Last Updated: October 23, 2020
As the global marketplace continues to expand, businesses increasingly seek out adept and business-savvy MBA graduates. In fact, the demand for MBAs is so high that graduates from top-tier business schools can reasonably expect to make six figures in their first job.
Traditional two-year MBA programs tend to come with a steep price tag, partly due to the extra costs of studying full time for two years, often away from home. Prospective business students who don't have the resources to complete a traditional MBA might consider an accelerated online MBA.
Candidates looking for a fast MBA should carefully research their options before choosing where to apply. Factors to mull over include accreditation status, faculty, alumni network, cost, program format, and concentration offerings. Students should also consider whether they can put in the additional work required to complete an accelerated online MBA. The below rankings offer detailed information about the fastest online MBA programs in the country.
The 10 Fastest Online MBAs
|1||Suffolk University||Boston, MA|
|2||Park University||Parkville, MO|
|3||Plymouth State University||Plymouth, NH|
|4||Tennessee Technological University||Cookeville, TN|
|5||Eastern New Mexico University||Portales, NM|
|5||Murray State University||Murray, KY|
|7||Cleveland State University||Cleveland, OH|
|8||Andrews University||Berrien Springs, MI|
|8||Herzing University||Menomonee Falls, WI|
|8||University of Saint Francis – Fort Wayne||Fort Wayne, IN|
What Are Accelerated MBA Programs?
An accelerated MBA typically takes one academic year — or 9-10 months — to complete. Some fast MBAs expect degree-takers to complete prerequisites prior to official program start, while others offer the option of adding an internship or capstone.
Most fast MBAs call for more prerequisites than traditional tracks. Others eliminate the final capstone project or thesis, and yet others expect learners to squeeze in more credits each term than the traditional MBA student.
Accelerated MBAs are typically online programs. The online format is cost-effective for both students and the degree-granting institutions, in part because traditional barriers such as classroom capacity and student-to-teacher ratios don't arise in online settings. To mitigate costs, some fast MBAs limit the allotted time for faculty-student interactions outside of class.
Let's take a closer look at how accelerated and traditional MBAs stack up against each other.
Comparing Traditional and Accelerated MBA Programs
|Accelerated MBA||Traditional MBA|
|Length||9-13 months||24-36 months|
|Course Load||30-60 credits||45-60 credits|
|Capstone or Thesis Required||Varies||Yes|
|Cost of Tuition||> $30,000||> $60,000|
|Possibility of Specializing||Yes||Yes|
|Possibility of Internship||Varies||Varies|
|Bachelor's Degree Required||Yes||Yes|
|Prior Coursework in Business Administration Required||Varies||No|
|Work Experience Required||Varies||No|
Accelerated Online MBA Programs
Students considering an accelerated online MBA may wonder whether an online MBA holds as much prestige as a traditional on-campus degree. Online programs used to limit students' access to interactive learning, such as live lectures, real-time class discussions, team-based projects, and networking events with alumni and local business leaders.
But today, distance learners at reputable schools can expect the same first-rate education as their on-campus counterparts. Advances in technology have evened out the quality of online and on-campus learning. Furthermore, many top-tier schools incorporate brief workshops or on-campus residencies into their online programs.
When contemplating an accelerated online MBA, prospective students should consider whether the program's expected workload fits with their current job and family commitments. If the expected workload is too high to uphold these commitments, candidates may want to think about whether a two-year or part-time online MBA program would better serve them.
The Shortest Online MBA Programs for 2020
Prospective students contemplating an accelerated online MBA can choose from an array of options. All accelerated online MBA programs feature their own unique prerequisites, curricula, concentrations, and graduation requirements.
Some programs serve budding entrepreneurs, others are tailored to seasoned professionals, and yet others cater to learners with robust academic business backgrounds.
To help aspiring business leaders in their quest for a fast MBA that suits their interests and career goals, we have assembled detailed sketches of the 25 shortest MBA programs.
A deliberate methodology backs all of our program rankings. For this accelerated MBA ranking, we ranked programs according to the minimum amount of time in which the MBA can be completed. In the event of ties, the ranking was determined first by the number of credit hours required to complete the program, and second by the number of concentrations offered.
