Compiled and Written By Staff
Last Updated: March 2020

Professionals from all industries can benefit from earning an MBA. Graduates can take on management roles and specialize in diverse fields, such as finance, marketing, and consulting.

However, the typical program length deters some prospective MBA students. A traditional MBA takes two or more years to earn, and some working professionals prefer to earn the degree in less time. The growing popularity of one-year MBA degrees helps business professionals achieve career advancement in less time. Accelerated courses move through material quickly, without sacrificing any content, and the option appeals to students with strong backgrounds in business.

Here are the 5 Best Accelerated Online MBA Programs for 2020:

  1. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota - Winona, MN
  2. University of North Texas - Denton, TX
  3. Mississippi College - Clinton, MS
  4. Centenary College - Hackettstown, NJ
  5. Bryan College - Dayton, TN

How Long Does it Take to Earn an MBA?

In a traditional MBA program, students complete 30-45 credit hours of coursework across four semesters (or two years), during which they gain valuable knowledge and skills related to business fundamentals. Core classes include human resource management, finance, accounting, and organizational leadership. MBA students may need to complete an internship, thesis or comprehensive project as part of their degree.

Online MBA programs allow learners to complete coursework on an accelerated schedule. Accelerated MBA degrees last 10-18 months. Part-time students can take classes at a slower pace, earning their degrees in 3-5 years.

Online, accelerated MBAs provide affordable, quicker options for students. By completing coursework in 10-18 months, learners may pay less in tuition than their two-year-program counterparts. Students can also work full-time, perhaps completing practical and research requirements at their place of business.

Online MBAs may include specialized coursework related to an industry or subset of business. Healthcare professionals, for example, can concentrate their MBAs on management, human resources, or technologies as they relate to the field. Additional specializations include supply chain management, information technology, and entrepreneurship.

Top Online Accelerated MBA Programs for 2020

With the growing popularity of accelerated online MBA programs, prospective students benefit from many choices. The best one-year MBA programs hold accreditation and take no longer than 16 months to complete. The following database of accelerated online MBA options only includes programs that meet those standards.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Location Winona , MN Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 5,560 Tuition $19,950 School Type Private

A Lasallian Catholic institution located in Winona, Saint Mary's offers a 30-credit accelerated online MBA program. Emphasizing real-world business applications, the school's MBA program facilitates partnerships with local and international businesses. Inspired by the Lasallian tradition, the curriculum is grounded in legal and ethical issues and business strategies, with an emphasis on fair decision-making.

Students can select from concentrations in data analytics, financial services and banking, healthcare administration, or marketing and social media. The core business curriculum requires courses in quantitative decision-making, managerial economics, operations management, managerial accounting, and corporate finance. Distance learners take 18 credits of core business courses, three credits in special topics, and nine credits in their chosen area of emphasis. Students can also choose general MBA studies.

All students complete a strategic management capstone in which they apply what they've learned to a sponsoring organization. Participants can elect to complete the capstone locally or internationally in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence, or Milan. Students can complete the fully online program in one year, with no on-campus requirements. All courses run asynchronously.

Saint Mary's charges the same tuition rate regardless of residency status. Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Admission also requires GMAT scores unless the applicant can demonstrate five or more years of work experience. Applicants must provide an example of quantitative analysis and a business-relevant writing sample. No prerequisite business courses are required.

Saint Mary's holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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University of North Texas
Location Denton , TX Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 79 Student Population 38,241 Tuition $19,440 School Type Public

A public institution located in Denton, UNT offers a 36-credit accelerated online MBA. UNT's business programs prize global business leadership and scholarship, promoting values such as integrity, fairness, courtesy, and transparency. The College of Business boasts 700 alumni in executive-level roles such as president and chief executive officer.

Degree-seekers at UNT can select concentrations in marketing, marketing analytics, organizational behavior and human resource management, strategic management, supply chain analytics, or supply chain management. The program offers courses over a period of eight weeks in the fall and spring and condenses summer courses into five weeks. Ambitious students typically complete the program in 14 months.

