Has The One-Year MBA Come Of Age?



That’s not always true for every applicant, of course. As Shinewald readily notes, “there are always exceptions to the rule – the Columbia J-Term is a very good option, though it is a touch longer than a year, for those who truly have no use for a summer internship. Similarly, the Kellogg Accelerated MBA could be an option to consider if you have a very clear and attainable professional goal and already have a profound background in management study. These are specialized programs and the schools do the vetting of applicants; the schools are not one-year degree programs where it is presumed that all students will do the diligence themselves. So, applicants have to really check themselves before applying to one-year programs and be honest about their existing abilities and expectations. If you have real gaps to fill, a one-year program will likely be the wrong choice. Remember, you will only find a better ROI, if you get the job you want and then excel in the workplace.”

What of the FT’s ranking halo on many of these one-year options? “INSEAD, the highest ranked, one-year MBA program on FT.com’s list, is undeniably world-class and comparable to the world’s leading two-year programs,” says Dan Bauer, founder and CEO of The MBA Exchange, another leading admissions consultancy. “However, as you move down the list, there’s plenty of room to argue that FT.com is overstating the caliber of some one-year programs. For instance, ranking HKUST above Dartmouth Tuck, Duke Fuqua, Yale SOM and Michigan Ross is counter to how many veteran experts and astute applicants would view those schools. Since the FT takes a global view, and is U.K.-based itself, it’s not surprising that their rankings would feature so many one-year programs as that’s the norm in Europe. However, market demand from top applicants does not align with the view that more than half of the top 50 are one-year programs.”

In general, Bauer believes that one-year programs are best for

• More mature candidates, not seeking a do-over of their undergrad experience.
• More worldly, not needing international study trips that help “globalize” domestic students.
• Committed to their current employer, or at least same industry, since fewer electives and the absence of summer internship discourage career changes.
• Budget conscious in need of lower tuition expense and less foregone income.
• Have an undergrad degree in business, or at least strong quant skills, since there’s less time and opportunity to ramp up.
• Prefer a summer start rather than the traditional fall start.
• Seek intensity rather than duration of networking with classmates.
• Prefer a U.S. school but are less ranking conscious since most American one-year programs are at schools outside the top 20.

Which schools offer accelerated options? Among the Top 50 schools in the latest FT ranking, here are those that offer shorter MBA programs. Some schools give students the choice. London Business School, for example, allows students to choose between completing the program in 15, 18 or 21 months. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, for example, has both as 12-month and a 16-month option. CEIBs in China launched a one-year MBA program in 2015 so students there have the choice between the standard 18-month curriculum and the shorter and more intensive accelerated offering.

One-Year Options On The 2016 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking

2016 Rank & School 2015 Rank Change Weighted Salary Pay Change
  1. INSEAD 4 +3 $166,510 96%
  3. London Business School 2 -1 $154,150 100%
10. Cambridge (Judge) 13 +3 $156,323 95%
11. Northwestern (Kellogg) 14 +3 $162,923 93%
12. IE Business School 12 —– $159,266 104%
13. IMD 20 +7 $157,266 104%
14. Hong Kong UST 14 ——- $ 117%
15. HEC Paris 16 +1 $134,299 108%
16. IESE 7 -9 $140,185 121%
17. CEIBs 11 -6 $147,716 157%
23. Esade 19 -3 $132,119 117%
25. SGA Bocconi 26 +1 $122,955 116%
26. CUHK 30 +4 $124,268 120%
28. Oxford (Said) 22 -6 $136,959 81%
29. Indian School of Business 33 +4 $138,454 142%
29. Nanyang Business School 40 +11 $119,032 105%
31. Cornell (Johnson) 28 -3 $142,764 102%
35. Imperial Business School 34 -1 $112,301 83%
35. Lancaster 50 +15 $106,638 111%
37. City University (Cass) 45 +8 $121,402 82%
40. The Lisbon MBA 36 -4 $123,584 100%
42. Rotterdam (Erasmus) 45 +3 $107,998 81%
44. University of Hong Kong 28 -16 $112,518 106%
46. Warwick Business School 38 -8 $112,287 70%
49. Mannheim 55 +6 $109,622 79%

Source: The Financial Times


  • C. Taylor

    Page 3: “IESE” in the chart titled, “One-Year Options . .”

    Also mentions LBS–a 15 month min program, I believe. Doesn’t mention J-term at Columbia–a 16 month MBA (in the list).

  • Alexey Postnov

    They are talking about the IE Business School not IESE

  • AH

    I will be graduating from the Notre Dame One Year MBA in May. I am leaving the program as a changed man. In comparison to my two year classmates, the education is the same, but the career search process is more difficult, it has to be initiated as soon as one steps on campus and one should have a good idea of where one wants to end up. My class did great in the job market so far, almost 70% with offers with 2.5 months to go, with most of them changing careers. I transitioned from finance to consulting pretty easily. Having an extremely helpful alumni base helps as well.

  • Vivek

    Is that why the best MBA in Europe (INSEAD) is only 10 months in duration?

  • Guest

    For b-schools it can be all about finding your niche – matching your strengths, reputation, etc. E g if Princeton offered a 10 month MBA I can see it being a very attractive option, especially to many Asians. Maybe Yale should also be doing that.

  • Personal MBA Coach

    While this is often the case, as shown in the article, a number of students in one year programs actually do make a career transition. If you want to do so coming from a one year program you just have to do a little more leg work and recruiting on your own.

  • Careerchanges

    Two year programs are for career changers. One year programs are for non-career changers.

  • klaudia

    and why do you think the reason behind such attitudes? !

  • DeeFan

    I suggest that someone offer a six month super accelerated program, and call that an MBA.

    One cannot possibly study a selected concentration in depth, or do a research paper, in anything less than a two year program.

    If one has lived in Europe (London is not immune) for any length of time, the amount of anti-USA attitudes is shocking.

  • C. Taylor

    This article highlights a nifty nugget of data. Nice!

    . . . Apropos, I believe IESE is a two year program.

  • C. Taylor

    “That argues for a two-year program for students who really want to grow. It doesn’t mean INSEAD isn’t a great program. But you have to take every ranking with a grain of salt, and it’s crazy to imagine there is no regional bias involved in the Financial Times ranking.”
    — Betsy Massar, Harvard MBA

    Bias. Take it with a grain of salt. OK Betsy, some salt:

    “You might think I am partial to HBS, but I’m actually quite fond of Stanford”
    — Betsy Massar, Harvard MBA