How to choose the right MBA programme for you |

How to choose the right MBA programme for you

By Stephanie L

Updated May 26, 2022 Updated May 26, 2022

Sponsored by Alliance Manchester Business School

First established in 1908, the full-time MBA is still considered the flagship postgraduate degree programme of business school education. But while its mission and values remains the same, the needs of working professionals around the world have shifted significantly.

Cue, the rise of the online MBA, part-time MBA, blended MBA and executive MBA.

We take a closer look at how the MBA has adapted and redesigned itself to stay relevant, keep up with market demands and reflect its global surroundings.

The full-time MBA

While the variety of MBAs and other postgraduate degree programmes in business school have expanded, the MBA remains the most popular offering in graduate management education, according to a 2019 survey by the General Management Admissions Council (GMAC).

The full-time MBA is an immersive experience offering a variety of experiential learning opportunities, such as consultancy projects, internships and international exchanges and study tours.

Ideal for…

Professionals who are ready to take their career to the next level or want to switch career paths entirely, but have limited managerial experience.

In the latest Full-time MBA careers report at Alliance Manchester Business School, 26 percent of graduates did the ‘triple jump’ and changed their job function, sector and country.

Things to consider

Most students who study a full-time MBA do so having put their careers on hold so they can fully commit to studying. You will need to carefully consider your personal financial situation and whether you are in a position that means you can cut back on a steady income for one-two years.

Special funding - such as scholarships, bursaries and grants - are available. In some circumstances, it is possible to secure sponsorship/funding from your employer if can demonstrate how studying an MBA will also benefit them.

It’s also important to keep in mind that most full-time MBAs, such as the Manchester Full-time MBA Degree at Alliance Manchester Business School in the UK, will ask for at least three years’ worth of relevant work experience.

The online MBA

Sometimes referred to as a distance learning MBA, demand for online MBAs is on the up.

While you can still expect the same rigorous curriculum as an on-campus MBA program, the online MBA allows you to study at a time and place that fits in and around your personal and professional responsibilities and commitments. It also tends to be a more affordable option.

Online MBAs in particular, attract large international cohorts mainly because it allows you to study at an institution anywhere in the world.

Ideal for…

Individuals who want to enhance their career development opportunities while balancing their studies around their careers and family commitments.

Things to consider

Online MBAs requires self-discipline and self-motivation. In addition, the lack of face-to-face interaction may be challenging when it comes to online group projects and building a professional network.

The blended MBA

Blended MBAs offer the opportunity to study the same core curriculum and receive the same MBA qualification. The only difference is you will study at a time and pace that is convenient for you – much like an online MBA.

The Manchester Global Part-time MBA Degree is a blended MBA, offering students the chance to study for an MBA qualification in 24 months while continuing to work full-time. The study format includes both online learning and face-to-face teaching.

With this particular MBA, students can undertake immersive learning at face-to-face workshop residences and during group business projects. This allows them to apply their learning to their jobs in real-time and make a real difference to their organisation’s goals, strategies, and practices.

The Kelley-Manchester Global MBA is also a blended MBA program offered at Alliance Manchester Business School in partnership with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in the US. It offers a higher amount of online teaching compared to the Manchester Global Part-time MBA, plus an orientation week at the Kelley campus. 

Studying the Kelley-Manchester Global MBA means you can experience both American and British MBA teaching which will enhance your personal and professional development.

Ideal for…

Those who want to study at a time and pace that suits them while boosting their career and/or salary prospects. It can also be the ideal opportunity for those who want to relocate, start their own business or change industries.

Things to consider

Much like with an online MBA, you will need to be self-disciplined and self-motivated as you work alongside your studies.

Many business schools including Alliance Manchester also offer discounts to encourage early application.

The executive MBA

Often misleading, the executive MBA isn’t a superior form of the MBA. It is important to note that some schools will use the term ‘executive’ to denote a part-time MBA, while at other schools it is a programme aimed at a more senior cohort with a higher level of managerial or entrepreneurial experience (at least five years).

Executive MBAs tend to come with a higher price tag and are designed to allow you to continue working full-time while attending classes in residential blocks at weekends and/or in the evenings.

The Global Accelerated MBA at Alliance Manchester is an 18-month version of its Global MBA. There is no difference in fees, but the cohort is handpicked from a large talent pool, and have the unique opportunity to travel together to attend workshop residencies in Manchester, Dubai and Shanghai.

Ideal for…

Senior-level managers and entrepreneurs who want to go even further in their careers.

Things to consider

Many executive MBA tuition fees are sponsored by employers, while scholarships are also available.


If we’ve got you interested in studying an MBA, Alliance Manchester Business School is a forward-thinking business school and is one of the select few in the world to be triple accredited by AMBA, AACSB and EQUIS.

It has ranked in the top 50 in the world for its Full-time MBA program, according to the recent QS World University Rankings: Global MBA Rankings, while its online MBA currently ranks seventh in the world in the QS Online MBA Rankings.

Whichever MBA you choose, you will find a programme that reflects today’s business challenges and incorporates comprehensive courses in traditional subjects such as strategy, leadership and entrepreneurship, alongside emerging areas such as fintech and blockchain.

Those who study the Global Part-time MBA and Kelley-Manchester Global MBA will graduate with the same MBA qualification as those who study the Manchester Full-time MBA.

This article was originally published in January 2021 . It was last updated in May 2022

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Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for and (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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