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    The fastest online MBA programs – 2024

    Jeremy Coppock
    Jeremy Coppock

    Jeremy is an education researcher, journalist, and editor for Degreechoices. He majored in Slavic languages and has a master’s degree in Eastern European studies.

    He has previous experience as a fraud analyst, in-house translator, teacher, and truck driver.

    The fastest online MBA programs – 2024
    Contents

      You can get an accelerated online MBA in as little as 1 year.

      The best accelerated online MBA programs are from Western Governors University, Excelsior College, and Colorado State University Global.

      Many affordable online MBAs provide a great return on investment; the colleges on our list offer above-average value for money, even compared to traditional programs.

      www.degreechoices.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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      Picture this: your dream position just opened up at work, and there’s only one thing stopping you from applying for the promotion: you need an MBA.

      Like many people in the same boat, you’re probably scouring the internet looking for the fastest online MBA programs so you can shore up your qualifications and land that dream job, all without getting ripped off.

      Luckily, high-quality online MBAs that take just 1 year to complete do exist.

      In this article, we rank accelerated online MBAs by value for money, allowing you to reach your professional goals quickly without wasting money on a worthless degree.

      How long does an MBA take to get?

      Most MBAs take 2 years to complete. They could take up to 4 years if you’re only studying part time, which is a popular option for busy working people.

      However, some MBAs take a year or even less. These are sometimes termed “accelerated MBAs” or simply “1-year MBAs.”

      What is an accelerated MBA program?

      An “accelerated MBA” usually refers to a 1-year MBA. While they are relatively short, they are also more intensive, with students often taking courses in the summer and packing a lot of learning into a short time span.

      What is a mini-MBA?

      Another option for time-strapped professionals is a mini-MBA. Mini-MBAs are not “real” MBAs in that they do not confer a degree. They are more like certifications that convey the fundamentals of business administration in a condensed format.

      Many employers do not recognize mini-MBAs as a legitimate substitute for the real-deal. On the other hand, some large companies offer their own mini-MBAs, allowing employees to gain eligibility for promotions without taking too much time off work.

      Mini-MBAs could take as little as a few weeks to complete.

      The best accelerated MBA programs online

      The list below represents the best online accelerated MBA programs by value for money. There isn’t much point in listing programs by how fast they are, as almost all accelerated MBAs take more or less 1 year.

      Therefore, there is no single “fastest MBA online.”

      Graduates of the programs below get the best returns on their educational investment. This could be because they are very affordable, lead to high earnings, or, better yet, offer a combination of these 2 factors.

      We will explain how we rank colleges in more detail right after this list.

      #1 in Fastest Online MBAs

      Western Governors University

      Salt Lake City, Utah

      Economic score 0.14

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $85,330

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.2

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $13,235

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      At the top of our list of the best accelerated online MBA programs is Western Governors University. WGU is a private, not-for-profit university that is fully online. Founded in 1991 by a group of governors of Western states, this institution is a pioneer in online college education.  

      Its MBA program can be completed in just 12 months, and it consists of 11 courses. Students can choose between 3 tracks: a traditional MBA, an MBA in Information Technology Management, and an MBA in Healthcare Management. On the program’s homepage, it boasts that graduates get an average $16,200 salary increase. 

      Students have access to a Program Mentor who reviews learning goals and offers support throughout the program. 

      Cost: $4,755 per six-month term. 

      Credits to complete: No credit system, 11 courses 

      GMAT: Not required 

      Program length: 12 months 

      See more
      #2 in Fastest Online MBAs

      Excelsior College

      Albany, New York

      Economic score 0.20

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $100,194

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.3

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $25,360

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      This private, online university is based in Albany, New York. It offers a wide range of popular degrees for non-traditional, working students. 

      Its flexible accelerated online MBA program is ideal for managers who want to up their game in all aspects of business, including strategy, operations, HR, and digital transformation. MBA students can choose 1 or even several concentrations. These include finance and accounting, health care management, cannabis control, human resource management, marketing, and leadership. One of the best accelerated MBA programs online, learners can be sure their money is being put to work smartly. 

      Cost:  $715 per credit 

      Credits to complete: 33 

      GMAT: Not required 

      Program length: 12 months 

      See more
      #3 in Fastest Online MBAs
      Economic score 0.33

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $102,082

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.4

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $44,007

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      A trusted public institution, CSU Global Campus is part of the Colorado State University system. Its courses are specially geared for students who can’t take part in the traditional campus experience, in particular adult learners. 

