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Too Long Or Too Short: What Is The Right Length For A Full-Time MBA Program?

Apr 15 2014, 6:35am CDT | by

(MBA50.com ) The business school arena has long been the battleground for two intractable camps – those who believe that two years is the optimal length for a full-time MBA program and those who...

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14 weeks ago

Too Long Or Too Short: What Is The Right Length For A Full-Time MBA Program?

Apr 15 2014, 6:35am CDT | by

(MBA50.com ) The business school arena has long been the battleground for two intractable camps – those who believe that two years is the optimal length for a full-time MBA program and those who argue that it should be one year. The advocates of the former maintain the longer time is essential to cover all the necessary material and to provide students with valuable summer internships (a likely route to an attractive job offer), while their opponents offer the incentive of getting participants back into the workplace as fast as possible. And, despite the fact that the academic mind is supposed to be an ever-open one, the two sides seem about as likely to see each other’s point of view as the Lilliputians and Blefuscudians in ‘Gulliver’s Travels’.

The latest data released by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) now suggests that the proponents of the two-year program might be on the run. In 2013 the number of GMAT test takers who opted for the two year option dropped like the proverbial stone – from nearly 90,000 in 2012 to just under 70,000, a fall of over 21% year on year and a decrease of nearly 30% since the two year program’s most popular year of 2009. And the defections are most noticeable among prospective students from the US, where the decline in interest since 2012 was over 24%.

Few admissions directors at the top U.S. schools will be losing sleep over this. Harvard Business School , for example, a dedicated adherent to the two-year approach, was among a number of top MBA programs that saw applications rise in 2013. And while Northwestern’s Kellogg reported a 9% increase in applications to the two-year MBA last year, the school is reducing the size of class intake from 650 to around 530, while strengthening its one-year program which began in 1964 for those who already have an undergraduate business education.

But elsewhere, nights are likely to be much more disturbed. As a result a number of high profile schools such as Cornell’s Johnson School, Emory’s Goizueta and USC Marshall are also offering an accelerated one year program to scoop up those worried about staying out of the real world of work any longer than necessary.

For Kathleen Dolan, MBA Director at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School, the case for offering a one-year MBA program is compelling. “A one-year MBA program makes sense for U.S. students more than ever – with volatile markets and an accelerated pace of change across industries, the time out to pursue a shorter degree decreases risk while maintaining all the benefits of the more traditional degree model.”

Dolan points out that one-year programs are consistently ranked among the top 20 in the world, holding their own if not beating two year programs.  Why?  ”Well, a one year program is all MBA”, she explains, “with all the core classes and electives of many longer models in a shorter amount of time.  So there is less time for introspection or personal development and more skill building around deadline-driven decision-making models, effectiveness versus efficiency applications and a ‘get the job done’ attitude.  While a two-year program touts an MBA candidates, time for growth and reflection, a one year model only has time for professional development for a fast-paced world.”

But should one or two years be the only options? Couldn’t there be a reasonable compromise somewhere in the middle?

Although at least two U.S. schools – Duke Fuqua and Michigan Ross -now have ‘mid-ground’ programs lasting 16 months, the most pioneering work in the field seems to be happening in Europe , the traditional home of the one-year MBA. The UK’s London Business School and Spain’s ESADE both offers no less than three options, allowing students to exit anywhere between 12 and 21 months.

However, one of the leading schools in continental Europe itself, France’s HEC Paris, has firmly nailed its colours to a 16-month program. And that’s not just the result of an insulated academic opinion, but also of the input of strategy consultancy (and major recruiter of MBAs), Bain & Co, which helped the school to revamp its MBA offering in 2012. “The 16-month duration gives us the time we need to offer everyone in-company experience and the opportunity to specialise,” says Bernard Garrette, the associate dean at HEC Paris who brought the consultancy into the school. “Bain told us that we should be better leveraging this and showing that the program is the best of both worlds – an MBA program long enough to help someone switch careers and specialise, yet short enough to cost less than a two year option.”

Given the time, effort and resources that go into the creation of a top MBA program and the increasingly competitive nature of the business school landscape, it’s unlikely that we’ll see many, if any key players capitulating and admitting that one of their peers has been right all along as to the right length of an MBA program. But with the rise of other credible options such as the range of specialist and generalist Masters in Management programs, one thing appears to be certain, the continuing health of the MBA is likely to depend on innovation, invention and, above all, flexible and imaginative thinking as to how to offer students the very best return on a substantial investment.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was br ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewa ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last month. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.7 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister D ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocatio ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansa ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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