Core course requirements for all concentrations include accounting for management, financial management, marketing management, organizational behavior and analysis, and administrative strategy. Requiring 18 credits of business core, 15 credits of concentration courses, and three elective credits, the program allows students to direct their studies to meet their individual career goals.

Applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores, plus a resume and essay. Some concentrations may require interviews. The admissions committee may grant standardized test waivers to qualified candidates based on undergraduate major, GPA, or previously obtained graduate degrees. Out-of-state students pay a separate set of fees from Texas residents.

UNT holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The accelerated online MBA holds programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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Mississippi College
Location Clinton , MS Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 99 Student Population 5,103 Tuition $25,155 School Type Private

A private, Baptist-affiliated institution located in Clinton, Mississippi, MC offers a 30-credit accelerated online MBA. The program focuses on preparing future managers for excellence through an increased understanding of accounting, finance, marketing, law, strategy, and international business. Degree-seekers can expect a strong emphasis on ethical decision-making, biblical principles, and social responsibility.

MBA students at MC take 10 courses spanning eight weeks each, whereas non-accelerated courses take place over 16 weeks. Curricular requirements include financial accounting, business finance, business statistics, leadership in a global environment, organizational behavior, and management of technology and innovation. Courses run asynchronously through the Moodle platform.

Learners must also take a zero-credit spreadsheet proficiency exam. A virtual proctor, provided by the MBA program, supervises all exams for online participants. The MBA tuition includes any proctoring fees.

Applicants must hold an accredited bachelor's degree and submit GMAT scores. Students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or at least three years of work experience may qualify for a GMAT waiver. Students may begin the program without GMAT scores, but must submit them before the end of the first term to avoid delaying their studies. MC charges the same tuition rate for all enrollees regardless of residency status.

MC holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The accelerated online MBA holds programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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Centenary College
Location Hackettstown , NJ Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 100 Student Population 1,802 Tuition $36,504 School Type Private

A 150-year-old private institution located in Hackettstown, New Jersey, Centenary offers a 39-credit accelerated online MBA. Originally founded by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, the school places high value on service, diversity, and collaborative learning.

Centenary's School of Professional Studies also offers an in-person program and a 26-month self-paced online program. Accelerated MBA students can elect to concentrate in management or finance.

Degree-seekers can complete the accelerated MBA program in 14 months. Foundational business courses include business communications, leadership, marketing management, quantitative analysis, managerial economics, financial accounting, and management information systems. All students take a final MBA seminar on business strategy and policy. The program requires 30 credits of MBA core courses plus nine credits in a chosen concentration.

Centenary's accelerated online MBA functions as a hybrid program. Participants come to campus once a week for courses and complete the remainder of the course requirements online. Courses run for eight weeks, and students take two courses concurrently.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and present transcripts with prerequisite courses in economics, statistics, and accounting. Learners must earn a minimum grade of "B" in each course to qualify. Admission also requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5, with no GRE or GMAT scores necessary. Centenary charges the same tuition rate to all students regardless of residency status.

Centenary holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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Bryan College
Location Dayton , TN Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 92 Student Population 1,363 Tuition $21,420 School Type Private

A private Christian college located in Dayton, Tennessee, Bryan College offers a 36-credit accelerated online MBA. Founded in 1939, Bryan College emphasizes a Christian approach to the liberal arts. The program develops leadership skills, provides a strong ethical foundation for business, strengthens decision-making skills, and increases facility with professional tools.

Degree-seekers typically complete the fully online program in 14 months. Accelerated courses take place over nine weeks, and enrollees can take up to two courses concurrently. Available concentrations include marketing, human resources, healthcare administration, sports management, and ministry.

Core business requirements vary depending on specialization, but may include management and leadership, biblical worldview principles of management, accounting information for management decisions, managerial economics, strategic marketing, and managing human resources.

Applicants must submit an online application and provide undergraduate transcripts. The admissions committee may request additional information after receiving the application. The school charges the same tuition rate regardless of residency status. Students may transfer up to six credits into the program. Learners must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA at Bryan to qualify for graduation.

In 2018, 97.7% of Bryan alumni reported that they were either employed or seeking additional education six months after graduation.

Bryan College holds regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The accelerated online MBA holds programmatic accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.

