What to Expect From One-Year Accelerated MBA Programs

| Melissa Sartore

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A one-year online MBA offers an affordable, accelerated pathway to grow as a business professional and succeed in today's workforce.

Accelerated MBAs provide a fast-track career advancement for business professionals looking for a quick, affordable return on investment. While traditional MBA program last two years, online MBAs allow for accelerated degree options. Many schools offer online MBAs with the same classes as a two-year degree condensed into an accelerated one-year timeline.

Online MBAs that last one year may not meet everyone's needs. A one-year MBA may require full-time student status, with online programs often incorporating some local residency requirements. Scroll down to learn how to decide if a one-year online MBA aligns with your personal and professional aspirations.

What Is a One-Year MBA?

A one-year online MBA consolidates a traditional MBA curriculum into just 12 months, allowing students to get a jump start on advanced careers in business. Synchronized coursework offered along a cohort model spans 4-8 weeks, and learners and instructors interact through group projects, discussion forums, and online lectures.

An accelerated online MBA requires a significant investment of time and effort. Prestigious business schools have turned toward offering online MBAs, giving learners the chance to earn a well-regarded, credible degree at an affordable price. Along with only having to pay one year of degree-related expenses, students can also find programs that cost one lump sum.

Pros and Cons of an Accelerated MBA

The pros and cons of an accelerated MBA demonstrate how the degree meets the needs of different types of learners. Students often complete coursework with a cohort, allowing for the development of a cohesive, familiar learning environment. However, by keeping students in the same groups until graduation, cohorts may keep enrollees from interacting with a more diverse student body.

Additionally, one-year MBAs rarely allow students to specialize in one area. Consider the following pros and cons while exploring online one-year MBAs.


Coursework mirrors traditional MBAs and is offered on a shorter timeline Cohort programs facilitate camaraderie among students and instructors Often more affordable, with flat tuition rates and fees Shorter pathway to career advancement No thesis requirement


Few specialization options available Limited networking opportunities when offered as a cohort model May require full-time status without the ability to keep working Admission requires previous work experience Individuals who want to advance to a doctoral program benefit from a master's degree with a thesis option

What Should I Expect in an Accelerated MBA Program?

Coursework in a one-year online MBA includes business fundamentals like accounting, finance, and marketing. Enrollees also study strategic management and organizational behavior in order to develop a holistic understanding of the business landscape.

Elective classes may allow learners to specialize their MBA, but many one-year online MBAs do not provide this flexibility. Due to the nature of accelerated degrees, online MBAs rarely include thesis requirements. Instead, students take part in final projects or comprehensive exams at the end of the program.

Accelerated online MBAs include classes that typically last 4-8 weeks. Students may take part in daily online class sessions, completing homework on their own time. Due to an MBA degree's condensed timeline, assignments, assessments, and projects require timely completion.

What's the Difference Between an EMBA and an Accelerated MBA?

An accelerated MBA emphasizes business fundamentals and often requires full-time enrollment. While some one-year online MBAs may allow students to maintain employment, learners in executive MBAs (EMBAs) typically remain in the workforce while earning their degrees.

An EMBA empowers students with knowledge and skills they can immediately take back to their positions as they work toward or within managerial and leadership roles. Learners can take EMBA classes online, during the evenings, or on weekends.

Are Accelerated MBAs Less Prestigious?

MBAs establish their prestige through their curriculums and graduate performance in the workforce. While an accelerated MBA requires less time in the classroom, these programs hold merit when compared with traditional options.

An accelerated MBA delivers the same courses, skills, and degree as a traditional MBA. Top-tier business schools offer one-year MBAs, attesting to their reputability in the business world. Students should consider which accelerated MBA best meets their needs personally and professionally.

Financial Considerations of an Accelerated MBA

Accelerated MBA programs often require full-time enrollment. This leaves little opportunity for students to keep working, potentially limiting their ability to pay for the degree. If learners cannot stay out of the workforce for that long, an accelerated MBA may not be the right choice.

While traditional and executive MBAs span two years or more — potentially incurring unexpected added costs along the way — most accelerated MBAs allow students to know the program cost when they start their degree. Learners may find accelerated MBAs that charge flat-rate tuition and fees to be more affordable than traditional or executive programs.

Common Questions About Accelerated MBA Programs

true What Are the Best Accelerated MBA Programs?

The best accelerated MBA programs match their students' personal needs and professional goals. Many top-tier business schools offer one-year MBAs.

true Are There Online Accelerated MBA Programs That Don't Require the GMAT?

Many accelerated MBAs accept students without requiring the GMAT. Even schools that request GMAT scores may waive this requirement based on work experience.

true Can You Do an Accelerated MBA Program Online?

Yes. Many schools offer one-year online MBAs. Some programs suggest that degree-seekers enroll full time, making it difficult to maintain employment while pursuing the degree.

true How Do You Choose an Online Accelerated MBA Program?

Choosing an online accelerated MBA requires careful consideration of cost, curriculum, time commitment, and career opportunities.

Melissa Sartore holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her BA and MA in history are from Western Illinois University. A medievalist by training, she has published on outlawry in medieval England with additional publications on outlaws in popular culture and across geographic and historical boundaries.

Header Image Credit: Hiraman | Getty Images

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