Once you decide to pursue an MBA, you need to choose which program will suit your goals and circumstances. Research each school to find out what programs it offers.
Most MBA programs fit the following categories:
Full-time MBA (two years)
Known as the classic model, these traditional programs take roughly 24 months to complete and generally adhere to the U.S. academic calendar (October-July).
Under this model, coursework is generally divided into two or three semesters.
B-schools offering these programs usually expect the students to live at the institution or nearby (adding to the overall cost). Graduates of these programs are considered to have premier MBA qualification and may be the first choice for recruiters seeking qualified MBA graduates.
Full-time MBA (one year)
Project assignments and practical exams may extend past a full calendar year. In fact, 18 months is not uncommon for "one-year" programs.
When considering this program do not underestimate its difficulty. Completing course work in one year is more aggressive and intense than the two-year option. This option may be very attractive to people wanting to reduce their time away from work. Consider your stamina and determination to succeed.
Part-time MBA (two-eight years)
Part-time programs are becoming the most popular option for students seeking an MBA. Your b-school's part-time program may offer courses on weekday evenings or on the weekends.
These programs are extremely attractive to individuals living nearby who do not want to interrupt their full-time work schedule. Recruiters often recognize the determination shown by MBA students who complete their coursework while working full-time.
Core courses are similar to the "classic" MBA program but often lack the range of course offerings.
Distance learning MBA (two-three-plus years)
Students learn primarily through audio-visual and self-study avenues including phone, fax, or Internet. Seminars, summer school, or weekend sessions may also be required to complete the program.
Distance learning MBA programs are designed for individuals who cannot attend regular classes because of geography, schedule conflicts, or similar reasons.
Succeeding in these programs requires self-discipline. If you're used to learning on your own, you may excel in this format, which generally has minimal, if any, group project work or discussion sessions.
These programs interweave your academic experience with work (and completion times vary). Not only will you be able to apply what you learn to a real-world setting, but you also gain actual experience. Programs like these are popular in Europe.
This is a fairly new program, also known as a consortium MBA. Courses are taught at a business school. The school and the local business community agree on the curriculum. These schools seek diversity and encourage group discussions and project work to fuel new ideas that will ultimately benefit the community and improve local commerce.
Companies nominate their executives and pay the required tuition and fees to ultimately get a highly trained executive. These programs offer flexible schedules to accommodate busy executives, including evening and weekend courses and individual project work.