One of the best ways to move up in a business career or succeed as an entrepreneur is to earn a master’s degree in business administration (MBA). Attending classes full-time or even part-time in person isn’t always feasible, however, but accelerated MBA programs online can be a viable choice.
Whether an MBA is earned on campus or online, the degree is versatile and typically allows students to specialize in their area of interest. Plus, with an online accelerated MBA program, students gain the same wealth of information they would in the traditional way. They’ll learn from the same professors and curriculum as other students.
Today, degrees earned in virtual classrooms aren’t considered less valuable in the way that “correspondence” or degrees “by mail” once were. In fact, an online MBA from an accredited college or university is equal to any other MBA. And there’s no need to mention how the MBA was earned on a resume or CV.
- Pros and Cons of Accelerated MBA Programs vs. Regular
- How to Know When an Accelerated MBA Program Online Is the Right Option
- Salary and Career Information for Graduates of Online Accelerated MBA Programs
- Online Accelerated MBA Programs and Online Accelerated MBA Programs No GMAT
Pros and Cons of Accelerated MBA Programs vs. Regular
Any course of action has both negatives and positives to consider. Deciding the best way to earn an MBA is no different.
The first decision is whether to earn an MBA online or in the regular, on-campus way, and that means examining the pros and cons of each. The next step is to decide between a two-year program or an accelerated course of study that can take anywhere from 10 to 18 months.
Both virtual and on-campus courses have advantages and drawbacks. Most colleges or universities offer the same or similar courses either way, so that’s not a concern. The differences are in the way the information is delivered and whether it’s suitable for each student.
Pros of Online Study
- Flexibility for work and home responsibilities
- No commute, which saves time and money
- Ability to travel while studying
- Online technology may develop new skills
- Practice using and improving online communication skills
- Sharpen time management skills
- Tuition may cost less than regular courses
Cons of Online Study
- Requires rigorous motivation, self-discipline, and time management
- Distractions can be challenging
- Technical learning curve may be steep
- Fewer opportunities for in-person networking
- Technical requirements may prove challenging or even exclude some students
- Instructors may not be well-trained in presenting online material
If a prospective student decides to earn an online MBA, the next decision is whether to enroll in a standard two-year program or an accelerated program.
An accelerated MBA program online requires 10–18 months to complete. It’s intensive, and the commitment required can mean a full- or part-time job isn’t possible. The good news is that the goal is reached quickly.
Pros of Online Accelerated MBA Programs
- Less time away from work
- Tuition may be employee sponsored
- Immersion can mean faster learning and greater retention
- Networking for students with similar goals and experience
- Affordability and flexibility
- Self-discipline and time management improvement
Cons of Online Accelerated MBA Programs
- Professional work experience may be required
- Less time to network or form relationships
- Internships are uncommon
- Clear goals must be established early
- The intense pace may not be suitable for all learners
How to Know When an Accelerated MBA Program Online Is the Right Option
An accelerated MBA program online isn’t for everyone. In fact, someone with a recent bachelor’s degree and little or no professional experience might not qualify. This is because fast-track MBAs often skip foundational courses or basic concepts in advanced courses to save time. Students are expected to already have a certain level of experience in those areas.
Online accelerated MBA programs are great choices for people who want to remain in their current position or field and strengthen their ability to move up. They’re also suitable for people who want to pursue entrepreneurship and own their own business. No matter the goal, an MBA enhances business knowledge, develops advanced leadership skills, and increases earning power.
In some cases, an employer may pay tuition with the expectation that a promising employee will remain at the company in an upper-level management or leadership position. Others may experience a job loss and decide to upgrade skills for better earning capacity. By taking only 12–18 months to earn an MBA, less time is spent away from full-time earnings.
Finally, cost is important for many people. Accelerated MBA programs online tend to cost less than a two-year online degree or regular program.
Salary and Career Information for Graduates of Online Accelerated MBA Programs
Salaries and career opportunities can vary widely for graduates of accelerated MBA programs online. Typically, salaries are higher and competition fierce in desirable metropolitan areas, such as New York City or San Francisco. Conversely, opportunities may be limited in outlying suburbs and small towns where salaries are often lower. However, locations with a high concentration of industry or business, regardless of other factors, may offer higher salaries to attract the best candidates.
Salaries and opportunities also vary by industry. Managerial positions in finance, marketing, accounting, human resources, health care, sales, IT, business operations, and logistics are just a few that often require MBAs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides salary information on most positions. For example, “the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $73,560 in May 2020.” That means half of all accountants and auditors in the U.S. earned less than $73,560, and half earned more. It also means “the lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $128,680.” The higher the salary, the higher the level of experience and education.
Selected Occupations, Median Salaries, and Growth
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are median salaries and expected growth during the period 2020–2030 for the following occupations. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of experience are required. In many cases, however, an MBA is usually necessary to reach the highest earnings.
