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Is an Accelerated MBA the Right Choice for You?

December 21, 2016

University Services MBA

Prospective business students’ needs, goals, and lifestyles have changed drastically since the first MBA program was founded in the early 20th century.1  While a traditional MBA program entails two years of full-time study on-site, several alternatives have recently gained popularity: fast-track MBAs, executive MBAs, part-time MBAs, and online MBAs.

Each program offers some benefits over a traditional MBA, such as taking less time to complete, costing less, and flexible scheduling. But figuring out which option may be right for you can be a challenge. Here are some guidelines to help you.

Which Type of MBA Program Is Right for You?

There are several things to consider when determining which type of MBA program might best suit you. The first step is to identify your end goal — why do you want to get an MBA? For example, suppose you have little experience working in a business setting. In that case, enrolling in a traditional two-year MBA program might make more sense because it gives you time to explore different functional areas and decide where your interests lie. On the other hand, if you have at least two years of business experience and want to advance your career at your current company, an accelerated MBA may be a better fit.

Another important factor is your lifestyle. If you can’t take time off from your job or need the flexibility to spend more time with your family, a full-time program is probably not a viable option for you.

The Advantages of an Accelerated MBA Program

Accelerated MBA programs gained popularity in the U.S. about 10 years ago, but they have been the norm in Europe for decades.2 According to a 2009 survey by The Wall Street Journal, 82 percent of students and alumni said they chose an accelerated MBA because it enabled them to re-enter the workforce more quickly.3 recently reported that application rates for online accelerated MBA programs have surpassed those for traditional MBAs at some business schools.3 The best candidates for this option typically have at least two years of work experience. People who enroll in an accelerated MBA program typically seek to deepen their knowledge, skills, and leadership capabilities to advance their careers within the same industry and/or company.2

Ready to take the next step?

Advance your business career with the accelerated MBA from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Wondering what makes an MBA program accelerated? Think of it like a condensed, more intensive version of the traditional MBA that can be completed in as little as 16 months. Instructors often skip basic business concepts and jump right into how to put them into practice. Sometimes students must work before starting the program; some programs even allow you to opt out of certain courses required in a traditional MBA program. Accelerated classes also tend to cover more information and go faster; tests are usually more frequent and intense.3

While the faster pace may seem daunting to some, others say it forces them to engage more with their coursework and classmates. One great advantage is that a fast-track MBA program allows you to focus on developing a special set of skills to advance your career.2 For example, if you’re looking for an industry-focused MBA, you can get an accelerated one specializing in technology, marketing, or sustainability.1

The best option for working professionals seeking flexibility is an online MBA program that allows them to complete the degree quickly. Since all lectures, discussions, and coursework occur online, you can continue to work full-time and do classwork according to your schedule. At the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, the online Accelerated Master of Business Administration (MBA) program also allows you to customize your degree to your interests and career aspirations. In addition, you are not required to take classes that cover skills you may already have mastered as an experienced business professional, such as:

  • MBA616 Principles of Economics and Marketing (3 cr.)

  • MBA617 Finance and Accounting Concepts (3 cr.)

  • MBA618 Business Statistics (3 cr.)

  • MBA619 Graduate School Writing (3 cr.)

To learn more or speak with an enrollment counselor, please call 877-308-9954 or request more information.


  1. “History of the MBA [MBA Friday facts].” (accessed on October 24, 2016).
  2. Blackman, S. “How to choose among accelerated, executive and online M.B.A.s.” (accessed on October 23, 2016).
  3. “Online MBA guide: Inside the MBA program.” (accessed on October 23, 2016).