Should You Do a Mini MBA? |

Should You Do a Mini MBA?

By Niamh O

Updated April 8, 2021 Updated April 8, 2021

From tens of thousands in tuition fees to up to two years studying or more, it’s no news that a traditional MBA is an investment for your time and money.

While it certainly helps people revamp their career, start business ventures, and acquire a wide range of new skills, some may be worried about the costly and time-consuming commitment, especially if they’re already working full-time.

For this reason, many institutions are utilizing mini MBAs – a more concentrated and quicker option for aspiring entrepreneurs and businesspeople to go back to school.

Let’s take a look at the specifics.

What is a mini MBA?

As the name would suggest, the mini MBA is a fast-track version of the MBA – concentrating the content of a one or two-year degree program into around 40 hours of tuition.  

However, it doesn’t result in a degree qualification, but it will give graduates professional credentials.

Mini MBAs typically cover traditional MBA courses – such as accounting, management, finance and entrepreneurship – in a more introductory and concise way.

A Mini MBA provides students with an introductory insight into business, ensuring foundation level understanding in the field, as well as the basis for future exploration.

The first mini MBA was introduced in 1949 at McGill University in Canada, and the model has now been adopted by schools across the world, with the highest number of programs located in the US and the UK.

The Mini MBA exists mainly in two formats—a week-long accelerated program, or a weekly extended program.

The week-long format offers concentrated, informative training, usually on a specific topic, such as the Mini MBA in digital marketing at Rutgers Business School in New Brunswick—a comprehensive understanding of digital marketing condensed into five days.

The extended format tends to spread over the course of 12-14 weeks, delivered in weekly classes of three to four hours. The Mini MBA at Opus, for example, focuses on a different topic each week, such as finance, business ethics, and leadership.

How much does it cost?

One major advantage of doing a mini MBA is the cost. While the average MBA costs tens of thousands, oftentimes reaching US$150,000(GB£114,716) at top business schools, mini MBA tuition fees run from US$500 (GB£382.52) to a few thousand.

You may even be lucky enough to find a free Mini MBA! There are a number available online.

Let’s take a look at the comparisons. When taking into account that the average two-year MBA program in the US is US$60,000, and some EMBA students (or their company) will shell out over US$100,000.

Tuition for a Mini MBA starts at around US$2,000 (Marketing Week Mini MBA) and go up to just shy of US$6,000 – the Mini MBA at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School in California for example.

Top Mini MBA Programs

There are a number of mini MBA programs around the world, but we think these ones are  really worth noting…

  • University of Buffalo Online Mini MBA: US$1,050 for the flexible program format  

Why should I do a mini MBA?

Mini MBA programs are designed for prospective full-time MBA students who want to get a taste before fully committing to a business degree.

Students will get a more comprehensive understanding of what an MBA involves than they would on an open day or via a prospectus.

If you want to enhance your knowledge towards a more specialized focus, a mini MBA is a great resource. For example, the Marketing Week Mini MBA is the perfect program for those with an interest in marketing (it splits marketing into 12 different modules with an exam at the end of the course).

Mini MBA programs also appeal to students who want to enhance their business competency while continuing in a specific role – an architect or lawyer looking to enhance their industry business knowledge for example.

What do employers think of the mini MBA?

We’re fully aware that the mini MBA and full-time MBA are not on the same level. However, there are of course pros for both programs in what they provide.

Over time, employers have been increasingly drawn to the Mini MBA to help employees enhance their skills and business acumen. For them, a mini MBA is a handy tool to help them upskill their existing employees with minimal time or monetary investment.

Knowledge gained through a mini MBA is transferable for most aspects of management – from leadership to strategy – and demonstrate initiative and ambition.

Non-education-based companies have already started jumping on the bandwagon by running their own programs. Take Google for example, who launched its Innovation Mini MBA during London Tech Week in June 2019.

Pros & cons of a mini MBA


The low cost of a mini MBA is a huge benefit for participants, earning business knowledge at a fraction of the cost.

As Mini MBA programs are more concentrated – they can last as little as a week, with a more intense approach, or span across several months (depending on the institution) – it’s a much smaller commitment than a regular MBA, which undoubtedly benefits full-time workers and/or caretakers who cannot afford the burden of investing substantial sums of money and time into an MBA.

It’s a much smaller commitment than a regular MBA, which can undoubtedly benefit full-time workers and/or caretakers who cannot afford the burden of investing substantial sums of money and time into a full degree.


While mini MBAs can make it easier for certain people to go back to school, unfortunately as they aren’t universally recognized as a degree, they can’t guarantee graduates the same benefits of doing a traditional MBA –  such as career advancement or a significant pay rise in the workforce.

Furthermore, while they do cover the same topics of regular MBAs, the limited amount of teaching hours and modules doesn’t give students all the skills necessary to start their own business or drastically improve as an employee – or, at least, not to the same extent of full-time MBA programs.

Should I do a mini MBA?

If you’re thinking of going to business school, you should first assess how much time and money you’re willing to invest in post-graduate education.

If you think a traditional MBA might be too much for you, a mini MBA might be the right choice, as it would provide you with valuable learning opportunities without interfering too much with your daily life (and who knows, you might still be able to do an MBA in the future!).

On the other hand, if your goal is to drastically and quickly upgrade your status in the business world and/or start a new venture, then a traditional MBA will be worth the investment.

This article was originally published in July 2020 . It was last updated in April 2021

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  


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