A POV shot of someone watching a class on a laptop and taking notes in a notebook. The laptop screen shows a woman gesturing to an easel displaying a large pad of paper covered with notes.
One benefit to many mini MBAs is the ability to attend classes digitally, allowing professionals to structure learning around busy schedules. — Getty Images/Chaay_Tee

Business owners often get a hands-on education in business just by running their venture every day. But in some cases, gaining more academic education after receiving an undergraduate degree can lead to new opportunities in terms of networking, accessing resources and leveling up your business acumen.

For business owners who don’t have the time or ability to commit to a full postgraduate business program, a mini MBA could provide a valuable option for continuing education and a way to further one’s career as a business owner and employer.

[Read more: What Is an MBA and Who Should Get One?]

What is a mini MBA?

A mini MBA is a short course offered by business schools that provides an overview of a range of topics discussed in a traditional Master of Business Administration program, such as marketing, accounting, management, business strategy and finance. Mini MBAs are completed in less than a year and at a much less expensive price point than full MBA courses, which typically last two years and are often extremely costly.

These smaller programs are offered by many of the top business schools in the country, such as Rutgers and Pepperdine, and are an increasingly popular option for those looking to brush up on their knowledge and expand their professional network without committing to studying a curriculum for two years. Although there is no degree earned upon completion of a mini MBA—it is certificate-based instead—many business owners are finding that these short courses offer sufficient knowledge, as well as many networking opportunities, to further their professional skills and attain new levels of success in the workplace.

[Read more: Do You Need an MBA? The Best MBA Programs Available]

The benefits of a mini MBA

A mini MBA offers a less expensive, less time-consuming alternative to a full business degree. Mini MBAs can be completed in a matter of weeks to months, rather than the two years of full-time study required for a traditional MBA course. Some programs, such as one called Business Essentials offered by Rutgers Business School, can even be completed in just one week.

Mini MBAs are completed in less than a year and at a much less expensive price point than full MBA courses.

Mini MBAs are much less expensive, too: Depending on the program, and whether classes are conducted in person or online, the overall cost is likely to be in the range of $500–$6000, whereas a full MBA course can cost $60,000 or more. Mini MBAs also do not involve the risk of lost wages that full-time courses carry, since these courses are part-time or short-term, and may even be flexible around a busy work schedule.

A mini MBA can also help you decide whether or not to pursue a full MBA degree. Some schools will carry over tuition and credentials from a mini MBA toward a full-time program for those who choose to enroll in a traditional degree thereafter.

Drawbacks of a mini MBA

While a mini MBA program provides an overview of many different aspects of an MBA curriculum, it may not be the right fit for those looking for an immersive course that really delves into different aspects of owning and operating a business.

Plus, since there is no degree associated with an MBA, those wishing to add a business degree to their credentials should instead explore a traditional MBA program, or an accelerated MBA program, which also carries a degree and lasts for about a year.

For those looking to advance their careers in the long run, a traditional MBA course will likely prove most useful, since many employers and companies at a certain level still look more favorably upon a business degree that results from a traditional, full-time program.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published May 19, 2021