The Best One-Year MBA Programs

USC's Marshall School of Business is ranked 22nd among the best U.S. B-schools by Poets&Quants.

University of Southern California Marshall School of Business

If you’re a bit older with several years of work experience, another attractive one-year option is the University of Southern California’s IBEAR (International Business Education and Research) program. This global study program is open to applicants with a minimum of six years of full-time work, military or graduate study, though the average is 11 years.

Launched in 1978, the program now has more than 1,500 graduates in more than 50 countries around the world. The focus here is different that most other 12-month programs because the course of study emphasizes business in and between North America, Asia and Latin America. Newly updated, the program will now feature three immersive experiential learning experiences: The first is in a major U.S. city outside USC’s base campus in Los Angeles with a cluster of U.S. multinational companies; the second in a global city (like Sao Paolo) in a fast-growing, emerging market, and finally a two-week international trip for a business the consulting project course, typically multiple countries.

In any case, the program draws a heavy contingent of international students, mainly from Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The latest entering class of 54 students, for example, includes 11 from the U.S., a dozen from Korea, nine from Japan, seven from Taiwan, and five from China. Women make up under 20% of the enrolled students.

IBEAR’s GMAT average is normally 620 plus or minus 5 points. The school advises applicants that they should generally score 570 or higher on the GMAT to get accepted.

Those who are applying now, will start earlier, in May of 2014, rather than the traditional August launch month. Previously, from August to December, students delve into the MBA fundamentals (some are required or encouraged to arrive in June or July to take additional English at USC’s Language Academy.) Then, from January to July, they take globally focused electives in each critical functional area. The centerpiece of the experience is a five-month international consulting project for a U.S. or foreign corporate client. Students have worked with such prominent corporate players as Sony, Panasonic, GE, Microsoft, Hitachi, Mattel, and Virgin America.

The IBEAR MBA curriculum consists of 19 credit courses delivered its August Transition Program and five 8-week terms. Sixteen courses are required of all participants. These 16 courses include internationalized “core” MBA courses and other courses that we consider fundamental for global managers.

Three IBEAR courses are optional and can be replaced by MBA electives of the participant’s choice. Electives are taken with students in two-year Marshall MBA program or MBA.PM program.

This is largely a “lock-step” program where students study together throughout the year. You can take all 19 courses within IBEAR or you can take up to three MBA electives outside of those offered by IBEAR to emphasize an area of personal interest.