So you have decided to apply to MBA school because you feel the value of the degree and the doors that will open for you are worth the expense and effort involved. But what are the types of programs available to you and which program best suits your background and interests?
Different MBA Program Types
The program types are full-time MBA, part-time MBA, executive MBA, Masters of Management, and non-MBA degrees; these vary in program length, intended audience and other factors. These program types vary by scope, length, audience, etc. which we discuss later. Click here for MBA Rankings for these different program types. NYU Stern School of Business offers full-time MBA, part-time MBA and executive MBA with a useful MBA Program Comparison Chart to quickly ascertain the major underlying differences:
Most people apply to full-time MBA programs in which the MBA curriculum is completed in two years. The summer between the two academic years is spent in a summer internship where you can expect to gain skills in your chosen functional area or industry vertical and often times receive mentorship and guidance, such as in Amgen’s MBA Internship Program.
Joint Degree Programs
The MBA degree can be combined with other graduate degrees in which elective coursework from each degree qualifies for completion of the other advanced degree thereby allowing the students to complete both degrees on time or in some cases in an accelerated fashion. Examples of combined MBA degrees include MBA/JD (combined with Law), MBA/MD (combined with Medicine), MBA/MEng (combined with Engineering), MBA/DDS (combined with Dental), MBA/MIA (combined with Public Affairs), MBA/MPH (combined with Public Health), MBA/MPS (combined with Real Estate), MBA/MILR (combined with Industrial and Labor Relations), and MBA/MS (combined with Urban Planning, Applied Science, Journalism, Nursing, Social Work or whatever the MS is in). Almost every school has a web page dedicated to different Dual Degree Programs like the Darden Dual Degrees web page.
Certain schools have accelerated programs in which the MBA curriculum is completed in completed in less than the standard two years. Accelerated business school programs, like Kellogg’s One Year Program, Columbia’s Accelerated Option and Emory’s One-Year MBA are for those MBA applicants with an undergraduate business degree or at least having completed a certain minimum number of courses in accounting, statistics, finance, economics, marketing and operations. Other programs like Cornell’s One Year MBA Program look for applicants with advanced degrees. The one year program is also very popular in Europe with INSEAD’S program being the most well-known.
Future Leaders Programs (No Prior Experience)
Certain business schools offer specialized programs for applicants directly applying out of college. The schools are looking for future leaders who have strong grades, test scores, and undergraduate leadership and impact whether in extracurricular activities, athletics, arts or other fields. Students within HBS’ 2+2 Program are granted deferred admission; they spend two years working in a company or nonprofit organization prior to attending HBS for two years. Students in Yale’s Silver Scholars Program graduate in three years, attending class for the first and third years while spending the middle year in a full-time internship. Stanford GSB offers deferred admission to college seniors of one to three years.
Part Time MBA
The part-time MBA is for those MBA applicants who wish to work while attending school. Students typically take two classes per term and complete the MBA curriculum graduate in three years, but often have the option of taking more classes to graduate early. Classes are taught in the evenings and weekends to accommodate work schedules.
Advantages of part-time programs over full-time programs is that employers are more likely to pay a portion of the tuition, the ability to remain employed, not having to relocate, applying MBA studies to your job and vice versa. Also, these programs are often less selective than their full-time MBA counterparts so certain marginal candidates can gain access to a prestigious MBA school by successfully applying to their part-time program.
The disadvantages are that you are might not have full access to bidding for the most popular on-campus job interviews (e.g. consulting, investment banking, etc.), more limited financial aid/merit scholarships available, and a hard time transferring from the part-time program to the full-time program because MBA Admissions Committees do not want to have a back door.
Executive MBA (or EMBA Program)
Executive MBA’s are also for those MBA applicants who wish to work while attending school. Applicants are often sponsored by their companies. This sponsorship entails both financial commitments and time off to take classes as the program structures are usually Friday and Saturday classes every two weeks. Some schools like Columbia offer a Saturday-only option that meets weekly.
This sponsorship is favorably factored into the MBA Admissions Committees Evaluation Criteria.
EMBA students are usually older than part-time MBA students bringing a minimum of 8 years management experience. But for those MBA schools without part-time programs, like Wharton, the average is lower than at business schools offering both part-time and executive MBA degrees.
Schools are branching out with their Executive MBA programs offering them in other regions, like Kellogg’s Miami Executive MBA program and other countries like Chicago GSB’s Executive MBA which is offered in London and Hong Kong in addition to Chicago. Other schools partner up to offer a Global Executive EMBA like Columbia, London Business School and HKU Business School in their EMBA-Global Asia program.
When evaluating non-MBA degree program it is important to weigh more heavily career placement following your program as part of your MBA School Selection criteria. These degree programs often do not have the flexibility of the MBA to facilitate career transitions immediately after school or later in your career or might not give you the salary boost if you do not have sufficient experience prior to entering into the program.
Masters in Management (MiM)
The Masters of Management degree is geared towards students with typically one or two years worth of experience. In addition to the MBA curriculum more basic classes are taught on different financial tools, career development, etc. London Business School’s Programme is considered one of the best. When evaluating Masters of Management programs assess employability by reading career reports as part of your MBA research. You will have less experience so you will be even more dependent on the school’s career services.
Financial Engineering Programs (or Quantitative Finance) (MFE)
Financial Engineering programs use quantitative methods and tools to solve finance-related programs. Schools will want applicants to have a strong mathematics background, computer programming experience, familiarity with statistics and econometrics tools, etc. Graduates of these programs work in risk management firms, hedge funds, etc. One drawback of the degree, though, is the limited flexibility to switch into non-quantitative roles given the MFE is less known than the MBA is. Haas’ Master of Financial Engineering Program is excellent. You can find out more about these degrees including a comparison of programs at the IAQF Guide to Studying Financial Engineering.
Executive Education consists of classes on a whole host of business-related topics that often mirror courses taught in the MBA school. The difference is that students do not receive a degree but sometimes are granted a certificate upon completing a certain number of classes in a specific functional area, industry concentration, etc. These concentrations also mirror majors and specializations offered by the MBA school but with usually less classes. Harvard Business School Executive Education is one of the most well-known.
Latest posts by Michael Cohan (see all)
- 2017 AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey – Win $500! - April 17, 2017
- Dartmouth Tuck Interview with MBA Associate Director Kristin Roth - August 30, 2016
- Wharton MBA Essay Questions 2016-2017 - August 1, 2016
- Chicago Booth MBA Essay Questions 2016-2017 - August 1, 2016
- MIT Sloan MBA Essay Questions 2016-2017 - July 23, 2016