One-Year vs. Two-Year MBA
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MBA aspirants, who have a couple of years work experience are often under the dilemma whether to pursue Executive MBA or two year regular MBA. There are various factors based on which you should take the final decision. To help you decide whether it is One Year or Two Year MBA which would suit you the best, Gautam Lakhamraju, Director – Admissions, Great Lakes Institute of Management shares his thoughts on One Year Vs. Two Year MBA in this column at Careers360.


Unlike in the past where typically only fresh graduates would look forward to doing an MBA, increasingly a large number of professionals now look to acquire business skills to give their career a boost after gaining some work experience. This is in line with the global scenario where most of the business schools require applicants to have gained some work experience before pursuing a professional business degree. Accordingly, the MBA space has evolved to cater to the requirements of professionals with a wide variety of the full time, executive and online programs. Even among the full time programmes, aspirants now have the choice between the typical two year program and the one year fast track MBA programme specifically designed for people with reasonable work experience.


Historically most Indian B-schools offered only a two year MBA programme aimed at fresh graduates, but in the last two decades we have seen the introduction of one year format with schools like ISB and Great Lakes offering it as their flagship full time programmes for candidates with prior work experience. The one year format is well established globally, especially in Europe, where many top B-schools offer it.


Given the choices, a lot of young professionals often face the question of choosing between a one year and a two year MBA programme. Both have their relative advantages and disadvantages, but the best program for each candidate depends on his professional background and the career objectives. Let us try and understand the differences between the two formats so that you can make a well-informed decision.


1. Work Experience: The two year MBA programs do not require the applicants to have work experience and the selection process is primarily based on their academic and test scores. The one year programmes, on the other hand, need applicants to have a minimum of two to three years’ work experience and the selection process takes into account the overall profile of the candidates, including the quality of work experience,

demonstrated track record and future potential.


2. Curriculum and Learning Experience: The shorter duration of the One year MBA means that it is more challenging with candidates having to handle a lot more in lesser time.  This is where having prior work experience helps since having a basic understanding of organisations and professional work environments helps participants start at a higher base compared to freshers who have to start from the scratch. The programmes are designed accordingly keeping this work experience in mind and fully leveraging it.


A two-year MBA, on the other hand, offers fresh graduates sufficient time to develop a thorough understanding of the business world along with a summer internship of two months to get the students acquainted with what comes next. So for the students who are fresh out of college, a two-year MBA prepares them for the corporate world.


3. Peer Group: A class of One year MBA programmes typically comprises of professionals coming with experience in diverse industries and roles. This significantly enhances the quality of learning experience within and beyond the classrooms since people can relate the business concepts with their personal real life experience. Similarly, it provides a great opportunity for creating a network of friends, acquaintances and allies across industries.


4. ROI & Opportunity Cost: For experienced professionals, the one year PG programme offers a higher return on their investment as they have a significantly lower opportunity cost in term of being away from work for just half the time of the two year programs.  For a lot of people this is extremely important not just from a career perspective but also for personal reasons where a commitment of being away in school for two years is simply not feasible. 


5. Career Objectives: The choice of your decision also depends upon your career goals. For example, if you are looking for a significant change in your line of work or want to switch your industry, a two-year MBA with a summer internship may offer a better chance. Also, some industries and companies still prefer to recruit young graduates through their management trainee programmes and after evaluating candidates in their summer internship programs. On the other hand, if you love the field that you are in and want to fast track your career in the shortest possible time, then a one-year MBA makes more sense.


In terms of job opportunities and employment outcomes, the two types of MBA programmes don’t have any difference whatsoever. The major criterion for choosing one over another is just the relevant experience possessed by the aspirant. The two-year traditional MBA is more popular with the students who have lesser work experience due to the internship offered at the end of its first year and with the people who are planning to significantly change their industry and functional area.


The one-year PG programme, however, is more suitable for professionals who possess significant work experience and are looking for an accelerated growth in their career.


Stay tuned to for more news and updates on Great Lakes Institute of Management.

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