Accelerated MBA

Accelerated MBA


Accelerated MBA

NEW TREND Accelerated full-time MBA programmes are catching on in Asia.

Looking back at the trajectory of the MBA, much has changed in its more than hundred years of existence. Several observations have been made in recent years regarding the future of the MBA. In order to meet the demands of the fast changing economy and markets, it became imperative for B-schools to start a new accelerated MBA programme to churn out skilled professionals in a short period of time. This explains the increasing number of institutions offering one-year MBA and executive MBA programmes, a nontraditional format, as well as the large number of weekend and distance learning programmes.

Accelerated full-time MBA programmes, the norm in Europe, are now in vogue in Asia  and are also gaining acceptance and popularity in the United States. These fast-track MBA programmes, typically take between 11 to 16 months to complete and provide the perfect solution to applicants who do not want to take two-years out of their careers. With the ever-increasing demands at the workplace, a large number of students are opting for a shorter and more intensive B-school experience at roughly half the price of the two-year programme. The argument becomes even more powerful when the economy is performing well — why spend two years away when the going is good.

Highly specialised

A one-year MBA does not necessarily mean the curriculum is more difficult. What it really means is that it is fast paced, highly specialised and applies to business and industry. In fact, the curriculum for most one-year and two-year MBA programmes is pretty much the same. With less core coursework than typically required by two-year programmes, the accelerated MBA offers classes that complement your experience in the workplace.
We studied many business schools in different parts of the world and noted that many good schools in Europe such as INSEAD and IMD had an intense one year format rather than the conventional two year programmes offered in India.

We visited the Richard Ivey School in London, Ontario — the best known school in Canada and listened carefully to the reasons that encouraged them to give up a successful two years programme after decades to start a new one-year programme.

Here is what we understand:

*Increasingly, business schools the world over attract students who have worked for a few years after their undergraduate programmes (what we in India call ‘graduation’ ie BSc/BA/BCom/BE) before returning to study ‘full time’.

*Most two-year programmes have seven months of vacation time built into the programme and have classes five days a week.

*If we run a programme six days a week and do not have any vacations, we can do the same number of courses that a two-year programme teaches in one year.

*Students prefer one-year programmes because the ‘opportunity cost’ of giving up a job for two years is much higher and the living and tuition fees are also much higher.

*Globally the compensation that alumni of a one-year programme receive is no different from those who do a two-year programme.

If schools select students carefully and ensure that they have the capacity to “take on pressure” (most have built this competence by working for a few years) they are able to provide the same quality of education in a one-year programme that the best two-year programmes do.

Increasingly, enlightened employers are beginning to see this and hence are overcoming their ‘bias’ in favour of two-year programmes.

It is also possible to build a 7-8 weeks internship programme within the one-year format. Most schools do only 3 classes in a day. By doing 4 classes a day of 90 minutes each, one can ‘create’ the time that you require for this feature.

This internship helps those students who wish to make career track changes (for example, move from a technical role in IT to a marketing role in FMCG) and enables companies to assess their competence before ‘hiring’ them. In the case of sponsored MBA candidates, it is easy to convince one’s employer about sponsoring him or her on a one-year programme rather than on a two-year programme. Not only are the costs lower, you are also away for a shorter period of time. Besides, if one is not looking for a job, then internships do not matter either.

Shorter learning cycle

As the cycle time for learning gets shorter and shorter due to the ‘speed’ of change happening in the market, schools can also keep making changes in their curriculum faster and teach more contemporary cases in a one-year format.

It is for this reason that most top B-schools all over the world have either already introduced a second programme of a one-year format or are considering doing so.
The one-year business school journey is slowly but steadily becoming common for a growing number of students. If institutions of excellence such as the London School of Economics have also offered a Master’s degree in one year, it is time for B-schools to challenge the current expensive two-year format and switch over to the more contemporary one-year model that the world is embracing. India too is successfully following the path, as more and more institutes like the IIM’s and more recently Narsee Monjee Institute of Management (Mumbai), join the fray. Clearly the one-year programmes are here to stay, aiding in the development of managers and leaders.

(The writer is founder and CEO of the School of Inspired Leadership, Gurgaon)

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