What is a Mini MBA? (Plus benefits and specialisations)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A Mini Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a quick, alternate and often inexpensive certificate programme for business students and professionals. It provides additional skills and knowledge to business graduates and professionals hoping to expand their business knowledge. Knowing what this programme involves and its benefits are helpful if you're interested in learning more about this course, want to continue your studies or are looking for something to add to your CV. In this article, we explain what a Mini MBA is, its benefits and specialisation and how to determine if it suits your career plan.

What is a Mini MBA?

A Mini MBA, or Micro MBA offers an introductory understanding of business, preparing students for what may be a further study or simply a foundational knowledge of the field. It explains the basic principles of business, offering a broad perspective on how various areas of business function. The Micro MBA exists mainly in two formats, including a one to two-week programme or a weekly extended programme occurring over several months, often online.

Introduced in 1949 at a university in Canada, the Micro MBA course has become a global programme in countries across Europe and America. Large organisations provide similar programmes advertised as MBA boot camps for their employees. A Micro MBA is an accelerated version of the MBA, consolidating what would be one or two years of studies into around 40 hours of training.

Related: What are business management degrees? (Plus career paths)

What are the benefits of a Micro MBA programme?

While some employers might prefer the full MBA, the Micro MBA still provides significant benefits. Here are some of those benefits:

Short and flexible programmes

To qualify as a Micro MBA programme, the programmes typically have less than 100 hours of study, with most having far fewer. Depending on the university, you may find a week-long programme with a highly intensive classroom period. You can also find schools offering a Micro MBA programme where you get one class per month for several months.

Some offer programmes spanning 12 to 14 weeks, offering weekly, three to four-hour lectures and allowing self-paced students to control how they learn. Some institutions provide online tutorial sessions. Micro MBAs can also specialise in one business area that non-traditional business education providers teach. So, you can choose what suits you from various programmes.

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Cheaper tuition costs

The fees for a Micro MBA course depend on your location. They're also often significantly cheaper than a traditional MBA. Tuition fees range from £300 to around £2,000. These fees are affordable for professionals in middle management roles or recent graduates. An MBA degree can be expensive. The average yearly cost for a two-year MBA programme is £35,000, while executive MBA programmes can cost £58,000. Many companies may not offer to sponsor their middle management employees for MBA degrees, making Micro MBAs a better financial option.

Fundamental business management knowledge

All MBA programmes have their own curriculum, but they all teach fundamental business management principles. These principles include models, business frameworks and other drivers that can guarantee success in a business organisation. You can study business tools for strategic thinking, how to cross-function in the workplace and refined problem-solving approaches. You learn to develop your negotiating skills and network properly with other professionals. You can also study how to grow your client base and gain the knowledge required to be a successful leader in the field of business.

Career prospects

Employers are often aware of the differences between full-time and Micro MBA programmes. They still appreciate the benefits of Micro MBAs and how they boost the skills and expertise of their employees. Many companies also set up Micro MBA programmes for their employees because these courses can further the understanding and skills administrative positions require. So, a Micro MBA can improve your chances of growth in your career and make employers consider you for senior management positions.

Related: 8 of the highest-paying jobs in business without an MBA

What to consider before choosing a Micro MBA programme

If you're thinking of applying for a Micro MBA, consider the following factors:

Your ability to complete a traditional MBA

A Micro MBA may be perfect for professionals seeking to improve their knowledge and expertise in business administration, but they're not for everyone. For example, professionals convinced that employers prefer an MBA may not consider a Micro MBA, as you often gain more knowledge and skills from a traditional MBA. Also, you can enrol for an MBA without first applying for a Micro MBA. Consider the level of expertise you want to acquire and if you can afford to fund the traditional programme.

Related: MSc vs. MBA: what are the differences between these degrees?

Your schedule and learning pace

A Micro MBA programme can often become intense, offering a lot of information within a short period. Consider how you can organise yourself to manage the work. A university offering online courses or one day of classes a month may suit your schedule. You may prefer programmes offering a whole week of lessons because it's quick, or those meeting once a week for a set time because you can work at a slower pace. Consider the structure of the Micro MBA programme you want to enrol in and how you can arrange your schedule around it.

Related: 8 online MBAs to consider for flexible postgraduate study

The nature of the programme

Check the details of the MBA programmes in your area or the online programmes available to you to see if they offer modules or subjects that you require. Business schools often provide information about their Micro MBA programmes on their website with specific details that can inform your decision. Because the knowledge and lessons taught in these programmes are so different from school to school, it's important to find the one that suits you.

Related: What can you do with an MBA in finance? (With careers)

Types of Micro MBA specialisations

General Micro MBA programmes often offer diverse business courses that provide a brief overall knowledge required to advance your management career. Specialised Micro MBAs focus more on specific subjects designed to improve an area of management skill, knowledge and technique. Here are some of the most popular Micro MBA specialisations you can choose from:

  • General management: These courses teach skills like risk management, critical thinking and problem-solving with modules on business analytics, professional development, marketing management, project and quality management, economics for managers and organisational behaviour.

  • Marketing: This includes general business courses but focuses on improving your marketing-related skills and knowledge of subjects like branding, development, digital marketing, advertising management, marketing research and product design.

  • Human resource management: This programme helps you develop your human resource skills and understanding of business administration and strategy with courses on negotiation, organisational behaviour, managerial finance and business law.

  • Consulting: These courses blend traditional business courses with classes on consulting, organisational behaviour, business strategy, negotiations, business communication and ethics, allowing you to understand the effects of human relations and business dynamics.

  • Entrepreneurship: For those who want to start their own business or manage start-ups, this programme equips them with general business courses combined with classes on generating and sustaining a start-up, business innovation, venture feasibility, idea development, resource management, entrepreneurial strategies, product design and marketing.

  • Finance: This prepares you for finance management and budgeting with traditional business courses and information about investments, corporate budgeting, fund management and investment analysis.

  • Operations management: This programme improves your analytical skills and teaches you how to employ maths models and systems with modules on operations strategy, maths modelling, business analytics, data logistics, analysis and interpretation.

  • Management information systems: This teaches you how to create, implement and employ various programmes and systems to manage the amount of data a company uses through courses on e-strategy and management information systems, data management, business analytics, data visualisation and risk management.

  • Global management: This offers regular business administration classes in subjects like international legal and tax frameworks, business corporate social responsibility, analytics, global management, global economics and international accounting. This helps you understand cultural differences and how global organisations can adapt their strategy to different countries and markets.

  • Engineering management: This programme offers classes in product development, innovation and leadership, performance measurement, research strategies, manufacturing methods, experience design and systems lifecycles to help you create and implement strategies that improve the performance of organisations in highly technical engineering fields.

  • Technology management: This teaches you how to improve a company's efficiency through technological innovation with classes on technological innovation, building effective teams, professional communications, technology management, research and development and manufacturing strategy.

  • Supply chain management: This programme helps you facilitate supply chain business activities to boost customer value and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace with classes on manufacturing design and analysis, strategic sourcing, supply chain simulation, decision support models and supply management.

  • Business analytics: These courses teach the process of gathering, integrating, processing and employing statistical models and procedures to convert data into business insights for solving problems and boosting productivity, efficiency and revenue with classes in analytical reasoning, business analysis and data science.

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