What are “MBA Single Courses”?
As the name implies, MBA single courses make it possible for the student to acquire MBA knowledge from as little content as is offered in a single course. Although only a small share of the business schools in Japan offer this type of single-course program, it has a long history overseas, where it is called “Executive Education” or “Open Enrollment Program” and has contributed to the re-education of working people. In many cases, this MBA Executive Education, unlike degree programs such as MBAs, does not have an entrance exam. In addition, from my experience, the more famous a business school becomes, the more it tends to give preference to single-course programs over degree programs such as Executive MBAs.
The benefits of taking MBA single courses
In terms of efficiency for learning a specific field that is professionally required, it is safe to say that nothing beats MBA single courses. Personally, I think the MBA single courses offered by business schools create one of the few environments where it is possible to study specific areas through the case method in a quick and efficient manner. The student also has the choice of combining courses that suit their needs from many offered MBA single courses in order to obtain a certificate. In addition, some students enjoy the fact that by taking an MBA single course, they can have a real taste of the academic atmosphere of that business school.
How is the quality of MBA single courses measured? (International Certification)
Quite naturally, there is a ranking for MBA single courses (Executive Education) as well. The quality of an MBA single course is mainly defined by three elements: teaching staff, teaching material, and participants. How the quality of these elements is balanced shows how good a business school is and, not surprisingly, this is one of the areas that is evaluated by international certifications such as AACSB and AMBA, similar to MBA programs. “The faculty members and educational method of the degree program are good, but the Executive Education is not bad...” This kind of compromise is not acceptable.
What is the difference between a business seminar and an MBA single course?
Business seminars predominantly adopt the format of listening to a lecturer’s talk and presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Meanwhile, an MBA single course is essentially offered as part of a business school, many of which have grade evaluations. If the student’s level of participation and contribution to the class is low, they are not highly graded. Reading the case before the lecture and actively contributing to the class with your own thoughts and opinions can be considered proper etiquette for an MBA single course. I have heard an actual story about a company in Japan that takes advantage of this aspect of these courses and uses the grades from an MBA single course in human resources affairs. Perhaps an increasing number of companies will use business schools this way in the future.
Are MBA single course students independent? Or are they sent by their companies?
Both types of students participate in more or less equal numbers. However, when the cost of an MBA single course is high, such as in Europe and North America, the number of participants sent by companies tends to increase. In case there are too many participants from a specific company or industry, the discussions become biased in an unexpected direction. I believe that it is for this reason that many business schools limit the number of participants from the same corporation. The cost of attending an MBA single course varies according to the strategy and content area of the business school. It can range from tens of thousands of yen to one million yen per subject, and while some programs can be concluded in a few days, others require up to three months. I have seen, much to my surprise, some MBA single courses designed for executives that are more expensive than an entire MBA program.
How to choose MBA single courses in Japan
First, conduct a search using keywords of your own characteristics, such as area, type of occupation, position, and others, and look for courses that may interest you. There is an excellent chance that many of these courses are offered at night and on weekends to cater to working people. Reading comments posted by other participants is helpful, and it is important to know which courses the academic advisor is teaching in the MBA program (regular course). Personally, I do not like the idea that the single courses are separate entities. This is a natural feeling, since in many cases, completed MBA single courses are accepted as academic credits upon entrance to business school.