The Pros and Cons of 1-Year MBA Degree Programs

By Catherine Groux
Posted August 03, 2012 02:21 PM

There are many pros and cons of one-year MBA degree programs.
There are many pros and cons of one-year MBA degree programs.
A new survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council shows that about one-third of Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) takers are thinking about enrolling in a full-time one-year Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. These programs allow students to earn an MBA in 18 months or less, as opposed to the traditional two years. Most take between 11 and 16 months to complete.

Like many graduate programs, there are various pros and cons of enrolling in a one-year MBA program, which students should consider before they make their final decision.


Of course, one of the biggest advantages of this type of program is that students can complete their studies and enter the workforce up to a year sooner than they would in a traditional MBA course of study. For this reason, one-year MBAs are very popular among students who do not want to switch careers and are simply looking for a leg-up in their field. As these MBA students typically do not have time to complete an internship, they are given the faster, more intense version of the topics they need to know to stay up to date in their careers. For some individuals, this is all they are looking for in a graduate program.

Additionally, as the course of study is shorter, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that it can cost students about half the price of a two-year MBA.

"They are becoming more popular I think, in part, because the cost of higher education in this country is becoming tough for so many people," Bentley University Provost Mike Page told BusinessWeek. "More and more institutions are starting [one-year MBA programs] and I think that is in response to local market conditions."


Many academic professionals believe that while one-year MBA programs are quicker and cheaper, students cannot take advantage of everything business school has to offer in 12 months. Usually, one-year MBA students do not have time to complete an internship and could face fewer networking opportunities, which might cost them a full-time job, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Most likely because of these missed opportunities, various studies have shown that one-year MBA program graduates tend to earn less after graduation than their business school peers. Citing a study by the Graduate Management Admission Council, the Journal reports that the average 2011 one-year MBA program graduate earned a median salary of $73,203, compared to $85,000 for two-year program graduates.

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