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MBA in the USA


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2008 was a banner year for many reasons. On January 1st, Malta and Cyprus officially adopted the Euro currency, expanding the Eurozone to fully 15 members. Elsewhere, on August 8th, the People's Republic of China hosted the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. And in Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard Business School, the graduate business school of Harvard University, celebrated the 100th anniversary.

Although not the first graduate business program in the world – that distinction instead goes to Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, founded eight years earlier – it was one of the first and remains one of the most prestigious. In the century since, however, Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs have expanded well beyond their New England roots, and graduate business programs can now be found in almost every corner of the globe. Still, as the originators, the MBA is almost synonymous with American business schools and many students rightly consider an MBA in the US to be highly desirable.

Survey after survey supports these findings. Although more international programs than ever are now making the top 100, the US continues to be a powerhouse, and fully seven of the world’s top ten MBA programs are in the US. The MBA has not just moved abroad, however – it has also expanded in the US. According to a 2010 report issued by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, no less than 454 institutions offer fully 4,000 MBA programs in the US. The US offers more MBA programs than the rest of the world combined and, as the numbers indicate, many institutions offer more than one program. There are also MBA programs right online, offered by institutions such as Walden University, that allow you to study anywhere in the world and complete your degree. So, as there are so many programs offering an MBA in the US, which program is right for you? Careful consideration of the types of programs available is crucial when considering where to pursue your MBA in the US.

  1. Full-Time MBA Programs in the US are typically based on a two-year schedule, but many programs also have one-year, accelerated options. Although course content is often similar, most one-year MBA programs are dramatically different from their two-year equivalents. Given the challenges that come with an accelerated pace, they are considerably more rigorous and usually more selective.
  2. Part-Time MBA Programs, by contrast, allow students to work full-time while attending evening and/or weekend classes. More flexible (but also lengthier, at around three years) than full-time programs, part-time MBA programs in the US are commonly available at the same colleges and universities that offer full-time programs.
  3. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs in the US, which likewise offer courses for working professions on nights and/or weekends, may appear superficially similar to part-time MBA programs. However, as the name implies, EMBA programs are specifically meant for working students with considerable experience (often in excess of 10 years) and, as such, offer little in the way of career services.
  4. Accelerated MBA programs are another recent addition to the MBA in the US offerings. Targeted at students with a background in business education (or the ability to make up for lost time through self-study), accelerated MBA programs in the US can take anywhere from 12-18 to complete. Because of their emphasis on speed they spend considerably less time reviewing introductory material and eliminate many opportunities for degree specialization but serve the needs of many students looking for an edge in the workplace.
  5. One final option, distance learning, offers students the most customizable MBA programs yet. Commonly emphasizing online lectures and coursework, these programs allow students to complete programs at their pace and the school of their choice no matter where they are in the world. A relatively recent development, more and more schools are offering these programs. Take for instance, the University of Liverpool, that offers a full online MBA (Master of Business Administration) or DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) degree program for students around the world. This program offers a number of specialization tracks including Business in Emerging Markets, Entrepreneurship, Finance and Accounting, International Business, Leadership and Marketing.

Although most candidates choose part-time - 56.9% - or full-time - 33.8% - programs, given the diversity of options, finding a program that meets your specific personal, professionals, and financial needs should not be a problem.


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