When should you choose a one year MBA program? Obviously it is shorter than a two year program but when is that the right choice? It isn’t right for everyone, even though it might be tempting for many people.
So the first place to start is the positives about a one year MBA program. It largely comes down to cost and time and becomes most visible in the high ROI for this kind of MBA program.
One year programs have lower tuition than tuition totals for two year programs. The amount is variable and many one year programs cost much more than one year of a two year program, but recognize you are comparing the complete tuition total for both kinds of programs.
As important as tuition is, another substantial factor is the cost of living for the foregone year of study. The expense or potential debt from rent, transportation, and other living expenses add up quickly. Avoiding 12 months expenses from the end of year one to the end of year two makes the investment side of the ROI calculation much lower.
The possibility of getting into the workforce an entire 12 months earlier accelerates your earnings in a post MBA career. In a two year program, you would likely gain a few months compensation from your internship, but it will likely be at a substantially lower salary. The net increase in income is not quite 12 months, but is around 10 if you go to work soon after graduation. This is the inverse of added living expenses.
Focused MBA career plan
If you are focused on a well defined career goal (in a particular industry or function, for example), then a one year program may be a good fit for you. A one year program forfeits the internship experience and on top of that, full time career recruitment starts in the middle of the first semester. Basically you will spend 9 months working on a career search as well as your entire MBA curriculum.
A two year MBA program offers two years to cultivate your network and complete your career search. It lets you get your first year coursework (core MBA classes) out of the way while you are looking for an internship instead of doing them while your permanent career search is on the line.
Flexible MBA career interests
If you aren’t sure prescicely what you want to do, if you want to explore multiple options, then a two year program may be more suitable. In a longer format MBA, the internship period provides a big opportunity to experience one of your potential career choices first hand. This frequently confirms a student’s interests and sometimes tells a student that another choice would be prudent.
Secondly, the less defined career seeker will benefit from two full years of networking in their fields of interest. This allows more direct contact with people that can inform a career decision. In this situation, increased time allows for more confidence in your own career choices.
MBA students seeking to change industries, functions, or complete careers will likely see better results from a two year program. MBA students staying in the same industry or function may find the lack of additional career development options in a one year program as no problem.