One Year MBA Programs – The Ultimate Guide [Finish in 1 Year]

One Year MBA Programs – The Ultimate Guide [Finish in 1 Year]

1 year mba onlineOne year MBA programs can mean more job opportunities, increased knowledge in your field, salary increase potential, and qualification for management and leadership positions. Earning a 1 year MBA online is the fastest, most convenient way to achieve these goals.

While wading through a more traditional 2 year program may give you more time to digest and implement the material and information, a 1 year program has significant advantages over a 2 year program that are worth considering before you apply for your MBA.

One Year MBA Programs

Because accelerated and online undergraduate and graduate programs have become so popular among students, top ranked colleges and universities have responded to this popularity by offering more of them. In almost any discipline, you can find top ranked and accelerated online programs. The same is true for MBA programs. Some of the best universities that offer the MBA degree now offer their degree online. And some of those universities offer a 1 year MBA online. Not all of these programs are fully online; some of them are hybrid. But even with a hybrid program, you would complete most of your courses online and only be required to meet in person a few times over the course of the year.

You can also find accredited one year programs online. This is essential, because a degree from a non-accredited institution or program doesn’t have nearly as much worth as a degree that comes from an accredited program. If possible, look for a program that’s accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). It is by far the best accrediting agency for business schools that exists.

Faster Completion

Student researching one year mba programs in the libraryMost people would agree that only having to spend a year in a graduate school program is much preferred over spending two years in one. Even though the courses might be more intense and allow you less time to study the information, most MBA candidates would prefer to finish their degree as soon as possible and start reaping the benefits. A 1 year degree program can allow you to do this. There is no faster MBA program offered.

Keep in mind that not all accelerated MBA programs online advertise themselves as one year programs. They may advertise as “accelerated” rather than listing a set completion time. This is because some students can finish faster than others if they complete intensive summer courses or take an additional course each semester. If there’s a program you like, investigate whether or not you can complete it in one year. Even if it might take you 15 to 18 months by accelerating your degree, that’s still significantly shorter than 2 year programs and worth considering. If a program is flexible rather than rigid and lock-step, there a definitely ways to turn a longer program into a 1 year (or slightly longer) program.


Because you’re only paying for one year’s worth of study, your tuition and fees may end up being less than in a 2 year program. Just like with on campus MBA programs, the price range of online programs is quite large. Online MBA programs can cost anywhere from around $10,000 to over $100,000. The average cost, according to Get Educated, is about $37,000. There are many affordable online options that are significantly less expensive than this average, so an online degree can indeed save you money.

Further, the faster you complete your degree, the faster you can re-enter the work force and make up for not only the cost of your degree but the lost salary while you were completing your degree. This is a significant detail that many people overlook when considering the cost of a program. If you have to give up a $50,000/year job, for example, giving it up for 1 year versus 2 will make a huge difference in your savings. This is another great reason why 1 year MBA online programs are advantageous.

Online Convenience

You can’t beat the convenience of attending an online program. You can work from home, a local library, or any place you find to be a suitable study environment. You’ll have access to all of the resources and networking opportunities your institution has to offer as well as the highly qualified professors who teach at the university you choose. Taking courses online often gives people ease, which enables them to complete their degree faster and more efficiently because they aren’t stressed out about attending classes in person at a set time each week.

Ideal Candidates for 1 Year MBA Programs

Female online college studentThe ideal candidate for a 1 year MBA online is dedicated, prepared, has some experience in the business industry, and is extremely focused. Some 1 year programs require that you already have business courses at the undergraduate level under your belt so that you can bypass those in order to complete your degree in a year. Some programs may even require a personal statement that outlines your career goals and how/when you plan to get back into the work force after completing your degree.

These programs are probably not recommended for people with little to no work experience and a lack of passion for earning their degree. In other words, don’t pursue a one year degree because you think it will look good on your resume or because your boss suggested it to you in passing. The best candidates for these accelerated and demanding programs are passionate about what they do and are really looking to enhance their business knowledge and skills.

smiling male student holding a laptop while friends and prof at his backFor many graduates of MBA programs, their degree pays off for them in a variety of ways: promotion within their current company, new job opportunities, and new leadership roles with increased responsibility and pay.

One year MBA programs online make it easier than ever for business students to pursue their MBA quickly and conveniently.The sooner you finish your MBA, the sooner you can reap the benefits and be on your way to a well-deserved promotion.

Value of MBA

Very recently, the Harvard Business Review published an article that argued for the continuing value of an MBA. The article based its findings off a survey conducted of graduates with MBA degrees.

The survey found that 95 percent of over 21,000 graduates who responded rated the value of their MBAs anywhere from good to outstanding. The graduates surveyed included those who received their degrees during recession years. 96 percent of the graduates who responded indicated that they would pursue their MBA all over again.

The other reality is that an MBA is worth what you put into it and what you attempt to get out of it. If you have the drive and motivation it usually takes to pursue an MBA, you probably have the drive and motivation it usually takes to move up within a company. An MBA can be valuable by reassuring students that business leadership and management is where they are meant to be career-wise. At the very least, it can give graduates more confidence when they go into interviews for new job opportunities.

MBA for non-Business Majors

Some people think earning an MBA is only for those who have an undergraduate degree in Business. While there may be some programs that require a business degree or similar, many are open to students who hold other types of degrees.

