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It might be obvious from the name, but let’s cover it anyway. A mini-MBA is a compressed format of the regular MBA. MBA-lite, if you may. It is targeted at students, employees, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, or anyone interested in learning about management, but doesn’t want to put in the time, effort, money - or all 3 – into getting a regular MBA degree.
The exact format may vary, but most good mini MBA courses cover all the essential business concepts included in the MBA syllabus – economics, marketing, finance, human resources, operations, entrepreneurship, strategy and more.
Instead of spending 2 years in a classroom, mini MBA courses can generally be completed in a few days or weeks.
Growing popularity of mini MBA courses:
1. They are faster
Regular MBA programs can take 1 or 2 years of full-time commitment. Part-time MBA can take 3 years, or more. In comparison, Mini MBA courses can be wrapped up in a few days or weeks. This allows students to use the newly gained skills at work immediately.
2. They are affordable
An MBA degree from Harvard Business School can set you back by $150,000 (around ₹1.24 Crore), and that’s just the tuition. Even the good Indian MBA programs are expensive. ISB charges over ₹40 Lakh for its one-year MBA.
A Mini MBA is easier on the pocket. It can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Check out the pricing for the best mini MBA programmes in the world.
3. They are easy to manage
Mini MBA courses don’t expect full-time engagement, as they are created for students who cannot put their life on hold to get a degree. Students can define the study schedule and ensure that it doesn’t interfere with their commitments.
Mini MBA vs. Full-Time MBA - Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of a Mini MBA
They are focused
Instead of covering everything there is to cover (which many traditional MBAs are accused of), mini-MBA courses cut out the clutter and only focus on what’s important.
They will not make you file for bankruptcy
Their low-cost means that there are no long-term financial implications. With the reduced risk, you will not be forced to chase high-paying roles, just to pay off the education loan. Without the shackles, you can focus on ways to leverage your newly gained skills in your area of interest.
Better work-life balance
You decide the learning schedules. You decide when you want to take a break. You decide how much time you want to spend each day, or take breaks. The bottom-line is – you will continue to have a life when you’re pursuing a mini-MBA.
They are up-to-date
The syllabus for traditional MBA degrees is difficult to alter. It can take years to see any meaningful difference to the curriculum. In comparison, Mini MBA lessons are bite-sized and easier to update if needed. This means your learning will not be obsolete by the time you finish the course.
Disadvantages of a Mini MBA
It’s a conscious design decision to cover only the most-important basics of management. This means you cannot depend on the course to make you an expert in any discipline. You can, of course, use the Mini MBA as a starter kit to find out what you like or dislike, and then go deeper into your chosen subjects.
When it comes to the traditional MBA, the big draw is the platform you gain to network with other students, alumni and industry professionals. When you’re studying by yourself, this aspect will be missing.
In short, a mini-MBA is no match for a Harvard MBA. So don’t go in with that expectation. Focus on gaining knowledge and skills in the shortest possible time. That is what the course is designed for.
Limited career change opportunities
The careers team and industry connections at the top business schools help a lot when it comes to career changing opportunities. Don’t expect that to happen with a mini MBA. You could benefit from the skills in your current as well as new jobs. But the course itself may not alter employer perceptions significantly.
Is a Mini MBA right for you?
The answer to that question will depend on how you answer questions related to your career goals and overall expectations.
What are your career goals?
Are you expecting to be better at your job, in the current company or a new one by gaining new skills and perspectives? A mini MBA might be an option to consider.
Are you looking for a big career transition – e.g. change of industry, role or geography? Go for a reputed traditional MBA.
How much time do you have to upskill?
Be realistic about this. Most plans start off with a bang and then end on a whimper. If you know that you cannot leave your current job for a year or two, a mini MBA would be a good choice.
How much money are you willing to spend?
Do you have savings to last you during the entire duration of a regular MBA, and for a few years beyond (when you’re paying off your debt)? A top b school might be affordable.
If you cannot rock your financial boat, stick to a mini MBA.
And then there are the other points we touched upon earlier about credibility, networking et al.
In conclusion, upskilling is a necessity, not a choice. The uncertain part of the question is how you should do it. Take into consideration your current personal, professional and financial situation before taking that decision.
At MBA Crystal Ball we created a mini MBA to allow anyone interested in learning about management theory and practice.
Try it out here: Mini MBA
The author is the Founder of MBA Crystal Ball, an MBA Admissions and Career Counselling service provider.