The rise of the one-year MBA


One-year MBA programs have slowly grown in the United States, lagging behind the degree’s popularity in Europe. But demand for the Accelerated MBA has increased over the past decade as prospective American students seek more focused pathways and less expensive options to accelerate their careers. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 47% of potential students in 2018 considered a One year MBA, the highest percentage in a decade, yet one-year MBA programs accounted for only 10% of AACSB-accredited MBA programs in the United States

While a one-year MBA isn’t for everyone, more and more potential students are considering it for good reasons.

Career acceleration

The One-Year MBA may be the perfect solution for those looking to accelerate their existing career path, as a traditional summer internship is not a necessity for those continuing in their existing functions or industries. Whether you work in finance, consulting, marketing, technology, or a number of fields, the one-year MBA offers an accelerated path to advanced roles. It is also the preferred MBA degree for students sponsored by their business or by entrepreneurs who need to quickly build a foundation of fundamental business principles to grow their businesses.

The intensive nature of an accelerated MBA allows students to focus on applying what they have learned to accelerate their current career trajectory and advance to leadership roles after the program. Although one-year MBA programs offer slightly fewer electives than a traditional full-time MBA, electives are often used for career exploration and are not necessary for those advancing in their existing domains. TO Goizueta Business School of Emory University, students in the one-year MBA complete 10 elective courses (compared to 14 in the two-year MBA) giving them the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skills and to delve deeper into subjects that apply directly to their industry current.

Pivoting career paths

People changing careers shouldn’t rule out the one-year MBA degree either. While this may limit a transition to certain industries – the few that traditionally hire exclusively from an internship pool – it can be a gateway for those with transferable skills and looking to make the transition to a related industry. For example, those looking to move from sales to marketing roles, engineers looking to get into technology product management, or researchers and regulators looking to get into the healthcare industry.

An accelerated MBA is also a great tool for adding value to other graduate degrees. Goizueta offers six One-year dual degree MBA options: JD / MBA, JM / MBA, MD / MBA, DPT / MBA, MDIV / MBA and MTS / MBA. Law and business, as well as healthcare and business, are natural adjuncts providing graduates with flexible career options as well as the ability to more easily advance career paths further in their careers.

Faster return on investment

The obvious reasons for pursuing a one-year MBA are the reduced completion time and cost. Only requiring a year instead of two cuts down on the time you spend away from your career and stable income. The opportunity cost of stepping away from your career is drastically reduced, and speeding up your career (which often means higher pay) is half the time.

One-year MBA programs are also cheaper than traditional full-time MBA programs. Goizueta’s one-year MBA has 25% lower tuition fees than the two-year MBA, but students also save on the cost of living, including housing and health insurance.

This translates into a faster return on investment for one-year MBA students. It should be noted that graduates of Goizueta’s one-year MBA achieve similar salary outcomes as their two-year MBA counterparts. For the 2020 class, the average base salary for Goizueta one-year MBA graduates was $ 126,463 compared to $ 130,112 for two-year MBA graduates.

Myths of the One-Year MBA

One of the myths of one-year MBA programs is that the small cohort size leads to less valuable network. This may be true in some business schools, but not in all. First, although the number of classmates in your Accelerated MBA cohort may be smaller, you will build deeper and more personal relationships with each other, creating a trusting and permanent network and a strong support system. Second, One-year students at the Goizueta MBA incorporated opportunities to engage and learn from their two-year MBA counterparts in and outside of classrooms. Through shared electives, leadership development programs, and extracurricular and social activities, one-year MBA students can build a strong network across the business school. Plus, small class sizes translate into a highly tactile personal experience with intimate access to faculty experts to facilitate the learning experience.

Another myth is that one-year MBA programs offer fewer experiential learning opportunities. At Goizueta, this is categorically wrong. With an emphasis on experiential learning and putting lessons into practice, Goizueta’s one-year MBA students have the same opportunities for learning through academic experience as two-year MBA students. years, as well as the possibility of an additional global immersion experience. Goizueta students participate in leadership development programs such as individual and executive coaching sessions, the Advanced Leadership Academy (GALA) of Goizueta and its sailing cornerstone, and the navigation of a leader reaction course. the US military; hands-on client counseling projects with Goizueta’s IMPACT program; and global business immersions that include experiential modules in destinations around the world.

Finally, a common myth is that a one-year MBA is a watered-down MBA. While this is a shorter academic experience, it is also a more intense experience that packs all the learning opportunities of a traditional full-time MBA into just one year. Experiential learning, leadership development, real client projects, global travel, student clubs, social activities, career coaching… a one-year Goizueta Accelerated MBA has it all.

Not for everybody

Don’t make mistakes One-year MBA programs will not exceed the traditional two-year full-time MBA in terms of number of program options or demand from potential students. They are not for everyone either. The intensity of the program can be intimidating. And the very sensitive nature of the program due to the small cohort size is not suitable for those looking to be a small fish in a large pond. But for those looking to accelerate their existing career path or make the transition to a related field or industry, the lower cost, shorter lead times, faster ROI, and the higher Touch Accelerated MBA degree may be an ideal solution.


Brian Mitchell is the full-time associate dean of the MBA at Goizueta Business School of Emory University. Prior to joining Goizueta, Brian spent 20 years in marketing and strategy roles in the pharmaceutical industry, leading a specialty products P&L in excess of $ 600 million. During the transition to education, Brian earned an Ed.M. from Harvard University where he participated as a Zuckerman Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership and received intellectual contribution from Harvard and the Faculty Tribute for his research on global partnerships in higher business education.


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