Earning an MBA can be a great career choice, but for many people, it’s a tough decision to make. MBA programs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, require you to take time off from your career, and complicate your life.

However, what if there was a way to get the same benefits of an MBA without these complications? If you’re interested in advancing your business career and education, but aren’t sure you want to pursue an MBA, consider these alternative options.

1. Executive Global Masters in Management (EGMiM)

What It Is: A part-time educational program that’s designed for working professionals. Offered by the London School of Economics, you’ll earn a master’s degree without sacrificing two years and having to take time off work.

Program Length: 17 months. The part-time program requires seven one- or two-week intensive classes, which can be spread out over time. Students spend no more than nine weeks out of the office.

The Benefits:

  • Study and observe management models
  • Learn problem-solving skills
  • Examine business through a socio-economic lens
  • Learn the theory of management and leadership
  • Students can choose to complete a dissertation in any field
  • Capstone project that teaches critical thinking, writing, and research

How It’s Comparable to an MBA: The EGMiM program teaches the same core concepts as traditional MBA programs, from management fundamentals to organizational behavior to leadership. It includes an additional social sciences component, which gives students a broader focus than the average MBA. Students get firsthand experience studying and working to solve problems in real-life business environments.

2. UNC Business Essentials Program

What It Is: A self-paced online program that covers six different key areas of business. Students can earn a certificate once all of the modules and courses are completed, or opt to take solely the classes that interest them.

Program Length: Because the program is self-paced, students can complete the program at any time. UNC estimates that each module takes between 10 and 12 hours to complete, and that students can complete the entire certificate program in four months if they devote five hours per week to their courses.

The Benefits:

  • 100 percent online
  • Students can choose their speed, schedule, and timeline
  • Suitable for those just starting their careers and experienced professionals
  • Can help advance careers
  • Teaches marketable skills
  • Flexible and can be started any time
  • 24/7 access to online tutors and study resources

How It’s Comparable to an MBA: LIke a traditional MBA program, the UNC Business Essentials Program covers the fundamentals of business. The six modules of the program include concepts like financial accounting, economics, financing, marketing, business operations, and business communications. All courses are taught by respected UNC professors. When students earn their certificates through this program, they’re prepared for any business career with the core essentials needed in every industry.

3. Online Mini MBA

What It Is: An online certificate program consisting of 17 modules that’s designed to mimic the coursework of a traditional MBA program in a condensed format. The Online Mini MBA (OMMBA) awards students with a certificate of completion at the end.

Program Length: Students can work through the OMMBA program at their own pace. It can be started, viewed, and completed at any time, and there are no timeline requirements.

The Benefits:

  • 100 percent online
  • Individualized instruction in each module
  • Learn how to make business decisions
  • Study a vast variety of core business concepts in every area (finance, accounting, marketing, management, HR, and more)
  • Build a foundation of business knowledge and skills

How It’s Comparable to an MBA: The OMMBA certificate gives absolutely anyone the opportunity to mimic the coursework of a traditional MBA program – but there’s no need for in-class instruction. Through each module, students study the most important pillars of business, from finance and accounting to marketing and communications to human resources to strategic management. It’s like a primer to a traditional MBA for anyone seeking career advancement.

4. Executive Certificate in Business Administration

What It Is: A three-course series offered by the University of Notre Dame, the Executive Certificate in Business Administration teaches the fundamentals of a traditional MBA. Though each course is offered like a traditional university class, the certificate program can be completed entirely online.

Program Length: 24 weeks. Each course takes eight weeks to complete.

The Benefits:

  • Can take each course at your own pace
  • Classes are held online
  • 24/7 access to course materials
  • Online office hours with professors
  • Online group study opportunities
  • Gain high-level understanding of core MBA concepts
  • Get a foundation of business principles

How It’s Comparable to an MBA: The University of Notre Dame designed the Executive Certificate in Business Administration to include many of the topics and concepts that a traditional MBA program covers. This means it’s very similar to an MBA, but features more condensed coursework and broader overviews of concepts. Students learn economics, finance, marketing, and management, while also learning how to develop a business plan and improve a company’s productivity and profitability. Each of the three courses caters to busy professionals, with flexibility in every aspect.

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