1. Suffolk University
Suffolk University's online MBA may be completed in as little as 10 months and includes the option to choose from 6 available concentrations: Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Marketing, and Strategic Management. The core curriculum is divided into 4 sequential blocks: Contextualize from Boston to the World; Understand Business Fundamentals; Construct the Big Picture; and Lead and Implement Change. Among some example classes include Organizational Behavior, Operations and Data Analysis, Corporate Financial Reporting and Control, Information Management for Competitive Advantage, and Value Based Financial Management. Students also complete 24 credits of electives to tailor coursework and must complete a capstone course to graduate. Classes are delivered through a variety of multimedia platforms, and students also have the opportunity to chat live with professors for 90 minutes per week. Applicants must have at least 1 year of work experience and submit their GMAT or GRE.
2. Park University
Park University offers an online MBA that may be completed in as little as 11 months. Consisting of 33 credit hours, some example courses include International Economics, Accounting for Management Decisions, Managerial Finance, Strategic Marketing, Quantitative Analysis for Management Decisions, and Business Policy and Strategy, among others. The accelerated track's courses deliver in 8-week blocks, though 16-block deliveries are available, as well. In addition, to further tailor coursework according to needs and interests, students may choose between 4 concentrations: Finance, Healthcare/Health Services Management, International Business, and Management Information Systems. Students work on an asynchronous schedule, allowing for maximum flexibility and students to complete coursework on their own time. Applicants should have earned at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. This program is an especially good fit for those wanting a solid educational foundation in international business.
3. Plymouth State University
Plymouth State University's online MBA may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 30 credit hours – 24 core, 6 elective. Some core courses include Managing Organizational Behavior, Financial Analysis, The Legal Environment of Business, Operations Management, Marketing Techniques, and a seminar in Executive Management. Further, students may also choose to obtain a certificate from one of the following 8 focuses: Accounting, Health Care Administration, The Human Side of Enterprise, International Business, Investment and Finance, Organizational Communication, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Marketing Management. Plymouth has received accolades from around the country as "a top 100 Entrepreneurial College and University," according to Entrepreneur Magazine, and one of the "Best in the Northeast" by the Princeton Review. Applicants should have earned at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA but do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores; rather, the school requires basic competency testing.
4. Tennessee Technological University
Tennessee Technological University offers an online MBA that may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 30 credit hours – 21 core, 9 elective. (Note that eligible students may transfer up to 9 credits in from other AACSB accredited schools.) In addition, to tailor coursework to needs and professional interests, students may also choose to concentrate in one of the following 6 areas: Accounting, Finance, HR Management, International Business, MIS, and Marketing. Core classes include Accounting Information for Management Decisions, Financial Management, Analytical Decision Making, Strategic Marketing, Organizational Leadership, Management of Information Technology, and Business Strategy. Applicants should have earned their undergraduate bachelor's and must submit GMAT or GRE scores. Students without an undergraduate in business must complete core business courses in accounting, finance and marketing.
5 (tied). Eastern New Mexico University
Eastern New Mexico University's online MBA can be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of coursework principally focused on accounting, business, economics, finance, information systems, management, and marketing. Core curriculum classes include Ethics, Law and Social Responsibility; Strategic Management; Managerial Economics; Managerial Finance; Organizational Behavior and Management Theory; Marketing Management. All classes are taught asynchronously, allowing for maximum schedule flexibility students to complete coursework on their own time. (Videoconferencing is also available for interested students.) Applicants should submit undergraduate transcripts and GMAT scores, though scores may be waived if the student has earned at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Note that at $235 per credit tuition, ENMU offers one of the more affordable programs on the list.
5 (tied). Murray State University
Murray State University's online MBA program may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 30 credit hours – 21 core, 9 elective. Core classes include Accounting for Decision Making; Managerial Economics; Seminar in Organizational Behavior; Marketing Planning and Application; and Seminar in Strategic Management, among others. All courses are delivered via the Canvas platform and are available 24/7, ideal for working professionals with busy schedules, which make up of 70% of Murray State's online student body. Applicants should submit undergraduate transcripts and their GMAT or GRE scores (minimum 400 for the GMAT and 286 for the GRE). Conditional admission may granted if the student has at least a 2.75 undergraduate GPA or at least a 3.0 GPA in their last 60 undergrad hours.
