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Today there are over 1, 250 different MBA programmes offered all over the world. Many of these have been developed to cater to regional or specific commercial needs. There is no standard set for the content of an MBA programme except for the division between core and elective courses. Several types of MBA programmes are available and students should make their choice depending on their situations, interests, objectives and time available to devote to their studies.

Choosing the length of a programme is important when considering the cost of forgone income from work and living expenses. We can classify MBA programmes into three main types: full-time, part-time and Executive MBA.


This is the classic MBA programme, which has a balance between lecture courses and practical academic work (case studies or management simulation). The majority of students who receive this diploma do so with the interest of mastering areas of management like marketing, finance, accounting etc…This type of programme attracts students with vast variety of professional goals, from varying backgrounds.

  • The full-time, two-year MBA

This is the classic American MBA which usually takes between 18-24 months to be completed. During the first year the students have the chance to gain more in-depth theoretical knowledge while the second year is devoted to more practical training. Many course options are usually offered within this type of programme.

  • The full-time, one-year MBA

Some full time programmes last only one year, between 12-16 months. These programmes are more demanding because they are condensed but the advantage is that a student can spend less time away from work.

The European MBA is typically a one year programme. Students may have less time to study difficult business issues in depth, but the pressure they experience in a one-year programme does prepare them well preparation for their business careers in the future.


Classes are usually offered at night time and on weekends for part-time programmes. That is the most attractive choice for those who cannot or do not wish to stop working while earning their postgraduate degree. It has also been designed for students who are extremely busy and work in environments where an MBA is held in high esteem. About 30 % of the MBA programmes are part-time.

The vast majority of the part-time students have part or all of their expenses underwritten by their employers. There is no set length of time for completion of these courses. Each business school determines the length and style of its part-time MBA programmes. They vary from two to five years but most of the programmes last two to three years maximum. They were developed as a response to the significant number of potential MBA students who could not or did not want to give up full-time employment. These programmes, generally offer the same compulsory core courses but may offer fewer electives.

Despite its great success, part-time MBA receives some criticism. Because most part-time students continue working full-time they may run into scheduling difficulties, or other work-related problems. It is true that those students participating in a part-time MBA programme miss out on some activities available through campus life. However, in terms of business and job recruitment a part-time degree is not considered less legitimate than the full-time programme.


This is a programme designed specifically for people who have minimum of 5 years’ professional experience. Executive programmes are normally much shorter than the other ones. Admission into this type of MBA is very competitive, more so than the classical MBA. Those who complete the Executive MBA are considered the most prestigious recipients of such a degree. The main objective of the Executive MBA is to update those in the business world on all the latest management skills relevant to their companies.


Because of the great advances in technology, a student may choose the option of taking MBA courses through the Internet. This option may be helpful for those who are unable to study in a university or business school, but they are missing out on the full MBA experience which involves interaction with other students, teamwork, sharing professional and cultural experience, networking and the enriching experience of life on campus.


These programmes are created by businesses and are open only to their employees. Relatively new and designed to be relevant to a particular business issue, the in-house MBA program’s popularity is increasing.


These programmes are growing rapidly in number and popularity. Despite their obvious shortcomings, they may prove useful for those who cannot go directly to a school for their education, but who wish to expand their knowledge in specific areas of business administration. This type of degree is obtained via correspondence usually done by mail. Its advantages, as well as shortcomings, are similar to those of the on-line MBA.

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