Planning Your Future: How Long Is an MBA?

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It can be difficult to decide whether to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. This advanced business degree may be able to further a professional’s career by improving job prospects or providing the necessary qualifications for higher-paying positions. But just like earning an associate or bachelor’s degree, earning an MBA requires a serious time commitment. Both on campus and online MBA programs are academically rigorous, and potential students should evaluate whether they can commit the time and energy needed to succeed.

Before enrolling in an MBA program, students should understand the basics of obtaining an MBA to decide if it is the right degree for them. The following overview includes pertinent information on MBA program admission and degree completion requirements, various MBA concentrations, how to manage time effectively while in an MBA program, as well as how long an MBA curriculum takes to complete.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for MBA programs vary from school to school. Ohio University’s online MBA program is competitive and requires applicants to submit an admissions portfolio with the following:

  • Professional and academic resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of personal and career goals

In addition to these items, students need to meet the following minimum requirements to be considered for admission into Ohio University’s online MBA program:

  • A regionally accredited bachelor’s degree
  • Two to five years of professional experience
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0

Ohio University does not require applicants to submit GMAT scores as part of the application process. It is important to note that even if applicants meet the minimum requirements, they are not guaranteed admission.  

Completion Requirements

Each university has specific requirements for its MBA students to complete, centered on a rigorous business curriculum. The online MBA program at Ohio University, listed as one of the best executive value MBA programs in the nation by Fortune, requires students to complete 35 semester credit hours of business administration coursework. Ohio University online MBA students and applicants should also keep the following items in mind when pursuing their degrees:

  • Tuition for the 2018-2019 school year is $35,980 for Ohio residents and $36,645 for non-Ohio residents, including fees.
  • Students usually take five to six credit hours each semester, with the entire program requiring about six semesters to complete.
  • While the majority of online coursework is asynchronous, some courses require live lecture sessions (students can choose which days work best for them).
  • Each course requires an average of 15 to 20 hours per week, including class hours and assignments.
  • All MBA candidates must attend one weekend-long (Friday to Sunday) Professional Development Workshop on campus.

The flexibility of this online program allows working professionals to supplement their experience and knowledge with a robust MBA curriculum taught by industry experts. How long the MBA program lasts depends on a student’s chosen curriculum concentration and semester class enrollment.


The online MBA program at Ohio University requires all students to complete 26 semester credit hours of core business administration courses. These core classes cover fundamental topics like finance, accounting, management, data analysis, and supply chain management, providing students with a broad knowledge base in business. In addition, online MBA students must also complete three additional classes in their chosen concentration.


Ohio University online MBA students choose a specialized concentration from one of the following eight options: finance, health care, executive management, business analytics, operations and supply chain management, accounting, strategic selling and sales leadership, and business venturing and entrepreneurship. Here is what students and applicants can expect from each of these concentrations.


The finance concentration allows students to explore finance management and leadership in a small or large business. The required courses are Financial Markets and Institutions, Investments, and Advanced Corporate Finance. From these courses, students gain an in-depth understanding of key areas in financial theory and practice like capital structure, risk management, and dividend policy.

Health Care

Students who choose the health care concentration will learn about health services systems in three courses: Introduction to the U.S. Health Care Delivery System, Health Care Finance, and Health Law. Participants will become fluent in health care industry financial analysis, portfolio theory, and how system services are delivered.

Executive Management

The executive management concentration prepares students to succeed in the upper levels of corporate leadership. The courses offered in this concentration are Prescriptive Analytics, Leadership and Change Management, and Ethics in the Global Environment. Executive management students develop skills in statistical and quantitative analysis, critical thinking, and data mining to enhance their executive-level management abilities.

Business Analytics

Students who choose the business analytics concentration will learn how to utilize and leverage data to support growing businesses and executive leadership. Courses for this concentration are Predictive Analytics, Prescriptive Analytics, and Data Management, Business Intelligence & Analytics. This concentration also provides a hands-on learning experience that allows students to develop skills while working with analytical tools and theories.

