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How much time does it take to complete an online CMBA?

Completing a CMBA program online

Corporate Master of Business Administration (CMBA) programs are now featured prominently among many schools' business offerings. If you're looking to earn your online CMBA, you'll first want to assess how long you'll need to be studying. Programs vary somewhat in length, so you can typically find something to suit your needs.

Average length of an online CMBA program

Usually, the time frame for earning a CMBA online is shorter than what you would expect from an in-person course. As such, you may well graduate within two years or fewer. However, some online CMBA programs also maintain the schedule of a full business school graduate program, lasting three years. In other cases, it's possible to graduate in as few as 18 months.

Accelerated CMBA programs

If you wish to complete your online CMBA more rapidly, you may wish to enroll in a one-year program. These accelerated degrees are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and have already long been the norm in European countries. Given their shorter duration, they do typically require more full-time participation throughout the program. In some cases, businesses may allow employees to take leaves of absence, and may even foot the bill for such accelerated programs. Employers figure that if their most promising employees are able to focus their attention on study for one year, they will come back more capable and more dedicated to the company.

Factors influencing program length

Most online CMBA programs will encompass a loosely comparable scope of material, aimed at developing your leadership, management and teamwork skills as well as your corporate strategy and problem-solving abilities. However, programs may vary widely in how they present the material. If you enroll in a part-time course intended for study alongside work, it is likely that you will need at least two years to complete the degree. By contrast, a more accelerated program may pack all the material for each course into several weeks, but may require that you take a temporary hiatus from work. When enrolling in an online CMBA, keep in mind that your studies could last anywhere from one to three years or even more if you plan on studying on a part-time basis. If you are deciding between a more accelerated program and a longer one, avoid the temptation to "rush" toward a completed degree. In some cases, taking slightly longer with your degree may help you to get more out of the experience and avoid the risk of burn-out. Plus, you will have more opportunities to connect with classmates and build relationships that may yield profitable corporate connections down the road.


US News & World Report, Best Online Graduate Business Programs

CBS News, “What’s an Online MBA Worth?” September 14, 2009.

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