7. Cleveland State University
Cleveland State University offers an online MBA that may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 32 credit hours. Some example available classes include Managerial Accounting, Supply Chain Management, HR Management & Labor Relations, Financial Policies, Innovation & Technology, Integrative Business Strategy, and Global Marketing, among others. Tuition includes a complimentary iPad 4G which students can use to access all course materials, including textbooks, interactive learning tools, homework, quizzes, etc. In addition, through Cleveland State's partnership with McGraw-Hill and Blackboard, students can annotate textbooks, share notes with other students, and collaborate with classmates, resulting in a cutting-edge, highly dynamic and tech-savvy education. Recipient of numerous accolades, CSU's online program has been ranked #1 in Ohio by U.S. News and World Reports. Applicants must complete a standardization test and score in the top 50%.
8 (tied). Andrews University
Andrews University, founded in 1874, approaches scholarship from a Seventh-day Adventist perspective. The university's School of Distance Education aims to extend educational access beyond Andrews' physical campus, offering more than 30 associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees for distance learners — including a fast MBA degree online. The institution even offers independent study and distance learning option for kindergarten, elementary, and secondary programs, as well. U.S. News and World Report called Andrews one of the most culturally diverse universities in the country, and Andrews University strives to instruct its students in both theory and practice.
8 (tied). Herzing University
Herzing University's online MBA program may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 33 credit hours. In addition, students may choose to concentrate in one of the following areas for an extra 12 credits: Accounting, Business Management, Healthcare Management, Human Resources, Marketing, Project Management, Technology Management. Ambitious students may also have a duel concentration if they wish. Core courses include Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Marketing and New Product Development, Technology and Innovation, Business Integration & Strategic Planning, and Finance and Accounting for Decision-Making, among others. In order to graduate, all students must either complete an internship, capstone project, or international capstone. Herzing also provides flexible scheduling options to accommodate students and working professionals. Applicants should have earned a 2.7 undergraduate GPA and submit GMAT scores.
8 (tied). University of Saint Francis — Fort Wayne, Ind.
The University of Saint Francis at Fort Wayne offers an online MBA program that may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 33 credit hours. Some example classes include Managerial Accounting, Introduction to Health Care, Financial Management, Healthcare Economics, Quantitative Methods for Decision Support, Project Management, Organizational Leadership, Leading the Strategic Plan Process, and a senior capstone project to give students valuable real-world practice. As a Catholic university, the business curriculum may incorporate religious values throughout course material, and all students must complete Franciscan Values and Ethics in Business. Applicants should have earned at least a 2.75 undergraduate GPA; for those who have not, additional GMAT scores are necessary.
11. Oklahoma Christian University
Oklahoma Christian University offers an online MBA that may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours. Core courses include Accounting Analysis and Control, Economic Issues, Information Technology and the Future, Legal and Regulatory Issues, Strategic Management and Change, Marketing Management and Innovation, and Ethics, Decision Making and Communication, among others. In addition, to tailor coursework to needs and professional areas of interest, students may also choose between 10 concentrations in Accounting, Leadership and Organizational Development, Electronic Business, Project Management, Health Services Management, Financial Services, International Business, Marketing, and Human Resources. Accelerated courses deliver in 7-week formats and provide students with flexibility in order to accommodate schedules. As a Christian university – ranked #1 for value in the country – note that religious values may be incorporated throughout the business curriculum. Applicants should send undergraduate transcripts and GMAT or GRE scores (450 / 285 minimum; scores can be waived according to undergraduate GPA). An Apple laptop is included in the cost of tuition.
