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One year MBAs on top, new study finds

27% of respondents said they would prefer a single-year MBA program, rather than the more common two-year option.
January 18 2018
2 Min Read

One-year MBAs are more popular than the historically successful two-year option, according to a new study by CarringtonCrisp and the European Foundation for Management Development.

Now its seventh year, “Tomorrow’s MBA” study asked nearly 1,500 students from at least 75 nations for their preferences or wishes regarding MBA study.

For the first time ever, it found the full-time one-year MBA to be a more popular choice for students than the two-year degree.

27% of respondents said they would prefer a single-year MBA program, rather than the more common two-year option (25%).

27% of respondents said they would prefer a single-year MBA program

The most popular reasons listed for studying an MBA were improving employability (32%), improving earning potential (28%), pursuing an international career (26%) and had planned to study as part of personnel development (25%).

In terms of financing an MBA, just over half (51%) responded that they would only study for an MBA if they received a scholarship, 54% if they could get a loan to cover some of the costs, and 42% if their employers covered some of the costs.

Mark Stoddard, director of Operations at the Association of MBAs said that in many cases, the level of prior work experience impacts on the popularity of one year or two-year full-time MBA courses.

“Two year MBAs usually include a significant internship period which attracts students with less work experience, whereas one-year courses do not have the luxury of internships and tend to be more suited to those with more prior experience,” he explained.

Amongst the biggest national groups represented in the study, UK, Canadian and Nigerian students’ preference was for a full-time one-year program, while the two-year option was popular amongst students in the US, Germany, India and Indonesia.

Stoddard said that AMBA-accreditation stipulates that all MBA students on accredited programs are required to have at least three years’ worth of relevant post-graduate work experience, which is why it tends to fit better with the Western European market.

“As such, the one-year MBA is the predominant full-time delivery method for the MBA in the UK and Western Europe, so it comes as no surprise to me that the research shows this is the most popular option for those studying in the UK.

“Likewise, the two-year MBA remains the norm in the US and India.”

Stoddard added that there is evidence that the one year full-time MBA is gaining popularity in the US, but that the top US schools do not see their two-year MBA model being challenged as of yet.

Author of the study Andrew Crisp said there are a number of reasons the one-year full-time MBA is growing in popularity.

“Careers and employment are changing rapidly, so students want to acquire new skills and achieve a return on their investment quickly,” he added.

In 2017, a study by CarringtonCrisp claimed the US was still the top MBA study destination, despite the result of the US presidential election.

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