Operations and Supply Chain Management

Business operations help organizations run more efficiently, and students who choose the operations and supply chain management concentration will learn how to manage businesses so they can recommend and implement efficient, cost-saving procedures. The courses for this concentration are Management of Lean Six Sigma Programs, Operations and Project Management, and Supply Chain Risk Management & Global Supply Chain Design.


Accountants examine, prepare, and analyze business financial records. Not only do they create a record of all financial activity, but they are also often charged with presenting financial findings to executive leadership. Students who choose the accounting concentration will learn advanced accounting techniques in the courses Intermediate, Advanced I, and Advanced II Accounting Concepts. Students in these classes can gain skills in managerial accounting, audits, cost accounting, and other accounting fields.

Strategic Selling and Sales Leadership

Executive sales leaders generate profit for businesses and help their organizations grow. In this concentration, students can learn skills such as client acquisition, negotiations, and sales strategies through three courses: Building and Developing Customer Relationships, Sales Analytics, and Sales Leadership.

Business Venturing and Entrepreneurship

Innovative business leaders often pioneer growth and change in a company through business ventures. The business venturing and entrepreneurship concentration teaches students essential skills such as market research, research and development, and sales and marketing planning. The courses for this concentration are Managing Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship, New Venture Creation, and Ideation, Concept Development and Business Models.

Managing Time in an MBA Program

Before choosing an MBA program, applicants and professionals will be wondering just how long it will take to complete. There is no set answer for how long it takes to get an MBA, as each program has different course requirements and flexible learning options. The online MBA program through Ohio University is designed to be completed in six semesters with approximately six credits per semester, and it can take anywhere from two to four years to complete, depending on how many courses an online MBA student can complete at a given time.

Balancing work, life, and school is easier said than done. However, there are some practical tips that can help students make the most out of their time while pursuing an MBA.

  • Consider course difficulty. The key is in offsetting difficult analytical classes with ones less math-inclined. As Todd Dewett, a management professor, notes in a S. News & World Report article, “balancing a numbers course with talk of leadership or marketing or law keeps the worst headaches at bay.”
  • Know personal limitations. Often, an MBA program is completed in addition to a job or bustling family life. Realistically, balancing credit hours and commitments can help keep grades high and the potential for work overload down.
  • Make time for energizing activities. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of business school studies. In a Forbes article, Rob Kenny of the Haas School of Business advises students to find a regular activity that revitalizes them and takes their mind off school.
  • Go to bed. This may not be new advice, but to those in an MBA program, sleep may seem like a luxury that a study- and career-driven student cannot afford. For those looking to stay alert and high functioning, seven to nine hours of sleep a night is ideal.

MBA Checklist

There are many requirements to complete an MBA program. Staying organized is an important part of being successful in an advanced degree program. This checklist will help students make sure they are on track for graduation.

  • Submit application
  • Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA
  • Regionally accredited bachelor’s degree
  • Professional resume
  • Academic resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of personal and career goals
  • Two to five years of professional experience
  • Meet with an academic adviser
  • Choose concentration and plan course timeline
  • Complete core courses (26 credit hours)
  • Complete concentration courses (nine credit hours)
  • Attend the required Personal Development Workshop on campus
  • Complete Applied Business Experience (CAPSIM)

Learn More:

Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Online MBA” program, Ohio University’s online MBA degree program takes advantage of the latest in classroom technology to bring students an engaging and academically rigorous experience that can benefit them in their careers.

With concentrations in finance, health care, executive management, and business analytics, the program offers graduates the business background and team experience they will need to be successful leaders of innovation and business endeavors.


Recommended Reading:

The Ambitions of the World’s 5 Most Powerful Tech Giants

Are MBA Programs Hard?

5 Career Options for Strategic Sales MBA Graduates



Forbes, “5 Hacks to Get Better Sleep and Better Performance at Work”

Forbes, “13 Tips from MBA Students on How to Succeed in a Top-Tier Program”

Fortune, “Executive MBAs for under $50,000? Yes, they exist.”

Ohio University, Masters Business Administration Frequently Asked Questions

Ohio University, Online Master of Business Administration

U.S. News, “10 Work-Life Balance Tips for MBA Students”