TWO TYPES OF ONE-YEAR MBA STUDENTS
While the IBEAR program’s graduating class boasts an average age of 33 and work experience of 10 years, Kellogg’s population is more akin to the traditional two-year MBA population. So much so, Merrick admits not being able to always tell them apart. “I can’t tell the difference when I talk to them,” he says. Full immersion into two-year clubs and extra-curricular activities is one of the major draws for one-year students at Kellogg, Merrick believes.
“When I see them around the cafeteria or wherever, the degree of integration the 1Y students have with students in other programs is really high,” Merrick insists. “I think the reason some students come here when considering other schools is they get the full Kellogg experience compared to the two years.”
It was certainly a draw for Chang. “I knew the program was going to be supportive of my career path and also inclusive,” says Chang. “But I don’t think I understood how inclusive and how much the program, faculty and peers are really focused on doing what is best for each individual student.”
Chang was able to participate in the school’s highly popular KWEST (Kellogg Experiences & Service Trips) program–a weeklong trip in which second years lead about 25 incoming MBAs on a service and bonding excursion before the term begins. “The moment you come on campus, you have this community already,” Chang says of the trip. Chang has also held on-campus leadership roles, serving as co-president of Kellogg Entrepreneurs Organization and marketing director of Kellogg’s Women’s Business Association. “I think you get the same experience you get from a two-year MBA, but you also are able to take advantage of all the opportunities at Kellogg,” Chang believes.
GOIZUETA REVAMPED ONE-YEAR PROGRAM THREE YEARS AGO
Community is also an advantage at Goizueta, says Lloyd. While students are subjected to a more intense course-load and don’t get to participate in an internship or semester abroad, Lloyd says students in Goizueta’s one-year program enjoy different perks. “With a smaller class (with an annual intake of 66 students), we are able to offer unique leadership training, networking opportunities, and experiential learning activities like company field visits and a client project in their first semester,” she says.
Even with not having an entire semester abroad, graduating one-year MBA Amanda Pegues says she was able to travel to seven different countries during her year in Emory’s program. Pegues, who came into the program with about six years of experience and degrees in economics and international studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says the one-year option was the better fit. “I felt like the opportunity cost of being out of work for two years was too high for me, but I really wanted the opportunity to focus and dedicate my time as a full-time student,” she says.
Lloyd says about three years ago, the school had a revamp of the program to help students feel like they were getting more of a “full MBA experience.” This included changes in the way Goizueta marketed and delivered the program. “We used to focus more on the undergraduate academic experience that applicants were bringing to the program and we shifted to place more of an emphasis on professional backgrounds and career aspirations,” says Lloyd. Also, Lloyd says the school added “several enhancements.”
“Specifically, the program now starts with two-weeks of on-boarding,” Lloyd begins, “which provides team-building exercises, academic boot camp sessions, and opportunities for the students to meet their new classmates, faculty, staff, and extended members of the Goizueta community. Then, the academic portion of the program begins.”
GMAT BEATERS NEED NOT APPLY
While programs like Kellogg, Cornell, Goizueta, Babson and others generally attract a younger and more domestic population, USC’s IBEAR is geared to an entirely different graduate student. Drobnick advises applicants to make sure they know which school is the best fit and to target schools accordingly–or, look past the rankings. “To go to Emory or Northwestern or any of these other one-year programs, it’s just a mistake,” Drobnick says of the older, more international students attending the IBEAR. “It’s a mistake because our incoming class has an average student who is 35, with 11 years of working experience.”
The biggest draw of USC’s program, Drobnick believes, is the classroom learning experience. “If you go to a program with 27 year olds, you’re not going to learn a lot from them,” claims Drobnick. “I’m not saying 27 year olds at Emory or Northwestern aren’t good, strong people. They just don’t have the same work experience to bring to a classroom discussion.”
Consequently, Drobnick says for admissions into IBEAR, work experience trumps pretty much everything else. “If you have a 720 or 750 GMAT, that’s nice, but if your work experience is running a restaurant, don’t apply to us. We don’t want someone with 10 years of experience that just flat lines.” Also, don’t apply if your an American with no ambition or plan to be engaged in international business. “We turn a lot of people away that on paper look good. But we want Americans who have ideally lived overseas and speak a couple languages,” Drobnick continues. “If not that group, we want Americans that say, ‘in my future career, I really want to get involved with doing business with the world.’ And that’s a small set of people.”