One Year Versus Two Year MBA Programs
| August 20,2010 03:26 pm IST
This is a favourite topic amongst US MBA bashers who strongly believe in the one-year alternative that has become unique to European schools, although it must be said that two of Europe's leading MBA curriculums, i.e.
, LBS in the UK and IESE in Spain are structured around the two-year format that is followed by US schools.
Here are some pro and con arguments of the one year alternative: -
The single biggest factor in favour of the one-year program has been the opportunity cost of forsaking your current career for far too long when undertaking the two-year program. The argument becomes even more powerful when the economy is performing well - why spend two years away when the going is good!
Fees & Cost of Living
This follows on the previous theme - the longer the program, the greater the actual financial cost associated with it.
It is easy to convince one's employer about sponsoring him or her on a one-year program rather than on a two-year program. Not only are the costs lower, you are also away for a shorter period of time. Besides, if one isn't looking for a job, then internships don't matter either.
The single biggest factor against the one-year program is that there are far fewer top-league schools offering a one-year program, and most of them are concentrated in Europe. Only a handful of schools in the US offer a shorter program than their flagship two-year MBA.
Internships / Career Change
In case one is looking for a career change of any kind, be it industry or location related, chances are that a prospective employer wants to try the candidate out unless he or she has relevant experience. While not always the case, this is often important especially for those wanting to make a directional shift in their careers.
Time Compression Diseconomies
Theorists are likely to use this argument to highlight the biggest disadvantage of compressing the program content into a shorter duration. Just like economies of scale and scope,compressing knowledge to a shorter duration is likely to impact its absorption and, therefore, the learning process. Although empirical evidence exists to prove time compression diseconomies, whether it applies to the MBA is best left to the individual and his or her capabilities. More importantly, whether two years in itself is the right amount of time for the current curriculum is questionable.
Surprisingly, very few schools in the USA have considered shortening their program although it is increasingly becoming the norm outside the USA. Schools like LBS have begun offering a 15-month proposition on their flag-ship MBA program but there is no observable trend.
While these are important factors in the MBA decision, it is important to take a holistic view of the MBA proposition by giving careful consideration to some of the points made earlier. Give thought to identifying schools that best fulfill your career objectives, financing opportunities, as well as the fit with your lifestyle..