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How We Rank Online MBA Programs

Want to know how we create our rankings? We assess schools based on academic quality, affordability, online flexibility, and student success.

Quality (30% of total score)

A low student-to-faculty ratio, a wide breadth of specialized MBA programs, and a high retention rate of students returning after their first year are all indicators of a quality university.

Affordability (10% of total score)

The amount of financial aid offered factors into a school's net price; this, paired with a low loan default rate, indicates that students may find a school's tuition within their budget.

Online Flexibility (20% of total score)

Scores for online flexibility focus on schools that have a high percentage of fully online students, but consideration is also given to schools that enroll partially online students using hybrid programs.

Student Success (40% of total score)

Both strong hallmarks of student success, we look for programs with high graduation rates whose students go on to have higher-than-average median earnings.

What is an Accelerated MBA?

In accelerated MBA programs, students earn their degrees after completing a year of coursework. One-year MBA programs cover the same material as traditional MBAs, but in an accelerated format. A 12-month online MBA provides instruction in a condensed, rigorous format, and students typically complete more classes each term. Some one-year MBA programs offer expedited classes, which cover the same material in less time.

Accelerated MBA students should plan to dedicate 30-40 hours a week to schoolwork. Some students may find that their programs require as much time as a full-time job does, which may make it challenging to continue working while completing the degree.

Accelerated MBAs offer a mix of self-paced learning and scheduled deadlines. In some programs, students advance through the course material at their own pace, while projects, assignments, and tests follow strict timelines. Many one-year MBA degrees offer a single start date, often in the summer, and require students to move through the course requirements along a set schedule, often finishing at the end of the following summer. This 16-month schedule allows students to quickly earn an MBA with minimal disruption to their professional careers.

Many accelerated MBA programs rely on the cohort model, in which an entire class begins at the same time and moves through the program together. Cohort students benefit from networking and teamwork opportunities, and the structure builds camaraderie within the program.

Online Accelerated Programs

According to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Business School Data Guide for 2019, online MBA programs are significantly more affordable than in-person degrees. The mean tuition for in-state, full-time MBAs reached nearly $36,000, while an online degree cost just over $32,000.

Distance learners also benefit from the absence of on-campus expenses, such as room and board, fees, and commuting costs. Accelerated degrees provide even more savings, incurring tuition costs for only two or three semesters.

Online MBA programs offer flexibility and convenience, as well. Accelerated, online MBAs allow students to complete coursework on a schedule that meets their professional and personal goals. Many online MBA students continue to work, as well, applying degree knowledge and skills to their careers while still in school.

Earning an online degree helps learners maintain a balance between work and school. By studying from home, students can dedicate themselves to their schoolwork while avoiding an interruption to their career.

Accelerated Online MBA FAQs

Can you get an MBA in one year?

Yes -- many accelerated, online MBA degrees take just one year to complete. Accelerated coursework covers business fundamentals without sacrificing quality and content, ideal for working professionals.

Online MBAs often involve taking two or more classes at a time, as opposed to the one-at-a-time classes in traditional programs. Learners may also complete practical and research requirements at their places of work, shortening degree length.

Is an online accelerated MBA credible?
Online, accelerated MBAs include the same content as traditional programs. Program credibility depends on curriculum, faculty, and accreditation status. Online MBAs that hold accreditation through a specialized body like the AACSB adhere to standards established by professionals in the field.
How do I know which one (accelerated or regular MBA) is right for me?
When determining which MBA is right for you, background and goals make all the difference. Accelerated MBAs often require prior field experience. Learners with business experience can complete an accelerated MBA without interrupting their careers. Traditional MBAs prepare students to enter business occupations, requiring them to attend classes full time or part time.
Is an accelerated MBA cheaper than a regular one?
Accelerated MBAs may cost less than regular ones. By completing their coursework in less time, students pay less tuition and fees. Many accelerated MBAs are offered online, further lowering costs.
What do employers think of accelerated MBAs?
Earning an accelerated MBA increases employment opportunities and helps graduates advance into administrative roles. Employers prefer candidates with accredited, top-tier MBAs, regardless of whether or not the degree is accelerated. On the whole, MBAs train critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and effective leaders.