12. Lynn University
Lynn University offers an online MBA that may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours. Core courses include Leadership and Management of Organizations, Marketing Management in a Global Economy, Managerial Accounting, Financial Management, Operations Management, and a seminar in Strategic Management. In addition, in order tailor coursework to fit students' needs and professional areas of interest, students choose between 9 concentrations: Aviation Management, Entrepreneurial Management, Financial Valuation and Investment Management, Hospitality Management, Human Resource Management, International Business Management, Marketing, Media Management, and Sports Management. Interested students may also choose to pursue independent studies or internship opportunities. With a strong academic background, Lynn has been listed as one of the best online MBA programs in Florida by South Florida Business Journal and U.S. News and World Report. Applicants should have earned a 2.5 undergraduate degree, but do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores.
13. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University offers an online MBA that students may complete in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours. Core courses include Professional Development, The Legal Environment of Business, Decision Support Systems, Corporate Finance, Global Business Management, and Strategic Management, and Organizational Behavior, among others. Students also must complete an internship to graduate in order to gain valuable real-world experience and reinforce core concepts. In addition, to further tailor coursework to fit needs and areas of professional interests, students may choose between the following 8 concentrations: Accounting, Health Care Management, Information Security Management, Human Resource Management, Project Management, Marketing, Market Research and Social Media Analytics, and Sports Management. Applicants should have earned at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and have a minimum of 5 years of work experience. If applicants do not meet the work requirement they submit GMAT scores.
14 (tied). Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville State University offers an online MBA that may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours – 27 core, 9 elective. Some example classes include Marketing Analysis and Research, International Finance, Managerial Economics, Project Risk Management, International Business Law, Managerial Accounting, and more. For an additional 12 credits, students may decide to pursue a concentration in a field of professional interest. FSU offers 7 concentrations: Entrepreneurship, Finance, Healthcare Management, International Business, Management, Marketing, Project Management. In addition, students may also earn a certificate in Healthcare Management and Project Management. Students may either watch classes live or opt to complete coursework asynchronously, depending on their schedules. Applicants should send undergraduate transcripts and GMAT scores, in addition to any information about previous work experience. North Carolina residents may note that tuition per credit is a paltry $156.40.
14 (tied). Campbellsville University
Campbellsville University offers an online MBA program that may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours – 27 core, 9 elective. Some example core classes include Managerial Accounting, Marketing Management, Management Information Systems, Organization Theory, Human Resource Management, Business Strategy, Business Ethics, and Managerial Economics, among others. In addition, students may choose to concentrate in of the following 7 areas: Accounting, Church Management, Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, International Business, and Marketing. Courses deliver over accelerated 8-week blocks, and the program is appropriate both for working professionals and full-time students. Applicants should submit undergraduate transcripts (preferably in a business-related field), list work experience, and GRE or GMAT scores. Note that as a Christian university Campbellsville may incorporate religious values throughout the business curriculum.
14 (tied). Hope International University
Hope International University's online MBA program may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours. In addition, in order to tailor coursework to fit students' needs and professional goals, students have the opportunity to choose between 5 concentrations: Marketing Management, Non-Profit Management, Business as Mission, International Development, and a customized management track. The general management core consists of Human Resource Management, Project Management, Legal and Risk Management, and Organizational Management. Online students enjoy a dynamic, cutting-edge learning environment, as well as a 14:1 student to faculty ratio that encourages collaboration and tightly focused education. A well-respected program nationally, Hope International has been listed ranked #22 in U.S. News & World Report's Regional Colleges (West). Note that as a Christian university, religious values and ethics may be incorporated throughout the curriculum. Applicants should submit undergraduate transcripts, but are not required to send GMAT or GRE scores.
17. Harding University
Harding University's online MBA program may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours – 30 core, 6 elective. Core courses include Accounting Theory and Practice; Ethics, Legal and Social Issues in Business; QBA/Research; Applied Theory of Economics; Ethics in Management Skills and Analysis; Managing People and Organizations; and Corporate Strategy and Planning, among others. In addition, in order to tailor coursework to fit students' needs and professional goals, students have the opportunity to choose between 4 concentrations: Health Care Management, International Business, Information Technology, and Leadership & Organizational Management. (Note that these concentrations will require an additional 12 credits of coursework.) Harding also requires students to complete a portfolio in order to graduate, providing students with an opportunity to demonstrate a mastery of material and giving the curriculum a through-line. Applicants should submit undergraduate transcripts (most students have above a 3.0 undergrad GPA) and GMAT or GRE scores. As a Christian university, religious values and ethics may be incorporated throughout the curriculum.
