After you determine that earning an MBA degree is in your future the next step is to decide which type of MBA program best suits your lifestyle and career goals. Earning a MBA may be a good decision for professionals hoping to take their careers to the next level. The knowledge and skills gained in an MBA program might help enhance job performance and potential career opportunities. There are several different MBA program options available to students, these offerings are designed to help students customize their educational path, help prepare them to pursue potential career opportunities in their desired field, and create a learning environment that complements the students learning style and academic preferences.
Three common types of MBA programs designed to provide students with customized learning options are the JD/MBA, the executive MBA, and the traditional MBA.
The JD MBA
Students in a JD / MBA program engage in coursework that may help them earn both a law degree (Juris Doctorate) and a business degree (Master of Business Administration). Generally speaking, most JD / MBA programs last four years, although some schools have begun offering three-year programs. The dual degree may help you enhace your career in either law or business, and it might afford you more flexibility for switching careers. A JD / MBA might be particularly useful if you plan to pursue potential career opportunities in corporate law.
The Executive MBA
An executive MBA program is designed for individuals who have accumulated a significant amount of work experience. Students in an executive MBA program might come from a variety of professional backgrounds, from non-profits to the corporate world to government, and customarily work at their full-time job in addition to attending the program on a part-time basis. That means most classes are held at night or during the weekend.
Most students begin their executive MBA program with significant professional experience; ten to fifteen years is not uncommon, and some may even be mid-career. Generally speaking, the executive MBA serves to enhance and build upon a skill set that the student may already have, at least to some degree. The EMBA might be for you if you’re already in management (or own your own business) and you are looking to increase your knowledge or qualify for a promotion. If you work for a company, it’s quite possible that they’ll foot your tuition bill, provided you commit to remain in their employment for a specific amount of time.
Traditional MBA Programs: One Year MBA, Two Year MBA & Part-Time MBA Programs
Students applying to an MBA program shortly after earning an undergraduate degree often opt for the traditional, full-time, two-year MBA. Loss of earnings (due to full-time enrollment) at that stage in the game is not usually as significant as it might be in later years. Unlike the executive MBA, most two year MBA programs do not assume students have real world business experience. The traditional MBA may also be a good fit for professionals working in non-business related fields who hope to transition their current position into a more managerial role, or for those who would like to switch their career focus completely.
Accelerated one year MBA programs offer similar course to the traditional 2 year MBA, students in one year MBA programs typically take classes for the entire year. This means that while everyone else is on summer or winter break, individuals in a one year MBA program a diligently working their way towards earning their degree. Conversely, individuals enrolled in a part-time MBA program typically enroll in 2-3 classes a semester, they may take summer and winter courses to try to earn their degree faster, but most of the time individuals enrolled in part-time MBA programs take 3-4 years to complete their coursework.
The type of MBA program you choose to enroll in will depend on your unique background and qualifications, your educational and career goals, and your personal and financial circumstances. Earning any type of MBA degree may help you improve your ability to think and work in the professional world.