MBA Degrees, Full-time, Part-time, One Year or Two Years? 2009-10-06 13:18:54

MBA Degrees, Full-time, Part-time, One Year or Two Years?
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Two-Year, Full-Time MBA

A typical two-year MBA programs typically consist of four semesters. The classes are taken over the course of two academic years. Most students will take a three to four year internship between academic years.

During the first year, students take the core courses that are required for all MBA students. During the second academic year, students will take elective courses that allow for specialization in specific areas of interest. During the two-year MBA program, school is considered the student's first priority and most students do not work full-time. Many students will relocate to attend the school of their choosing.

Full-time two-year MBA programs are ideal both for people who are changing careers and for people who are looking to further their potential in the same field or industry. The chance to gain knowledge in a specific area can lead to increased job skill, performance, and opportunities. Specialized study can especially help early in your career to allow you to progress more effectively and at a higher level.

Advantages of a 2-year MBA

  • Electives and concentrated study allow you to customize coursework.
  • As long as you meet the basic graduate requirements, these programs accept the greatest variety of academic backgrounds.
  • Internships and a varied learning environment encourage development of new skills and resume enhancement beyond what you would get in the classroom.
  • Breaks between the academic years give you time for networking in the real world of business.
  • Taking core classes together with the same group of students, allows you to build a network of MBA colleagues and develop lasting contacts and business relationships.
  • Most full-time MBA programs have extensive career placement and counseling services, professional groups or clubs, and professional guest speakers.

Disadvantages of a 2-year MBA

This type of program is designed for people who have well defined career objectives and have the resources to spend a their time devoted to study instead of work. If you do not have this sort of financial or situational backing, a full-time MBA program may be difficult to undertake. Without a focused mindset, you may limit yourself in what value and return on investment you will gain from the program. The full-time two-year MBA program can be very time and money intensive.

If you are considering this type of program, it would be wise to have a good handle on your goals and plan for the future and be committed to allocating the needed resources towards following that plan.

One-Year, Full-Time MBA

The full-time, one-year MBA program is significantly different from the two-year program. There are usually very stringent requirements for admission, both in academic training and/or work history.

The one-year program lasts for eleven to sixteen months and is abbreviated by minimizing the time spent studying in core classes or by limiting your choice of specializations.

Because school is considered your first priority, students will not work full-time in this program. Often attending a one-year program that fits your specific needs will require relocating to another city.

Advantages of the One-year, fulltime MBA

Especially when it comes to career enhancement or positioning oneself for advancement within the same industry, the one-year full-time MBA program offers many advantages.

  • Utilizing your existing industry and job skills in a highly specialized MBA program can save you a significant amount of time in completing your MBA.
  • If the MBA program reduces core requirements instead of electives to reduce program duration, you will be able to customize your studies to suit your specific needs.
  • The focused learning environment encourages knowledge and skill development above and beyond normal classroom learning.
  • Program intensity and competitiveness are high and encourage achievement.
  • The full-time intensive environment aids in forming lasting relationships with other MBA students in your specialization.
  • The full-time program typically includes extensive career placement and counseling services, professional groups or clubs, and professional industry guest speakers.

Disadvantages of the One-Year, Full-Time MBA

There are some limitations that should be considered in a one-year, intensive program.

  • Opportunities for internship can be severely limited as there is no break between semesters. This can be especially limiting for people planning to change careers.
  • A one-year program is not considered a favorable option by some employers who require MBAs for career advancement or promotions. Make certain that your potential employer will accept this type of MBA program before you decide to enroll.

Part-Time MBA Programs

For working professionals who cannot take time off work to attend full-time, there is the part-time MBA program. With the part-time MBA program, you can work full-time while attending MBA classes on days off or in the evenings. Many colleges and universities offer part-time as well as full-time MBA programs. When exploring the option of a part-time MBA program, you should consider the following points.

