Guide to MBA Types & Specialty Options
Whether you're a new college grad, a working parent, or a seasoned business executive, there's an MBA degree program out there perfectly suited to your needs and capabilities. Business schools have expanded their MBA offerings to reach an increasingly diverse audience of students and professionals who want to change careers or qualify for promotions.
It's no secret that an MBA degree can increase your earning power. A recent survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council reports the potential for an immediate 40 percent increase in annual salary, depending on students' current and future jobs. What's right for you? Let's examine the types of programs open to you if you're considering business school.
Online MBA Programs
If you've already launched your career or have family obligations, the online MBA may be your best option. Not only can advanced business study qualify you for higher-paying positions, but many employers are happy to partially or fully finance online MBA studies for their most promising employees. These programs are well-suited to working parents and career-track professionals; they are generally available part-time, though they are often accelerated.
Online business schools offer accelerated, streamlined, self-paced programs to meet the requirements of busy students who attend courses in their off hours. You can study finance, management, technology, or healthcare. These programs require self-discipline and commitment; they are not for people who lack motivation or time management skills.
One-Year and Two-Year Full-time MBA Programs
Full-time MBA programs are typically designed for recent college grads, people not well-established in their current careers, or those looking to change careers. Full-time MBA students are usually those able to take out loans, qualify for merit scholarships, or personally finance their education. They remain out of the workplace during the length of their business school studies.
Two-year, full-time MBA programs typically run 21 months, offering accelerated coursework that covers essential business materials in less time overall than it would take students to cover during a part-time program. These programs often require a professional internship between school years, where you can create business contacts and integrate your classroom skills.
One-year, full-time programs are for students who already have significant business experience. These MBA programs focus on management skills, assuming that you already have the professional networking and extracurricular business skills covered during two-year school programs.
Part-Time MBA Programs
Most MBA students are not fresh out of college, and have professional and personal obligations that must be balanced with a college degree program. Part-time MBA programs are common throughout the country (and online), enabling working adults to qualify for new jobs or promotions without giving up their jobs or personal lives. Employers may be willing to finance part-time MBA degrees for their top employees, if it means not losing that employee's contribution at the office. And spreading the tuition costs over multiple years makes it easier for students to finance their degrees.
Executive MBA Programs
Fast-paced executive MBA programs are offered at campus-based and online business schools. They're for seasoned managers or current executives who want to sharpen their expertise or add a new specialty to their existing knowledge. Some businesses will grant their employees time off to complete their executive training, and many will help to pay tuition. Campus-based executive MBA programs typically meet on weekends, whereas online courses meet on self-paced, flexible schedules. Most run under two years in length.
Other Master's Degrees in Business
For professionals seeking advanced, specialized training, there are related master's programs available online and on-campus. These include the Master of Accounting, Master of Information Technology and Commerce, Master of Finance, Master of Health Care or Hospital Administration, Master of Industrial Administration and much more. As with MBA programs, you can study full- or part-time.