What to Consider When Choosing an Accelerated MBA Program

When choosing an accelerated MBA, students should consider program format, curriculum, admission requirements, and time commitment. Those with business experience benefit from online programs, which allow them to earn their degrees while working.

Online, accelerated degrees comprise coursework in six- to 10-week terms, rather than over 15-week semesters. Learners in accelerated programs take multiple classes at once, and the coursework requires time and focus. Students with business-related work experience and previous business coursework perform best in these types of programs.

Accelerated MBAs may include hybrid elements to further condense content. With evening and weekend requirements, students complete coursework online while interacting with colleagues and classmates in face-to-face settings.

When choosing an accelerated MBA, students should consider program format, curriculum, admission requirements, and time commitment.

Online accelerated degree curricula may have less flexibility. Accelerated MBAs emphasize business fundamentals. Accelerated programs do not necessarily compromise on quality, but they often limit elective course options. Expedited degrees with specializations in areas such as healthcare administration or finance may appeal to professionals in those industries.

Students may enjoy opportunities to complete their degrees' practical and research requirements at their places of work. Accelerated degrees with internship or thesis requirements may give learners the chance to complete that work in their current position. In some cases, however, learners may complete summer coursework, internships, or research projects to complete their degrees in one year.

Colleges and universities determine admission requirements, but MBA programs may require learners to meet additional criteria. When choosing a program, students should inquire about GRE or GMAT requirements, GPA minimums, and requisite work experience.

Earning an accelerated MBA is rigorous but offers learners a quicker return on investment. By completing coursework in a shorter time span, students can apply degree knowledge and skills to lucrative professional opportunities.

Benefits of an Accelerated MBA Program

Many business professionals prefer the structure of an accelerated MBA. Rather than requiring the typical two years to earn a master's in business administration, accelerated MBA online programs confer a degree in as little as 10 months. Students enrolled in an online, one-year MBA still have access to the same resources as on-campus students.

Trade-Offs in an Accelerated MBA Program

Accelerated MBAs do have some drawbacks, which prospective students must weigh before enrolling in a program. The degree format allows students to complete the program in as few as 10 months, but the rigorous format demands certain trade-offs. For example, accelerated programs may limit flexibility for electives or internship programs. By weighing the benefits against the trade-offs, students can determine whether an accelerated MBA fits their interests and career goals.

Less time for internships and networking

The chance to build a strong network and complete internships often proves one of the most important components of an MBA degree. These experiences build valuable skills and help with job placement after graduation. Because of their accelerated nature, one-year MBA degrees offer less time for internships and networking. Still, these degrees benefit established business professionals who do not plan on major career changes, especially incoming students with existing professional networks.

Not ideal for non-business majors

Students earning accelerated MBAs online must already possess a strong business background. Most accelerated MBA programs require prerequisites due to their intense structure, and non-business majors may not meet admission requirements. Non-business majors make up the majority of MBA applicants, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council, but they may struggle with the demands of a one-year online MBA. Applicants backgrounds in business or a closely related field can hit the ground running in accelerated MBA programs.

Less flexibility

Due to the rigorous nature of earning an accelerated MBA online, cohorts often take courses on a strict schedule. A student who fails a single class may not be able to catch up. In addition, accelerated programs tend to focus on a generalized business education, potentially limiting specialization options.

Accreditation for Online Accelerated MBA Programs

Prospective students must consider the accreditation status of one-year MBA programs. Accreditation indicates academic excellence, signaling to recruiters and potential employers that a graduate's degree meets the highest standards. MBA programs, including online accelerated MBAs, receive specialized accreditation from agencies focused on business schools. Three accrediting agencies evaluate MBA programs: the AACSB, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

These agencies accredit traditional, online, and accelerated programs, and the top one-year MBA programs receive accreditation from one of these three agencies. The AACSB is the most selective accrediting agency, but all of them ensure that programs meet high learning standards and produce strong student outcomes. In addition to specialized MBA accreditation, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits online programs, evaluating their online learning quality standards.

Additional Online MBA Resources

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