MBA Alternatives [Ultimate Guide]

Apr 28, 2021

Committing to a traditional MBA isn’t feasible for everyone. If you are looking to power up your business administration skills, but do not want to put your life on hold for a year to study, this post is for you! We list MBA alternatives to help you to make the decision that is right for you.

#1: Mini MBAs 

As the name suggests, a mini MBA is a condensed version of an MBA covering typical MBA modules. A mini MBA might be the right MBA alternative for you if you want to brush up on your skills, but do not necessarily want the formal MBA qualification.

Here are some institutons and companies that offer mini MBA courses:

The London School of Economics: MBA Essentials 

The MBA Essentials online certificate course offered by The London School of Economics was developed by LSE academics from the Department of Management and Accounting. The 10-week course is designed to help you to make strategic business decisions and to lead with influence.


Marketing Week: Mini MBA in Marketing and Branding

Mark Ritson founded the Mini MBA series at Marketing Week. The course has been designed to ‘give you the tools you need to become the best marketer you can be’.

There are two courses to choose from:

  • Mini MBA in Marketing The Mini MBA in Marketing is an MBA level, CPD accredited course that is designed for marketers from all backgrounds. The modules include: market orientation, market research, Segmentation, targeting, positioning, objectives product, price distribution and more.
  • Mini MBA in Branding The Mini MBA in Brand Management course is designed to give you a complete brand planning process. Modules include: The what and why of brand, Brand Management, Brand Diagnosis, Targeting, Brand Positioning, Tactical Execution and more.
Marketing Week

London School of Business and Finance: Online Executive Mini MBA 

This course has been designed for managers who have a minimum of 5 years of management experience.

Modules include:

  • The Challenge of Managing Yourself
  • Successfully Managing Individuals
  • Leading High-Performance Teams
  • The Fundamentals of Finance and Budgeting
    And more

This is a four-day course that aims to help you to excel in a management role, make more effective management decisions understand key strategy and more. This MBA alternative may be an option if you want to increase your knowledge over a few days rather than weeks. Find out more about the LSBF Executive mini MBA.

Birkbeck University: The Mini MBA

The Birkbeck Mini MBA is ‘is intensive and practice-based’. It aims to equip you with essential business skills

The course covers four topics:

  • People and performance
  • Marketing in action
  • Strategic change
  • Finance for managers

University of Salford Manchester: Mini MBA in Business Leadership

5-day Mini MBA in Business Leadership programme delivered by the University of Salford’s Business School tutors is a ‘taster’ of their Masters in Business Management.

The Course is designed for senior executives and managers who aspire to move into more senior roles.

Invited MBA: 12-week part-time Mini MBA

This MBA alternative might be the solution for you if you would prefer to study over a few months, without putting your career on hold.

Invited MBA offers a virtual MBA that was designed by Abilitie, a world leader in executive leadership and business education.

University of Cumbria: Mini MBA

The Mini MBA offered by The University of Cumbria spans 5-days and covers topics including: Economics and Global Trends, Financial Management, Leadership and sustainability, CSR, Social Innovation, leadership, strategic management and more.

This is an MBA alternative to be considered by those with high aspirations and little time.

#2: The powerMBA 


If you need a an MBA alternative that can easily slot into your lifestyle, you might want to consider The PowerMBA

The programme covers topics that would be covered in a traditional MBA such as strategy, finanace digital marketing and more.

On the course, you’ll learn from some of the top business minds, including the founder of Netflix, YouTube, AirBnB, Tesla, Shazam, Sage and many more.

#3: Quantic MBA

Quantic School of Business and Technology

Quantic School of Business and Technology offers a 13 month online MBA programme. This MBA is an alternative to the traditional MBA because it is app-based.

During the 1-month programme, students work through 9 concentrations including: Markets & Economies, Accounting, Data & Decisions, Leading Organisations, Marketing and pricing, strategy and more.

#4: Jolt: A Business School for self-made people

Jolt’s Switch to Tech immersive course is a 4-week programme taught by execs at Google, Facebook and more. This programme may be a good option for those who come from a non-tech background. During this programme, you will learn

  • Communication Skills
  • Project Management
  • Data Analysis
  • Terms and Models
  • Product
  • Marketing
  • Sales and CS

#5: Product School 

Product School is the global leader in product management training. All of the course instructors are real-world product leaders.

If you are considering doing an MBA with the hopes of becoming a product manager, you might like to consider Product School as an MBA alternative. They offer industry-recognised Product Management certificates.

Product School

#6: Masters in Management 

Depending on how long ago you graduated from your undergraduate degree and how much experience you have acquired, you might consider a Masters in Management (MiM) as an MBA alternative.

The ‘typical’ MiM student graduated within the past 2 years with a 2:1 degree. They want to build their foundational knowledge in business and confidently transition into the business world afterwards.


Institutions that offer a Masters in Management include:

Considering doing a masters bt aren’t sure? Read Should I do a Masters Degree?

#7: MBA related Books, Online Courses and Podcasts

If you are dedicated to developing your business skills and knowledge and don’t need the structure of a traditional MBA programme, you might turn to books, online courses and podcasts as an MBA alternative.

