Is Faster Better for Executive MBAs?

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This means that if you pursue an executive education program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz., or the University of Arizona, you can earn your degree in as little as 14 months. But if you want an MBA from Columbia University or the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, you'll need between 20 months (Columbia) and 24 months (Wharton).

The Wall Street Journal says the movement toward shorter schedule reflects the increased emphasis both employers and students put on time. "The market is driving the change," Thunderbird President Angel Cabrera told the newspaper.

Colleges says they're not cutting their programs down to size without a lot of thought. Instead, they're merging courses and giving credit for activities pursued both inside and outside of the academic framework. At the University of Arizona, the faculty was told to "start fresh" in designing the executive MBA program, with an eye toward providing the "critical skills" executives need, the Journal said.

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