What Is a Mini-MBA?
Updated 26 February 2021
The mini-MBA is an accelerated MBA program that concentrates one to two years of tuition into approximately 40 hours.
The full MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a course that covers every aspect of business in a formal, postgraduate setting. The MBA is one of the most expensive postgraduate courses available and, as such, the mini-MBA has gained popularity to give an introductory insight into business education.
The mini-MBA was first introduced at McGill University in Canada in 1949 and, since then, universities, colleges and even corporations have offered mini-MBA courses that allow students to get a foundational understanding of business administration.
Some mini-MBAs are broad-spectrum, giving an overview of all aspects of business. Others focus on a specific aspect, such as digital marketing or social media.
The mini-MBA is not a substitute for the full MBA – it does not result in a degree, but you will usually get a certificate.
The mini-MBA is usually aimed at middle managers but it is also suitable for students considering a full MBA, to help them get an idea of what the full degree course might entail.
Some universities think they are so valuable for this purpose that they will deduct the cost of the mini-MBA from the full course fees if a student decides to carry on their studies.
Generally, professionals that enroll on a mini-MBA course are looking to enhance their business knowledge in a specific area, or are looking to increase their general business competence.
There are two types of professional that might consider a mini-MBA:
- Mini-MBAs are taken by business professionals who are looking to enhance their knowledge of a specific area. These candidates may specifically look for mini-MBAs that specialize in certain areas, such as marketing, strategy, leadership or entrepreneurship.
- They are also taken by professionals employed in different sectors, such as law, who need to brush up on their business knowledge but do not need a full MBA degree.
Recruiters are aware that the mini-MBA is not equivalent to a full MBA. Some might consider it a ‘quick win’ option that has no real value. For most, though, the effort and energy put into pursuing and completing any formal training for the desired position will be well received.
The knowledge that can be gained through studying a mini-MBA is transferable through most aspects of management – from leadership to strategy – and clearly demonstrates initiative and ambition.
For employers, the mini-MBA is a handy tool that can help upskill their existing employees with minimal time or monetary investment and is a popular option.
Some mini-MBAs are offered by educational institutes, and many corporations are offering their own mini-MBAs as part of their Continuing Professional Development schemes.
- The main ‘con’ to undertaking a mini-MBA is that it is not a full MBA. This means that it does not result in a professionally recognized degree or qualification.
- Due to time constraints, the mini-MBA will not cover the same breadth of material as a full MBA. Indeed, some people think that the mini-MBA devalues the full MBA because it cannot expose students to the full depth and breadth of the subject.
- A full MBA can cost over $100,000 for the duration of the course, while a mini-MBA is significantly cheaper: some courses cost only $500, rising to around $2,000. Therefore, the mini-MBA is more appealing to those with a limited budget who still want to seek further business education. Also, a mini-MBA will allow you to keep your job during your study, reducing the impact of lost wages.
- The rise in focused mini-MBAs can allow students to learn about a specific aspect of business – especially in our fast-moving technological society. This means that someone who has great general business knowledge can study a mini-MBA in a subject like social media to update their knowledge.
- The mini-MBA is an accelerated program that condenses years of tuition into a much shorter timeframe (usually around 40 hours). This means that this course is often taught as a ‘bootcamp’ – an intensive course lasting four to five days – which works well as part of your professional development whilst you are in a management position.
- If you are looking into the possibility of studying a full MBA, the mini-MBA gives a really good idea of what to expect. It is, of course, an introductory overview of the ideas, trends and strategies that are prevalent in business administration. The mini-MBA is sometimes known as a starter MBA, and can be the first step towards a full MBA.
The mini-MBA can be delivered on campus, online or a combination of both. Class-based courses can either be held during work hours or on evenings and weekends.
For some, the intensive week-long courses are perfect for an in-depth, full immersion into the course. These are full attendance courses, often held at a university.
Some courses are spread over 6 to 12 weeks – the same amount of content is covered, but the course is structured to deliver it over multiple sessions, giving more flexibility to those who might be undertaking study alongside work or other commitments.
In terms of assessment, some mini-MBAs are assessed via examination, while others are not assessed as such – they tend to deliver attendance-based certification instead.
The mini-MBA is an intensive, condensed version of the full MBA. Offering students the chance to achieve an overview of the full MBA course, it is aimed at those looking to upskill, increase their business knowledge or get an idea of what a full MBA would include.
The mini-MBA is significantly cheaper than the full course, both in time commitment and financially. Students taking a full MBA would be expected to study full time, usually on campus, and it can take two years to complete. However, the mini-MBA delivers condensed tuition in around 40 hours, sometimes during one week or as an 8 to 12-week course.
In terms of cost, the full MBA is one of the most expensive postgrad courses available; the cost for the mini-MBA is significantly lower.
As a further education option, undertaking a mini-MBA shows initiative and ambition, and any effort made by a potential employee to increase their knowledge and skill set should be seen favorably by recruiters, but it is not an alternative to a full MBA and recruiters are aware of this.
Taking a mini-MBA is a great way to get new skills, improve your knowledge and see if taking a full MBA would be of benefit for you.