One-year MBA programs versus two-year MBA programs

The traditional two-year MBA program generally comprises two academic periods of nine-months each with a summer break between them. The summer is generally spent in an internship. The one-year MBA basically is one long academic period – the duration varies from 10-months to a year.

Since the introduction of the one-year MBA in Europe, it has been gaining popularity slowly but steadily across the world. Understandably, the cost is lower. Also, many students do not want to (or cannot afford to) be away from the workforce for two years. The one-year MBA offers many of the advantages of the two-year programs – a great education, networking opportunities and the considerable resources of a good business school. What is missing is the opportunity to seek an internship: this is an important decision-making factor for many students who leverage on the internship to get a full-time offer.

The one-year MBA is quite the norm in Europe with the INSEAD MBA in lead. While two-year MBA programs remain popular in the US, there are a few business schools offering the 1-year option along with the traditional two-year program. Students who have the benefit of an undergraduate education in business or have built a strong foundation of skill through experience are increasing looking at one-year programs to maximize the returns on their investment of time and money. The two programs cater to different audiences. If you are an entrepreneur and wish to learn yet be able to return to your business at the earliest, clearly the one-year MBA works well for you. On the other hand, you are a non-business major who is seeking to learn from first principles then the two-year MBA would probably make more sense.

Emory and Northwestern offer crisp 1-year programs along with two-year ones. There are also options which lie between the one and two-year programs. The Columbia MBA allows students to join the program in January and complete it, along with the two-year students, in the next summer. In India, the ISB MBA is of only 10-month duration and often the choice of busy professionals.


Author: Mrinalini Batra.

Mrinalini is the Founder and CEO of International Educational Exchange (IEE). For over 22 years now, IEE has been helping Indian students find and pursue great overseas educational opportunities.


p.s. On a different note, excited to share that IEE’s co-founder, Ajay Batra, has released his maiden book “Startups and Beyond: Building Enduring Organizations”. Visit


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