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Should I Do A One-Year Or Two-Year MBA?

MBA admissions expert, Paul Bodine, answers our Applicant Question of the Week

Thu Sep 27 2018

It's that time of the week again—time for the BusinessBecause Applicant Question of the Week.

Every week, we give you the opportunity to ask one of our chosen admissions experts anything you want to know about getting into business school. One question each week is chosen for our expert to answer.

This week's question is answered by Paul Bodine, founder of Paul Bodine Admissions Consulting, who has been assisting in MBA admissions since 1997.

Applicant Question of the Week:

Dear BusinessBecause,

I'm looking to do an MBA to advance in my management career, but I'm unsure whether to do a one-year or two-year program. I'm currently looking at the top business schools in Europe, Asia, and the US. How do I know which program is right for me? 

The Answer:

The primary differences between two-year and one-year MBA programs are the cost, the summer internship, and the depth of immersion in the academic experience and with your class.

Naturally, two-year programs are more expensive than one-year programs, and opportunity cost adds to the expense. So if the financial burden of an MBA is a huge factor in your decision-making, one-year MBAs may be your best choice. The summer internship is for many MBA students the primary vehicle for changing careers, so if you are interested in a one-year program, you may have to do more legwork on your own to change careers or try to self-source your own internship, for example, after the program ends.

Whether you choose a two-year over a one-year program will depend in part on how radical a career change you’re seeking an MBA to help you make. The larger the career change (industry and function and geography), the more valuable the summer internship offered by the two-year program. Two-year programs also give you more time to learn and more time to build deep relationships with classmates. The former is valuable both in terms of skill development and intellectual growth; the latter can be valuable when you need a strong network to help you drive your post-MBA career. 

Finally, there are simply many more two-year MBA programs than one-year MBA programs on the planet—though one-year master’s in management programs (which are not MBAs) are increasing and some two-year MBA programs have closed due to weakening demand. If you need a wealth of program choices, the two-year MBA gives you that more than does the one-year MBA.  

Traditionally, one-year MBAs have been more common in Europe, but that’s changing: Northwestern, Cornell, Emory, Notre Dame, USC and at least 16 other US business schools now offer one-year MBAs. Remember, that not all two- or one-year programs are the same, so do your research (including visiting schools), make sure your test scores and GPA align with your target schools’ medians and find that program whose culture, people and resources feel like the right choice for you.


Ask an Admissions Expert a Question!


Next week, we're giving you the chance to ask Karen Barker, director of recruitment and marketing at Warwick Business School, anything you want to know about applying to b-school!

Before becoming director of recruitment at Warwick, Karen served as manager of the career and development services for the MBA program.

She also runs her own consulting firm, providing applicant and interview advice to MBA applicants—so she's the perfect person to ask about admissions advice.

For the chance to ask your question to Karen next week, simply head to our FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn pages, or post in the comments box below with your question!