What is an accelerated MBA and should you pursue it?
An accelerated MBA, in a nutshell, is a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programme that can be taken within 10 months to a year – compared to traditional two or three year MBA programmes.
While it’s normal for MBA programmes to be completed within a year in Europe, it’s not the case in the US where MBA programmes are normally taken over two years. Accelerated MBAs are a more condensed and intense programme offered by some universities as a quicker alternative.
An accelerated MBA programme is not only shorter in duration, but it also allows students to skip core subjects in business and focus on electives tailored to their career goals.
Alternatively, some programmes allow students to take core courses over the summer, which qualifies them to join the second year of the programme and finish their course faster.
If you’ve already got a few years of business experience and are looking to further your career in leadership roles, an accelerated MBA is suitable for you as you won’t need to spend too much time deviating from your career while pursuing your master’s degree.
Some business schools offer a one-year accelerated MBA programme, where you can bypass the core curriculum and focus on courses that help you propel your career.
For example, if you’ve been working in financial services and have several years of working experience in the field, the accelerated MBA is a good way to fast track your education by taking elective courses in finance.
One particular drawback of the accelerated MBA is that you may miss experiential learning or internship opportunities when you take the fast track.
If you don’t want to miss out on this element of the MBA programme, choose a reputable one-year MBA programme that emphasises heavily on practical learning where students are given the chance for experiential learning, whether they’re in the part-time, one-year or two-year MBA programme.
How do you choose an accelerated MBA programme in the US?
One-year accelerated MBA programmes are offered by many reputable and Ivy League business schools. These are quality choices, but there is also high competition and may be out of your budget.
Just like with other MBA programmes, if you’re keen on applying for an accelerated MBA in the US, it’s important to ensure you’re not compromising on quality.
You may come across some programmes that are attractive because it promises that you can finish your MBA in a year at an affordable price — but this could mean the providers are more interested in processing more students than graduate outcomes and quality of instruction.
To ensure that you’re really getting the most bang for your buck (and saving time in the process), an Accelerated MBA must be accredited by a proper accreditation agency.
Do you need to take the GMAT?
Similar to other MBA programmes, not all business schools require you to take the GMAT for admission to an accelerated MBA course.
If you have sufficient business experience, you may be eligible for a waiver. This is particularly relevant for accelerated courses as they’re targeted to executives who already have a few years of experience and business acumen under their belts.
However, if you’ve already taken the GMAT, you can still submit your scores to help boost your chances and strengthen your application.