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Some business schools offering one-year MBA courses

Accelerated programmes target candidates in a rush and who've taken relevant courses

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"For any type of adult learning, it's what you put into it. The quality is definitely there," says Becky Copper-Glenz, dean of graduate and continuing education at Fitchburg.

IN a hurry to get your MBA? Some business schools allow students to earn a degree in a year or less - about half the time of a traditional US programme. (One-year programmes are already popular in Europe.) People who've raced through the accelerated programmes say they require intense focus and don't allow time for extras such as internships, but they can be ideal if speed is your thing.

Eman Warraich-Gibson, a 33-year-old social worker in New Jersey, started her online MBA studies through Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts in March 2019 and finished her last course that December, less than nine months later.

She managed to pull a 4.0 grade-point average and won the graduate student leadership award, all while working full time as the chief clinical officer of Integrity House, a network of substance abuse treatment centres based in Newark, New Jersey. She's also raising two young children and thanks her husband for doing most of the parenting while she studied.

"Some of my papers were definitely submitted two seconds before midnight, when they were due," Ms Warraich-Gibson says. But the accelerated programme suited her. "I just didn't want to spend forever" getting the degree, she says. She already had a master's degree in social work from Columbia, which she also earned while working full time. "I like to just crunch through things."

An obvious question about accelerated MBAs is whether you can become a true master of business administration in a year or less. Administrators of the schools that offer them say the answer is yes - and point to external validation. AACSB International accredits many of the one-year MBA programmes, along with traditional programmes at most of the top-ranked business schools.

Skip entry-level courses

Fitchburg State's MBA is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, which is still demanding though considered less prestigious. "For any type of adult learning, it's what you put into it. The quality is definitely there," says Becky Copper-Glenz, dean of graduate and continuing education at Fitchburg.

One reason accelerated programmes manage to go so fast is that they generally admit only students who've studied business as undergraduates and are thus able to skip the entry-level courses. Some also dispense with a concentration - a specialisation such as health-care management or business analytics - though in some programmes a student can choose a concentration and still finish in 12 months.

Employers will often cover some or all of the cost of an accelerated MBA, which is about the same as a traditional, two-year programme, because they have holes to fill in management and no time to waste.

Amber Lee, who works in New Jersey for a defence contractor she prefers not to name, got part of her tuition reimbursed for an online MBA through Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. She finished it in December, never having set foot on the Corpus Christi campus. "I heard it's beautiful," she says.

There are campus-based accelerated programmes as well, including that of the University of Florida.

Sandra Rayo Orozco, scheduled to graduate from its Warrington College of Business in May, says the time management she's had to learn is "honestly the best training for my next job".

She's slated to enter a programme to become a general manager of waste management company Republic Services Inc in Kansas City, Kansas, after graduation. "Even though my days are quite busy, they're by no means undoable," she says.

Zooming through an MBA is easier if others are doing it with you.

"When you're going through your ninth Red Bull and you're beating your head against a whiteboard, you get delusional and you start being funny with the other students," says George Fernandez, a recent graduate of Warrington's on-campus programme. "Those are lifelong bonds." BLOOMBERG