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Could You Benefit from an Accelerated MBA?

My program at Syracuse University was an accelerated MA. I started going to school ahead of fall semester, and finished up during the summer semester almost a year later. I still had all of the credits required for a Master’s degree, and I still completed a rather challenging project (plus took more than one class requiring a large research paper). However, by not taking summers off, and participating in Syracuse’s intense program, I finished my MA in one year.

Professional programs are well-suited to accelerated graduate degrees, and MBA programs are starting to jump on the bandwagon. Most MBA programs are two years, but it’s now possible to participate in a one-year program at some schools.

Benefits of an Accelerated MBA

If you are interested in the MBA, you can consider an accelerated program. There are advantages to such programs, including:

Interestingly, there are indications that it’s possible to earn as much with a one-year MBA as with a two-year MBA. Indeed, those who participate in a one-year program can see an 80% hike in their pre-MBA base salaries [3], as compared to a 73% hike for two-year graduates. That means a faster return on investment — and a better one since the overall cost for an accelerated MBA is lower than a “regular” program.

If you want to take the fast-track to high pay in the business world, it might be worth it to consider an accelerated MBA.

Downside to an Accelerated MBA

Of course, there are downsides to the accelerated MBA. One of the biggest downsides is the fact that you don’t get the benefit of summer internships and international programs when you join an accelerated program. If you are looking for an “in” with a company through an internship, you might be out of luck if you participate in an accelerated program.

Another issue is that you might not make as many friends with a faster program. Part of the advantage of attending a prestigious MBA program is to network with people who can provide you with contacts later on. An extensive alumni network is one of the things that make certain graduate degrees worth the money [4]. If you want to have a more complete MBA experience, it might make sense to complete a two-year program, rather than go the accelerated route.

What Should You Do?

As always, what you should do comes down to your individual situation, and your career goals. Think about what you want to accomplish with your MBA. Is it something that will get you a raise? Will it help you as you start your own business [5]? In such cases, it might make sense to just go for the accelerated program and start benefiting from your new degree.

However, if you are looking for a fresh career start, and want a new job, it might make sense to fo for the two-year program, since you will receive some more experience with internships and networking.

(Photo: star5112 [6])