18. Troy University
Troy University offers an online MBA that students may complete in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours. Core courses include Managerial Economics for the Global Manager, Global Financial Management, Financial and Managerial Accounting for the Global Manage, Data Analysis for Global Managers, Global Strategic Marketing, Ethical Leadership & Management in a Global Economy, and a capstone global business course and experience. In addition, students interested in international business may choose to pursue one of the following 3 concentrations: International Management, International Information Systems, or International Finance. Applicants should have earned at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA (or 3.0 in their last 30 hours) and should submit GMAT or GRE scores. Students who have already completed a master's degree in another field are admitted unconditionally. All online course material are available through the school's online portal and are available 24/7 to accommodate students and working professionals' schedules.
19 (tied). Ashworth College
Ashworth College's online MBA program may completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours. Core classes include Strategic Management, Marketing Management, Managerial Accounting, Leadership and Motivation, Business Law, Entrepreneurship, International Business, Project Management, and a capstone course in Case and Industry Analysis, among others. In particular, performance competency and affective development are emphasized in order to provide students with sufficient practice for real-world challenges and scenarios. Classes are completed according to students' individual schedules, allowing for maximum flexibility, and course material delivers via online lessons and custom study guides. Furthermore, all enrollment is on a rolling-basis, so students may apply at any time in the year and begin their degrees as best fits. Applicants should have earned at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA, but not GMAT or GRE scores are required for admission.
19 (tied). California Baptist University
California Baptist University offers an online MBA program that students can complete in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours. Major courses include Entrepreneurial Management, Legal Environment of Business and Management, Quantitative Business Modeling, Strategic Management, Global Business Management, Management of Information Systems, and Managerial Ethics, among others. This program is particularly designed for full- and part-time working professionals, and as such provides students with maximum flexibility to fit busy schedules. Students also take a culminating capstone course that tests students comprehensive grasp of the MBA course material. Applicants should have earned at least 3.0 undergraduate GPA and must submit GMAT scores. Coursework delivers through the Blackboard platform and available 24/7, encouraging collaborative learning.
19 (tied). Sam Houston State University
Sam Houston State University offers an online MBA that students may complete in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours – 27 core, 9 elective. Core classes include Accounting for Management, Managerial Communication, Techniques of Statistical Analysis, Marketing Management, Managerial Finance, and seminars in Team Leadership, Operations Management, and Strategic Management and Policy, which is a capstone course. SHSU has three entry points in August, December, and May, and applicants should have earned at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA and must submit GMAT scores. Those with undergraduate GPA's at or above 3.5 may waive the GMAT requirement, pending approval. This program is deliberately broad-based, multidisciplinary, and comprehensive in order to adapt to the increasingly varied and shifting demands of the workplace and the business world. Students may take all classes online or opt for a hybrid model. Working professionals are welcome to apply, a well.
19 (tied). State University of New York at Oswego
The State University of New York at Oswego's online MBA program may completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 36 credit hours – 24 core, 12 electives. Core classes include Management Information Systems, Managerial Finance, Marketing Management, International Business, Management Science, and Organization and Management. Students must also complete a capstone course in Management Policy. In addition, to further tailor coursework to fit students' needs and professional interests, students select from a wide range of electives, from Cyber and Employment Law, to Entrepreneurship and Futures and Options Markets. Applicants should have earned at least a 2.6 undergraduate degree and a 500 GMAT score. The program allows for up to 6 credits to be transferred in. Online students benefit from a wide range of resources: career services, course catalogs, the online library, MyOswego, SUNY Learning Network, the college bookstore, and more.
23. Franklin Pierce University
Franklin Pierce University offers an online MBA degree that may be completed in as little as 12 months and consists of 40 credit hours. Core courses include a seminar in Leadership, Financial Management, Marketing Management, Legal and Ethical Issues in Organizations, and a capstone seminar in Strategic Management. In addition, to tailor coursework to students' needs and areas of professional interest, students may choose between 6 concentrations: Energy & Sustainability Studies, Health Administration, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, Leadership, and Sports Management. A well-respected university, Franklin Pierce has been listed on the Forbes America's Best Colleges list, as well as the U.S. News & World Report's list of top regional universities (North). Applicants should have earned a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA, but no GMAT or GRE scores are required.
