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Program puts students on fast track

Living in the fast lane requires learning at the same pace. A number of Canadian MBA programs are providing just that.

Living in the fast lane requires learning at the same pace. A number of Canadian MBA programs are providing just that.

Accelerated MBA programs are a more concentrated version of the traditional MBA. They are an option for business undergraduates who have had at least two years of work experience in a relevant field. But they differ in relation to the needs of their students.

“Accelerated programs vary depending on who the audience is,” says Michael Darling, director of MBA for business graduates at Queen’s School of Business. While schools like Schulich offer a reduced time span — course-credit hours can be reduced to 30 from 60 — others like Queen’s cater to the time frame of working students. “Our audience is people who are working full time who want to be able to this without quitting their jobs and having to go back to the job market,” says Darling.

While not all schools offer accelerated MBA programs, those that do are often equipped to function out of multiple locations. “Our program is offered across Canada,” says Amber Wallace of external relations at Queen’s School of Business. “We have boardroom learning teams in Vancouver, Calgary, Mississauga, downtown Toronto, Montreal, etc. Our professors lecture from a studio on campus. It’s interactive, so in the boardroom learning teams, you’re there with your team and you hear the lecture and you can talk amongst yourselves.”

Although there’s no price difference in an accelerated versus a full-time MBA at Queen’s, the ability to keep working makes the financial burden easier to bear. “I liked the fact that I could continue to work,” says Catherine Taylor, who is in her first month of the 12-month program. “It’s a bad time to not have a job, and it could fund the MBA. That was a big factor for me.”

With four years of work experience and a B.Comm. from the University of Guelph, Taylor is typical of the students in the accelerated program at Queen’s. Like her peers, she’s already familiar with the core courses from her undergraduate degree and has had a chance to apply them in a work environment.

“(An accelerated MBA) is a way to build on top of an undergraduate degree in business and not waste the time of students who have already taken these subjects,” says Darling. Instead, it’s geared to “give them a really clear and meaningful sense of what it means to lead and be strategic.”

 
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