Many professionals aiming for leadership roles opt for a management degree to help them understand organizational issues and get access to leadership opportunities. Since the traditional MBA course means rigorous preparation for GMAT exams followed by two years of college life, many who cannot afford to leave their jobs are opting for accelerated MBA programs or online MBA courses. Let’s understand these options better and see if these are choices worth considering.
Accelerated MBA programs have now been popular in the west for some time now. Typically, while these are the norm in Europe, US universities except Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Dartmouth, and Chicago have started offering accelerated MBA courses. The five leading schools that do not offer it argue that the traditional two-year MBA offers students the right exposure with internships and the opportunity for specialization.
An accelerated MBA is an intensive full-time program of graduate study that grants a master’s degree in nine to 15 months. Accelerated MBA students typically have many hours of class each week as full-time students and also perform at least 15 hours of independent work each week. Since accelerated MBA students are older and have more experience, course work starts at a more advanced level than that of a general MBA. Rather than reviewing basic business concepts, students delve directly into the practice of those concepts.
The benefits of such one-year programs are obvious: Students get the same degree in half the time bringing considerable savings in tuition and fees, room and board, and the lost opportunity cost of not having a job for two years. This is therefore the best option for students willing to take some time away from professional work in order to quickly boost their career within their current field.
The disadvantages are that students have to cope with high workloads, the stress of continual study without vacations, and focusing more on overall understanding of management instead of specialization. Since there is no room for internship programs, students also lose the opportunity to handle projects at actual corporations leading to new opportunities. They also miss out on the bonding and networking opportunities with other students that a full-time MBA offers.
However, corporations do visit campus to recruit and extend the same offers to one-year students and those in the two-year programs.
However, there are many professionals who aspire for leadership roles but are bound by personal commitments and responsibilities that do not allow them the luxury of taking even the one-year break to study. For such individuals, there are online MBAs that allow them to study even as they work. And this seems a good option. A recent Sloan Survey indicated that 67 per cent of academic leaders rated the learning outcome sin online education as the same or superior to face-to-face programs. And the tuition fees are considerably lower. However, they do not offer either the reassurance of day-to-day interaction with your professors or other students. There are no internship opportunities that could get you a foot into the door of good corporations and also no campus recruitment. However, these courses are ideal for those seeking the knowledge that management program provide without necessarily seeking to explore leadership opportunities. Typically, best suited for young entrepreneurs or those who are taking over the family business and do not have to compete for leadership within firms.
There is also a set of people who are looking at enhancing their chances of taking on leadership roles but do not want to quit their jobs. Such individuals can explore Executive MBAs or part-time MBAs from leading business schools. These courses are expensive but give you the benefit of learning while you continue to earn. These MBAs are more valued than the online options and do not require you to go through the rigors of GMAT either.