24. St. Thomas Aquinas College
St. Thomas Aquinas College offers an online MBA that students may complete in as little as 12 months and consists of 57 credit hours. (Note that many students earn waivers for the 24 foundational credits via previous undergraduate or graduate credits.) The remaining 33 credits break down as follows – 3 Business Communications; 15 in Finance, Management, or Marketing; and 6 toward capstone courses in Leadership, Ethics & Business and Business Policy, Research & Decision Making. Online courses deliver through a variety of dynamic mediums that emphasize a collaborative and intimate learning environment. Applicants should have earned at least a 2.8 undergraduate GPA and must submit GMAT scores. For students convenience, there are 4 entry points per year – September, December, March and June – and the program is flexible enough for working professionals. Note also that St. Thomas Aquinas is a faith-based school and may incorporate religious values in the business curriculum.
25. University of the Southwest
The University of the Southwest offers an online MBA that students may complete in as little as 14 months and consists of 36 credits. Some example top classes include Leadership, Information Technology for Managers, Business Analytics & Econometrics, E-Marketing, Transforming Business in the 21st Century, Business Statistics Research Design, Information Technology for E-Business, and Sustainability Management. For students wanting to further tailor their curriculum to fit areas of professional interests, the university also offers 10 concentrations: Marketing, Finance, Accounting, Research Track, Strategic Management, Law Enforcement & Corrections, Healthcare Admin, Sports Management, Public Administration, and Human Resource Development. Course materials are delivered via Blackboard and CAMS-Enterprise, which are available 24/7 and allow students maximum flexibility. Applicants should submit undergraduate transcripts, but no GMAT or GRE score is required; ideally, applicants are also experienced work professionals.
What to Expect From One-Year Online MBA Programs
Accelerated MBA degrees are predominantly available online. Some accelerated online MBAs offer a format that allows for live lectures, real-time class discussions, and peer-based projects. This is known as a synchronous online format.
Most synchronous online programs follow the on-campus semester or term structure, though some schools may offer courses in shorter increments that fit into the regular academic calendar. For example, some programs feature online courses that last half a semester but meet twice as often as regular courses and require twice the workload.
Online programs also occasionally offer fully asynchronous courses, in which students can listen to prerecorded or written lectures and complete assignments and quizzes as their schedules permit, as long as they meet the set due dates. This format does not involve live lectures or real-time class discussions.
The first half of an accelerated online MBA program is typically devoted to mandatory core courses, and the second half is dedicated to electives, allowing students to specialize in a specific industry or career field. Some programs culminate in a capstone seminar, in which learners apply theory to address a real-world business problem.
Specialization Options for Accelerated MBAs
Despite the speedy nature of accelerated online MBAs, most of the shortest online MBA programs offer an array of specialization options. Common concentrations include:
- Information technology
- Healthcare administration
- Human resource management
- Energy and sustainability studies
While a general MBA cultivates core skills in business administration, an MBA with a concentration focuses on developing advanced skills tailored to a specific industry or occupation.
Both options have advantages and disadvantages. In today's cutthroat job market, a specialized MBA can give graduates a competitive advantage over applicants with a general MBA. Meanwhile, the high versatility of a general MBA prepares candidates for a variety of jobs across industries and occupations.
Students who opt for a specialized MBA should choose carefully, as a concentration may narrow their area of expertise. Some currently in-demand concentrations could turn out to be temporary trends.
Popular Accelerated MBA Courses
An accelerated online MBA curriculum entails both required courses, intended to develop core skills, and electives, allowing students to concentrate on specific topics. Most accelerated online MBA programs also include a final capstone, which addresses a practical business problem, often for a real company. Occasionally, students in a fast MBA program can choose to write an academic-focused thesis instead.
The following are examples of courses in a typical accelerated online MBA program.
