The Best One-Year MBA Programs

Cornell's Johnson School of Management is ranked 15th among the best U.S. business schools by Poets&Quants.

Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management

Cornell’s accelerated one-year MBA program is atypical largely because the school requires applicants to have earned master’s or doctoral degrees in rigorous quantitative fields. So if you merely have an undergraduate degree in business, you’re not meant for the Cornell experience. Neither are major career switchers. The school tries to steer those who plan major career changes into its two-year MBA program.

The accelerated program kicks off in May with an intensive 10-week summer term that covers orientation, core courses, leadership and professional development work. Remaining core courses are completed in the fall semester, along with a semester-long management practicum and a two-week internship. Electives are taken during the spring semester with graduation the following May.

Concentrations are optional, but available to help position students for their post-MBA goals. Cornell offers five “breadth concentrations”: Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Global Management, and Sustainable Global Enterprise. The school also offers seven “depth concentrations”: Corporate Finance, Financial Investing, Financial Analysis, Marketing Analytics, Marketing Management, Private Equity, and Strategy. Not bad for a one-year MBA program.

Cornell’s accelerated students, moreover, are not isolated from its more traditional two-year students. They share courses, faculty and resources with the mainstream, flagship MBA program.

In a typical year, Cornell will take in about 50 accelerated students (the Class of 2012 are made up of exactly 45). The advanced degree requirement clearly makes the program less appealing to women. In the latest class, only 13% of the accelerated students are female. But the standards are high with a median GMAT score of 710 and an average undergraduate GPA of 3.56. The median work experience is four years, while six of every ten students in the latest class are U.S. citizens.

How do they fare in the job market? Very well, thank you. Cornell reports that 97% of the Class of 2012 that sought job offers received them. The average reported base salary $106,400 and the average signing bonus of $17,600 compares favorably with graduates of Cornell’s two-year MBA program ($103,600 base and $23,200 signing bonus).