By J. Todd Rhoad
- The USA is the best place in the world to consider an MBA. You can find an MBA program for just about any situation. A popular option for professionals who want to gain the MBA experience as quickly as possible is the one year executive MBA. It’s great for international students who want to reduce the overall cost of an MBA program, which is best done by reducing the time it takes to earn the degree, making the one year MBA program a perfect alternative.
As we look at this accelerated option, let’s first consider the benefits. The benefits of the one-year programs are obvious. First you are earning the same degree in half the time, providing considerable savings in tuition and fees, room and board, and the lost opportunity cost of being unemployed for two years. Many MBA programs report that accelerated MBA graduates earn a salary equivalent or better than their two year MBA counterparts. Much of this increase in pay could be due to the fact that accelerated MBA graduates have more work experience than the two year MBA graduates. Accelerated MBAs have four to ten years of work experience, whereas the two year program participants have less.
Of course, there are a few downsides to an accelerated program. The largest drawback is that the one year program doesn’t allow for an internship, which is where most employment opportunities are initiated. If you’re a career changer, this is an extremely important factor to consider, as it can greatly limit your employment options and provides little time to test out any new skills. As a career changer, you typically want to be able to show that you’re not only seeking to change careers but have already made the transition. Companies don’t want to hire managers with little experience. Therefore, you must be able to demonstrate successes from your new industry but if you don’t have the internship, this may be quite difficult. The accelerated programs are ideally suited for those who possess a clear career vision and wish to remain in the same industry or for the same employer.
Another challenge is that the accelerated programs allow much less time for developing personal relationships with other students, which is often thought of as a major ingredient for continued career success beyond graduation. In fact, top tier programs like Harvard, Wharton and Chicago’s Booth School of Business consider it to be so vital that they don’t engage in the accelerated program. However, there are plenty of top MBA programs in the USA to invest in, such as Northwestern, Cornell, Emory and the University of Southern California. At Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business, you will pay just over $110,000 for the one year program, as compared to $160,000 for the two year program. You also get the flexibility to select much of your curriculum. Kellogg only requires that you complete 1.5 of the normal two year course load; whereas, most European programs try to condense two years of courses into one year.
American companies will treat the accelerated MBA in much the same manner as the two year program, mostly because it is earned from a reputable university. This affords the degree holder a high starting salary as the value of a top MBA degree is recognized by companies all across the United States, not just the state it was earned in. However, if you’re pursuing employment outside to the United States, you may want to enroll in the top tier programs as they will have much more name recognition, which is important for those professionals with little work experience and few credentials.
The accelerated MBA program is just like any other program in that you need to spend time considering the pros and cons of the program to ensure it provides the benefits you seek. You must understand your needs and how the MBA will meet them. The accelerated MBA essentially provides you with the MBA credential and if that’s all you need to grow your career or start your own company, then this type of program should provide the quickest path.
More information on studying for your MBA abroad.