For most students looking to purse an MBA, the option between a one year MBA program and a two year one is very confusing, misleading and to a large extent, ignored aspect.
Ask any prospective MBA student a question related to their course and they will have all the necessary information on the exams, institutes and course details. Ask them about their choice between these two and you will notice them fumble.
Unfortunately, while this should be a major concern, it is apparently the least for most.
More often than not, the choice between the two is based on assumptions like expecting the two year MBA program to be better because it lasts longer or the thought that a one year MBA program in invalid in India.
Unfortunately, such assumptions are highly irrelevant.
To be able to choose between the two, you must first be aware of the basic difference between the two programs.One year MBA programs are generally suitable for people who have work experience and have a clear mind on their careers. This program is an intensive, practical based one. If you are planning to go in for it, you should be prepared to appear for the program with utmost dedication.
A two year program is, on the other hand, more relaxed. It provides in depth theoretical and practical knowledge and even allows students to get more time to specialize, intern and work during the course.
Neither program is better or worse than the other. Choosing a one year MBA program or a two year MBA is entirely dependent on your current situation, your future ambitions and career path. While some may be more suited for a 2 year MBA program, a one year MBA program may benefit others.
Here's a list of factors on which you should base your choice:
1.Career so far:
For students who have been working since the last two (or more) years and their career is already set, an MBA is a degree which serves to add or polish their skills to climb up the corporate ladder.
A one year MBA program is best suited for such people who have a very clear mind on their career paths.
Also, students looking to join family businesses, quick degrees are also best suited for a one year MBA program.
For people who are just out of colleges, or have few doubts about their career paths must go in for a two year MBA program.
The 2 year format offers extensive practical and theoretical knowledge to students, allows them to interact more with fellow students and extract maximum out of the experience.
In addition to this, people looking for a career change or changes in their job profiles must also go in for a two year MBA program to explore their options.
A two yea MBA will require students to work during summers or do internships which are beneficial for people looking for a career shift.
2.Current Job Situation
You may hold a job which you do not want to lose or cannot afford to so. In such cases, it is generally better to go in for a two year MBA program since these are generally more relaxed, which will give you enough time to devote to your job (with little hard work of course).
On the other hand, your employers may be financing your MBA/supporting your studies/ aware of your situation and may want you to get your degree as soon as possible. Under such circumstances, you must clear out the terms and conditions with them and choose a one year MBA program.
As you may have guessed, a one year MBA program is much cheaper (almost half) than a two year program. If you have serious financial problems, you can choose a one year MBA over a 2 year program.
You mustn't however let the financial aspects be the sole deciding factor. You must remember to choose what is best suited according to your needs. Remember that you are the best person to judge your requirements.
4.Internships/ Summer Jobs
If you are someone who is already in a stable job and do no wish to go in for a compulsory summer job or internship, you may choose a one year MBA which rarely include compulsory (or very short duration) internships and/or summer jobs.
However, if you wish to change your job profile, lack the proper experience or wish to gain some extra experience, you may choose a 2 year MBA program which includes compulsory internships, jobs, case studies, etc.
5.Networking and Interacting with others
One of the major aspects of business is networking. A University/ business school/institute serves as a splendid platform to find young, dynamic future leaders and find like-minded people.
Especially if you look to one day form a company or a startup, this is the place you can find your future business partner.
Remember that most successful startups around the world are products of student brains while studying.
Since one year MBA programs are intensive, they require dedication and attention, leaving little or no time for students to interact amongst each other. They also do not offer any exchange programs or extra-curricular activities.
If what you are looking for includes creating a network of your own, gaining that little extra from other activities or prospective business partners, you must choose a two year program to get sufficient time to fulfill all your wishes.
If you are very clear about your career and want to specialize in a field such as hospitality, human resources, finance, etc. you must go in for a two year MBA program. For specializations, a two year MBA program is more suited because it will provide you with both in-depth knowledge and the time to case study.
In a nutshell, while both programs are similar in content, one is more intense and dedicated as compared to the other. Most Universities in the U.S and India stick to the traditional format, i.e. the two year programs whereas most top colleges in Europe prefer a one year program.
Basically, a one year MBA program is for mature, already working people who have a clear idea on their career and ambitions. For them, climbing the corporate ladder is the priority. We suggest a minimum of 2-3 years (ideally 5) work experience for those opting for a one year MBA program.
On the other hand, younger, fresh and dynamic students may opt for a two year program to fully live the experience and be fully prepared to work, with all the skills and knowledge required.