Why The Mini MBA May Be Right for You

Would you rather be a big fish in a small MBA pond or a small fish in a big pond?

Why The Mini MBA May Be Right for You

An MBA degree has many benefits—ranging from critical leadership development to lucrative starting salaries. But an MBA is also expensive and not everyone can commit to the investment of a traditional full-time MBA. That’s where the mini MBA comes in.

Fortune recently explored the benefits of a mini MBA and broke down what types of people can best benefit from the degree.

“It’s for the person who knows very little about how businesses operate,” Courtney J. Walsh, assistant dean of the office of professional and executive development at the University at Buffalo, tells Fortune. “If you’re interested in potentially getting a degree down the road, but you’re not sure, this is a way to discover if you’re interested in that. It’s also a way for you to get enough of the basic knowledge so that you can have informed discussions with business people and be able to talk the language of business.”


A mini MBA is best described as a certificate program that offers a fundamental education of business management concepts. It’s not as detailed as a traditional full-time MBA, but it covers the most critical topics in business management.

“A mini MBA gives you the top two or three most important concepts in each of the business disciplines that would be involved in a full course on any topic,” Walsh says. “It’s nowhere near as in-depth as a full course, but you’ll get a sense of the most important concepts that you’ll need.”


Mini MBA programs are typically offered in a variety of formats—both online and in-person. And they’re usually less time consuming than their traditional counterpart.

“It becomes a stepping stone in someone’s journey,” Peter Methot, associate dean of executive education at Rutgers University’s Rutgers Business School, says. “In its inception, it was meant to be a shorter version of a traditional MBA program.”

Flexibility is a key benefit with the mini MBA. At Rutgers, the mini MBA program is offered in a 12-week online model.

“You’re getting the same amount of content,” Methot says. “We just structure it so that people have the flexibility, whatever works better for their schedule and their learning preferences.”

Saving time is another key benefit when it comes to the mini MBA. The University of Buffalo’s mini MBA program features an online model that’s self-paced. Walsh, the assistant dean at the University of Buffalo, says a mini MBA is a best fit for two types of people: those who have a background in another discipline (such as science or engineering) and are interested in familiarizing themselves with business skills, and those who are simply interested in upskilling their current career but aren’t necessarily intent on pursuing a traditional business degree. The University of Buffalo offers 15 specialized mini MBA programs—from artificial intelligence to digital marketing—all designed with flexibility in mind.

“We have people who will knock it out in a weekend, dedicating most of their time, or people who will take a few months to do it,” Walsh says. “They have up to a year, but most people do it in 15, 20 hours—relatively quickly.”

Sources: Fortune, P&Q

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