Alternatives to the Two-Year MBA Program – Accelerated Full-time MBA Programs

February 19, 2015 | by Matt Symonds

While most MBA programs follow the standard full-time two-year program format, this structure doesn’t appeal to everyone. The traditional two-year program can be great if you have a few years of work experience and are looking to make a career transition, but what if you’re planning to go back to your current company or remain in the same line of work? If this is the case, an accelerated MBA program might make a lot of sense, allowing you to expedite your studies in order to get back to work (and to earning a salary) more quickly.

The options for accelerated MBA programs are limited, but there are a few to consider if this format sounds appealing. Columbia Business School offers a January entry (J-Term) program, which takes 16 months to complete, with no summer break for an internship. Students in J-Term take the same core classes and electives offered to Columbia’s two-year MBA students. As Columbia puts it, “The January term is identical to the August-entry option in every way but the schedule”.

INSEAD (with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi) is another excellent option for those interested in a one-year MBA program with an international focus. The school offers two intakes, in September and January, as well as the option to complete an internship for the class starting in January.

Other business schools that offer full-time accelerated MBA programs without internships are Kellogg (12-month program, starting in June), Cornell-Johnson (12-month program, starting in May), and Emory (12-month program, starting in May, designed for mid-career professionals), to name a few. Often, these accelerated MBA programs are well-suited for individuals who already have a strong business foundation, both academically and professionally, and in some cases, business coursework is required prior to starting a program. There are several other accelerated MBA programs beyond the top-ranked options listed here, making this program format accessible to a wide range of students.

Here are a few other factors to consider with an accelerated MBA program:

Cost – Enrolling in a shorter program will undoubtedly save you money (relative to a two-year program), both in terms of the program cost and the amount of lost income. Take time to project your anticipated ROI to help make your decision and be sure to factor in things like cost of living, tuition, salary (both salary you would gain as an intern as well as lost salary while studying).

Curriculum – Make sure to consider the coursework being offered since in some accelerated programs, class work is covered more quickly. Professors expect that students in shorter MBA programs will be able to keep up with the rigorous teaching pace and it’s usually helpful for students to enter these programs with some prior level of business knowledge.

Career development – Keep in mind that most accelerated programs do not offer a summer internship, which is often a way for students to transition into a new job. If, however, you’re planning to remain in the same industry or start an entrepreneurial venture, an internship might not be as critical. Career resources can also vary by school and by MBA program, so be sure to investigate in advance what kind of career assistance will be available based on the different programs and to what extend your desired career change would be feasible.

If you are weighing different MBA program options and would like to speak to an admissions expert at Fortuna, please contact us.

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