Two-year programs are usually four semesters, spread over two academic years, with a three- or four-month break for an internship.

The first year includes core courses required of all MBAs.

The second year allows for functional specialization (a specific concentration of study and elective courses).

  • Students do not work full time during the program; school is considered their first priority.
  • People often relocate to attend their full-time program of choice.

Company Sponsorship

Employers that sponsor MBA students give up their employees' services for the duration of the program.

  • A global company might send a candidate for a total immersion experience (including cultural immersion) to another country that represents an important business market.
  • A consulting firm or investment bank may require employees to earn a master's degree before they can be promoted. Some companies require a full immersion program with the option to return to the company upon completing the MBA. They may offer tuition reimbursement.

Two-Year, Full-Time Advantages

Two-year, full-time programs have several advantages for both career switchers (who change job functions or industries) and career enhancers (who continue in the same job function or industry). These programs provide an opportunity to develop knowledge in a specific discipline, leading to new job skills and prospects. If you are early in your career development, more specialized study may help you to continue in a particular industry or job function and to progress more effectively.

The following are some other advantages.

Academic and Nonacademic Learning

  • You can customize course work through electives and concentrations.
  • Two-year programs accept the widest variety of academic backgrounds, usually with the basic requirement that you have an undergraduate degree that meets the business school's standards (usually, this means a four-year college equivalent).
  • The environment encourages learning far beyond classroom instruction.

Career Enhancement

  • In an MBA internship, you can learn and practice new skills and enhance your résumé for post-MBA employment.
  • The summer break allows for further networking in the business world.
  • You can develop a cohesive network of MBA colleagues, because the entering class takes core courses together.
  • Full-time programs offer career services (including campus interviews with prospective employers), social and professional clubs (often across industry segments and functional preference), executive speakers' series, career counseling, and other campus life services.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • Scholarship money may be available to assist with tuition costs (get information from specific schools).
  • Loan money is available for eligible full-time students.

Two-Year, Full-Time Limitations

Two-year, full-time programs can be a wonderful experience for people who have well-defined career goals, are ready to spend an extended period of time out of the workforce, and have the resources to pay for such a program.

If you do not meet this description, a two-year, full-time program may not be for you. It is a very expensive and time-consuming way to explore what you want to do in the future, and a lack of focus can limit the value of what you learn and what you gain from networking opportunities.

Before you consider a two-year, full-time program, you should be confident about what you wish to do in the future and willing to commit the necessary time and resources to furthering these goals.