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What Kind Of MBA Program Is Right For Me?

From full-time MBAs, to executive programs and distance learning, how do you know which MBA is the one for you?


By  Thomas Nugent

Fri May 17 2019

The MBA has come a long way since its inception at Harvard in 1908. Long gone are the days where getting an MBA degree meant two years, on campus, for men only.

Graduate management education has become a global phenomenon, with programs sprouting up all over the world. The decision to go to a business school though is still a massive undertaking, and a commitment that requires some serious thought.

For a start, how do you answer the question, ‘what kind of MBA program is right for me?’

Alongside the traditional, two-year MBA program synonymous with the US, students can opt for shorter, one-year programs in Europe, or Executive MBA programs for work experience veterans.

Technology’s impact on education also means that some schools offer 100% Online MBA programs, like Birmingham Business School, whose program was the first of its kind in the world to receive formal accreditation from the Association of MBAs (AMBA).

Birmingham also offers a full-time MBA and an Executive MBA for professionals with at least three years of management experience.

What kind of MBA program is right for me?

Full-Time MBA

In the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) Prospective Students Survey 2019 the full-time MBA remains the most popular consideration among business school candidates. 79% of business school candidates are considering an MBA program, with 65% of them considering a full-time MBA.

The full-time MBA is a program that gives students a step into the senior leadership positions they crave. It’s for students who want to further their ability to overcome complex problems in a global business context. For many, it’s also the chance to take a break from full-time work and to pivot your career in a different direction.

The three most popular industry destinations for full-time MBA graduates are consulting, finance, and technology.

On-campus programs also give MBA students the chance to network and learn from a close-knit group of international peers.

“The best thing about the MBA course is that I had the opportunity to immerse myself within a high-caliber international student cohort at the center of a research-led business school and was thus able to increase my global awareness,” says James O’Toole, an MBA graduate from Birmingham Business School.

So, if you’re looking for a catalyst to take you into a senior management role, and want to enhance your network in an international business setting, then a full-time MBA could be the program for you.

Executive MBA

Executive MBA programs were designed for managers and executives to boost their careers while not taking time out of their working schedule to do so. Delivery methods range from evenings and weekends, to five-day blocks where students arrive on campus for short, quick-fire bursts of learning.

Birmingham Business School’s course can be completed in two-and-a-half years, or over four-and-a-half, depending on each student’s flexibility needs.

The beauty of an Executive MBA is that it allows students to immediately implement what they’re learning directly into their organizations.

Birmingham Business School’s Executive MBA is also tapping into a seismic shift in the business education industry—a move towards more ethically minded, responsible management.

Executive MBAs are for managers and executives who want to open new avenues of expertise, and to develop into globally minded, exceptional leaders. An EMBA classroom is a great way to broaden your network of business leaders in every sphere of influence around the globe.

READ MORE: Business Schools Turn To Responsible Management


Online MBA

Online MBAs offer students the flexibility to further their careers while balancing work and family life. At Birmingham Business School, there is no residency component of the Online MBA, so students study entirely remote, all around the world.

The program is delivered through fortnightly live sessions, that connect students, tutors, and lecturers in an interactive, online learning environment. The sessions are two and a quarter hour long, and students are placed in intentionally diverse groups when they work on group projects.

Online MBAs are for students who want to climb the career ladder but simply don’t have the time to attend a business school.

READ MORE: What Is Studying For A 100% Online MBA Really Like?


In the same way executive programs offer students the chance to apply what they learn immediately into the workplace, so does the online MBA. What you learn on a Saturday and Sunday can be taken straight into work on the Monday.

Learning to work across digital borders and interact with peers online also increases students’ digital leadership capacity tenfold. The future of work is going to revolve around working with virtual teams and leading diverse teams outside your country of work.

Online learning sets students up to thrive in that environment, and may become the go-to choice for MBA students in the future. 

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