What Are The Best MBA Alternatives? | Student Reviews & University Rankings EDUopinions

What Are The Best MBA Alternatives?


Why would you need an MBA alternative? For many years, students have looked to the traditional MBA as the creme-de-la-creme of business degrees. However, things are changing.

Though there are benefits to the MBA, the degree also has its problems. They are often unaffordable, costing upwards of €100,000. They can also take a long time to complete and they require a lot of commitment and work.

Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to the MBA. Whether a Masters or online course, there are plenty of ways you can increase your business knowledge without an MBA.

why choose an MBA alternative?

Though it’s not necessarily true that the MBA is in crisis, there are certainly more alternatives available now than a few years ago.

Even titans of business like Elon Musk don’t believe you need an MBA to succeed in business. A study from Stanford University also found that almost no entrepreneurs in small cities in the United States had an MBA or wanted to get one.

This is not to say that MBAs don’t have their benefits. You’ll network with other professionals, complete internships as part of your program, and take advantage of a rigorous academic environment. Not to mention, MBA graduates have some of the highest salaries of all business graduates. In Europe, the average starting salary for an MBA grad is close to €80,000.

However, for some, the cost – both in terms of time and money – doesn’t justify the end result. The following MBA alternatives might take less time to complete, prepare you for a slightly different business career, or offer more niches than the traditional MBA.

The best MBA alternatives

Business Masters

For anyone looking for a shorter, more specialised alternative to the MBA, a Business Masters is the ideal choice. These courses are shorter and more affordable than a traditional MBA, so they’re great for early-career students who want to start their careers quickly.

There are lots of Business Masters out there, so you’ll have to figure out which course is the best for you. A Masters is typically more specialised than an MBA, which gives you a foundation in all areas of business. For example, you could choose a Master in Finance, a Master in International Business, or a Master in Data Analytics.

As they’re more specialised, a Business Master might enable you to more easily break into your chosen industry. You’ll also gain your qualification in just one year, and spend as little as €2,000 on tuition in certain European countries.

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Massive open online courses (MOOCs)

MBA Alternative MOOC

A Massive Open Online Course is a great MBA alternative if you’re looking for a low-cost way to boost your business knowledge. Providers like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and Udacity are known for their speedy online courses that will give you a foundation in different areas of business.

Or, go one step further and try an online course from a business school. Prominent business schools like Harvard and The Wharton School offer short, online courses in areas like economics, business analytics, and strategic management. Even better, these courses are taught by the same distinguished professors as their in-person degrees.

With a MOOC, you can learn online at any time without needing to leave your full-time job or commit to an in-person programme.

Mini MBA

Also called a Micro MBA, this shortened version of the MBA is similar to a MOOC. Delivered by business professionals or traditional business schools, it should cover core business skills and offer hands-on projects which a MOOC may not. A Mini MBA may also focus on in-demand skills and less on business fundamentals.

Depending on the course you choose, you might have both online and in-person courses, though it’s still a part-time degree. In total, they should take no longer than a year to complete, arming you with business skills fast. With tuition starting from as little as €1,100, they’re a lot more affordable than the traditional MBA.

Power MBA

Power MBA Alternative to MBA


Similar to a MOOC, the Power MBA is an online MBA course aiming to revolutionise the MBA. Launched in 2017, it follows a broadly similar curriculum to the standard MBA, covering digital marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, and disruptive technology.

However, the programme is delivered in 15 minute daily sessions given via pre-recorded video lessons. These are taught by real business leaders, and also incorporate case studies into learning. In this way, the Power MBA is arguably more on-trend than a traditional university-taught MBA.

With just 15 minutes a day, you should also easily fit learning into your other commitments. However, you will have to commit to 15 minutes every weekday for at least 14 months to fully complete the program.

Conclusion about the MBA Alternatives

An MBA is a great choice if you’re a seasoned professional looking to switch careers or secure a promotion. They offer networking opportunities, high-quality teaching, and a practical curriculum, and can lead to a wide range of careers. MBA graduates enter careers across industries, including in finance, marketing, leadership, operations management, and more.

However, for many people, they are unsuitable due to the cost, time, and pressure involved. It might be unsustainable to take two years away from a career to complete your degree, even with the potential salary uplifts.

For that reason, you might look to MBA alternatives. A MOOC, Business Master, or a Mini MBA will offer the same curriculum as an MBA but will have other benefits the traditional MBA doesn’t have. For example, you can specialise in a specific area of business and study alongside work.

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Written by
Abigail is a freelance writer specialising in higher education. She has lived in London and the Netherlands, and has a Masters degree in American Studies.

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