Accelerated MBA programs offered by even the best business schools are sometimes belittled as “quickie” degrees. However, all the bad press about these programs probably disappeared when The Financial Times released its 2016 list of global full-time MBA courses.
INSEAD’s one-year program topped the rankings, and there were as many as eight “quickies” in the top 15, most of them rated by experts as comparable with top global two-year programs.And it has continued to do so now that we are in the next decade.
Obviously, one-year full-time MBA programs are not the same thing as the traditional postgraduate management programs offered by IIM and the likes. But they are ideal for professionals who are budget-conscious, and don’t have much time for business fundamentals courses of the traditional course, since they may already have an undergraduate management education or significant amount of business exposure.
Many may even want to continue in the same industry after graduating. The best candidates for such courses tend to have more experience than the average full-time-MBA applicant.
What are the main disadvantages of the one-year MBA? Probably the loss of opportunity to do a summer internship (perhaps this should only bother those looking for a job or sector change) and fewer avenues for networking.
Here are brief sketches of some of the best global business schools offering short-duration MBA programs. All these schools figure in the top 50 of FT’s 2021 global MBA rankings. More European schools than U.S. schools appear in the list below since more top schools in the continent offer the shorter-duration MBA program than in the US.
As with most of our articles on the best programs, this is a representative (not comprehensive) list and not a ranking. For the full ranking refer to any of the popular MBA rankings.
It needs to be said that the inclusion in FT’s list of a good number of b-schools offering one-year programs and the better ranking given to some new schools above hoary institutions have drawn the criticism of some management education experts.
[Editor’s Note: Article updated in July 2021 to reflect the latest data]
Best one-year MBA programs in the world
Top 1-Year MBA in Europe | France, UK, Switzerland, Spain
INSEAD (France, Singapore):
INSEAD conducts a one-year (10 months to be precise) MBA program at its campuses in Fontainebleau, Paris, and in Singapore, with an elective course at Abu Dhabi. It calls itself “the business school for the world” with good reason: 90 percent of its faculty and students are international.
Top ranking agencies like Forbes have selected the INSEAD program as giving the greatest return of investment for students: an average annual salary of $189,000 a year (three-year gain), 96 percent more than their pre-MBA earnings compared with a program fee (€89,000, or $105,000, for the class graduating in September 2021) that is much less than the tuition for a traditional two-year MBA program.
INSEAD’s faculty consists of early 150 inspirational teachers. Its Career Development Centre, which is run by 40 committed professions, hosts 250 recruiting companies every year on its three campuses.
Read these interesting INSEAD blogs:
– INSEAD Singapore vs MBA in India, USA and France
– Why I chose INSEAD over a Wharton MBA admit with scholarship
– I cracked into INSEAD, twice
– INSEAD MBA admissions interview and GMAT experience
– INSEAD MBA grad’s tips on getting management consulting jobs
London Business School (England, UK):
The location of the London Business School (LBS), surrounded by top global business organizations, gives the institution one distinct advantage: renowned guest speakers drop by frequently to address the students.
The full-time course is an accelerated MBA program that students can choose to complete in 15 or 21 months. LBS’s reputation and access to global network of recruiters ensure that 91 percent of its graduates receive job offers within three months of completing their course.
The tuition fee for the MBA course starting in August 2021 was £93,800 ($128,000). The average salary three years after graduation was $177,000 (a gain of 103 percent).
IESE Business School (Spain):
At University of Navarra’s IESE Business School, students enjoy the benefits of a highly rich curriculum under the guidance of internationally inclusive faculty with frontline experience, diverse network spanning all continents, and the ability to expand your training through diverse student clubs, case competitions, and more.
One of the key feedbacks from students is the much appreciated “Simulations” method of training. “A playful approach to serious learning” as they call it, is based on simulating a business scenario with the students as CEO, CFO or such decision makers faced with real challenges of running a business from a C-Suite role.
IESE has been consistently featuring among the top on top MBA ranking lists. With a weighted salary of $167,000 (with a 131% salary increase prior to MBA)for graduates who spend about $106,000 (2021 fees), students can possibly look to a bright ROI.
