Masters of Business Administration or MBA is a post-graduate course taken by many students and working professionals globally in order to accelerate their career growth and take up managerial roles within organisations. While there are several formats of MBA programmes, the overall course structure remains the same except the duration of the course may differ.

What is the duration of an MBA course? To answer this question, it is essential to first understand the various types of MBA courses and the course duration respectively.

Types of MBA Programmes

There are various types of MBA programmes offered by universities and business schools. However, the overall course duration varies according to their format. The different formats of MBA programmes are:

  1. Full-time MBA usually takes 2 years to complete.
  2. Accelerated MBA takes around 1-1.5 years (for experienced candidates).
  3. Part-time MBA takes an average of 3 years or more.
  4. 4+1 MBA takes about 5 years.
  5. Evening/Weekend MBA will take about 2 years or more.
  6. Executive MBA (for mid-senior level managers) takes around 1-2 years.
  7. Online MBA also takes around 1-2 years.

In order to enrol yourself  in these courses, it is important that you are aware of the eligibility criteria and select the course that fits your goals. To answer your question on what is an MBA course’s duration? Let us look at each of the above-mentioned types of MBA courses in detail.

Full-Time MBA

This is the most common format of MBA programmes and is also one of the widely opted courses. A full-time MBA programme lasts for a duration of two years. In a two-year full-time MBA programme, the first year is dedicated to core courses and the final year is a specialisation-focused year wherein you get the opportunity to choose electives pertaining to a stream of business that you would like to specialise in for instance marketing, finance and HR. Fresh graduates or working personnel (provided they manage time) can apply to this type of MBA course.

Part-Time MBA

With an average duration of 3 years, this is different from a regular MBA course and is suitable for people working or for students taking up other courses simultaneously. A longer duration might be a concerning factor for few people, given the opportunity cost. Nevertheless, it provides you the opportunity to work simultaneously and enhance your learning by applying what you’ve been studying during your MBA course. Furthermore, this programme is suitable for working professionals, given the fact that they already have a job and the structure of the programme is designed to suit a working professional’s schedule.

Accelerated MBA

An accelerated MBA is designed for working professionals or experienced candidates in the field of management who do not have enough work experience for an Executive MBA. An accelerated MBA programme skims through core courses and are designed for people who already possess management skills prior to enrolling into an MBA programme. Given the fact that an accelerated MBA programme accepts applications from experienced management professionals, the course is short and does not exceed more than a year, thereby, reducing the overall cost of acquiring an MBA.

4+1 MBA

A course popular amongst students which allows you to substitute one year of your degrees in a tech, commerce or arts stream with a management degree (for ex. BA/MBA). Since a  4+1 MBA programme is suitable for students, which in total takes 5 years to complete, it allows you to complete an MBA within the same curriculum. Hence, such a programme reduces the hassle of enrolling in an MBA program separately. If you’re looking for a programme in tech, law or commerce and would like to couple that with a masters in business and management, such a programme would help you to achieve your goals in a shorter period of time. 

Evening/Weekend MBA

Quite similar to the Part-time MBA programme, an evening or weekend MBA programme also allows working professionals to balance their professional commitments and achieve their higher education goals. When choosing a weekend MBA programme, you need to make time and commit to the course requirements since such a course can take longer duration to complete.

Executive MBA

An EMBA or executive MBA programme has a course curriculum that is solely designed to cater to the needs of top-level managers. Although a few mid-senior level managers may be considered eligible in some cases, most applicants to such a programme are those who hold directorial positions on the board of a corporate entity or possess over 10 years of work experience. Hence, an EMBA differs from a regular MBA course because it primarily focuses on ethical governance and leadership practices. An EMBA lasts for a duration of about 12 months.

Online MBA

Given the ease of accessibility through the internet, an online MBA programme is a great opportunity for students to keep working and studying simultaneously. The duration of this course is 1-2 years. Although there are certain ongoing debates regarding the value  of an online MBA in comparison to a full-time degree, they have gained popularity particularly after the outbreak of COVID-19, owing to the travel restrictions and lockdowns. Given the fact that several reputed universities and business schools have shifted to an online mode of teaching, an online MBA from a reputed institution does prove to be beneficial.

Exam/Tests for MBA

Now that we have discussed types of MBA courses and their duration, it is also important that you know what are the admission criteria to enrol into an MBA course. Once you have selected the course as per your preference, you will have to submit a standard test score. There are multiple exams that you can choose depending on the business school you choose to study, whether in India or abroad. The different types of MBA entrance exams are CAT, MAT, CMAT or ATMA, and GMAT for business schools within India. However, the GMAT or GRE are appropriate for admission to business schools abroad.

