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Best MBA Program Model: Online, In-Class, Accelerated or Hybrid

best accelerated mba programs

In today’s competitive job market, having a bachelor’s degree may not be enough for a successful career in business. Instead of relying solely on on-the-job training to propel you up the career ladder, many post-grads are finding that going to graduate school is no longer optional. In order to keep up with a highly dynamic marketplace, business professionals are now looking for alternative ways to earn a graduate degrees, without giving up their day job.

Many colleges and universities recognize the need to tailor programs to meet the needs and schedules of busy professionals, and now offer a range of options including online, in-class, accelerated and hybrid MBA programs.

Not sure which one is the right fit for your work-life balance? Understanding the key differences between program types can help you identify the option that is best for you.

Online MBA Programs

Many accredited colleges and universities offer fully online versions of their traditional graduate programs.Their flexibility is a key selling point for busy professionals with little free time and an inability to commit to a weekly classroom schedule. However, online programs are not for everyone. They usually appeal to those who are disciplined and who like to work independently. For many, the lack of face-to-face interaction with classmates and the professor diminishes their attractiveness.

The initial popularity of online programs caused many to question whether they required the same level of rigor as in-class programs. Their continued success combined with the proliferation of offerings from prestigious schools across the country has silenced the critics. As long as you select an online program from an accredited university or college, there should be no issue with the quality of the education you receive.

In-Class MBA Programs

Those who prefer the support of colleagues and value teamwork, may be better suited for a traditional in-class or hybrid (partially online and partially in-class) program. Although they do not offer quite the same amount of flexibility as online programs, the human and professional interaction in a live setting can be a more rewarding experience for some learners.

For working professionals whose undergraduate experience is a distant memory or one to forget altogether, the idea of getting back into “study mode” can be quite daunting. Some students prefer the comfort offered by classroom instruction, group work, peer teaching, etc., along with the excuse to unplug from their hectic weekly routines. Furthermore, the traditional classroom model has been “flipped” to reflect the latest thinking in learning styles. The stand-and-deliver lecture, that until recently dominated the classroom experience, has been scaled back significantly and/or been relegated to online viewing. The rich back-and-forth discussions that occurred in study groups and college coffee shops, now take place inside the classroom under the guidance of the professor. The “flipped” classroom is a much more lively and dynamic graduate learning environment that is difficult to fully replicate online.

The advent of accelerated programs chipped away at some of the scheduling advantages of online programs, by reducing the amount of classroom time to eight or ten weeks per term from fifteen. Students choosing the in-class model report that they look forward to their classroom interactions – many say they learn as much from discussions with their classmates as they do from the professor. In the best circumstances, the classroom is transformed into a business laboratory for learning, testing ideas, and forging new friendships. The experience not only prepares students for the real world but it affords them an opportunity to create a professional network that may last throughout their career.

Hybrid MBA Programs

Professionals in search of the scheduling flexibility of an online program combined with the benefits of classroom teaching, may prefer hybrid MBA programs. Hybrid programs split the content delivery between online and the classroom and usually require students to attend class one or two nights per week or on an alternating schedule. This option has great appeal and seems to be the model of choice for a working professionals. Hybrid programs are most often paired with accelerated programs for the greatest balance of convenience and support.

20-Month MBA at Ramapo College

At Ramapo College of New Jersey, our hybrid accelerated MBA program is completed in just 20 months. Students come to campus twice per week for three hours of instruction and complete the remaining one-third of the curriculum online. In just 20 months, students complete 14 courses, including their choice of two electives, spend a week in China and, as part of their capstone course, consult for one of our world class corporate neighbors. This program offers our students the flexibility, social interaction, discipline and experience they need to succeed in the real world.

Want to know if Ramapo College’s accelerated MBA program is the right fit for you? Request more information about our program today or, better yet, take the first step towards a graduate degree and meet with an MBA Advisor.

Categories: MBA