For more IESE stories:
– IESE student shares her experience
HEC Paris (France):
It takes about 16 months to graduate from HEC. And the 16 months play a massive role in shaping future leaders who go on to become pretty formidable figures in the world – for instance, the CEO of Michelin, Jean-Dominique Sénard, the CEO of Kering, François-Henri Pinault, the founder of BETC, Mercedes Erra, or the former President of France, François Hollande. In all there are more CEOs in the world from HEC than any other university in Europe.
HEC also nurtures an incredible entrepreneurial spirit with 25% graduates successfully operating their own businesses. HEC Incubator and the HEC Seed competition, along with mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs make significant contributions. There are leadership seminars and tournaments that go beyond the theoretical approach to leadership training. All in all, the HEC experience is enriched with faculty with immense research experience, a tradition of excellence, and an impactful career change with a weighted salary of $169,000 (118% increase) from pre to post MBA.
According to their website, their January 2022 tuition amounts to $90,000. In comparison to the career benefits, the ROI is certainly good.
For more HEC stories:
HEC Paris MBA: Admissions, Scholarships, Academics and Careers
SDA Bocconi (Italy):
Located in gorgeous Italy, SDA Bocconi is a stalwart in European business education. The program is flexible to meet student needs and reinforced with hands on managerial training where students connect with brand leaders like Google, Prada, Starbucks and more. Special seminars, student clubs, leadership services and more are designed to take the students to the next level of management skill that can shape future leaders.
SDA has been a regular on FT and other ranking lists and boasts a post MBA salary (3 year average gain) of $156,000 or a %126 increase. With a tuition of $70,000 (2021 fees) it is one of the highest yielding MBAs.
Judge Business School (England, UK):
At the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, MBA students from over 40 nations take up collaborative projects along with multinationals and high-tech start-ups.
As part of the “Leadership” sessions, guest speakers deliver lectures on program-specific topics. The school allows students to opt for sector-based topics that can improve their expertise in their chosen fields. It also runs a personalized career development program.
The tuition for the Class of 2022/23 was £61,000 ($84,000). The average salary three years after graduation was $168,000, a gain of 87 percent compared with pre-MBA salary.
Some Cambridge MBA blogs:
– University of Cambridge MBA Judge-ment Day
– Cambridge MBA Judge Business School Interview with Admissions Director
University of Oxford: Saïd Business School (UK):
Oxford needs no introduction and neither does SBS. In one year duration, it is known for developing leaders with a solid foundation in business as well as its role in society. It establishes a strong sense of business strategy, builds a well connected network, thrives on peer learning in a diverse student body, provides rich academic experience, and exposes students to thought leaders who can help shape a mind for a promising career.
Class sizes are smaller than typical US b-schools and extremely diverse with over 90% internationals and a healthy sex ratio that can lay the ground for a multicultural learning environment.
On an average students make a 3 year salary gain of about $152,000 (85% increase) and the tuition (2022-23 numbers) is about $90,000.
Other Oxford SBS articles:
– Oxford MBA – Said Business School
– Oxford MBA interview experience: Questions and answers
– How I got into the Oxford MBA at Said Business School
IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland, develops its students’ skills in such a way that they can fully grasp and resolve issues in an organizational context. Projects take students to companies where they get opportunities to impress potential recruiters.
The tuition is CHF 95,000 ($103,000) in 2021. The average salary three years after graduation was $161,000 (a gain of 68 percent).
Here are some IMD blogs:
– How I got into IMD MBA with 660 GMAT
– Why IMD
– Life as a student at IMD: My MBA experience
– IMD Jobs & Careers: Placement process
– IMD assessment day interview experience in Switzerland
IE School of Business (Spain):
The one-year full-time International MBA (IMBA) course at the IE School of Business, Madrid, Spain, provides students with an opportunity to interact with budding business leaders from all over the world and improve their “cultural intelligence.”
Entrepreneurial thinking is stressed upon and built on a solid foundation of business fundamentals. The IMBA has cultural diversity not only in the classroom but among its faculty as well.
