If you want to complete an MBA without taking two years’ out of the workforce, an Accelerated MBA could be the ideal choice.
These programs cover the same broad business topics as a two-year MBA, but condensed into a single year of study without a summer break. They allow you to quickly build your business acumen, strengthen your network, and dive right back into your career.
To find out what it’s really like to study an Accelerated MBA program, BusinessBecause caught up with Sagar Sethi, who graduated from the 12-month Accelerated MBA program at HKUST Business School in 2021.
Here are five benefits you’ll get from an Accelerated MBA program.
1. Accelerated MBA students spend less time out of the workforce
Studying an MBA can take your career to the next level. But to do so, you’ll need to take time out of the workforce.
One advantage of an Accelerated MBA is that it can be completed in 12 months, rather than the two years that many conventional programs require. This makes accelerated programs a good option for students who have above average work experience, know their career goals up-front, and want to meet them as soon as possible.
When Sagar applied to the HKUST MBA and opted to accelerate his studies, he already had six years’ experience, working through Unilever’s rotational program in his home country of India.
He’d always planned to complete an MBA as a way to explore new functions and geographies, while future-proofing his career.
“Some people would say an MBA can’t future-proof you, but I would argue it provides means to future-proof yourself,” he reflects.
2. An accelerated MBA can support your job search
If you have clear goals going into the program, an Accelerated MBA can make the process quicker.
During his Accelerated MBA at HKUST, for instance, Sagar was able to take some of his courses early so he could start a new job before the program’s official end date.
“The main advantage of pursuing the accelerated program for me was that it gave me the flexibility to join a full-time job sooner,” Sagar explains.
“It helped me pitch for jobs better because I could join the firms a lot sooner than other students.”
3. You can complete an internship alongside your Accelerated MBA
Although full-time summer internships are off the cards for Accelerated MBA students, you don’t have to miss out on the internship experience altogether.
At HKUST, Sagar was able to balance a part-time internship in supply chain with multinational chemicals company, BASF, alongside his studies for five months.
Sagar managed to turn the internship with BASF into a full-time position. His current role, supply chain strategy and controlling program manager, involves developing supply chain strategies including potential customer collaboration.
“The opportunity at BASF allows me to step outside my comfort zone to take up more commercial responsibilities,” he says.
Sagar believes that the MBA set him up for success, and that an accelerated version can be a great option in the right circumstances.
“If someone is coming in with more work experience and has very clear post-MBA goals, they may feel comfortable pursuing the accelerated program,” Sagar concludes.
4. You’ll cover the same business fundamentals faster
During an Accelerated MBA, you’ll cover the same topics you would in a conventional two year program. From strategy, to marketing, to corporate finance, to organizational behavior, you’ll study the pillars of business and develop a more holistic understanding.
Some Accelerated MBAs even allow you to specialize in an area of business that interests you. At HKUST, students in both the Accelerated and 16-month MBA can choose between five career tracks: consulting and strategic management, business technology and analytics, finance, sustainable leadership, or marketing.
However, students in this program do forgo the opportunity to study abroad at one of HKUST’s partner schools.
5. An Accelerated MBA will teach you to multitask
Completing an MBA in less than a year is a real challenge, and a great way to practice your time management and multitasking skills.
For Sagar, this meant balancing his studies with networking and career development. To incoming MBAs, he recommends setting yourself a realistic GPA target that gives you enough breathing room to find a post-MBA job at the same time.
“I sometimes found it hard to maintain the balance, but then multitasking is the name of the game,” Sagar reflects.
The ability to juggle several priorities is important for long-term career success, and having completed an Accelerated MBA proves you’ve mastered this skill.
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HKUST Business School
Hong Kong - China