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How Do I Know Which Type of MBA is Right for Me?

MBA programs as there are types of students. For those who can commit to full-time learning, there are one and two-year MBA programs. Part-time MBA programs are ideal for those with career commitments and family responsibilities. For busy executives and others who can't take time off work, business schools offer online and executive MBA degree paths.

Today's business schools strive to meet the needs of an ever-changing educational population, offering a wide range of class sizes, meeting schedules, and program lengths. After doing some legwork, you'll find the type of MBA program that best matches your career goals, lifestyle, and financial status.

MBA Programs for Full-Time Students

If you're a recent college graduate and have both the time and resources to devote to full-time learning, most business schools offer one- and two-year full-time MBA programs. Sometimes, attending one of these programs means you'll have to relocate to another city. Some employers prefer to hire those who graduate from the two-year program, especially when candidates are recent grads with little professional experience.

Two-year MBA programs usually last four semesters, with a required business internship between school years. They're the right type of program for those desiring advancement into management or a complete career change. Full-time programs are not as well-suited for people who have to work and raise a family.

Part-Time MBA Programs

Part-time MBA programs are offered through campus-based and online business schools. This type of MBA may appeal to you if you need to continue working, cannot relocate, and can spread your studies over a number of years as you accrue work experience. On-campus, part-time programs typically meet on weekends. Tuition assistance and loans may provide financing, and some employers will pay part or full tuition to qualified employees, requiring a post-graduate work commitment.

Online MBA programs, typically available part-time, are ideal for working professionals and/or working parents who cannot take time off from their jobs. Many programs are self-paced, allowing you to integrate your studies into your own schedule. Many employers are willing to help pay for some of these business school programs, and financial aid is also available. On the other hand, you need to commit to doing the online work on a regular schedule to succeed.

Executive MBAs are designed expressly for working business pros who are either already in management or are well-established in their careers. These programs are limited in leadership focus and not a good choice for students seeking a comprehensive business school degree.

Earning a comprehensive MBA is not for everyone. If you want to exceed in a particular field, there are specialized master's degrees available such as finance, global business, and accounting MBA degrees.