- Top executives: $107,680 per year with average growth
- Human resources managers: $121,220 per year with average growth
- Computer and information systems managers: $151,150 per year with faster than average growth
- Management analysts: $87,660 per year with faster than average growth
- Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers: $141,490 per year with average growth
- Computer network architects: $116,780 per year with slower than average
Online Accelerated MBA Programs and Online Accelerated MBA Programs No GMAT
Following are some of the best universities and business schools that offer accelerated MBA programs online. All are accredited by the Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), which imposes a global standard on business, accounting, and related institutions at the post-secondary level.
Tuition costs are sourced from college or university websites, and they may or may not include associated fees. Books, necessary supplies, or other expenses are not included.
The Dauch College of Business and Economics at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, is fully accredited by the ACBSP. Its online accelerated MBA is top-ranked in the U.S., and over 5,000 people have graduated with MBA degrees from Ashland University.
Students may choose from more than 12 specializations, including accounting, business analytics, project management, management information systems, and entrepreneurship among others. Customization is also possible with nine hours of electives or choices from special topics.
Curriculum: The accelerated one-year program consists of 30 credit hours spread over six sessions. It can be extended to 16 months if needed.
Requirements: A completed undergraduate degree in any field and acceptable GMAT scores are required. The GMAT may be waived with sufficient work experience. Students may attend from anywhere in the U.S., and international students are accepted with specific requirements.
Cost of program: Tuition is $34,650 and includes a pre-paid Verizon MiFi hotspot. Financial aid and employer reimbursement service are also available.
The Drexel University LeBow College of Business in Philadelphia, PA, offers an online accelerated MBA program that’s widely recognized for its excellence. It’s AACSB-accredited and offers three different time frames for completion.
All three options include required courses in accounting, finance, analytics, economics, organizational behavior, and marketing, among others. Customized concentrations and graduate-level minors can be chosen in areas such as supply chain and real estate management.
Curriculum: The 12-month option is designed for people with solid professional experience in their chosen field of study. It features four 10-week quarters and does not offer an internship. However, the 15- and 18-month MBA programs provide additional professional development and internships.
Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in any major with a 3.0 GPA and four-seven years of work experience is preferred. GMAT is required, but an acceptable GRE score may suffice. Both tests may be waived based on undergraduate major and GPA, as well as work experience and certifications. Upper-level, completed degrees may also count toward a GMAT waiver.
Cost of program: The program costs $63,994 or $1,306 per credit for 49 credits. Financial aid is available plus special rates for alumni, military members, and employee or professional organization partnerships.
East Carolina University
Since 2005, East Carolina University’s College of Business has offered an online MBA, the first in North Carolina. Located in Greenville, the college has been AACSB accredited since 1967.
The time required for completion of the accelerated MBA varies. A total of 18 courses is required with seven foundation courses, but students with equivalent undergraduate courses or professional experience can often waive some or all foundation courses, which shortens the program length.
The program is flexible, whether 100% online, on campus, or a hybrid. No additional application is required to change from one form of attendance to another.
Curriculum: In addition to foundation courses, eight standard courses are required, plus three electives. These include courses in accounting, finance and insurance, marketing and supply chain management, hospitality management, sustainable tourism, and others.
Requirements: An undergraduate GPA of 2.7 is required, plus a GMAT score of 450+ or GRE. The test may be waived based on entrance exam scores, professional experience, an advanced degree, and other factors.
Cost of program: The cost is $15,000 or less, depending on course waivers. North Carolina residents pay $1,243 per class, while non-residents pay $3,434. Financial assistance and scholarships are available.
Emporia State University
The Emporia State University School of Business is located in Emporia, Kansas. Founded in 1863, the university is dedicated to acceptance, inclusion, and equal opportunity access for all on-campus students and students enrolled in their accelerated MBA programs online.
Core classes include quantitative analysis of business decisions, advanced financial management, behavioral aspects of management, and marketing management, among others. Customization of the online accelerated MBA program is possible with elective courses such as systems analysis and design, electronic marketing, and consumer behavior. MBA concentrations are also available in information systems, marketing, consumer behavior, and more.
Curriculum: Courses are presented online in seven-week terms spread over 12 months. Foundational classes in accounting and finance are required for those without an undergraduate business degree.
Requirements: A bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA is required. Lower GPAs may be acceptable with approved professional or educational experience.
Cost of program: In-state and out-of-state students pay $11,979, including fees, for the required 33 credit hours ($363 per credit hour or $1,089 per course).
Fitchburg State University
Fitchburg State is a mid-sized public university located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. The school’s programs are accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) and the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Fitchburg State’s online accelerated MBA program focuses on participation, discussion, and collaboration. On-campus faculty also coordinate and teach online courses.
Core courses include organizational behavior and development, corporate finance, accounting practices for managers, strategic management, and others. Students may choose a concentration in areas such as leadership and culture, management theory and process, and selected topics in management.
