Full-Time Versus Part-Time MBA Programs
Full-time and part-time MBAs probably need the least amount of explanation. Both options generally consist of 36-48 credit hours, but you can complete a full-time MBA program in two years and a part-time degree in three to five years depending on your course load.
Program directors design full-time MBAs for students who are able to forego two years of paid employment to finish their degree more quickly. Because these students usually don't work while going to school, most programs feature an internship requirement to help them put their business knowledge and management skills into practice. Business experience isn't necessarily required to enroll full time, but admissions officers usually prefer candidates who've been in the workforce for a few years.
You can complete a full-time MBA program in two years and a part-time degree in three to five years depending on your course load.
Part-time MBAs are intended for working professionals, so students take one or two classes per term. In-person learners typically take night classes. Distance learners can sign in to their course management system at any convenient time to complete coursework.
Accelerated MBA Programs
One special type of full-time MBA is an accelerated-track program. You can potentially complete one of these degrees in a year, but it's important to understand which type of accelerated MBA you're applying for.
Accelerated Track 1: Faculty design the first variety of accelerated MBA for students who already hold a bachelor's degree in business, because it requires certain prerequisite courses in subjects such as statistics and economics. You might be able to take the prerequisites as non-degree classes at another college, but this is less common. These programs often begin with a condensed summer session before enrollees join second-year MBA students for the remainder of the academic year.
Accelerated Track 2: This type of accelerated program features shorter courses of seven to eight weeks, which allows you to take more of them in a year. This learning mode is more common for online degrees. Such degrees typically have multiple start dates each year, so you may not need to wait for a traditional fall semester to begin the program.
Executive MBA Programs
Program administrators pitch executive MBAs (EMBAs) to mid-career professionals who have plenty of business experience. Applicants are often managers who've reached leadership positions without a graduate degree but want an extra credential to help them rise even higher.
These programs typically take a hybrid format: classwork is online and part-time, but students usually meet periodically for intensive sessions where they can present projects, discuss business concepts, and network. This model requires a good deal of personal sacrifice — on top of a part-time course schedule and, presumably, full-time career, you'll typically need to use some vacation days from work to satisfy in-person requirements. This will leave you with less time for personal vacation and may involve traveling a considerable distance at your own expense, depending on where you live.
EMBA applicants are often managers who've reached leadership positions without a graduate degree but want an extra credential to help them rise even higher.