      It has a fully online accelerated MBA program that is the 3rd best value on our list. For each MBA course, students study and complete a case that’s relevant to the real world. Courses include creating/implementing marketing strategies, financial decision making, developing and leading strategy, and much more. Students can choose from a wide array of concentrations. 

      Cost:  $500 per credit 

      Credits to complete: 30 

      GMAT: Not required 

      Program length: 12–20 months 

      See more
      #4 in Fastest Online MBAs

      Franklin University

      Columbus, Ohio

      Economic score 0.50

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $74,552

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.5

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $35,500

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      This private university is based in Columbus Ohio, although most courses are offered wholly online.  

      Its FlexFIT MBA program is no exception: this 36 credit-hour program can be completed in just 1 year. A highly customizable degree, it can be tailored based on students’ time and financial constraints. Students can also choose between a general and a specialized MBA. Specializations include organizational leadership, healthcare, finance, marketing, business analytics, IT, operational excellence, and more. 

      Cost:  $670 

      Credits to complete: 36 

      GMAT: Not required 

      Program length: 12 

      See more
      #5 in Fastest Online MBAs

      Capella University

      Minneapolis, Minnesota

      Economic score 0.53

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $75,937

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.5

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $39,139

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      This highly popular online university has over 40,000 students enrolled in its programs. With headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it is a private, for-profit institution. 

      Its master’s in business administration, one of the fastest MBA programs online, is perfect for busy working professionals. Besides MBAs in Human Resource Management, Health Care Management, and Project Management, there is also a Self-Designed MBA that allows students to customize their learning to suit their needs. 

      Students can also choose between the FlexPath option, which lets them take classes at their own pace, and a GuidedPath option, which has deadlines and weekly discussion meetings with classmates. FlexPath allows highly motivated students to complete their degree in as little as 11 months. 

      Cost:  Variable 

      Credits to complete: 45 

      GMAT: No 

      Program length: 11 months (with FlexPath) 

      See more
      #6 in Fastest Online MBAs

      Peirce College

      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      Economic score 0.64

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $66,594

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.5

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $36,110

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      This private college in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania focuses on online learning for adults. It has an MBA program that can be completed through 6 or 7 courses (coming to 30-36 credits).  

      To emphasize its affordability, Peirce even offers a 3-credit Graduate Leadership Bootcamp for free. Students can choose to enroll full or part time, and you don’t need a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field to sign up. The degree is highly customizable: you can choose between weekly, optional, or live online sessions with professors. Seminars with top practitioners are available too. 

      Cost: $23,160 for 30 credits 

      Credits to complete: 30-36 

      GMAT: Not required 

      Program length: 12-18 months 

      See more
      #7 in Fastest Online MBAs
      Economic score 0.65

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $57,923

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.5

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $27,861

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      This private, for-profit online university is particularly known for its business programs. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, its online accelerated MBA program is an excellent choice for working professionals.  

      NAU skips electives and thesis projects to save you time and energy, allowing you to focus on real-world cases and tasks. Students learn about marketing essentials, financial management, business economics, enterprise operations, accounting, and more. 

      Cost: $2,625 per course 

      Credits to complete: 45 (10 courses) 

      GMAT: Not required 

      Program length: 1 year or more 

      See more
      #8 in Fastest Online MBAs

      Everglades University

      Boca Raton, Florida

      Economic score 0.75

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $62,997

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.6

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $38,352

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      This private university based in Boca Raton, Florida, was once known as American Flyers College. It offers both online and on-campus learning options.  

      As a well-known accelerated online MBA option, this program can be completed in only 12 months. Core courses include managerial finance, leadership skills, accounting, and applied managerial statistics, while elective courses include strategic sales, organizational behavior, and others. Students also complete a capstone course. 

      Cost: $925 per credit hour ($11,100 for 12 credits) 

      Credits to complete: 36 

      GMAT: Not if you have an undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or above 

      Program length: 12 months 

      See more
      #9 in Fastest Online MBAs

      Salem University

      Salem, West Virginia

      Economic score 0.92

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $50,385

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.6

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $29,914

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      A private, for-profit university, Salem is based in West Virginia. Salem’s accelerated online MBA is an affordable and convenient option. The program helps corporate leaders hone their leadership and decision-making skills. Classes include financial management, marketing management, applied business statistics, and much more. 

