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The Best Accelerated Online MBA Programs in 2023

The Best Accelerated Online MBA Programs in 2023

For students wanting to earn an MBA as quickly as possible, an accelerated online program might be the right choice. Take a look at our ranking of the fastest online MBA programs in the U.S. to determine which one is right for you.

Picture it: One year from now you are donning a cap and gown and — graduating with your MBA! You’ve worked hard, balanced a job and your personal life with a rigorous class schedule, and now you’re ready for the professional opportunities your MBA will bring you. And best of all, you did it all within one short year.

Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it’s not. Earning your MBA in one year or even 18 months is quite possible with an accelerated online MBA program. 

When you consider the fastest online MBA programs outlined on this page, you can complete your degree without having to relocate, and at a quicker-than-traditional pace — some within a year or 18 months. According to 2021 data from PayScale, MBA graduates earn an average of $2.3 million more across their lifetime, so this can be a great decision for your wallet. Keep reading to look at some of the best accelerated online MBAs and determine whether they’re a good fit for you.

Top Accelerated Online MBA Programs in 2023

You’ll find many accelerated online MBA programs out there, making it tough to decide which to choose. While you’ll need to account for personal factors, such as your preferred program format and if you’re eligible for in-state tuition, we’ve identified a few stand-out options. Here are some of the best online accelerated MBA programs for 2023:

  • Western Governor’s University

    Students have plenty of MBA options at WGU, which offers three distinct accelerated, year-long online MBA programs. You’ll choose from a traditional program, a healthcare management focus, or an IT management focus. While the program can be completed in a year, you can take more time if you need to, and you’ll be assigned a Program Mentor to help ensure you remain on track to complete your coursework according to your goals. Best of all, WGU surveys show that MBA grads report an average salary increase of $16,200 after completing their degree.

    The College of Business at WGU is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and tuition is charged per-term at $4,755 per six-month term. Applications are free online and accepted year-round.

  • Texas A&M International

    If you’re looking to complete your MBA in about a year, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) offers an accelerated, online MBA in management experience. Students will complete 30 credit hours of work in a total of 10 courses. This rigorous program provides lessons in business research methods, strategic management, financial statements, managerial economics, and financial management.

    You can choose from six start dates — two options in each summer, fall, and spring semester. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the online MBA at TAMIU costs Texas residents $367 per credit for a total MBA price of $11,010, including all fees. And if you’re coming to the MBA program without a business undergraduate degree, the school offers helpful prep-module courses to bring you up to speed.

  • Florida Atlantic University

    The fully-online MBA at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) will allow you to build your business leadership skills while learning from world-class faculty during eight-week terms. FAU’s MBA can be completed in 16-23 months, and you can choose one of 12 possible concentrations in addition to a core curriculum. Classes are asynchronous and comprised of recorded online lectures, presentations, discussion, and chats, meaning you can access materials at any time from anywhere with an internet connection. Applications are accepted online year-round.

    The FAU College of Business is accredited by the AACSB and is part of the state university system of Florida. As an online program, the accelerated MBA has a standard tuition of $800 per credit hour for all students, with fellowships and scholarships available.

  • National University

    The accelerated MBA at National University, formerly known as Northcentral University, offers a fully online education in business foundations, with 12 potential specializations geared towards business strategy, operations, and management. Students can also specialize in the business aspects of healthcare, criminal justice, and more. The accelerated MBA is not an alternative program, but instead is a rigorous scheduling option that can be applied to any specialization.

    National University is a private educational institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), and the business program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Applications are accepted year-round, and you should expect to devote 30-35 hours per week to study. Tuition is $960 per credit, and scholarships and aid are available.

  • South College

    South College offers an MBA with a concentration in leadership, available entirely online. Courses focus on development and implementation of interpersonal skills and leadership strategies to effectively lead teams and organizations. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (2.5 for conditional acceptance); those who have not completed an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject prior to making their application must pass a foundational business course with a grade of B or higher to begin the program.