Curriculum: The course can be completed in 12 months. Six specializations are offered in management, accounting, marketing, supply chain management, healthcare management, and human resources management.
Requirements: No GMAT is required. A bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.8 is preferred. However, professional work history and a letter of recommendation may be considered if lower.
Cost of program: The program costs $12,510 ($417 per credit hour or $1,251 per course). Financial aid is available. Tuition rates are the same for in-state and out-of-state students.
Located in Farmland, Virginia, Longwood University is situated in a rural area and has a small student enrollment of just under 5000. It was established in 1839 and was originally known as the Farmville Female Seminary Association.
The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) while the College of Business and Economics at Longwood is fully accredited by the AACSB.
Curriculum: The online accelerated MBA can be completed in 10 months with 31 credit hours. Core program courses include leadership, group dynamics and team building, managerial economics, strategic marketing, information technology, and more.
Requirements: No GMAT is required in most cases. A bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA is preferred. Professional experience is considered for lower GPAs, and a GMAT score of at least 400 is required for GPAs less than 2.5.
Cost of program: $12,338 in-state and $12,648 for out-of-state students.
Mississippi College’s School of Business is located in Clinton, Mississippi, part of the Jackson metropolitan region. Founded in 1946, it’s fully accredited by the AACSB and is the oldest MBA program in the area. Nearly all faculty members hold Ph.D.s in their respective fields and draw from their own business experience for teaching and mentoring students.
Their accelerated MBA program online is designed for those already working in professional capacities who want to progress further. Core courses focus on areas such as accounting for business, global leadership, and law and ethics in business, among others.
Curriculum: Ten courses (30 credits) are taken in eight-week segments. The program is flexible, whether fully online, on campus, or a hybrid. Three prerequisite courses are required for students without undergraduate business degrees.
Requirements: No GMAT is required for students with a bachelor’s degree and 3.0 GPA or higher plus professional experience. GPAs lower than 3.0 require GMAT and three years of related work experience for acceptance.
Cost of program: The cost is $19,350 ($645 per credit hour).
Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is one of 11 universities in Texas that are part of the Texas A&M University System. The College of Business is situated on its own island, just off the southern Texas Gulf Coast. Nicknamed “The Island University,” it’s part of one of the largest universities in the U.S., with over 120,000 students each year.
The College of Business is accredited by the AACSB in both accounting and business.
Basic required courses for the accelerated MBA program online include organizational behavior and theory, software-based business solutions, marketing management, and others. Electives include entrepreneurship, leadership, and social media marketing.
Students can choose concentrations in accounting, data analytics, healthcare administration, and international business.
Curriculum: The program can be completed in 12–20 months (30 credit hours). Seven-week terms start several times each year.
Requirements: No GMAT or GRE is required with a bachelor’s (3.0 GPA) or master’s degree and a grade of B or higher in college-level algebra or other advanced mathematics. GMAT or GRE is required with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Cost of program: $13,066 ($1,307 per class). Financial aid and scholarships are available. Distance fee waivers may be applied.
Located in Troy, Alabama, Troy is a state university with over 16,000 students. Accredited by the ACBSP and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCC), Troy has been committed since 1950 to supporting military members and their families by offering military-specific scholarships.
Troy offers the accelerated MBA program online, on campus, or both.
The MBA degree is offered in general management as well as in finance, systems and data analytics, and international management. Concentrations are also available.
Curriculum: Courses (31 credits total) are offered in nine-week terms. With an undergraduate business degree, students can complete the program in one year.
Requirements: GMAT or GRE is required plus a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.5 GPA or a 3.0 GPA in the last 30 semester hours. GMAT/GRE may be waived with a master’s degree or higher.
Cost of program: The MBA costs $475 per credit hour, with a total of 31 credit hours. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Discounts available for partner employees.
University of Florida
Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida is located in the bustling town of Gainesville in the North Central part of the state. Both UF and Warrington have excellent reputations in higher education, and admission is competitive.
Warrington is AACSB accredited, and the accelerated MBA program online is equivalent to their two-year, on-campus degree.
Although all course material is delivered online, some travel is required. New students must attend an in-person orientation, and either an on-campus experiential course or an immersion course is required.
Curriculum: Courses are completed in 16 months with 32 credit hours. The program is a cohort-based system in which students are part of a group that continues through the courses together in a specific order. Four electives may be chosen as a concentration and can be taken online, as a one-week course on campus, or as a Global Immersion Experience (GIE).
Requirements: GMAT (average candidate score is 600) and a bachelor’s degree in business with core foundational courses are required. Two years of full-time professional experience is also expected.
Cost of program: The cost of the program is $49,205. Financial aid, scholarships, and GI Bill/military tuition are available. Payment schedules and assistance for employer tuition can be arranged.
The Princeton Review, “5 Reasons to Get Your MBA Online”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook
University of Illinois Springfield, “Strengths and Weaknesses of Online Learning”