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1 Year MBA Abroad (INSEAD) vs 2 Year MBA in India (IIM)

1 year MBA vs 2 year MBA in IIM India Laura Trott is considered to be among the most successful cyclists in the world, for the number of titles she’s won in a short span of time.

Among her accomplishments is a double Olympic gold in two disciplines – the ‘Team pursuit’ and ‘Omnium’.

What’s the big deal?‘ you might say, ‘Beyond the fancy names given to the two formats, it’s just cycling.

Sure, it is. But when there are more-than-subtle differences across the two formats, and you are competing with the best in the business domestically and internationally, being successful at both (national and global) levels definitely is a big deal.

Extending the analogy to MBA programs, you might have wondered about the differences between two year MBA in India offered by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and the shorter one year MBA programs abroad. What does it need to be successful in both formats? How do the two differ? Which one is better for you?
Read Difference between MBA in India and abroad

Pritish Bhaskar, is among the few Indians who has won a double medal, well, figuratively speaking. He has been part of two MBA programs that are well respected not only in their respective countries, but also in the world. His post will help you look at the 2 year MBA vs 1 year dilemma with new perspectives.

1 Year MBA Abroad (INSEAD) vs 2 Year MBA in India (IIM)

by Pritish Bhaskar

2 year MBA India vs 1 year MBAI am currently pursuing my second MBA from INSEAD, with a focus on the finance industry. I completed my graduation in Chemistry from Hindu College, and having cleared CAT in 2005, joined Indian Institute of Management (IIM Lucknow).

Upon graduation, I joined Pepsico India where I completed multiple stints in sales and trade marketing in various parts of India. After spending 3 years with Pepsico, I moved to West Africa with Agri-Commodity major Olam, where I worked first in dairy division, and then later took over the palm oil division. After spending 4 years with Olam, I joined INSEAD, where I completed first two semesters in France and now plan to spend next 3 semesters in Singapore.

The two major reasons for doing a second MBA were related to the relatively young age at which I completed my first course. While it may sound clichéd, fact is that having even a brief exposure to professional work environment enables the MBA participant to gain more out of the program.

Since I had never worked in such an environment before joining the program, I adopted a completely academic approach, which turned out to be a big miss. A large part of learning in such programs comes from the peer-to-peer learning, both inside and outside the classroom.

Secondly, while I was doing relatively well in my professional environment, I always felt it would be worthwhile to explore other opportunities, maybe even in completely unrelated industries. Coupled with a desire to build a truly global career, it made sense to consider a short course that opened gates in these diverse sectors on a global scale.

Considering my career stage, I did not want to take a two-year break again, so I focused on researching 1-year programs, specifically INSEAD and Kellogg. Out of these, I finally decided to settle for INSEAD primarily because of its two-campus structure, and the diverse international nature of the program and student body.

Further, since I was interested in eventually working in SE Asia, it made more sense to spend time in the region closely evaluating the opportunities.

Comparing the two courses is not easy, especially when one considers the different social contexts in which the respective schools operate. However, if I was forced to choose, I would say the in class discussions are livelier and overall environment is more dynamic at INSEAD.

In my opinion, this stems from the diverse class composition that the adcom goes to great lengths to build. It makes for a lively discussion even in group assignments, since each member brings a different perspective to any case discussion.

While both schools prioritize group work and lay great emphasis on building team skills, the course work here starts off with a large outdoor group activity – which only goes to show the focus that INSEAD has on team dynamics.

As far as the course work is concerned, most of the academic content is quite similar. In terms of delivery, like every other place, INSEAD also has its diversity and variety in terms of teaching styles.

However, unlike some Indian schools, INSEAD uses multiple teaching methods, including but not limited to the case discussion method.

A major difference between Indian schools and all top US and European schools is the approach towards placements. In most international schools, it is the student who is encouraged to make the effort to inform, and by leveraging the considerable resources at the disposal of the school, make a considered choice of where he/she wishes to pursue a role.

