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Online accelerated executive MBA (EMBA) degree programs are tailored for experienced professionals seeking to advance their careers into executive leadership roles. These programs prepare students for high-level positions in business, such as chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or chief operating officer (COO).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, top executives earn a median annual salary of $103,840. The fast-track nature of these programs allows students to complete their degree in as little as 12 to 18 months, compared to traditional EMBA programs that typically span two years. This accelerated format caters to busy professionals by providing a comprehensive business education in a condensed time frame.

How to Choose an Online Accelerated Executive MBA Program

Choose your area of study

Assess your professional strengths, interests, and career aspirations. Research program specializations offered by various institutions, considering their relevance to your desired career path and industry trends. Accelerated programs may offer fewer elective courses and a more streamlined curriculum compared to traditional EMBA programs, so it’s essential to ensure your chosen program offers the specific courses and concentrations that align with your goals. Also, consider the flexibility and support services provided by each program, as these factors can impact your ability to balance coursework with professional responsibilities.

Research schools and programs

Look for accredited programs recognized for their quality and relevance in the business world. Consider factors such as program format, faculty expertise, and alumni success. Accelerated programs may have shorter durations and intensive schedules, so it’s essential to evaluate how well the program structure aligns with your learning style and professional commitments. Explore opportunities for networking, career support, and experiential learning.

Prepare for tests and applications

Familiarize yourself with the application requirements and deadlines for each potential school. Some accelerated programs may require applicants to demonstrate a higher level of proficiency in business concepts or undergo additional assessments due to the fast-paced nature of the program. Prepare by reviewing relevant material and practicing test-taking strategies to perform your best. Prioritize writing compelling essays and securing strong letters of recommendation to showcase your readiness for the program’s rigorous curriculum.

Select your program

Evaluate the program’s curriculum, faculty expertise, and accreditation status to ensure it aligns with your professional aspirations. Consider format and flexibility, as accelerated programs may have shorter durations and more intensive schedules. Research the program’s reputation and alumni outcomes as well as any unique features or specializations offered. Pay attention to factors such as networking opportunities, career services, and support for working professionals.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Research tuition costs and explore financial aid options, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Accelerated programs may have higher upfront costs due to their condensed format. Evaluate employer tuition assistance programs and any potential tax benefits for educational expenses. Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid programs.

Best 50 Accredited Online Accelerated Executive MBA Programs

Best One-Year Online Executive MBA (EMBA) Degree Programs_2024 badge

Washington State University

Rochester Institute of Technology

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Brandeis University

University of New Orleans

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Tennessee State University

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How we rank schools

This list features some of the best online accelerated executive MBA degree programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for postsecondary education.

We evaluated each school’s program on admission, retention, and graduation rates as well as tuition costs, faculty, reputation, and the resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online accelerated executive MBA degree programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect From an Online Accelerated Executive MBA Degree Program?

Students can expect an intensive and rigorous educational experience. These programs are designed for experienced professionals seeking to advance their careers quickly into executive leadership roles. Students will learn advanced business concepts, leadership skills, and critical thinking abilities essential for success in the business world.

The accelerated format allows students to complete their degree in as little as 12 to 18 months, compared to traditional EMBA programs that typically span two years. However, the condensed nature of the program requires a significant time commitment and dedication to coursework. While some programs may offer flexibility through online learning, others may include in-person components such as residencies or workshops.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online accelerated executive MBA program

  • Strategic Management. Focuses on developing skills in formulating and implementing business strategies to achieve organizational goals. Topics may include industry analysis, competitive positioning, and strategic planning techniques. Students will learn to evaluate market opportunities and make strategic decisions that drive long-term success.
  • Leadership and Ethics. Explores leadership theories, styles, and practices within the context of ethical decision-making. Students will examine case studies and participate in experiential exercises to develop their leadership abilities and ethical reasoning. Topics may include servant leadership, moral dilemmas in business, and building ethical cultures within organizations.
  • Financial Management. Covers fundamental concepts in finance, including financial analysis, capital budgeting, and risk management. Students will learn to interpret financial statements, evaluate investment opportunities, and make financial decisions that maximize shareholder value. Topics may include the time value of money and financial modeling techniques.
  • Global Business Strategy. Explores the complexities of operating in a global marketplace and develops students’ abilities to formulate and execute global business strategies. Topics may include international trade, foreign market entry strategies, and cross-cultural management. Students will analyze case studies and develop strategic plans for expanding businesses into global markets.

What Can I Do With an Online Accelerated Executive MBA (EMBA) Degree?

With an online accelerated executive MBA degree, you can pursue a variety of high-level leadership roles in the business world. Graduates often advance into positions such as chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer (CFO), or other executive-level positions. Additionally, they may explore opportunities in management consulting, entrepreneurship, or corporate strategy. The skills and knowledge gained through the program prepare graduates to lead organizations, make strategic decisions, manage resources effectively, and drive business growth and innovation.

Career outlook

  • Chief executive officer (CEO) — CEOs are top executives responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy of an organization. They oversee operations, make major corporate decisions, and represent the organization to stakeholders.
    • Median annual salary: $103,840
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 3% (as fast as average)
    • New jobs projected: 124,200
  • Chief financial officer — CFOs are senior executives responsible for managing the financial operations of an organization. They oversee financial planning, reporting, and risk management activities to ensure the organization’s financial health and compliance with regulations.
    • Median annual salary: $156,100
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 16% (much faster than average)
    • New jobs projected: 126,600
  • Administrative services manager — These professionals plan, direct, and coordinate activities to help an organization run effectively. They develop and implement operational strategies, manage resources, and ensure efficient business processes to achieve organizational goals.
    • Median annual salary: $104,900
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 5% (faster than average)
    • New jobs projected: 19,900

    Online Accelerated Executive MBA Degree Frequently Asked Questions

    How do accelerated degree programs work?

    Accelerated degree programs typically compress coursework into a shorter time frame. These programs often feature intensive schedules, shorter terms, condensed courses, and fewer breaks between sessions. Students may take courses in sequential order and participate in accelerated learning formats such as online courses, evening classes, or weekend intensives. To accommodate the fast-paced nature of accelerated programs, students are expected to dedicate significant time to coursework, often requiring full-time commitment. Additionally, accelerated programs may offer credit for prior learning or professional experience, allowing students to expedite their degree completion while demonstrating mastery of relevant concepts.

    How long does it take to earn an online accelerated executive MBA degree?

    The duration of an online accelerated executive MBA program varies depending on the specific program and the student’s prior experience and course load. Generally, these programs can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months. They may feature fewer credits — 30 to 36 as opposed to 45 to 60 for traditional programs. The accelerated format requires a more intense commitment, with students often taking multiple courses simultaneously or completing coursework year-round. Additionally, some programs may offer flexibility in course scheduling, allowing students to customize their pace of study to fit their professional and personal obligations while completing the degree in an expedited time frame.

    How much does an online accelerated executive MBA degree cost?

    The cost of an online accelerated executive MBA degree can vary widely depending on factors such as the institution, program format, and duration. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition typically ranges from $12,000 to $30,000. However, students should also consider additional expenses such as textbooks, technology fees, and travel for residencies or in-person components.

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