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one year mba

One Year MBA – Earning Your MBA in a Year

There is no degree quite like an MBA when it comes to versatility. All industries have a place for MBA graduates. Further, it absolutely possible to fit the degree to a huge variety of jobs. It can help catapult workers up the corporate ranks into management careers, and works as a hall pass for those who want to switch industries.

However, an MBA is usually best suited towards people who have already started on their career path. For working professionals, fitting in time to go back to school can be extremely challenging. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to meet people’s needs.  One of these is the accelerated MBA. 

one year mba

Imagine that you’ve just made the decision to go to business school. You know exactly what you want out of your career in business administration, and you can’t wait to get there. You just need to fill in certain skill gaps and earn some credentials first. Or maybe you can’t carve 2+ years out of your life for classes. Perhaps you’re overwhelmed by the price tag on traditional  MBAs, and are just looking for cheaper options. 

In each of these scenarios, a one year MBA program could be the perfect solution. Accelerated MBAs are structured to meet the needs of students who want or need to attend business school, but who don’t wish to leave the workforce for an extended period of time. Over half of accredited U.S. schools, including online programs, offer them in a wide variety of concentrations. They are also typically cheaper than their 2-year counterparts. However, prices have been rising in recent years to meet growing demands, per the the New York Times.

one year mba

Who is a One-Year MBA Program Right For?

A one-year MBA program may be the right choice for anyone who wants or needs to fast-track their education as they work toward better and higher-paying jobs in the business world. Accelerated MBAs squeeze the same coursework from a traditional two-year, full-time program into roughly 12 months of nonstop classes. These classes often begin just after spring semester in May. Typically students whirl through their first “year” of curriculum over the summer. They then jump into second-year courses in the fall. Some programs follow the opposite schedule. The results are the same – 12 straight months of heavy coursework.

For motivated students who have a clear idea of the job they want after graduation, this regimen may well be the perfect formula. It can help you get back to work sooner than your peers, and  prove to future employers that you are hard-working and up for a challenge. 

Prerequisites are similar to those of  a traditional MBA, but students with prior business experience are better suited to the degree than those without it. Though most fast-track MBA programs pride themselves in fitting in a full two years of curriculum, they don’t usually make time for internships or experiential classes. For this reason, requirements often include at least 2 years of work experience. If this is a concern of yours, check out your target schools’ individual entry requirements.

one year mba

Challenges of An Accelerated MBA

Budgeting Time

Students in a one-year MBA program should be prepared to make some sacrifices, both financially and time-wise. Though it is one of the most rewarding Master’s degrees available, an MBA is a challenge to earn even for students who take 2 or more years to finish. The time you save by earning a one-year MBA is a trade-off with the time you’ll have to give your studies during that year. School will most likely take over your life while you are in the program. This means that for most students, a full-time or even part-time job is hardly an option.

People in one-year MBA programs may also miss out on internships and chances to study abroad. Students without much on their resume should look this reality in the eye and think about whether they can afford to skip these valuable experiences. 


Whether or not a one-year degree is a good financial decision depends on the student. Even though it is typically lower than traditional programs, an accelerated MBA can still set you back financially. Squeezing two years of work into one will not cut your costs in half. Since students usually have to cut down on their work time or quit working altogether during this type of program, they’ll also have to save or borrow more than those pursuing a part-time MBA, for instance. However, with smart financial planning, this degree can be extremely cost-effective – with the added benefit that students have the opportunity to jump back into the workforce a year ahead of traditional MBAs.

For more information on MBA options, check out our blog and featured programs.