Due to this, it might surprise some to know that most of the top schools do not have 100% guaranteed placement records at the time of graduation – in fact, most report a placement range of around 95%-99% 3 months after graduation date.

The schools lay a lot of importance in teaching networking and building resources that will allow the student to continue developing skills to build his career even years after leaving school.

Another difference that comes to mind, is the focus laid on academic research. Most students are encouraged to take up independent study projects along with electives, and are awarded credits for these. These study projects are mostly in conjunction with some industry firm, thus allowing the student another chance to develop connections and form a deeper understanding of the chosen industry sector.

Overall, while the academic course content is quite similar, the difference stems from the in class and outside class environment. Most of the top schools excel at providing opportunities for participants to explore their interests and take an informed decision on the future course for their careers.

This makes it all the more imperative that these participants demonstrate a lot of initiative early on (due to the short nature of the program) and have some idea of the broad direction they wish to pursue, before getting into the program.

A 2 year MBA program in India, due to its longer duration allows the participants to take a slightly longer time to reflect and research their direction.

Hope this small write up helps – I would be available for any further clarifications, if any.

Read these related posts:
Life after MBA from IIM, IIT, other Indian Institutes
MBA programs in USA that accept second MBA applicants from India.

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

21 thoughts on “1 Year MBA Abroad (INSEAD) vs 2 Year MBA in India (IIM)”

  1. Hello Pritish, really an awesome piece of Information I consumed today.

    I have a doubt and I want your personal opinion on that, actually I run a government job portal and often my readers (who have done MBA) ask about jobs for them, then I look inside my resources and says sorry there is no specific job for MBA.

    Then they needs clarification that why there is
    almost no job for MBA graduates in Government of India ?

    Please reply your copy of clarification on that second question.

  2. Robinsh: I’m not sure when Pritish will see this. So, I’ll take a shot at your query.

    Private companies have been more proactive in reaching out to bschools and university campuses, offering attractive salaries and perks. They also do a better job of presenting the career growth options.

    Nothing stops an MBA grad from approaching public sector companies and applying for government jobs (or for that matter an NGO). But given the big investments that they’ve already made in their MBA education, a private sector job starts looking more attractive.

    Though you’d find bureaucracy in both settings, government jobs and HR policies are slower to adapt to the market vis-a-vis private jobs.

    Contrast this with a country like Singapore where the payscales, responsibilities and perks for government jobs are on par with the private sector. Which is why highly qualified and trained professionals also compete for such jobs.

  3. Hi Sameer,

    I have done B.Tech(IT) and have around 3 years of work experience(2 years in software development and 1 year in BPO). Rite now, I am looking forward to do post graduation. My scores are-
    10th – 75%
    12th – 64%
    B.Tech – 63%

    What is the best suitable path for me ? Thanks in advance.

    • Next step (in fact, the first one) would be to be clear about where you want to take your career.

      Different degrees can take you in completely different directions.

      Who knows, maybe the introspection might reveal that you don’t need any higher education at this stage.

  4. Hello,

    I am currently working as a team leader with operations division of an Investment bank. I have around 6.5 years of work experience. Truly speaking, initial 1.5 years were in an IT organization, and was on bench most of the time. Then comes KPO experience in derivatives back office, and now middle office role in Product Control division. I do not rate my experience to be very strong, as people with same experience are placed much better than I am. While working as a product controller, I decided to take a shot at FRM exam and cleared both the levels last May. My thinking was that it will help me gain entry into Risk domain, but when i read related job descriptions, i feel like they are asking for too much related to working knowledge on the concepts i have mastered in theory. I am sadly entangled in my thoughts and am deeply confused about what to do with my career ahead. I am a B Tech from DAIICT and am 30 years old. Can you please suggest me a way ahead?
    With not a very solid career background, i am somehow afraid to target a top b-school. I had appeared in FMS, NMIMS, JBIMS interviews in 2011, but was completely blank and hence was rejected.
    Having reached 30, it is high time i take a call now and improve my future prospects. I do not want to spend an average life. Please take out your valuable time in suggesting any viable option.

