One Year or Two?

The Financial Times recently offered an interesting analysis of one-year MBA programs as they grow in popularity across Europe and Asia. The INSEAD MBA celebrated its 50th anniversary September 12 and is the forebearer of this movement, which may be gaining ground here in the U.S. as well.

In 2004, there were just six one-year programs ranked in the top 50 of the Financial Times global rankings; in 2009, 15 of the top 50 programs ran for 12 months or less, FT reveals. But is the U.S. ready to embrace the accelerated model? Not everyone agrees.

Tom Robertson, dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania tells FT that “The US is a two-year market,” adding “If we saw the evidence that the market was moving away from two years, then we would lead the way.”

However, Stanford Graduate School of Business and MIT Sloan School of Management already teach the one-year Sloan program, and the Kellogg School at Northwestern University runs both a one-year and a two-year MBA. Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona also runs a one-year degree alongside the more traditional model.

The choice between one year or two may come down to whether candidates are career accelerators or career changers, says Sunil Chopra, interim dean at Kellogg, adding that there is little evidence that recruiters have a preference for the two-year over the one-year program.


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