I feel that in most cases, a 2-year MBA makes sense and I’ll elaborate on those reasons below. However, here are the people who could consider a one-year MBA.
• Sponsored candidates
• Family business
• No internship needed to achieve goal
• No career pivot
To consider a 1-year MBA, especially one without opportunities for fieldwork/internship, it’s critical to get VERY CLEAR about your career goals. If you spend less money on an MBA program and get back to work a year earlier, this is only a “win” if you achieve what you set out to accomplish in the first place.
I work with my clients on this and help them set up informational interviews with grads who have achieved a similar post-MBA goal. You must network to find out if an internship is necessary, if it will increase the likelihood of you achieving your post-MBA goal.
For example, if you are in financial services, an internship is pretty important. For investment banking, indispensable. But I also think it is valuable to do a summer associate position, to test drive consulting, or work at a start-up or get some sense of life as a Product Manager in tech, for example. A consulting internship used to be almost in dispensable (except for INSEAD) but now as there is a bit of a talent crunch, I’m hearing about 1 year Kellogg students getting offers.
Most candidates frankly do not have clarity regarding their goals, taking a ready/fire/aim approach hoping they will bump into their dream job in b-school. And of course, you discover a lot about yourself and your passions in the course of an MBA program. 2-year programs allow you the chance to re-recruit if the internship did not live up to your expectations. RE-RECRUITING HAPPENS OFTEN, I would venture to say it is the norm.
So, it saddens me for 1-year MBA clients to sign up for a job they haven’t tried on and be disappointed. With a one-year program you must look for a full-time job the minute your feet hit the floor. What if you don’t like it? Then the value proposition of an MBA has unravelled quite a bit. I like formats such as LBS and ESADE where they are customizable to your needs. LBS actually allows the possibility of 2 internships. HEC is 16 months, with 4 months of fieldwork or internship.
If you go with a shorter program, I recommend you stick with programs that offer an internship period. If applying to INSEAD, my preference is for January term unless you are absolutely certain about consulting because January term offers an 8-week internship period.
Stay true to your purposes of doing an MBA
The original intent was not to spend the least amount of money but rather the benefits – the upside – of what you hoped to get. Longer programs offer you deeper connections with classmates; the chance to do externships, study abroad, more time to explore and transform. This is likely to be your last chance to do this as a working adult.
Should I get a 1 year or 2-year MBA?
Figure out where you wish to apply
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