What is a Flexible MBA Program? What are the Benefits?

The 21st century has been excellent for MBA programs. Not only have they grown in popularity, but the available choices for students in the types and formats of MBA programs have increased. As a result, applications for (and enrollment in) two-year MBA programs have exploded during the past decade.

Traditionally, MBA programs require students to complete coursework through in-person lectures on campus. These programs are often most suitable for recent undergraduates looking to increase their hiring capacity, expand their networks, gain the education needed for bigger dreams, or take advantage of “bridge programs” that offer MBAs with only one additional year of schooling. Often, these types of MBA candidates can attend full-time programs, on-campus, with fixed schedules.

However, the range of MBA candidates is broadening, and now includes many older people and already a part of the workforce. Older candidates may be looking for MBA programs that delve into more advanced topics, allow credit transfer through work experience, or are specifically geared toward growing one’s career into leadership and/or management. Because of age, employment, or other life responsibilities, going back to school full-time on campus may be impossible for some prospective MBA students.

Flexible MBA programs—i.e., programs built around scheduling flexibility—are designed with these types of students in mind. There are various options available, including programs that are completely online, some that are entirely on campus, or hybrid programs that are a mixture of both.

This guide explores the benefits of flexible MBA programs, which offer minimal disruption to students’ existing schedules.

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What are the Benefits of a Flexible MBA Program?

Complete Programs at Your Own Pace

Most flexible MBAs allow students to take a significantly decreased course load, perhaps only one or two three-credit classes per term. While this lengthens the total number of semesters or terms spent in the program, the smaller per-term load enables students to acquire knowledge and skills without major disruption to their personal and professional lives.

Flexible programs can also serve driven students who wish to accelerate learning and complete a program in months instead of years. Accelerated MBAs programs may include longer class periods, simultaneously online and on-campus courses, or summer sessions. In addition, waiving some foundational classes due to comparable professional or academic experience may accelerate the pathway to a completed MBA.

Complete Programs Wherever You Are

Flexible MBA programs benefit students who don’t want to relocate, can’t relocate, or don’t have access to high-quality or accredited institutions in their states. These programs may offer classes fully online or minimize the amount of on-campus time required to complete the program. Many online-only programs also allow international students to take courses without travel or relocation to the US.

Network and Interact with Professors and Peers

In addition to taking classes when and where the student chooses, flexible MBA programs may still allow students to interact in real-time with an instructor or fellow students, thereby incorporating the important social/networking aspects of business education.

Examples of Flexible MBA Programs

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson

Kimmy Gustafson leverages her broad writing experience and passion for higher education to provide our readers with in-depth, quality content about the evolving landscape of business schools and the various pathways in business education. Her experience as a start-up CEO provides her with a unique perspective on the business world, and she has written for BSchools.org since 2019.

Kimmy has been a freelance writer for more than a decade, writing hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics such as startups, nonprofits, healthcare, kiteboarding, the outdoors, and higher education. She is passionate about seeing the world and has traveled to over 27 countries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. When not working, she can be found outdoors, parenting, kiteboarding, or cooking.