The Best One-Year MBA Programs

F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College

Babson’s accelerated one-year MBA program requires what the school calls “a substantial academic background in business.” The good news: you’re not locked out if you fail to have an undergraduate degree in business. The bad news: you will have to show that you have taken some basic coursework already in such core subjects as accounting, statistics, and finance. Truth is, the most popular undergraduates majors for the graduate program are business and economics.

The school, long known as a top place to study entrepreneurial thinking, brings in nearly 80 students a year to its one-year program, about half the size of its more traditional two-year MBA. A high percentage of one-year students—46%–are from outside the U.S., making the student body more global than most. The average GMAT score for one-year students is 589, 15 points higher than Babson’s evening students but a bit lower than the 616 for the two-year class. The school says the middle 80% GMAT scores ranged from 510 to 660. Students have an average five years of work experience, exactly the same as Babson’s two-year MBA candidates.

The one-year option starts in May, a great time to enjoy New England weather, with two modules based around themes: Building the Platform, from Strategic Perspective to Tools, and Decision Making and Application. The former focuses on what the school calls “the shaping of global business practices,” while the latter is a deep dive into the strategic implementation steps needed to care and deliver products and services.

Once those modules are out of the way by August, students are then given the chance to take a number of elective courses, experiential learning exercises, and consulting assignments. Nearly all of the school’s electives are offered in the evening and you’ll take them along side two-year and part-time MBA students.

The program allows students to take on a concentration in one of several fields, including corporate finance, global management, investments, life sciences and healthcare, or marketing.

Like all brand name school programs, the cost of the program doesn’t come cheap, especially when you add in all the extra costs after the base tuition and fees (see table at left comparing the costs of Babson’s two-year program with the one-year format). Once you add in lost earnings, ten years of interest payments to finance your education, the total cost of the one-year MBA is $178,024–more than $75,000 less than the traditional two-year program costs. But the benefits of this MBA are likely to last a lifetime.