What Is an Accelerated MBA?

An accelerated MBA program is a college program that lets you earn your MBA in a fraction of the time that it would take in a standard or traditional program. These programs, which are available from colleges across the country, follow the same curriculum as a standard program and may let you choose a concentration in a field like finance or marketing too. Before you look at the benefits of these programs or compare an accelerated program to a traditional degree, there are some key things you should know.


How Long Will it Take?

Business schools often require that students spend two years working on their MBA degrees. In an accelerated program, you can get your degree in around a year. A report in The Wall Street Journal found that most programs take between 10 and 15 months to complete. There are some programs that give you up to 18 months to finish your degree. The total amount of time that it takes you will depend on factors like the program itself, the number of classes you must take and even the length of those classes.

How Does it Work?

An accelerated program can function in several different ways. One way is through a hybrid system that requires you take half your classes online and half in a traditional classroom. A more common approach that many accelerated programs use is the use of shorter and more intensive classes. Instead of letting you take two classes during a traditional semester, you’ll take one class that you complete during a five-week session. You can usually take up to three courses before the traditional semester even ends. Accelerated programs designed for executives may let you take classes that meet on weekends or on weeknights too.

Can You Specialize Your Degree?

Some students worry that enrolling in an accelerated program will keep them from specializing their degrees. Before you enroll, ask your academic or admissions counselor about the concentrations available in that program. You’ll usually take three or more classes within your concentration before or after taking your core courses. A concentration in marketing is great for those who want to work in advertising, while those who want to work in emerging markets may select a concentration in international business. Other common concentrations you can choose from when working on your MBA include finance, economics, human resources management and general management.

Course Curriculum

Traditional programs and accelerated MBA are similar in terms of the overall course curriculum offered. This curriculum usually includes 10 courses, and at least seven of those courses will be core business classes. Some programs are a little longer and will require that you take 12 or more classes. Courses include HR management, leadership for executives, nonprofit and corporate taxation, individual taxation, business ethics, business leadership and business law. You can look forward to taking 10 to 12 classes or more in business school.

Business schools began offering new MBA programs designed for those who work long hours and other nontraditional students in the 1990s, and the number of unique MBA programs grew even larger after the widespread popularity of the internet. An accelerated MBA is one example of a unique program that lets you take multiple classes over shorter semesters and online classes to earn your degree in 18 months or less.