I spent a very busy week in New Brunswick, New Jersey last month taking the Mini-MBA: Digital Marketing at Rutgers Business School. It was such an interesting and exciting program that I decided two things, first to share my experience with you, and second to take another Mini-MBA, this time in Business Essentials. I spent the week at the luxurious Heldrich Hotel, in the heart of New Brunswick. The course was taught at a large conference room within the Heldrich. From what I previously read on the web there are a lot of opinions in regard to Mini-MBA programs in general, some positive and others negative, however mine was a very awesome experience.
Let’s talk about what a Mini-MBA really is. I wasn’t quite sure what it was myself when I started on my quest into graduate and executive education but I knew that there was promise when I came across it. Many schools are offering Mini-MBA programs including Rutgers University, Florida Tech and the SUNY at Buffalo. Their prices also differ greatly depending on the length and quality of the program, the online program at Buffalo starts at $995, however the one-week accelerated program at Rutgers in New Brunswick packs a $4,995 punch. There are offerings for everything in between but this article will be more Rutgers-centric as that is where I am accustomed to learning. Programs can also range from days to months depending on which school you are learning at. The average program is about twelve weeks. I find that a Mini-MBA program is ideal for students who wish to embark on a regular MBA but are unsure whether it is right for them. By taking specialties such as digital marketing or even a general Mini-MBA, one could get a feel for which area they want to specialize in when taking a regular MBA program which can cost north of $100,000.
The goals and outcome of a Mini-MBA is for management personnel and executives to get a rapid-fire education in business or a specific area within business such as digital marketing. After all, they are less expensive and take a lot less time than a regular MBA. I also had numerous students in my class at Rutgers who already had a traditional MBA or other relevant degree but were looking to specialize in a given area such as digital marketing. The professors teaching the classes were top notch and are recognized industry leaders such as Mark Schaefer, author of five books and holder of seven patents. Other industry giants instructing our class included Tim Peter of Tim Peter & Associates; and Christina “CK” Kerley, a consulting giant, visionary and the brains behind allthingsCK.com.
As for the question on credits, yes, some schools such as Rutgers do offer credits that can be applied towards a traditional MBA upon successful completion of the Mini-MBA program. Rutgers offers a maximum of three credits that can be transferred towards a regular MBA. The requirements to attain these credits are taking a final exam, successfully completing a capstone project as well as meeting other criteria. Other schools offer continuing education credits rather than traditional college credits. You will need to check with your particular school first if you wish to get credits for your Mini-MBA program.
Most of you are probably wondering whether I feel that it was a worthwhile experience and my answer is absolutely! Though a Mini-MBA is not a traditional MBA, you do get solid knowledge, excellent networking connections, a certificate from an accredited university and more. Though many schools are teaching Mini-MBA programs, not all schools are fond of the name “Mini-MBA” as it implies that the students are receiving the equivalent of a traditional MBA, rather than taking a continuing or executive education course. Take the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business who has dubbed their course “Business Acumen” and teaches it over an eleven-week cycle. Rutgers Business School on the other hand started their Mini-MBA program as a pilot back in 2002 and it has only grown stronger since. In a Bloomberg Business article dated August 17, 2009, they quote Abe Weiss, the then executive director of the Rutgers Center for Management Development who said “What we intended to do was reinforce knowledge where people had some foundation, and fill in gaps in areas where they had none, It was a matter of equipping them with the confidence and tools they needed.” The program gained such popularity that Rutgers trademarked the term “Mini-MBA” in the state of New Jersey giving the university exclusive use of the term. It blossomed from there. We even had a student from Sweden attending the Mini-MBA: Digital Marketing course along with myself. This should attest for the massive reach of the Rutgers Mini-MBA program.
As of 2009 (I know that I need to update this) about 12% of the students who signed up for the Rutgers Executive MBA came from the Mini-MBA program. I found that the Mini-MBA program not only gives the students a “taste” of what an MBA would be like but also enjoyed the fact that I can get credits that are easily transferable into a traditional or Executive MBA program. I intend to follow-up in my educational quest and segue into a traditional MBA program, but even if I did not, I find the tools that I am attaining from the Mini-MBA a valuable resource that are helping me from day one. I also find it an attractive benefit that Rutgers Business School offers a 10% discount to alumni for future executive education courses.
I found that a Mini-MBA program is ideal for those busy professionals who would like to pursue a fulltime MBA program but are strapped for time. Though it can be like “drinking from a fire hose”, especially during an accelerated Mini-MBA program, it is by far a lot less stressful than taking on a full course load or even a part-time endeavor. From my own personal experience, I found that it fills a gap in business administration that many professionals could use in their everyday lives. Many companies will pay for the course as it directly benefits their employees and empowers them. Some of these programs are also eligible to have their tuition paid under the Montgomery G.I. Bill or Post-911 G.I. Bill. I found more than enough useful information during my digital marketing Mini-MBA and it has already helped me in numerous ways in my professional career. I also find these courses ideal for entrepreneurs who either own their own business or want to start their own business but need a jumpstart in the language of business. Many entrepreneurs are just too busy to find the time to do a fulltime MBA program and a Mini-MBA program also fills that gap. Rutgers alone has programs tailored towards many industries and careers including Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, BioPharma Innovation, Strategic Healthcare Management for Practices, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Supply Chain Management and specialties for engineers and veterans.
I also would assume that a Mini-MBA would add value to unemployed workers or even veterans coming back from deployment as this is such as unpredictable economy. Many states as well as the Veteran’s Administration are picking up on this and are paying for Mini-MBAs and related courses.
Though they are called Mini-MBAs they can lead to enormous results. I do hope that the business community picks up on this concept and it becomes more integrated and accepted as time goes on. At a fraction of the cost of a traditional MBA, there are far too many pros that weigh against the cons when considering such a program.
Some current, online Mini-MBA programs and their prices are listed below, courtesy of eduseeq.com (www.eduseeq.com/Find-Mini-MBA):
Rutgers Business School, Mini-MBA
Cost: $3,995 to $4,995
Highlights: Available onsite in New Jersey and online, several specialization available, including digital media and biopharma
University at Buffalo, Online Mini MBA
Highlights: Available online only, very cheap
University of St. Thomas, Mini-MBA
Highlights: One of the original mini-MBA programs, available onsite in Minneapolis and online, affordable
UNC Business Essentials
Highlights: Offered by an elite business school, available online only, and affordable
DePaul University, Strategic Management Certificate Program
Highlights: Well-known university, affordable, 10-week program available online.
Additionally, Loyola University in Chicago, Columbia University and Georgetown University all have Mini-MBA programs available that one can take locally as opposed to online.
Do you still have questions about Mini-MBA programs? Jay Rose, a Navy veteran and managing partner of Absolute Computer Solutions stands ready to assist you with a variety of information in regard to his personal journey into executive education. Please comment below and let us know your thoughts.