An MBA program provides you with a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the business and management field, however, if you are among those people who are inclined towards a more niche and specific field, then opting for an alternative to an MBA is the best option for you. There are a plethora of MBA alternatives that are offered by the top universities in the world, from Mini MBA’s to Online courses. Below we have discussed the top 7 MBA alternatives that are offered by some of the best Business Schools in the world:


The masters in management program is one of the best alternatives to an MBA due to its similarity with an MBA program where both are focused on a general management study. The MiM program will have a bit more theoretical concepts than an MBA but more practical approach than an MSc program. This way, the MiM program offers a good mixture of both programs. Moreover, unlike an MBA program where they require prior work experience to get admission, a MiM program doesn't really have such clauses under its eligibility criteria. Most importantly, an MBA program is designed for a duration of 2 years while a MiM program can be completed within 1 year or 18 months and at a much less price.


The Mini MBA programs are designed to replicate the Full-time MBA programs by compressing the main coursework and topics to a 100-hour program. There are many universities that offer this online program among which Rutgers Business School and McGill University are the most recognized ones. Rutgers University offers multiple Mini MBA programs as well as specializations in subjects such as Digital marketing, Bio-Pharma Innovations, Business essentials, Entrepreneurship and Social Media Marketing. Here each course contains 10 modules including a final exam and capstone project. McGill University, on the other hand, offers Mini MBA programs which include important topics in human resources, finance, executive development course, advanced management course, strategy and marketing.


These massive open online courses are offered by some of the top business schools and business institutes. They are mostly free of cost but if you want to gain a certification then you can do so at the expense of a nominal fee. The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania has collaborated with Coursera to offer free courses under the Wharton Foundation Series. This series contains modules which are focused on foundational MBA topics such as financial accounting, marketing, human capital, corporate finance and operations management. These courses are mostly taken up by students who want to use them as a catalyst for a full-time MBA program or if they want to get knowledge in a specialised field only. The best part about these courses is that they are taught by the top Wharton professors.


The University of Notre Dam’s Mendoza School of Business at Indiana provides an Executive certificate course in Business administration which comprises many topics that are usually found in a traditional full-time MBA course. This eight-week online course is open for 24/7 access and includes topics such as marketing, finance, economics, accounting, management and many more. Similar to the MOOC courses at Wharton, this program is also taught by the same professors who are responsible for teaching the full-time MBA students in the university, thus maintaining a quality education through and through.


This again is an excellent alternative course to an MBA program which is created and offered by the pioneers of the MBA program in the world, Harvard Business School. The CORe is designed using topics on accounting, business analytics and economics. The most notable feature and benefit of this course is its credibility in the job market along with its role in the admission to a full-time MBA program. The mode of instruction is the same as used in the MBA classroom of Harvard where students are exposed to create solutions to a real corporate problem.


Entrepreneurship courses have gained immense popularity in recent years with the surge in the number of small-scale companies and start-ups by young graduates and even undergraduates. This course has particularly become an integral part of most of the full-time MBA programs which is why UCLA has formulated an online course named as UCLA extension surrounding entrepreneurship through an 11 course series which includes 5 core modules and 6 elective modules. These courses are offered at a way cheaper rate than your full-time MBA course.

7 iMBA

The University of Illinois’s, The Gies College Of Business offers a popular online course called iMBA on Coursera that is free of cost. This course is pretty much the replication of a two-year MBA program. Students can get free access to all the resources and modules of this course which are helpful for anyone who doesn’t have much time to dedicate for a full-time formal degree or those who wish to learn about a certain specialised. If you want to attain a certificate or an academic credit to boost your resume then you can do so by paying a nominal fee.


After going through these MBA alternatives, you might have got a clear idea of how there are a plethora of courses and programs available online that can very well work as a substitute for an MBA program. These alternatives are basically built for students as well as professionals who are more inclined towards gaining knowledge and learning instead of the degree and brand associated with a formal MBA education. Working professionals who lack a certain skill set that is very crucial for their role can most certainly get themselves enrolled in these short-term online courses as well as students who want to strengthen their profiles for the future admission in a formal business school under an MBA program. Lastly, these courses are a true blessing for those who are financially unstable but are very keen on gaining a business acumen.