MBA Books

There are several MBA books. Many of which were written by people who have completed a traditional MBA. Here are some examples of MBA books:

The 10-day MBA

The 10-day MBA is a business classic. It provides an invaluable guide for individuals who do not have the time to complete a full-time business degree. The book by Steven Silbiger has chapters in Marketing, Ethics, Accounting, Organisational Behaviour, Quantitative Analysis, Finance, Operations, Economics, Strategy, Business Law, public speaking, negotiating and more. 

The Visual MBA 

The Visual MBA is “a quick guide to everything you’ll learn in two years of business school”. This book by Jason Barron includes chapters on leadership, corporate financial reporting, entrepreneurial management, managerial accounting, business finance, marketing, operations management, strategic human resource management, business negotiation, strategy, business ethics creativity, global management and more. 

The 30 Day MBA

The 30 day MBA by Colin Barrow covers business topics including: Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Organizational behaviour, Business History, Business Law, Entrepreneurship, Ethics and social responsibility, Operations Management, Research and Analysis and Strategy. The 30-day MBA is also available as an audiobook.

MBA Alternatives
Photo by Streetwindy from Pexels

Online courses 

Udemy: MBA in a Box: Business Lessons from a CEO. 

This course has been designed to help you to build the business acumen to start up your own business, grow an existing business or to advance your career. 

MBA in a Box: Business Lessons from a CEO will teach you how to start a company from scratch, carry out a SWOT analysis, apply game theory in real business situations, set up the 4ps, understand financials, perform financial statement analysis, calculate customer-lifetime-value and more. 

Skillshare: MBA course Branding and CRM

This course was created by Navdeep Yadav, a product manager. The course includes modules in marketing, digital marketing, financial reporting, organisational structure, resource management, CRM and more. 

MBA your way by Laurie Pickard

As an alternative to completing a traditional MBA, Laurie Pickard decided to use massive open online courses (MOOCs) from platforms like Coursera and edX to get a business education equivalent to an MBA for a fraction of the cost of an MBA.

Laurie Pickard wrote a book called Don’t Pay for Your MBA: The Faster, Cheaper, Better Way to Get the Business Education You Need. The book teaches you how to define your goals and create an MBA education that is tailored to your aspirations.

In addition to her book, Laurie Pickard also created a course called MBA Your Own Way. During this course, you will learn:

  • Where to find and register for a set of MOOCs that cover the basic business school curriculum
  • How to budget for a MOOC-based business education
  • How to Grow your network


The $100 MBA Show

Each episode of The $100 MBA Show posdcast is delivered as an actionable lesson. Episodes include:

  • 3 Automated ways to get customer feedback
  • 3 low cost ways to improve your team
  • The most important step to imprrove your sales

Everyday MBA

Kevin Crain reveals entrepreneurship and business techniques and tips that you won’t learn in business school in the everyday MBA podcast.

#8: Irish Management Institute: Management Bootcamp

The Irish Management Institute is a highly interactive programme, designed to challenge and expand your business knowledge. This programme was formally known as the Mini MBA. On this 5-day Management Bootcamp, you’ll learn about strategy, leadership, finance, marketing and Human Resources.


#9: A Traditional MBA Online 

If you have decided that MBA alternatives are not the right option for you an online MBA might be the solution. With an online MBA, you will still attain the traditional MBA qualification.

Studying the MBA online may offer you the flexibility to continue your day job whilst studying in the evenings/weekends.

Unlike MBA alternatives, you can do an online MBA at an AMBA-accredited business school such as at the University of Birmingham.

University of Birmingham

Here are some of the institutions that offer online MBAs:

#10: Weekend MBA 

Again, if the MBA alternatives in this post aren’t for you, a weekend MBA might be for you. Like an online MBA, a weekend MBA will provide you with greater flexibility than a traditional programme.

Here are some instituions that offer weekend MBA courses:

Imperial College Business School 

Imperial College offers a 21-month, weekend MBA programme that enables you to accelerate and develop your career whilst studying one weekend per month.

Imperial College Business School

Cass Business School 

The Cass 24 month Modular Executive MBA, like the Imperial Weekend MBA, requires candidates to attend one weekend a month. This ideal for people who are commuting to the UK from all over the world.

#11: isdi: DMBA 

The final option in our list of MBA alternatives is The Digital Master of Business Administration is a 10-month MBA-style course. The course is centred around Technology. During this course, you will be helped to achieve official certification:

As well as earning these industry-recognised qualifications, you will complete modules in:

  • Agile methogology and Innovation
  • Business Frameworks
  • Digital Technology Foundations
  • Digital Business Execution
  • Leadership in the Digital ERA

The programme also includes an e-commerce challenge whereby students launch a real e-commerce busness.


Summary: MBA Alternatives

Thanks for taking the time to read our post that shares some MBA alternatives to consider if a traditional MBA is not a feasible option for you.

There are several MBA alternatives to consider if you are wondering what you can do instead of a traditional MBA to develop your business acumen. An alternative solution may be needed because of work commitments, time constraints or financial constraints. If you are determined to enhance your business education, you’ll find the MBA alternative solution that suits you best.

This may involve creating your own curriculum, by taking advantage of the wealth of resources online and drawing on the insights of those who have completed an MBA. Or it might involve taking a mini MBA over the course of a week. Whatever you decide, we hope that this post shows that an MBA education is attainable and that there are good, less expensive alternatives to a traditional MBA.

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