Program Options – Accelerated 1-Year MBA

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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 U.S. is the one-year MBA program, and schools that have such programs say their enrollments are growing strongly.

The programs, which are offered by perhaps a dozen of the top U.S. B-schools, are generally tied into the schools’ two-year programs. Students start in May and continue through the summer. They then join second-year students in the fall. Unlike two-year programs, they generally don’t include an internship component.

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 U.S. programs are attracting many students from overseas. Randall Sawyer, Cornell’s MBA admissions director, said that the school’s one-year program is about 50% international—compared with about 26% for the two-year program.

Also, the weak U.S. dollar makes the programs a bargain for some foreign students. Rita Morrow, the MBA admissions director at Ohio‘s Miami University, said she has noticed fewer European students citing financial aid as a concern. She attributes the change to the strong euro. Morrow adds that there has been an 8% increase in international applications this year. “In the past, there have been [budget] problems, particularly with students from Eastern Europe,” she explains. This year “we’ve had fewer incoming students needing scholarship money to attend.”

But the programs are the key attraction to foreign students. Isabell Haage, an incoming German student who is starting at Miami this month, says she prefers to work hard during the shorter time frame and doesn’t mind sacrificing some of the social aspects. “You have a more concentrated period of time, but it may not give you time to learn another language or have a colorful social life or get Fridays off,” Haage said. She said that when she goes back to Europe, her one-year program will not seem unusual to potential employers.

“Half the Cost”

For U.S. students, the economic equation is also there. Amy Gareis, who received offers from two-year programs at Georgetown, Virginia, and Duke, opted for Emory’s One Year MBA program. “I think it’s a phenomenal opportunity—given the way the economy is—that I’m going to have $50,000 less debt compared with the offer I got from Duke,” says Gareis. She said she did numerous calculations before making the 12-month commitment. “You couldn’t knock the fact that ROI is about half the time and half the cost.”

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.

Dennis Nations, Babson College‘s MBA admissions director, says his school in making long-term plans for growth in the programs. Starting with 2008-09, Babson is increasing its intake into the one-year program by 30%—giving 20 more spots to incoming students. He said he expects the number of U.S. one-year MBA programs to increase as well, giving additional choices for those who are eager to get back to work.

Read the original post here.

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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  1. plz give some information abt good MBA college in USA, economical fees, application procedures, entry requirement etc.

  2. Hi Zubair, Check out the “Rankings” tab on your right to start exploring schools. I do not focus on school specifics like cost, application procedures, or requirements on my site, but you can find those on the websites of the schools you decide to focus on. Good luck!

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