    South College is a for-profit college that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and the business programs are accredited through International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). Scholarships and aid are available, including work-study, state grants, and awards.

Is an Accelerated MBA Right for Me?

Accelerated online MBA programs are unique, fast-paced, and specialized. As such, they might not be for everyone. But is this the right option for you? You’ll need to consider benefits and potential downsides, including time commitment, cost, your previous academic experience, and more. Take a look, and see what side of the pro/con divide you fall on when it comes to an accelerated MBA program:

  • Pros of an Accelerated MBA

    • Finish faster – The best-known advantage of an accelerated MBA is that you can graduate in as little as a year. This enables you to start applying for masters-caliber jobs and working sooner, while taking advantage of all the opportunities your MBA can bring you.
    • You don’t have to put your life on hold as long – An MBA is a lot of work, and many students will put off major life decisions, like buying a home or moving cities, while they’re studying. Because an accelerated online MBA takes less time, you’ll be able to pursue your dreams sooner.
    • Potential to save money – An accelerated online MBA can be a great way to save money on grad school. Between the money you’ll save not having to relocate to campus and the flexibility to work while you study, there are many ways to save while pursuing your degree.
    • Students in accelerated programs tend to be older – If you’re returning to school after a few years working, you may prefer to study with classmates closer to your age. Students in accelerated programs tend to be older, as they’re more likely to be in the same position as you.
    • Might be easier to find employment (completing an MBA in 12-15 months is a huge accomplishment and potential employers will take notice) – An accelerated MBA program is hard work and takes focus and discipline — and employers know that! Completing an advanced degree in 12, 15, or 18 months is an impressive accomplishment, which can impress your future employers when you’re interviewing.
    • Is good for people who already possess basic business skills – If you’ve already had a few years’ experience in the business world, you know the basics. That’s why an accelerated MBA can be a great choice to cut past introductory basics, saving you time and letting you get straight to new material.
  • Cons of a Faster MBA

    • Fewer school and program options – Accelerated MBA programs online are a specialized form of MBA, and not all schools offer them. If you’re looking for a wide variety of different programs to choose from, looking at accelerated programs may make that more difficult.
    • Quality of the program needs to be vetted more carefully – Because accelerated online MBAs are relatively new and less common, the body of information on program quality is smaller. This means you’ll have to do more research on your own to vet your program.
    • No internship requirement (which can be valuable experience) – Traditional MBA programs typically require an internship, usually over the summer. Many accelerated MBAs don’t. This means you may graduate with less real-world business experience under your belt, which can be a disadvantage in the job market.
    • Time commitment/intensity – Because an accelerated online MBA is a full MBA program compressed into a shorter time period, it can be intense. While your program length is shorter, you will likely be working longer, more intense hours every day while you’re in your MBA courses.
    • May not be ideal if you do not already have a basic background in business – If you’re newly graduated from undergrad or shifting careers from outside the business world, an accelerated program may not be ideal. The shorter timeframe means less time to cover the basics, which can be confusing for those new to the business world.

How Do I Choose an Accelerated Online MBA Program?

Once you’re aware of all the different accelerated online MBA programs available, choosing the right one for you can feel a little daunting. That’s why it’s good to consider all the different aspects of the programs you’re interested in before making a choice. 

Here are some important factors to weigh: 

  • Format

    Accelerated MBA programs come in a variety of different formats. There are online, on-campus, and hybrid programs, and within those, many schools will offer you the option of studying full- or part-time. Which program format is best for you will depend on your personal preferences and circumstances. Are you okay with relocating for an in-person program, or prefer to stay where you are? Will you be working while you study? How will family and personal responsibilities factor in? These are all worth considering as you research different programs.

  • Mode

    If you’re planning on studying online or through a hybrid program, consider what mode your classes will be delivered in. Synchronous classes are held at a set time, in real time, with other students. Asynchronous classes are recorded, and can be taken at any time within a set timeframe. Knowing which mode is best for you means knowing your personal learning style, how much interaction you want with professors and classmates, and perhaps most importantly, what your schedule outside the classroom will look like.

