, privacy and security, and marketing. In this program, you can make all the choices to better fit your degree to your own unique goals.
Should You Earn Enroll in an Accelerated MBA Program?
So, should you enroll in an accelerated MBA program? While the decision is completely up to you, we hope to make it a bit easier for you to decide.
By looking for schools that compensate your time studying with a good education, ensuring you have weighed all of the pros and cons, and ultimately deciding your learning type can handle an accelerated MBA program, you should be able to come to this decision with ease.
At Career Karma, we think accelerated MBA programs can be challenging but ultimately worth it in the end. For anyone pursuing a career in business and looking to get started quickly, an accelerated MBA program may be exactly what you need.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.