Are you considering enrolling in a Master of Business Administration program? There are many types of MBA degrees, each with different formats and benefits. As you plan for your future education, it’s important to understand what options are available to you.
There are four main types of MBA programs; traditional full-time MBA programs are designed for people who plan to stop working and pursue their MBA as full-time students. Three other programs are designed for working professionals — people who plan to work full-time as they pursue their MBA degrees part-time: executive, professional, and online MBA programs. To help you develop a solid understanding of these degree types and their formats and benefits, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to all things MBA.
Full-time MBA programs are likely what first come to mind when thinking about business administration master’s degrees. As the name suggests, these students leave the workforce and enroll in a full-time schedule. Full-time business master’s degree programs are typically in-person and on-campus with daytime course schedules that generally take two years to complete. UGA’s Full-Time MBA takes 22 months to complete, including a summer internship opportunity.
Full-time programs are often geared toward students with two to five years of professional work experience who want to fully immerse themselves in the graduate school experience. UGA’s Full-Time MBA program prefers that candidates have at least 2 years of full-time, professional work experience. A full-time MBA program allows students to explore specific disciplines or specializations further as they decide what areas of business they may want to pursue in their careers.
UGA’s Full-Time MBA program is an immersive student experience on our main campus in Athens, GA. While Full-Time MBA students may work as graduate assistants or take part in other flexible, part-time opportunities, students devote the majority of their time to their studies, applied learning projects, and dedicated career exploration.
- Face-to-face connections and networking
- Individualized career and student support
- In-depth focus areas
- Full-ride graduate assistantship, scholarships, and tuition waiver opportunities
A full-time MBA program offers many benefits to students, including the ability to connect and network with peers in a face-to-face setting and allows them to explore different fields before advancing their career as well as the vast resources offered on major college campuses. Students can capitalize on hands-on learning experiences, such as internships, consulting projects, and case studies to refine their strategic management and leadership skills.
Executive MBA programs (EMBAs) are geared toward those with more experience in their career. EMBA programs may have specific requirements pertaining to years of experience, so admissions requirements can vary from program to program. UGA’s Executive MBA program requires that candidates have a minimum of 7 years of work experience.
Executive Master of Business Administration programs can be offered online or in-person and often have classes on a weeknight or, more commonly, on weekends to accommodate working students. Typically, this type of program can take between one to three years to complete depending on the schedule and course load. UGA’s Executive MBA program is completed in 18 months.
- Usually offered part-time
- Weekend classes available
- Online, in-person, or hybrid options
Added flexibility in an EMBA degree program allows working professionals to obtain the same top-notch education as a traditional full-time program in a format or schedule that enables them to continue their career while gaining the skills to advance in a leadership position.
- Ideal for advanced working professionals
- Continued skill development for leadership advancement
- Accommodating to adult learners
Individuals working in their field for several years may feel intimidated by returning to school as adult learners. With benefits such as more flexible schedules, the chance to hone skills used in day-to-day practices, and a welcoming environment for experienced professionals, EMBAs are an excellent option for motivated prospective students.
Professional Master of Business Administration, part-time MBA, or PMBA programs share many similarities with executive MBA programs; however, PMBA students are typically early- to mid-career professionals rather than advanced. With executive programs geared toward those with more leadership experience and years in the field, PMBAs are a great middle-ground for budding professionals.
Available in many formats and with a part-time schedule, PMBAs are also ideal for those who have work or family commitments that require them to have a more flexible and adaptable school schedule. Professional programs can be completed anywhere between one to seven years. UGA’s Professional MBA Program can be completed in 17, 20, or 23 months.
- Potentially hybrid online and in-person
- Weekday evening and/or weekend classes
- Usually more classes per week
PMBA programs are often offered in hybrid online and in-person formats, and classes may take place on weekday evenings or on weekends. UGA’s Professional MBA Program offers both weekday evening or Saturday-only class schedules.
- Great for early- and mid-career professionals
- Typically on a part-time schedule
Flexible and great for early- and mid-career professionals, PMBAs are a great option for students who are motivated to advance their career but need an adaptable schedule. Most Professional MBA students would be considered up-and-coming leaders within their industries and organizations. PMBA programs are particularly great for candidates moving into or are early in their management careers.
Online Master of Business Administration programs (OMBAs) offer the same rigor and comprehensive curriculum as other types of business administration master’s degrees, but in a virtual format that allows students to learn from home, at work, on the road, or wherever life may take you. Remote learning is a popular option for students who, for a multitude of reasons, are otherwise unable to attend an in-person program.
You may be under the impression that, due to their flexible design, online MBA programs provide little to no structure or opportunity to interact with other students. This is a common misconception about online learning, and many online MBA programs prioritize fostering peer-to-peer connection through structured group learning activities, team projects, scheduled workshops, or discussion boards. UGA’s Online MBA program requires students to work in teams, and students will also have the opportunity to attend in-person networking opportunities, as well as domestic or international residencies.
- Fully online
- Synchronous or asynchronous
Online programs tend to be offered part-time. While online learning can occur asynchronously (students complete their work at their own pace to meet deadlines), some online MBA programs have synchronous components (students meet with professors virtually at a scheduled time) and may require students to live within a specific time zone to be eligible for admission. The University of Georgia Online MBA Program can be completed 100% asynchronously, though any scheduled meetings or events would occur in the Eastern Standard Time Zone.
- Flexible scheduling
- Learn from home, work, or on the road
- Ability to continue working
Online MBA programs easily allow students to keep their career or personal commitments while pursuing a graduate degree in business through the flexibility of attending classes online and from the convenience of their own home. With the same rigor and academic challenge as traditional programs and a greater amount of accessibility for students from many locations, OMBA programs are a great fit for a wide range of MBA seekers. Their flexible nature also allows students to complete the degree in varying time frames. UGA’s Online MBA program can be completed in 17, 20, or 23 months.
Which Program is Right For You?
There’s no right or wrong answer for what kind of MBA degree is right for you. It comes down to factors such as location, whether or not you plan on working full-time while attending graduate school, your need for a full-time or part-time schedule, your desire to learn in-person or online, and so much more.
How to Choose a Master of Business Administration Program
Whether you choose to continue working, pause your career while you pursue your education, or crave the traditional on-campus graduate school experience, the right program for you is the one that aligns with your goals and priorities.
Here are the key factors you should consider when choosing an MBA program:
- Do you plan on working full-time, part-time, or not at all while pursuing your MBA?
- Do you have a preference for in-person learning or online learning?
- Do you meet the admissions criteria for the program you’re interested in, or are there additional steps you need to take before applying?
- What is your budget for your graduate education, and does the program you’re interested in offer scholarships, veteran tuition assistance, etc.? (Note: your place of employment may offer tuition coverage or reimbursement for your MBA degree.)
Above all, know the value of your MBA degree is worth the investment you make. In terms of ROI, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) reports 87% of MBA graduates agree that their degree increased their employability, and seven in 10 agree that their graduate business education gave them opportunities for quicker career advancement.
University of Georgia Master of Business Administration Programs
The University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business offers a selection of top-ranked and respected MBA programs, including a Full-Time MBA, Executive MBA, Professional MBA, and Online MBA. Each of these programs connects students with UGA’s faculty experts who empower our students to achieve their goals and advance in their careers.
Discover more details about each type of UGA business administration master’s degree by visiting the Compare Georgia MBA Programs page.
Find the University of Georgia MBA Program for You
As a student at the University of Georgia, you will be welcomed into a Master of Business Administration program that offers supportive faculty, a vast network of Terry College of Business alumni, and a top-ranked, rigorous education that enables you to reach your goals.