      CostVaries 

      Credits to complete: 30 

      GMAT: No 

      Program length: Less than 12 months 

      See more
      #10 in Fastest Online MBAs
      Economic score 1.00

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $52,445

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.7

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $35,239

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      AIU is a private, for-profit university. Its headquarters are in Schaumburg, Illinois, although most of its course offerings are available online. Originally founded in Switzerland by American expats, it has been conferring degrees in the U.S. since 1971. 

      Its accelerated online MBA program has a lot to offer students: it is flexible and can be completed in as little as 12 months; classes can be completed at learners’ own pace, full-time or part-time. Likewise, students can focus on the aspects of management most important to them through the intellipath® system. 

      CostVaries 

      GMAT: Not required 

      Program length: 12 months 

      See more
      #11 in Fastest Online MBAs

      Walden University

      Minneapolis, Minnesota

      Economic score 1.02

      The Economic Score is the combination of debt-to-earnings ratio and earningsplus. We use the economic score to determine a graduate program’s rank. The lower the economic score the better. For an analysis of how we arrive at the economic score, and a description of our data sources, please visit our methodology page.

      Earnings $60,369

      Median earnings of all students 4 years after graduating.

      Debt to earnings 0.8

      The debt-to-earnings ratio is calculated by dividing student debt upon graduation by the annual salary. A debt to earnings ratio of 1 means that annual educational debt is the same as annual earnings.

      Debt $47,630

      The total debt accrued by the median student at the time of graduation.

      A private, for-profit university, Walden is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is an entirely online institution. It offers a fast-track, accelerated online MBA that can be completed in 12 months. Students can choose from between multiple degree completion options, including standard-track, fast-track, and tempo learning. You can also choose a specialization that fits your interests and professional needs. 

      Cost:  Varies, could be as low as $13,000 for the whole program. 

      GMAT: Not required 

      Program length: 12 months 

      See more

      How we made this list

      At Degreechoices, we rank degree programs based on their educational ROI. To do so, we have devised a formula that uses data on cost, earnings, and payback time to generate an “Economic Score” that shows which degrees are the “best deal.” The lower the Economic Score, the better.

      For graduate-level programs, we use a debt-to-earnings ratio to rank colleges instead. This factors in students’ debt at graduation and their earnings 4 years after completing their degree.

      We encourage you to read more about our ranking methodology on the dedicated page of our website.

      Cost, earnings, and debt information comes from the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database. These statistics are also available on College Scorecard, a government initiative to make reliable data on higher education outcomes more accessible to the public.

      To make the list above, we first compiled a list of fully online MBA programs and ranked them by their debt-to-earnings ratio. Then, we checked which ones clearly offer an accelerated or 1-year online MBA on their website.

      Why isn’t my program on this list?

      We only rank programs that disclose a sufficient amount of data to the Department of Education. While more universities offer accelerated online MBAs, they don’t appear on our top lists because we can’t be sure of their economic value.

      » Read: The GRE vs GMAT for MBA applications

      Is an accelerated online MBA worth it?

      Yes! Many accelerated online MBA programs are a worthwhile investment. The 11 MBAs on the list above list have an average debt-to-earnings ratio of 0.52. This is 17.5% better than the average for all MBAs (0.63) and 23.5% better than the average for all online MBAs (0.68).

      The mean earnings of alumni of the MBA programs on this list are $71,710 just 4 years after graduation.

      » Also read: The best online MBA programs with no GMAT

      Are accelerated online MBAs affordable?

      Because they’re shorter, accelerated online MBAs are generally more affordable than traditional 2-year programs.

      IPEDS publishes data on the average debt burden students take on to pay for college. This is a good way to measure programs’ affordability, as tuition costs can vary significantly due to financial aid.

      Thus, on average, American students take on $49,727 to pay for their MBAs. Those who opt for an online or hybrid program take out an average of $53,385 in student loans.

      Meanwhile, the mean debt for the programs on this list is $33,850.

      This allows us to conclude that accelerated online MBAs are generally more affordable than the average master’s in business administration program.

      Are accelerated online MBAs respected?

      Yes. Many employers just care that you have an MBA degree, they don’t care so much how much time it took you to get it. While some highly competitive, lucrative positions may demand prestigious MBAs, many successful business professionals do just fine with an accelerated master’s from an online university.

      Average earnings data for these programs proves this.

      Closing thoughts

      An MBA can be a smart choice for working professionals who want to climb the career ladder and become effective leaders.

      Check out our full rankings of the best MBA programs in the country (on-campus and online), by return on investment, to boost your job prospects without drowning in toxic student debt.

      www.degreechoices.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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