Furthermore, you may have questions regarding how to prepare for these exams, especially GMAT which allows you to study both in India and abroad as per convenience. Several GMAT preparation courses are available on the internet to help you  better understand  and prepare for the test. You should choose a GMAT or GRE preparation course that helps you understand the concepts and offers clear explanations to the questions. Furthermore, taking practice tests helps you to gauge your progress. Hence, ensure that the GMAT or GRE prep course you choose offers sufficient practice tests. 

MBA in India vs MBA Abroad

While MBAs do differ in format based on their duration, they also differ from region to region. Hence, let us understand the types of MBA courses in India versus those taught abroad. 

MBA in India

With a course duration of 2 years, an MBA programme in India can be taken by a student or any working professional. If you’re an Indian, then the overall cost of living and course expenses are limited and affordable. Moreover, the return on investment is also good if you get recruited through campus placements. To enrol into an MBA programme in India, the CAT is the most commonly accepted entrance test. However, some prestigious business schools also accept the GMAT. Moreover, the CAT is also conveniently cheaper than the GMAT. In some cases, the business school might have its own entrance test such as XLRI’s XAT, which you may need to find out before applying to the programme. 

MBA Abroad

Although an MBA programme abroad has an average duration of 2 years, MBA programmes taught abroad require prior working experience of at least three years as per the business school’s criteria. The cost of living and tuition expenses are higher compared to India. Furthermore, the high course fee might be burdensome for many, despite the availability of scholarships. Financial outcome on the other hand is far better than India and proves to be a decisive factor. GMAT and the GRE are the two most commonly accepted standardised tests for admission purposes. When applying to an MBA programme abroad, hiring an MBA admissions consulting service may prove to be helpful since an expert makes the application process easy and provides the necessary information.

Can Early Graduates Apply for an MBA Abroad?

Quite certainly, early graduates can apply for an MBA abroad to a global business school. However, the types of MBA degrees they can apply to are termed as deferred MBA programmes. In a deferred MBA programme, you can apply while you’re in your final year of graduation. Moreover, the enrolment to the course can be completed after 2 to 3 years of work experience. Thereby, allowing you to meet the admissions criteria set by the business school or university. If you’re an early graduate then a deferred MBA can help you reserve a seat at a business school while you continue meeting the work experience requirement.

MBA Services Offered by CareerLabs

Applying to MBA programmes can seem very daunting, especially when you have to apply to several universities and meet their admission requirements. Relying on an expert can help you ease the overall preparation and application process by receiving guidance and accurate information. The various services offered by CareerLabs to help you with your MBA application include:

MBA Profile Booster

Gain access to a monthly webinar series and a course – MBA Profile Booster: The Gateway to MBA – where you can get answers to all your questions regarding business school applications. From shortlisting business schools to drafting the perfect essays, the MBA profile booster helps you overcome any challenges you may face during the process. When you choose the MBA profile booster, you get a chance to formulate your business school plans and connect directly with a panel of alumni of the M7 and other top business schools. Furthermore, get your CV and business school resume critiqued by professionals and a one-on-one profile gap analysis session to help answer essential questions about your profile. 


Choose between 3 or 5 MBA business school application packages to gain insightful admission consulting services. The MBA Admission Consulting Services offered by CareerLabs aims to ease the overall application process and ensure that you submit the best version of your application. Every application is different and therefore, based on the information provided, every application receives a personalised solution to help you submit your best profile. The MBA ACS package includes, profile gap analysis, CV reviews, guidance for business school listings, application documentation assistance, application strategy session with an experienced admissions consultant and timely check-in and support services.


Whether you’re looking to take the GMAT within 4 or 6 months, the GMAT package offered at CareerLabs has the right plan to suit your GMAT preparation needs. You get over 150+ hours of video lectures, diagnostic toolkit software, 3500+ practice sessions, 70+ hours of flip class lectures and access to the CareerLabs GMAT community on Telegram.

Besides the course duration of an MBA program, there are several other factors that impact the choice of studying an MBA programme in India or abroad. Based on your goals and ambition, you can decide which type of MBA course is better for you and apply accordingly.

Educational Consultancy Services like CareerLabs guides you once you decide on the type of MBA course and location. Furthermore, a discussion with an experienced mentor can help you narrow your preferences. CareerLabs offers MBA and master’s admission consultancy services. Furthermore, if you need assistance with test preparation, check out our GRE and GMAT preparation services. 

All in all, the type of MBA course you choose largely depends on your budget, time availability, location preference and convenience. 

All the best!



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