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: -




Opportunity Cost

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.




Limited Choice

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.



Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. is not responsible for the views and opinions of the posters.
14 + 6 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.


munavvar on 10/04/10 at 12:40 am

It is better to go with one year MBA programme than the two year one so as to decrease the time and cost of studies and the result depends upon the performance of the students and on the duration of studies...