  • Cost

    With the price of grad school already high, it’s important to consider the cost of your accelerated online MBA. While tuition prices are the obvious point of comparison, it’s also a good idea to look at additional fees (technology fees, etc.) associated with the program, and any financial aid, scholarships, etc., you might be eligible for. It’s also worth considering if accelerated MBA programs online are available in your state university system. Being eligible for in-state tuition can save you considerable amounts of money during your MBA.

  • Accreditation

    It is vitally important to choose an accredited program for your online accelerated MBA. Accreditation means that your school has passed standards of rigor set out by a recognized third-party accreditation board. Accreditation is also what gives your degree legitimacy. If you want details on a school’s accreditation status, check out College Navigator from the National Center for Education Statistics. You can look up your school and find their accrediting body and accreditation status.

  • Specialization Offerings

    Do you have a particular interest in your MBA? Perhaps your dream is to start your own company or to enter the world of global finance. Whatever the case, a program with specialized course offerings can be great for students with highly specific interests. On the other hand, if you’re considering a career change, you may prefer a program with a strong generalist base to get you started. Either way, see what specialties the programs you’re interested in offer, and if they mesh well with your goals and interests.

  • Student Support

    Some people may not realize that online programs can still support their students, even though they’re far away. What form student support takes varies from program to program but can include counseling and mental health resources, one-on-one tutoring opportunities, financial aid resources, and more.

    While you may not know which support services you’ll need during your MBA, it’s a good idea to research what your school has to offer.

FAQs on Getting Your Online MBA Fast

Even if you’ve already researched accelerated MBA programs online, you may still have some questions. And that’s no wonder — getting an MBA, whether online or in person, is a major step. To help prepare yourself, here are some FAQs about earning an accelerated MBA online:

  • Is getting your MBA faster worth it?

    If you think that you can succeed in an accelerated MBA program, getting your MBA faster can absolutely be worth it. An accelerated degree can save you time and money, and it can be more convenient. However, if you think the intensity of the program and lack of internship opportunities will harm your success, a faster degree may not be worth it.

  • Are accelerated MBA degrees respected in the workplace?

    An accelerated MBA is an MBA — you just earned it faster. As such, it will be respected in any workplace where an MBA is relevant. However, it is crucial your accelerated MBA is from an accredited school, which is what gives your degree legitimacy and ensures it will be recognized by your future employers.

  • Is it more expensive to get an accelerated MBA?

    An accelerated MBA will typically be less expensive than a traditional MBA, mostly because you’re saving money on the costs of relocating to campus and can work alongside your studies. Actual tuition costs and fees vary widely from school to school.

  • Is an accelerated MBA equivalent to a regular MBA?

    An accelerated MBA from an accredited school is an MBA — period. While the curriculum may be slightly different than in a traditional MBA (no internship requirement, for instance, and classes that move at a faster pace), the degree is a legitimate MBA and will be recognized as such.

  • Can you complete an MBA in a year or less?

    While there are 15-month and 18-month accelerated MBA programs, many accelerated online MBA programs can be completed in a year or less. Generally, these accelerated programs require an intense level of study and a full class schedule, but you’ll graduate with your MBA in about a year.

  • Approximately how many hours per week of study does it take to complete an accelerated MBA?

    There are official hours of class time you will need to complete per week in your accelerated online MBA — often between 30 and 50, depending on the program. However, you should also account for how much time you will spend on independent study, which varies from person to person depending on your learning style.

  • Can you work while completing an accelerated MBA?

    One advantage of an accelerated online MBA is that you can work while you study. This can be at a remote job, or you can commute to the office while studying online. Bear in mind that your MBA program will require a major time and energy commitment, so be sure you can balance any work you take on with your academic responsibilities.

  • How does the curriculum differ in an accelerated MBA?

    Accelerated MBA programs online that offer accreditation must meet certain curriculum standards to be considered legitimate. However, you may spend less time covering the basics of the business world than in a traditional MBA. Further, while many traditional MBA programs require internship experience, accelerated MBAs often do not.