What Is a Mini MBA?

3 min read

Share this Article


  • Mini MBAs are widely available at many schools nationwide.
  • These programs offer accelerated coursework over weeks or months — not years.
  • Mini MBAs are significantly less expensive than a full-time MBA program.
  • Students may view a mini MBA as a test drive or as a complement to a full degree.

Mini MBAs are increasingly popular among aspiring and seasoned business professionals. This type of abbreviated program can lead to some of the same benefits as a traditional MBA, including a salary boost. Students pursuing a mini MBA complete an accelerated, concentrated curriculum.

The mini MBA suits a variety of students, including learners considering a college business degree and established professionals looking to build specialized business expertise. Featuring much of the same coursework as a traditional MBA, students can leverage a mini MBA to enhance their career opportunities.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to Start Your Journey?

The following guide explores many benefits of a mini MBA.

What Are the Benefits of a Mini MBA Program?

Compared to a full-time, traditional MBA, mini MBAs can offer significant time and cost savings, as well as a flexible curriculum. While completion times vary, mini MBA programs can typically be completed in less than a semester. Students can also customize their mini MBA to match their career goals.

  • Faster Path to Graduation

    A mini MBA offers a shortcut to graduation. This type of program suits learners who may be hesitant to commit to a full-time degree but are still interested in the benefits of an MBA. Mini MBA programs typically last a few weeks to three months.

  • Lower Cost

    With traditional MBA costs often exceeding $100,000, mini MBAs offer much-needed financial relief to cost-conscious students. Tuition varies by school and program, but mini MBAs generally cost a few thousand dollars. Some online programs offer additional savings by charging all distance learners the same tuition rates, no matter where they live.

  • Increased Flexibility

    Mini MBAs may appeal to a broader selection of students than a traditional MBA. Accelerated programs cater to students who are interested in increased flexibility — in terms of both the curriculum and enrollment options. Many mini MBA programs offer a variety of intensive concentrations and weekend, night, and/or online classes. Additionally, most also accept both emerging and experienced applicants.

How Does a Mini MBA Compare to a Full-Time MBA Program?

While full-time and mini MBAs share some similarities, they also differ in many ways. They diverge significantly in cost, program format, depth of topics covered, and employer perception.

Many students prefer the mini MBA due to its lower tuition and accelerated format. Additionally, mini MBAs may appeal to students who already hold an MBA but are interested in pursuing an additional specialization.

A mini MBA also enables students interested in business to perform a test run before making a two-year commitment. Many graduates of a mini MBA program eventually decide to enroll in a full-time program. Additionally, students should keep in mind that many employers prefer to hire candidates with a full MBA. The mini MBA is often viewed as a complement to, not a replacement for, a full-time MBA.

How Much Does a Mini MBA Program Cost?

Many students pursue mini MBAs in order to save money. While costs vary, mini MBAs enable students to learn about foundational business topics for a fraction of the tuition of a full-time MBA, which can cost well over $200,000 at top schools like MIT, Stanford, and Penn.

Schools and professional organizations offer mini MBAs at a drastically reduced price. For example, the online mini MBA certificate at the University of Buffalo is less than $1,000, while Pepperdine University's mini MBA certificate is about $2,500.

What Can I Expect From a Mini MBA Program?

Students can expect a difference in the pace, length, and format of a mini MBA program compared to a full-time MBA. While programs vary by school, mini MBAs typically take less than 15 weeks to complete.

These programs often offer self-paced study, and most admit students at multiple start dates throughout the year. Students can choose between full-time and part-time study options, with many online programs offering accelerated timelines. Online mini MBAs may feature synchronous and/or asynchronous coursework.

What Will I Learn in a Mini MBA Program?

Students can pursue a mini MBA in general business or a specialized field like marketing or financial management. General programs cover broad, foundational business concepts, including communication, finance, and strategy. Additionally, they often explore critical relationships between each of these elements and their significance in the global business landscape.

Targeted mini MBAs tend to be shorter and focused on a single subject. This option may appeal to students who want to develop skills in a particular business area or complement another degree, such as a general MBA or an engineering degree.

Is a Mini MBA Worth It?

Mini MBAs typically attract students looking to sample the MBA curriculum, as well as professionals seeking to enhance their skills in a particular area. While conventional MBAs may require years of full-time study, which can make it difficult to continue working while earning a degree, a mini MBA program often enables students to complete work at their own pace while maintaining a full-time job.

Students often pursue a mini MBA due to its convenience and affordability; however, the program typically yields different results and career opportunities than a full-time MBA. Employers tend to view the mini MBA as a supplemental credential, as opposed to a replacement for a full degree. As such, mini MBA graduates typically need additional training to qualify for jobs commonly held by MBA grads.

Related Pages


Feature Image: Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd / DigitalVision / Getty Images

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.