- Marketing: Most programs require students to take a class in marketing. A course in marketing focuses on cultivating the skills needed to effectively promote a company's products or services to consumers.
- Strategy: Strategy is a common component of a core MBA curriculum. In this class, learners study decision-making strategies that have historically helped business leaders steer their businesses through the most adverse of circumstances.
- Investment: Most programs require students with a concentration in finance to take a class in investment. In this class, students learn a variety of investment strategies and analytical skills needed to assess equities, fixed income securities, and other types of investments.
- Negotiations and Conflict Resolution: In most programs, students can choose an elective in negotiations and conflict resolution. This course focuses on sharpening learners' abilities to effectively negotiate, bargain, and resolve conflicts in the types of complex situations that can emerge in the modern business world.
- Capstone Seminar: A traditional MBA course, the capstone seminar is a common component of the core MBA curriculum. During this seminar, students work individually or in groups to solve real-life business problems.
Is a Fast MBA Worth It?
Prospective students may wonder whether investing in a fast MBA is likely to pay off. Even the shortest online MBA programs can be expensive, and their accelerated nature may prevent degree-takers from maintaining jobs while studying. On the other hand, students opting for an accelerated online MBA spend less time away from the workforce and may see a return on investment (ROI) more quickly.
How long does it take to see an ROI from an accelerated MBA? In 2019, the median annual base starting salary for an MBA was $115,000. Accounting for a one-year income loss, MBA graduates could begin to see an ROI from an accelerated online MBA within a few years of completing their degrees and starting higher-paying positions.
According to the Princeton Review, many graduates see an ROI of around 300% within a decade of completing an MBA.
ROI projections for academic degrees depend on starting salary estimates, prospective raises, and other considerations. As the below table illustrates, MBA careers with notably high salaries include computer systems and advertising management.
|Career||Median Annual Salary|
|Administrative Services Managers||$96,940|
|Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers||$135,900|
|Computer and Information Research Scientists||$122,840|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$146,360|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$100,980|
Selecting the Right Accelerated MBA Program for You
Prospective students may be tempted to apply to the nation's most prestigious, best-ranked MBA programs. But prestige and rankings are not the only factors to consider when deciding where to apply. Three other key considerations are accreditation, alumni, and online format.
Two forms of accreditation prove crucial to the value of an MBA degree. At minimum, the degree-granting institution should be accredited by one of the six regional accrediting organizations. Business schools also have their own accreditation system. Accreditation from program-specific agencies such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business verifies that a school meets the highest academic standards.
A program's alumni network can play a pivotal role in students' future careers. Most programs set up opportunities for learners to interact with successful alumni. Building a professional relationship with an alumnus whose career trajectory lines up with yours can give you invaluable pointers on how to meet your career ambitions.
Top-tier schools tend to offer the same quality education in their online and on-campus programs, but online formats vary across programs. Asynchronous programs offer prerecorded lectures and online discussion boards in lieu of live lectures and real-time class discussion, providing greater flexibility and convenience. Synchronous programs require students to attend lectures at set times. Learners must evaluate their own time management skills and self-motivation to determine which format would better suit them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an online MBA respected?
Yes. Online MBAs from accredited schools garner as much respect as traditional MBAs.To avoid ending up with a degree devoid of value, prospective students should always check a school's accreditation status.
How fast can you get an MBA?
The shortest MBAs take 9-10 months to complete, often requiring a strong business background. Some of the fastest online MBA programs allow students to complete prerequisites during the summer prior to official program start.
Can you get an MBA in one year?
Yes. One-year MBAs are the standard in Europe, and many reputable U.S. schools offer one-year MBAs as well. Fast MBAs best serve candidates with strong business backgrounds.
Is a one-year MBA worth it?
Yes, but return on investment takes time. A one-year MBA can create a fast track to a higher position. However, it may not be feasible to earn a one-year MBA while working full time. When accounting for lost income, it may take several years to see an ROI.
Which is better — a one-year or two-year MBA?
It depends. Both MBAs have equal potential, depending on outside factors. What determines the value of an MBA degree is not its duration but the school's accreditation, the strength of its alumni network, and possible concentration areas.