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Build Leadership Skills Through Nontraditional MBA Programs

Give executives greater flexibility to build global learning into their busy schedules.

Increasing demand for executive-level education programs to fill knowledge gaps and develop soft skills has inspired newer online and specialized programs, giving executives greater flexibility to build global learning into their busy schedules. The flexibility of newer programs actually may be pulling from the traditional MBA candidate pool, according to the 2016 “Application Trends Survey Report” from the Graduate Management Admission Council. Options include:

The midcareer MBA: Several one-year, full-time programs that confer the MBA distinction for midcareer professionals exist. They include the USC IBEAR and Johnson at Cornell one-year MBAs, the MIT Sloan Fellows, London Business School Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy, and Stanford MSx Program.

Part-time and executive MBAs: More flexible than full-time programs, part-time and executive MBAs allow busy professionals to work full time while pursuing the degree on nights, weekends or dedicated residential weeks. Learners can apply their knowledge immediately to organizational challenges.

Specialized programs: Careers at the intersection of traditional sectors and technology, such as FinTech and EdTech, have spurred a proliferation of tailored programs to meet the demand for specialized knowledge. For instance, NYU Stern School of Business unveiled a FinTech specialization, while MIT Sloan welcomed its first one-year MBA cohort, addressing the fastest-growing segment of graduate management education.

Online learning: The most flexible and least time-intensive option is online learning. Price, quality and depth vary by course, although some certifications are available. At the high end, Indiana University Kelley School of Business offers an online MBA. Harvard Business School, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive, case-based, collaborative learning platform: HBX. Its CORe offering allows professionals to gain a credential in business fundamentals while developing strategic thinking and business communications skills. Students also can target shorter courses offered by MOOCs, such as edX and Coursera, on topics ranging from organizational leadership to design thinking.

Salma Qarnain is a senior MBA admissions consultant with Stratus Admissions Counseling, a global admissions counseling firm. Comment below, or email editor@CLOmedia.com.

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