Exactly how long does it take to get an MBA? That depends on several factors, including your goals for your degree program, how much daily and weekly time you can devote to it, and the number and nature of other things you have going on in your life.
Studying Full Time to Earn an MBA
According to data from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), 28% of people in MBA programs in the United States are studying full time.1 This means they’re taking the number of credit hours that their university designates a full-time course load. While that number can vary from school to school, most full-time students can earn an MBA within two years.
Most students in full-time MBA programs aren’t just young people fresh out of bachelor’s degree programs. Poets&Quants reports that, in the top 25 MBA programs nationwide, students have a median tenure of work experience from 4.4 to 6 years.2
Obviously, taking a full-time course load means you can finish your degree faster and reap its benefits more quickly than you would if you studied on a part-time basis. Being a full-time student in an MBA program also means that you can take advantage of university resources, including internships and networking opportunities. Of course, it can be challenging to work full time while earning an MBA, but the salary increase you could receive upon graduation can smooth over the pain of missing out on social events and long nights of sleep.
Part-Time MBA Programs
The majority of MBA students—52.7%—are completing their degree on a part-time basis.1 In 2021, Fortune Education reported that, “On average, part-time [MBA] students … have three to five years more work experience than full-time students. Most part-time MBA programs take two-and-a-half to three years to complete, though many allow for self-pacing, which can extend that time.”3
Part-time study is a great option when “How long does it take to get an MBA?” isn’t your primary consideration. Of course, you could end up waiting a little longer to go up for that leadership role and salary increase if you take this path to your degree, and you may continue feeling professionally restless while you complete your studies.
Even so, you’ll have the financial advantage of continuing to work while you study. You may even enjoy the thrill of an “aha moment” when you tackle projects at work that complement what you’re learning in your classes.
Varied Types of MBA Programs: Typical Schedules and Durations
There are variations within the full-time and part-time MBA program structures, including these:4
|MBA Program Type||Expected Schedule||Expected Time to Completion|
|Accelerated (a so-called ‘one-year MBA’)||Full-time||1 year|
|Global (with emphasis on global business practices)||Full-time||2 years|
|Dual (an MBA combined with another degree program: JD, PhD, etc.)||Full-time||2+ years|
|Part-time||Night and weekend classes||3-5 years|
|Executive||Night and weekend classes||2 years|
Earning Your MBA Online
If you think outside those boxes, you’ll find the Online MBA program option. By earning your degree entirely online, you can fit your studies into your life. You’ll be empowered to study on your schedule, keep your job and income, and meet your professional and personal commitments while advancing your education and your career.
What You’ll Study in William & Mary’s Online MBA Program
Whether you choose to take on a full-time or part-time MBA course load, you can design a program that works for you with the Online MBA from William & Mary.
Our Online MBA courses are designed to provide a rigorous overview of key business functions. These include business communications, organization and leadership, accounting, finance, micro- and macroeconomics, innovation and technology management, marketing and entrepreneurship, global business, and business strategy.
How long does it take to get an Online MBA at W&M? With full-time study, you can complete your degree in as few as two years. Courses are completely online, so you can still fit them into your schedule fairly easily.
No matter how long it takes to earn an MBA degree, you’ll graduate with a comprehensive understanding of how to lead in today’s business environment. You’ll have the tools you need to work for a variety of businesses in a range of roles, all the way to the top echelons of the C-suite.
Full-Time Employment While Earning Your MBA
Our Online MBA degree program is designed for maximum flexibility with the schedule of today’s busy adult students in mind. Talk to your current boss about how earning your MBA could boost your career within your company. Ask if your company offers tuition reimbursement, as it’s a great way to offset your graduate school expenses.
Many employers, realizing the benefit of investing in MBA talent, offer part-time, flexible scheduling or telecommuting options for team members who are working toward their degrees. As you prepare to enroll in an MBA degree program, don’t hesitate to ask for what you need to be successful in your studies.
Just remember that if your current company invests in you through flex scheduling and tuition reimbursement, they probably expect you to stay with the company for at least a few years after you finish your MBA.
Earning an MBA: Consider the ROI
After you take stock of your current commitments and talk things over with your family and employer, choose the MBA program that suits your needs and goals, and apply for admission. Earning an MBA often leads to a significant return on investment:5
- Post-MBA starting pay is 50% more, on average, than pre-MBA starting pay
- Five years out, post-MBA pay is 80% more than pre-MBA pay
- Starting later in life is not a disadvantage: Right after graduating, an MBA holder earns an average of $2,822 in starting pay for every year of work experience
- 94% of people who’ve earned an MBA would do it again
It's not an overstatement to say that the decision to get an MBA can change your life. In addition to increasing your earning potential and improving your career prospects, a high-quality MBA program will:
- Increase your networking opportunities
- Improve your people skills
- Expand and enrich your professional network
- Heighten your confidence
- Instill new ways of thinking
- Empower you to negotiate more successfully
How long does it take to get an MBA? That's largely your choice. Imagine the benefits of earning an Online MBA backed by the world-class reputation of William & Mary, and you’ll worry less about how long your studies will take and think more about how quickly you can get started.
Earn a Cutting-Edge MBA That’s Customized for You
Gain the skills you need to tackle today’s business challenges and the innovative perspective to design tomorrow’s solutions. Complete your Online MBA in as little as two years in the acclaimed Raymond A. Mason School of Business.
The Online MBA degree program blends the best of William & Mary—a “Public Ivy” education, world-class faculty, small classes and a close-knit, global community—with the convenience of an online program.
For more information, schedule an appointment with one of our Admissions Advisors today.
1. Retrieved on September 15, 2022, from poetsandquants.com/2022/04/29/how-many-students-are-studying-for-an-mba/
2. Retrieved on September 15, 2022, from poetsandquants.com/2019/11/27/average-age-work-experience-at-top-mba-programs/
3. Retrieved on September 15, 2022, from fortune.com/education/business/articles/2021/09/02/part-time-mba-programs-how-to-add-one-more-intense-experience-to-life/
4. Retrieved on September 15, 2022, from coursera.org/articles/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-an-mba
5. Retrieved on September 15, 2022, from forbes.com/sites/ronaldyeaple/2014/03/17/mba-alumni-profile-2/#2cc0649f37c1