Program Options – Accelerated 1-Year MBA
Accelerated MBAs Are Gaining Ground
One-year B-school programs, a mainstay in Europe, are getting a second look in the U.S.
by Alina Dizik
Two years isn’t necessarily a long time, but for some business school students, the idea of being out of the job market that long—and paying two years of tuition—is a serious burden. One option familiar in Europe but uncommon in the
The programs, which are offered by perhaps a dozen of the top
Admissions to many one-year programs are up substantially this year, said several admissions officers, with application rates in some cases outpacing their two-year counterparts. Cornell University reported a 50% increase in applications for its 2008-09 Accelerated MBA program, which has 60 students, while Emory’s one-year program had a 37% increase in applications, to 350. That compares with a 25% increase in applications for Emory’s two-year program. Applications to Babson’s one-year program—which is increasing its class size to 80—increased 34% this year, to 170 applications. Kellogg says applications for its one-year programs is up about 20%.
Not all one-year programs are showing gains. Brian Lohr, director of admissions for Notre Dame’s MBA programs, says that applications for the one-year program are flat this year, compared to a 23% increase in two-year applications. “The growth is in the two-year program,” Lohr said.
A Magnet for European Students
Several admissions directors said the economic downturn has had a major impact on applications to one-year programs. While B-school applications typically rise in a recession, apparently many students don’t want to jump out of the job market for too long a time. “They feel that the recession won’t last that long,” said Julie Barefoot, admissions director for Emory’s Goizueta Business School, adding that students who had planned to ultimately get their MBAs are opting to apply now to a one-year program in order to stay ahead of the economic climate. “This is kind of an opportune moment,” she said.
As they are structured like European programs, where such programs are the standard, the one-year
Also, the weak U.S. dollar makes the programs a bargain for some foreign students. Rita Morrow, the MBA admissions director at
But the programs are the key attraction to foreign students. Isabell Haage, an incoming German student who is starting at
“Half the Cost”
For U.S. students, the economic equation is also there. Amy Gareis, who received offers from two-year programs at
But one-year programs aren’t stressing only the money saving to attract students. They also suggest that the one-year degree provides a better overall option for some. For example, Beth Flye, Kellogg’s director of admissions and financial aid, said there’s no difference in grads’ starting salaries between one-year and two-year participants. But to be well compensated after the program, the one-year degree needs to fit the students’ career goals. “This is for someone who is more about career enhancement.” says Flye. “It was not designed for someone would fall into the category of a radical career changer.”
Indeed, as with two-year programs, fit and academic preparation are key admissions elements. Cornell, for instance, requires a master’s degree in a technical or quantitative field for admission, while others seek students who have already taken an extensive roster of business courses and can jump into courses that are usually taken by second years.