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Business School Options: A Degree of Flexibility
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12th May, 2009 | Source : Graduate Management Admission Council

Today’s graduate business schools offer more options than ever before. Whether you want to switch careers or move up on your current track, and whether you want to go to school full time, part time, or online, there is probably a degree program and format to fit your needs. Here are some basic options.

What is the best degree for you?

Master of Business Administration (MBA)—a professional degree that gives you the practical skills to achieve your career goals. It blends foundational know-how in economics, marketing, and strategy with real-world business experience in teamwork and leadership.

Specialized Master’s—a graduate business program that lets you focus on a particular industry or area, such as accountancy, entrepreneurship, e-commerce, environmental management, finance, or health-care administration.

Doctorate—an advanced degree concentrating on the theory and practical applications of business processes, designed for those interested in becoming professors or researchers.

Dual-Degree Program—a combined degree in graduate business study with a second discipline, such as law, medicine, communications, or public policy.

Common program formats

Type of Program

Appeals to


Special Features


Students who can concentrate on their studies without having to work full-time

One to two years (one-year programs are common in the UK, two-year programs are more typical in the US)

Classes are generally during the day; students in two-year programs typically have a 10- to 12-week internship between years 1 and 2.


Working students who want to pursue their degree outside normal business hours

Up to four or five years

Coursework goes year-round; programs generally do not allow for internships.

Executive (EMBA)

Working executives who are usually specialists in their fields but need more training for further advancement

One or two years

Classes are very intensive and typically meet on weekends.

Distance learning

Those who want to move up in their careers or get more specialized training but are far from campus or simply need a lot of flexibility

Up to four or five years

The Internet, email, videoconferencing, and other interactive systems have made these programs more popular.

For more information about degree program options and graduate management education in general, go to mba.com, the official site of the Graduate Management Admission Test. The GMAT exam is used in admissions decisions by more than 4,500 graduate business programs at 1,900 schools around the world.



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