    • The issue with certifications (FRM, CFA etc) that can be completed in the part-time is that they are good for increasing the theoretical knowledge, but don’t give any real practical experience which interviewers want.

      If your going blank during interviews was because you got nervous, then it might help . We wrote about how to prepare for interviews for free.

  5. Hi Sameer, I have 15+ years of experience in IT industry and currently playing a middle management leadership role in a large IT company. I now plan to get myself a formal MBA degree from the IIMs (not targetting anything else now).

    Would you suggest that I give CAT2015 and enroll for a formal 2 year PGDM course OR would you recommend a PGPX or EPGP ? Do people with my experience usually write CAT…?

    Will my experience be considered during placements for appropriate role and compensation ? Asking this, since most of the students will have much lesser experience than me if i get through to the regular PGDM

    Please let me know and it will help me take the right decision

    Thank you
    Ganesh Prabhu

    • Though IIMs won’t stop you from applying to either program, I think the 2-year PGP isn’t an option at all for you.

      Even for the 1-year programs your experience is way above the average.

      You could target senior roles in the IT industry where your prior work experience will be valued. You won’t have to start from ground zero after your MBA.

      • Thanks Sameer for your response. My intent of pursuing MBA at this stage of my career is also to get into a full time consulting role, as I beleive my industry experience also will help me. Financially, I want to get into a 300K USD per annum job in 3 years after i complete my MBA. Will a 1 year MBA program from a premier institute like (Duke, Fuqva, INSEAD, Booth) help me acheive my goal ?

        Also, do they have scholarships for experienced guys like me ? Please advise.

        Ganesh Prabhu

  6. Hi Sameer,

    Little bit about me. I currently have just 2 + years of experience, But during course i have learned a lot and working as a SAP consultant and have spent my entire career working at different client location and dealing with it.It may sound strange but even with so low experience level ,have been left alone at times to represent my organisation and with project management work and coordinating overall team and deliverables.
    Now I am preparing for MBA,but too much confusion regarding a two year and one year program. Although i want to pursue a 1 year course from Europe; Trinity,Dublin maybe if possible.
    Just want to know what you think will be a better choice in my case.I plan to apply to business school next years.Just going to give GMAT this year and keep the score.

    • Prem, for someone with your experience, a 1 year MBA will fly by very quickly. If you can spare two years, an American style MBA would be more enriching.

      Of course, if you intend to work in Europe, there is no choice but to choose a European program which is generally shorter in duration.

      • I am currently doing BBM (FM) double degree in Malaysia. Malaysian certificate and UK certificate . Immediately after completing undergraduate i want to do MBA in 2021 Middle . We are not very rich. So suggest, provide me suitable, reputed university for mba. 1 year or 2 year MBA? Which is better for without work experience. In bbm 4 semester I have passed in distinction in each subject so I have got 4 time scholarships in current university named segi. Provide me which scholarship can be applicable and can help me to do MBA easy in foreign universities. I like to settle and work in foreign country. So suggest countries which provide visa post mba, countries which are in trend for mba employee. And which country will have higher MBA salary.

  7. hi sameer
    your blog is really helpful. I wanted to inquire about my chances of getting F1 visa as I am going to target MBA in NYIT, New york.
    I have already completed MBA from India and later I did M.ED without any gap in studies. I have one year job experience too in the related field.
    my gmat and nine subjects are waived by the university and my ielts score is 6.5 overall with six in each module.
    1) what are my chances to get F1 visa.
    2) Am I too qualified to opt for higher studies abroad?
    3) Is it worth to do another MBA costing me almost 50000$ because I belong to a middle class family?
    4) Which MBA would be more fruitful in the long run i) MBA GENERAL MGMT OR (II) MBA IN ACCOUNTING

  8. Hi Pritish/Sameer,

    An information rich blog, I must say. Thanks for it.
    Also, please advise me, about furthering my career path. So, currently I am pursuing MBA second year from IMT Ghaziabad.
    I want to do a one year advanced MBA course too, abroad only. Because, I want to find job opportunities abroad after it.
    Can you please give me some suitable options at this stage of life.

