Is a Mini-MBA Worth It?

Over the last century, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree has become the gold standard for young executives seeking to give their career a boost through a more comprehensive understanding of business and organisational management skills.

While the popularity of individual MBA programs ebbs and flows with prevailing economic and social winds, the “MBA” as a brand remains incredibly well understood and respected by employers.

The success of the MBA brand has led to a range of organisations, individuals, and private education providers co-opting the brand to create what has been dubbed the “mini-MBA.”

These mini-MBA programs are generally much shorter and cheaper than a traditional MBA and have become a serious alternative for an increasing number of MBA hopefuls.

The recent Tomorrow’s MBA report by CarringCrisp, which surveyed more than 2,200 potential MBAs from around the world, found that almost four in ten would consider short non-degree courses without academic credit instead of an MBA.

The study listed eight’mini-MBAs’, and respondents were asked whether they had heard of them and would consider them. More than 70% of the respondents had heard of each of the’mini-MBA’ options, with many being extensively promoted on digital networks.

Between 42% and 57% of the respondents indicated that they were not just aware of a provider but would indeed consider them, with the PWC Mini-MBA being the most popular. The addition of a well-known corporate brand to the MBA title would appear to be seen as advantageous among prospective MBA students.

SOURCE: Tomorrow’s MBA 2024 (CarringtonCrisp, EFMD)

With so many people now considering the mini-MBA, it is worth asking if it is worth the time and money.

While each mini-MBA varies, they are generally designed to cover key concepts typically taught in a full MBA program but in a condensed format. Here are some key differences between a full MBA and a mini-MBA:

  1. Duration: Unlike a traditional MBA, which can take two years or more to complete, a mini-MBA program typically lasts from a few days to a few months. The Australian Institute of Management’s (AIM) $3,950 mini-MBA is done in two stages: 25 hours of self-paced study and a 2-day face-to-face workshop.
  2. Curriculum: The curriculum covers core business topics such as management, marketing, finance, strategy, and leadership. It provides an overview rather than an in-depth study, focusing on practical applications. Most mini-MBAs are offered by non-university providers who don’t have deep academic tradition or access to the latest theory and practice across key study areas.
  3. Format: Like the traditional MBA, most mini-MBA programs are offered in various formats, including in-person, online, or a hybrid of both, allowing flexibility for working professionals.
  4. Certification: Upon completion, participants typically receive a certificate, though it is not equivalent to a full MBA degree. The AIM mini-MBA, for example, is not accredited or recognised by the Australian Qualifications Framework.

There is no doubt a mini-MBA can be a valuable investment for individuals seeking to enhance their business acumen quickly and efficiently without the time and financial commitment required for a traditional MBA program, but in deciding which MBA is best for you, it is worth considering the following:

  1. Career Goals: If your goal is to gain a broad understanding of business principles to enhance your current role or prepare for a leadership position, a mini-MBA might be sufficient. However, if you aim for roles that typically require a full MBA, such as certain executive positions or specialized fields, a traditional MBA might be more beneficial.
  2. Program Quality: The value of a Mini-MBA can vary significantly depending on the institution offering it. Programs from reputable schools or organisations with a strong business reputation are more likely to be recognised and respected by employers.
  3. Content Depth: While mini-MBA programs cover core business topics, they do so at a high level. If you need deep, specialised knowledge or intensive hands-on experience, a traditional MBA or other specialised training might be more appropriate.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Evaluate the networking opportunities provided by the program. Networking can be one of the most valuable aspects of business education, and a strong network can significantly impact your career.


Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (