What is an Accelerated MBA Program?
An accelerated MBA, or a one-year 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 attend at least as many hours of class each week as full-time students and typically also perform at least 15 hours of independent work each week. These programs are the standard in Europe and, in recent years, have become increasingly popular in the United States. Students typically enroll with more work experience and/or more prior academic business studies than students in other MBA programs. This allows the cohort to more quickly cover introductory subjects and move rapidly through advanced studies with little downtime.
Advantages of Accelerated MBA Programs
The most obvious advantages of accelerated MBA programs are the comparatively low tuition rates and the short time students spend out of the work force. By working intensively in close cooperation with their classmates, students also report that they form tighter longer-lasting connections. For many students, the recession economy and the rising debts associated with traditional full-time MBA programs have made accelerated programs increasingly attractive. For students willing to take some time away from professional work in order to quickly boost their career within their current field, earning a one-year MBA is a good investment.
Disadvantages of Accelerated MBA Programs
The major disadvantages of accelerated MBA programs are the high workloads, the stress of continual study without vacations, and the limited ability to specialize one’s studies. Swiss business school IMD is famous for saddling students with six-day 100-hour workweeks and no vacations. While this is an extreme example, accelerated programs generally do not allow students the time for internships or consulting projects while in school, which often generate important networking opportunities for traditional full-time MBA students. Accelerated program also tend to offer fewer options for specialization, concentrating most of the student’s energy in a well-rounded, but inflexible, management curriculum.
Is an Accelerated MBA Program Right for Me?
Accelerated MBA programs are aimed at applicants with more than the average work experience and/or academic preparation expected by full-time MBA programs. These programs also place extremely high academic demands on their students, which require a rigorous degree of motivation and relative freedom from other personal commitments (such as family life) to meet. Individuals looking to change careers or start families in the next year might be better served by other types of MBA programs. Motivated, successful professionals with several years of experience in business will likely succeed in accelerated MBA programs.