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The Fastest Way to an MBA

by Neil Kokemuller, studioD

A Master of Business Administration degree can lead to greater career options, job promotions, better pay and many intangible benefits. Thus, many prospective MBA students are anxious to earn their degree as quickly as possible. A few common factors, including the program requirements, type and your approach to scheduling, impact the efficiency of your degree.

Credit Requirements

One of the simplest ways to expedite your MBA degree experience is to pick a program with fewer credit requirements. MBA programs usually range from 30 to 60 credit hours. Thus, selecting a school that offers a program closer to the 30 credit standard would naturally decrease your time to graduation. You have to weigh this advantage against the more limited courses and the reputation of the particular school and degree.

Program Type

The program format you choose to earn your degree also affects your timeframe. You can often choose between a full-time MBA and a part-time or evening program. Going to school full-time gives you the quickest path to completion. This normally involves taking 12 to 15 credit hours each semester. Even in a 48 to 60 credit program, you can usually finish within two years taking classes full-time. Part-time programs usually involve taking one to two classes each semester while you continue to work.


You can also take advantage of some scheduling options to expedite your coursework whether you are taking the full-time or part-time program. Full-time students can often take a full summer load, which can shave a semester off the standard two-year program completion. Additionally, many schools offer "winterim" or between term classes where you might meet all day for four Saturdays or in another condensed format. This allows you to squeeze in an extra class or two at irregular times.

Additional Tips

Taking advantage of several other opportunities can also contribute to faster time-to-completion. Some schools offer online courses for MBA students. Even working full-time, this may allow you to take a heavier course load than a typical part-time student. Some business schools also offer unique five year BBA/MBA programs. These are pre-planned programs that allow an undergraduate business student to complete graduate coursework while finishing up undergrad requirements.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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