  • Most part-time MBA programs schedule courses throughout the year and thus make it difficult to find time for an internship.
  • Many part-time MBA programs have the same specialization opportunities as full-time MBA programs but some offer only a small number of concentrated study courses and emphasize the core curriculum.
  • A program which requires as many courses as a full-time program will often spread classes out over a longer duration. In other words, it may take you four to five years to complete your MBA in a part-time program as opposed to a two-year full-time program.

Advantages of a Part-time MBA

The part-time program is particularly appealing to people who wish to advance their existing career. They can also be advantageous for people who have already developed a network of business relationships that can facilitate a change of careers.

  • Courses that are scheduled to take place before or after regular working hours.
  • You can improve existing skills or develop new ones without impinging on your current job.
  • Real-world situations and problems can be incorporated into the classroom environment where solutions can be explored that could be implemented in real life.
  • Tuition assistance and student loans may be available.
  • If tuition reimbursement is offered by your employer, part-time could be an ideal choice.
  • Having the cost of schooling spread out over a longer program length lessens the financial strain on those students that prefer not to incur additional debt or who need to maintain an income while attending school.

If you are unable to relocate, a part-time MBA program may offer additional flexibility. A long commute to classes may be more workable for part-time school once or twice a week, whereas it would be taxing on a daily basis.

Distadvantages of a Part-time MBA

  • Because the course is spread out over a longer time span, tuition assistance is not always available.
  • Because many career placement centers are closed outside regular business hours, this service may be limited for part-time students.
  • Frequent work-related travel or relocation may be an obstacle to completing a part-time MBA.
  • Most programs do not accept transfer credits should you decide to switch from a part-time to full-time program or vice-versa.

The Executive MBA

The Executive MBA, commonly referred to as the EMBA, is designed specifically to enhance the careers of both working business professionals, managers and executives. The EMBA is usually geared towards professionals who are looking to update the general management skills and prepare themselves for career advancement opportunities.

What really sets the executive MBA apart from many other MBA programs is the level of experience and insights that students bring to the program. In most EMBA programs students' professional experience and expertise becomes an integral part of the curriculum. The EMBA is typically completed during the evenings or on weekends over a two year period. The EMBA truly offers a level of education not obtained in any other setting.

Joint or Dual MBA

Partnering your MBA program with another graduate program is called a joint-degree, or dual-degree. Most often, an MBA program is paired with one of the following:

  • law
  • engineering
  • technology
  • international studies
  • healthcare administration
  • public policy

Each program must be applied for separately. Usually, both programs will be taken at the same institution. Some cooperative or transferability arrangements between institutions exist.

A joint or dual degree takes less to complete than two separate degrees. Some of your classes will meet requirements in both programs and do not need to be taken twice. The additional program is the determining factor in total length, but many dual degrees take three or four years to finish.

Advantages of a Joint or Dual MBA Degree

The dual or joint degree is most appealing to people looking to change careers, or people who are early in the progression of their career. For example, computer programmer or other technical professional may seek additional education in business and engineering in order to re-enter the industry in another role.

The fact that undertaking a dual degree program allows one to earn two degrees faster than taking the programs separately is especially appealing to students who are looking to make a career change.

Distadvantages of a Joint or Dual MBA Degree

The drawback to a joint or dual degree is that it requires a person to take an extended absence from the workforce without pay. Thus is can be difficult for maintaining existing job skills and knowledge. Because of these factors, it may not be the most optimal choice for people who want to stay in their existing career path or cannot take the time off of work.

Specialty MBA Degrees

In addition to a standard MBA program, you may have the choice of a highly targeted program known as a specialty MBA. Specialty MBA programs have very specific focuses. For example:

  • Master of Computational Finance
  • Master of Industrial Administration
  • Master of Health Care/Hospital Administration
  • Master of Public Accountancy

While specialty programs offer extensive training as it relates to a specific field, they do not generally offer the same management training and background that a traditional MBA does.

There are some areas of business that may be very difficult or impossible to pursue without targeted training. If you are pursuing a career in one of these fields, you may find that rather than a standard MBA, the specialty MBA may be better for you.

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