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What Is an Accelerated Online MBA?

For professionals who need an MBA for career advancement but are hesitant to set their lives back for years, the accelerated one-year MBA is just the right solution.

The value proposition is compelling to many working professionals: Earn an MBA online with the academic rigor, prestige and employability of a two-year, campus-based MBA in half the time — and possibly at a fraction of the tuition.

Demand is booming in the United States and around the world for accelerated online MBA degrees. The format has become the norm in Europe, and, globally, at least 90 accredited business schools now offer this program.

Aside from the value, what are the primary drivers of the one-year MBA’s explosive growth? What makes it attractive to employers and employees, and will the accelerated trend continue as long as both parties stand to benefit?

Alternatives to the One-Size-Fits-All MBA Have Emerged

Online technology has been the catalyst for many changes in higher education. Business schools are using it to innovate program delivery by offering MBA options that work for a wider range of students. Employers are now working more closely with universities to help develop programs that meet the needs of working professionals. This has resulted in the development of specialized (industry-specific), executive and accelerated MBA program options, in addition to traditional two-year programs.

Top programs like Northern Kentucky University’s online Master of Business Administration combine online delivery with a one-year accelerated format to provide the flexibility working professionals demand. The AACSB-accredited program consists of 16 courses, most of which count as two credits. The courses last five weeks apiece, and total 33 credit hours. Students can complete the program in as few as 12 months.

As a student in this program, you will choose two of these three stacks:

Finance – Understand the principles of finance in a corporate setting. Enhance your knowledge of corporate finance, investments, security analysis, international financial management and more.

Leadership – Explore leadership and organizational change as the key components of effective management. Develop leadership competencies to transform organizations to ensure current and future success.

Innovation Through Competitive Intelligence – Broaden your perspective on ideation and innovation strategies, formulating accurate competitive intelligence techniques and finding value for organizations.

A Look at the Profile of an Accelerated MBA Student

One way to assess whether the one-year accelerated format will meet your needs is to understand what kind of professional chooses this option. Recently, the Wall Street Journal conducted a survey to create a profile of accelerated MBA program graduates. Here is what they found:

Accelerated MBA Student Profile

Median Age: 29.

Median Years’ Experience: 6.

Median Years’ Management Experience: 2.

Median Pre-MBA salary: $55,000.

Median Post-MBA salary: $90,000.

Percentage who said they got a promotion post-MBA: 78 percent.

This profile represents professionals in the early to middle stages of their business careers, with leadership aspirations and/or experience. The availability of this type of program is enabling many employers to fast-track current employees for positions of greater authority. It is also expanding the external supply of qualified candidates.

From the student’s perspective, attaining an MBA is now financially feasible for more working professionals, with or without employer reimbursement. An accelerated online program saves a student from a variety of costs associated with traditional campus-based MBA programs:

Potential Savings With Accelerated MBA

  • Tuition and fees.
  • Room and board.
  • Interest charges on student debt.
  • Driving and parking expenses.
  • Dining out expenses.

Not only does an accelerated program save on these expenses, but it achieves a faster return on investment. Graduates of these programs also tend to receive the same salaries as graduates from two-year programs, further reducing the appeal of the longer time frame for many prospective students.

Fortune writer David Bogoslaw frames the financial considerations of a traditional MBA: “Once you add in the lost income from quitting your job, the interest payments on student loans, and the ever-rising tuition and fees, the total cost of the degree can approach $350,000.”

If you are losing out on career opportunities to MBA graduates, make the most of your prime years of leadership potential — and speed up your career trajectory — by enrolling in an accelerated online MBA program. Your employer and many others have a vested interest in your decision.

Learn more about the NKU online MBA program.


U.S. News & World Report: How to Choose Among Accelerated, Executive, and Online M.B.A.’s

Fortune/CNN: The Rise of the One-Year MBA

Poets and Quants: Has The One-Year MBA Come Of Age?

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