Decoding the Types of MBA Programs by Title
The ever-changing marketplace has required schools to create a wide variety of MBA programs. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to discern which is right for you. All MBA programs from accredited institutions will teach you the essentials for mastering business administration, but they differ in two key aspects: type and format.
- Types of MBAs: general, executive, global, and dual.
Within these categories, there are seven different formats in which they can be offered.
- Formats of MBAs: online, blended, on campus, full-time, part-time, accelerated, and evening/weekend.
There are a few caveats, of course, depending on the school. Some institutions require that their executive MBA program be completed full-time on campus, but for the most part you’ll find the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of different MBAs to be pretty standard. So how do you choose which program type and format is right for you? First, it’s important to understand the nuances of each to discern which will be most beneficial for you. Then, take stock of your educational background, professional experience, personal goals, time, budget, life obligations, etc. These factors will help you determine which type and format is best.
Different Types of MBA Programs
As the name implies, an MBA is a graduate degree specifically designed to cover the essential functions of business management and administration. A general MBA program typically covers basic business topics such as accounting, financial management, marketing, etc. Students typically hold a bachelor’s degree in Business or an adjacent field of study, although this is not always required. Most general MBA programs require a GMAT or GRE score to be considered for admission. Typical candidates for a general MBA are young business professionals who might have several years of experience and are looking to increase their competency.
- Typical cost: $50,000-$150,000
- Average time to complete: 2 years
An executive MBA is essentially the wiser, more experienced mentor to the general MBA. By and large, the programs are the same, but the material is specifically designed for business professionals who are already executives or managers in their field. Candidates of an EMBA look to this type to further hone their already significant business skills, so this type is not exactly suitable for an up-and-coming business professional.
- Typical cost: $70,000-$200,000
- Average time to complete: 1-2 years
In the business world, time is money, so getting an MBA as fast as possible is always an attractive idea. In a 4+1 program, an undergraduate student combines advanced coursework during their senior year with an additional year of intense, fast-paced study of B-school courses. The result is both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in business in just five years total. 4+1 programs are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience. This is a great option for the forward-thinking business professional who wants to save time and money.
- Typical cost: Undergraduate tuition + per credit hour
- Average time to complete: 4 years of undergrad+1 year of master’s-level coursework
A dual-degree MBA or EMBA allows students to combine a business degree with a different graduate study program. A student essentially completes two master’s programs at the same time. Popular dual programs include:
- Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) / MBA.
- Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations (HRIR) / MBA.
- Applied Economics (MS-APEC) / MBA.
- Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) / MBA.
- Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) / MBA.
- MS in Engineering / MBA.
- Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry / MBA.
- Typical cost: $600-$1,000 per credit hour
- Average time to complete: 3-4 years
Different Formats of MBA Programs
On-campus MBA programs provide a more traditional method of instruction. Expect to sit in class with peers and learn from a professor face to face. This format is great for students who are seeking a more traditional, immersive program. On-campus instruction allows students to develop closer relationships with their peers and professors, which is beneficial to learning and networking. Students who don’t have the time or resources to do an on-campus program are not at a disadvantage by any means, so don’t worry if work and life obligations make this option difficult for you.
Online instruction has advanced exponentially, making this format just as rigorous and rewarding as on-campus instruction. Online instruction offers greater flexibility, so this format is ideal for students who are also working or might have family obligations. With classes entirely online, some courses may be offered in real time, while others might be able to be accessed at any time throughout the day.
Hybrid learning is the best of both worlds! Typically, a student in a hybrid course completes the bulk of the coursework online and will go to campus for exams, networking events, or group project assignments. This format is ideal for students who have a busy work schedule but still desire some in-person interaction.
Unlike the traditional undergraduate course load of 15 credits, a full-time MBA course load is typically about nine credits (3 courses) per semester. This makes the traditional length of a full-time MBA program two semesters per academic year for a total of two years.
A part-time MBA spaces out coursework over a longer period of time. With fewer courses to take over the semester, students can focus on both class and their other responsibilities. This increased flexibility and freedom is perfect for professionals who need to work as they learn. Part-time programs typically last no less than three years. An added benefit is that students can apply their new classroom knowledge to their career in real time.
An accelerated MBA can shave off several months—even a year!—of time toward graduation. Of course, a student who wants to complete an accelerated MBA must be able to devote more time at once within a smaller window in order to complete the necessary coursework. For example, while a general full-time MBA requires 2-3 hours of work per day, an accelerated MBA can require more than double that amount. This format is ideal for students who have the ability to devote more time and resources to their education. Accelerated programs can be finished in as little as 12-18 months.
The evening or weekend MBA is essentially a part-time MBA, but it is designed with even more consciousness of non-traditional student needs. For students who have full-time jobs or families to take care of, the evening/weekend MBA is a great choice. It can take a little bit longer, but will ultimately cause the least amount of disruption to a student’s life. Most executive MBAs use this format to keep from demanding students’ time throughout the week. Evening/weekend MBAs are part time, but that doesn’t always mean that they take longer to complete than two years; classes might be condensed to fewer calendar days but require longer stretches of class time.
So how do you choose?
It’s important to remember that no type or format is better than the other. All that matters is what program is right for your goals and needs. Once you understand these goals and needs, you can pick the appropriate type and format of MBA that’s right for you. Once you’ve decided which path to take, Abound: MBA can help you find schools that are Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced. Take a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you.