Highly customisable, the IMBA was been ranked the best MBA for entrepreneurship in the world in the past in 2015 and 2016. The tuition is €72,200 ($85,000), and the average salary three years after graduation was $135,000 (a gain of 80 percent).
Read this IE story:
– IE Business School Spain MBA admits an Indian entrepreneur
Among the other top b-schools running one-year MBA programs in Europe are Alliance Manchester Business School, UK; Warwick Business School, UK; ESADE, Barcelona, Spain; and Imperial College Business School, UK.
Best one-year MBA in America
Kellogg School of Management (USA):
The one-year Accelerated MBA course at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, US, starts every June. In September, they join the second-year Full-time Program class, selecting courses that could take them further along their intended career path.
Experiential learning and world-class faculty are the highlights of the one-year Kellogg MBA, along with the flexibility it provides students to overstep core courses and go straight to the electives that are in tune with their future plans.
The tuition is $105,400. The average salary three years after graduation was $191,000 (a gain of 102 percent).
Cornell Johnson (USA):
The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, has both a one-year and a two-year MBA program.
The one-year program is for professionals with advanced degrees and significant experience who wish to acquire new business skills and management knowledge. The tuition is about $115,000.
The average salary three years after graduation was $174,000 (a gain of 128 percent).
Among other top b-schools in the US where one-year MBA programs are offered are Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, Georgia; the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles; and the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in Indiana. Read more about the list of top one-year MBA programs in USA.
Best one-year MBA in Canada
Ivey Business School:
With Canada growing in popularity among international students (mainly because of the ease in obtaining work permits compared to other countries), Ivey is one option to include in every experienced applicant’s prospective schools’ list.
Bloomberg Businessweek ranks it the top in Canada for student and recruiter satisfaction.
The tuition for international students is C$106,500. The average salary after graduation was C$103,024. A big proportion (97%) of the students made a career change in various dimensions (industry, role, geography).
Read more about the best MBA in Canada for international students.
Top one-year MBA in Asia | China, Hong Kong, India
HKUST Business School (Hong Kong):
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School, established in Hong Kong in 1991, has earned a place in “top MBA programs” lists consistently since 2001.
In 2021, it took the 22nd place in FT’s ranking. Of the 80 students it recruits for its full-time one-year MBA program, 90 percent are international students from 30 countries.
Over 90 percent of its graduates work in Asia after completing the program. The school’s five career-track electives allow the students to pursue general management in China, consulting, finance, entrepreneurship, or marketing.
The tuition is $75,300, and the salary gain three years after graduation was 109 percent (average salary $152,000).
Established in Shanghai in 1994 under an agreement between the Chinese Government and the European Commission, the CEIBS (China Europe International Business School) was ranked 17th in the world for its one-year full-time program, after IESE Business School, Madrid.
The school has a strong focus on China, as is evident from its slogan “China depth, global breadth.” Most faculty members taught at reputed b-schools in other countries before coming to the CEIBS, and many of them are qualified enough to teach senior executives in the corporate programs.
The tuition is $67,500, and the average salary three years after graduation was $179,000 (a gain of 156 percent).
Indian School of Business (India):
The ISB, established in 2001, owns campuses in Hyderabad (Telangana) and Mohali (Punjab), India. It provides its students a depth of understanding about emerging economies.
In 2008, it became the youngest b-school to find a place in global rankings by securing the 20th rank in FT’s list. Even after a decade it still features among the top (FT 2021 rank 23). The total tuition and living fee for the one-year course is $48,000. The average salary three years after graduation was $161,300 (a gain of 173 percent).
We’ve got many stories on ISB. Check out these ISB blogs:
– Is ISB still worth the money and time?
– How the ISB admission process works
– I got into ISB Hyderabad with a low GMAT score of 610
– ISB Admission with scholarship in third attempt
– My ISB re-application strategy: Higher GMAT score, better interview and meditation
– Life at ISB Mohali Campus
– ISB Mohali Campus Placements
– How the consulting recruitment cycle works on campus at ISB
And then, there are the 1-year MBA courses offered by the IIMs. Here’s some more detail on the best 1-year GMAT MBA in India
Resources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 | Image credit: slu.edu