  9. Hi all,
    I passed out in 2009 , thereafter joined BARC training school for an advanced diploma in nuclear engineering.Since 2010 I am a regular employee of DAE ,Government of India.I had worked in operation and maintenance and commissioning of different types of nuclear reactor (both PHWR and LWR) . My domain area is control and instrumentation systems .but as it is a government owned setup the promotion to higher management takes time minimum 20-25 years .Also scope of handling big projects with greater responsibility comes at a slow pace.I want to move to EPC business area , because I feel that gives an engineer greater insight to understand the running of production and manufacturing based business,helping in greater value addition to the profile .Will an MBA (one year) in operations help me achieve that and can you tell what the prospects are for MBA operations in India .Because what I understand ,mostly mid level IT professionals gain from such MBA programs .Will you tell me what the prospect is there for production and manufacturing based industries in India .Do they really look for an MBA candidate in project management or simply promote their technical cadres to roles of greater responsibility as it is the case in most government run corporations .

  10. Hi Sameer,
    I am having total work ex of 9 years and currently working for a US based company in London since last 6 months. Prior to joining this company I was with infosys for close to 8.5 years. I did B.E. in Electronics & Communication and pass out in 2006.
    I am mainly working as Telcom consultant/Business analyst roles and want to move further in same domain like heading Telecom practises and consulting units.
    Could you suggest 1 year MBA from European countries is a good option or me or something like PGPEM from IIM Bangalore.Or I am late to think about MBA?
    I am afraid two year MBA from US is long time at this stage now and can’t afford to wait that long to start earning again.
    Thanks a lot for your valuable input.

    • Hi Aditya,

      As you just started with London based US MNC, work there for at least 2- years to make yourself comfortable and make your experience count in London.

      After completing 2-years think If you want to pursue MBA.


  11. Hi Sameer,

    I am a Science graduate and Delhi university topper from St Stephens College with +2 years of experience in Strategy consulting and Planning. 1 year in a boutique strategy firm started by a group of Ex- Mckinseys and +1 year at a startup ecommerce firm. I am planning to start my MBA in the next fall of 2016, by which I should be having 3 years of work ex. I intend to stick in the consulting industry only post MBA.

    However, I am in sort of a dilemma regarding B school choice wrt. something like ISB hyd and Insead ( only if I am able to crack the admissions :p). I am yet to take my GMAT, which I assume I should be able to take care of.

    The parameters which are important for me and regarding which I need advise are:

    1. Post MBA package from both schools and job location preferences.
    2. Personal as well as professional growth.
    3. Shot at top 5 Consulting firms post MBA.

    Wanted to know

  12. I have done fashion apparel design as graduation, worked for 10 months after that as a merchandiser with a garment export house, did masters of fashion management from Nift Kolkata and graduated in 2013.
    After that I started once again with an export house, worked there for 22 months and joined fashion buying house  as Production Merchandiser. Working here from last one and a half years.
    I want to get into the core business development, buying or strategy team and plan to pursue full time one year MBA programme.

    Need your assistance in the below related queries:

    1. Should I go for an MBA or not?
    2. I believe strategy or international business would be the best option to go for. Pls advise.
    3. Two year full time programme or one year executive programme?
    4. From India or abroad?

    Thanks for the help and suggestions in advance.

  13. I want to pursue executive mgs from abroad.
    Which will be a good college with not much expenses. Is gre n gmat compulsory?

  14. I am an undergraduate from IIT Bombay and i wish to pursue MBA sometime in near future. Can you guide me through the merits and demerits of MBA from a foreign well-reputed B-school and one from IIM A/B/C. (Monetary concern isn’t a big issue, student loan to rescue)


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