Can I Still Hit My Goals With a One-Year MBA?

When choosing what version of graduate business education is the right fit, the full time, two-year MBA program is what typically tops applicants’ wish lists.  But can someone still achieve all they envision for themselves professionally with a one-year or part-time MBA option?

The two year programs are, after all, what the rankings are based upon, and are typically the flagships which drive a school’s reputation and popularity.  They are also in some cases, where the top faculty are housed and where the school’s financial resources are focused.  Some perceive that anything but the full time program is akin to settling for a lower quality product. For other applicants, however, the thought of dropping out of the work force for two years, foregoing career progress and income, (not to mention contacts and lifestyle considerations), can be not only suboptimal, but often, impossible to imagine, much less, to pull off in reality.

Before you make this important decision in your career and educational path, however, you need to do a realistic assessment of who you are and what you need. 

I am often surprised by the number of applicants who majored in business as an undergraduate who don’t at least consider the one year MBA option.  While there are plenty of top schools who don’t even offer this option, for the good schools that do, it can be a great compromise.  Cutting the investment of both time and money in half, most schools who offer a one-year MBA often draw from the same faculty and programmatic resources as the full time program.  In fact, there are many schools who essentially just cut out many of the core classes from their full time program (the makeup of which usually contains many non-business majors and others who never took accounting or finance coursework in undergrad), and connect the one-year students with the second year students in their full time program to finish out.  Instead of analyzing the relative quality of the full-time and one-year program resources, the more important thing to consider is the internship, or in the case of the one-year MBA, the lack thereof.

The internship is one of the most important components of any MBA program, where you finally work in the capacity and level to which you will be rising after you graduate. 

The one-year option is best for applicants who aren’t as worried about their short term marketability and therefore, may not need the work experience and network they might establish through an internship to land a job after graduation. 

Certainly the ideal candidate for a one-year MBA might be someone who plans to return to their old company, for example, where access to a school’s career center resources will be irrelevant to their plans. 

For those making a job change or even a wholesale career switch, however, the most common question from applicants weighing out the one-year or part time option is, “Are they considered equal to the full time MBA in the eyes of the job recruiters?” 

The answer to this question has been evolutionary.  Years ago, the part-time or one-year MBA was considered by recruiters to be a lower quality program being accessed by lower quality students.  This attitude has changed tremendously, to the point that today’s recruiters actually love to interview part-time and one-year MBA candidates for jobs because they perceive them to be “just as smart,” and also harder-working, since they have had to carry either a shorter, more intense curriculum in the case of the one-year MBA, or a full time job workload in the case of the part time MBA. 

And don’t forget, resumes don’t say “One-Year MBA” or “Part-Time MBA.”    They just say “MBA.” 


Whether full-time, part-time, or one-year MBA is your target, we can help.  To find out more about your options and how we can guide your business school application process, email us at or contact us via