For example, if you have a degree in Systems or Computer Science, an MBA could help propel your career if you desire a management or leadership role in your company. Companies are always looking for employees who have more than one capability so they can get the full use out of their areas of expertise.

Pursuing a one year MBA program online, no matter your undergraduate training, could put you in a prime position for promotion within your field, whether it’s healthcare or computer systems.

MBA for Training and Growth

Not everyone pursues an MBA for sheer financial gain. While that’s one of the appeals of it, some people seek an MBA for personal and professional training and growth. When you learn more within your field, you can perform better and enhance your reputation as an employee. This usually leads to increased opportunities and potentially pay increases. Some students understand this larger picture and pursue an MBA now for the potential payoffs, both professionally and financially, later on.

Pursuing an MBA can also open doors to networks of employers and job opportunities you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. Again, the longer term payoff is what some have in mind rather than the shorter term payoff with a degree in hand. If this is the case for you, a one year MBA programs online is a really excellent method to explore those goals in a comfortable, less stressful environment.

One Year MBA Programs Online

One year MBA programs online usually follow a lock-step curriculum that you complete with your entering cohort. You all take the same classes at the same time.

Many programs require a practicum or internship-like component or project in which you demonstrate out in the workplace the knowledge and skills you acquired in the classroom.

Classes usually meet for 4-8 weeks at a time and you take a rotating schedule of courses. Sometimes courses overlap and the number of courses you take during any given time changes. In an MBA program, you’ll learn the foundational knowledge of how business functions and how to enhance your role as a leader. Some courses you may see on your schedule include:

  • Business Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Finance
  • Project Management and Organization
  • Global Business
  • Business Strategy
  • Business Ethics
  • Leadership
  • Performance Measurement

Because you are completing upwards of 40+ hours in one year’s time, one year programs are quite intense. Some programs are designed for working students, while some expect you to be a full time student in the program, putting your career on hold. If this is a deal breaker for you financially or for other reasons, be sure you understand what the program will expect of you in terms of time commitment before you delve into it.

Best Jobs with MBA

US News identified the following jobs as the best prospects for ones that would value someone with an MBA: interpreter/translator, operations research analyst, management analyst, and financial manager. These jobs are quite diverse, pointing to the variety of fields in which an MBA can be useful.

When possible, choose a program that allows you to focus on specific aspects of business administration, like management or finance, so that you’ll have optimal opportunity of becoming an attractive job candidate. Specialized knowledge and skills are almost always to your advantage.

Often times an MBA paired with experience is the magic combination for landing a high paying job. If you really enjoy your current career field, but are looking for a promotion or slightly more responsibility, consider a one year MBA program online. An MBA might help you bridge that gap from employee to manager or leader in your company.

Executive MBA Programs (eMBA)

1 year executive mbaDeciding to pursue a master’s degree is a big step for most people. If you’re looking to pursue an MBA and have extensive work experience and leadership skills, consider pursuing an EMBA (executive MBA) instead. This master’s degree in Business is catered to working professionals who are leaders in their field. What’s even more convenient to a working professional is that you can enroll in a 1 year executive MBA program to quicken the pace of degree completion. These programs are intensive and fast-paced, but prepare you quicker to reap the benefits of in depth leadership, team building, and management training that an EMBA program provides its students.

Executive MBA Overview

An EMBA is similar to an MBA in that both degrees prepare you for higher level and management positions within a variety of sectors, including Finance, Marketing, Accounting, and even Healthcare. The primary difference is that EMBA programs accept mostly working professionals who have demonstrated leadership potential and skills in their field. As such, most EMBA students remain working full time while completing their program. 1 year executive MBA programs are designed for this and often incorporate weekend workshops and seminar sessions so that students aren’t interrupting their regular work week with classes.

The eMBA Degree for Working Professionals

Since EMBA programs target working professionals, most programs require their applicants to have a minimum number of work experience years in some kind of leadership position (5 years is pretty common). If not, applicants must demonstrate strong potential to aspire to this level upon completion of their program. Many programs also require employer support and recommendation of the applicant. In fact, many large corporations are now paying in part or in full for their management level employees to pursue an EMBA. By enrolling in a 1 year executive MBA program, companies can see faster return on their investment and consistently report that they do.

Other eMBA Requirements

Business woman with colleaguesOf course it depends on the specific program as to what additional requirements must be met for application, but some other requirements may include:

  • Undergraduate degree in Business or closely related field
  • Additional recommendations
  • GMAT scores
  • Minimum Grade Point Average at undergraduate institution
  • Interview with admissions committee prior to acceptance
  • English proficiency (if international student)

There are some programs that don’t require GMAT scores, so if you have an aversion to taking standardized tests, consider one of these programs. Program requirements for application should be clearly listed on the program’s web site. If not, contact someone in the admissions department to request information.

eMBA Curriculum and Concentrations

The curriculum in a 1 year executive MBA will vary depending on the specific program you choose, but there are some commonalities between programs. First of all, no matter the program you choose, it will be an intense and rigorous experience. You will be required to work individually and on teams as well as complete a number of courses toward your degree. Some of these courses may include:

  • Strategic Management
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Leadership and Teams
  • Business Ethics
  • Financial Markets
  • Investments
  • Business Policy

Most EMBA programs require a capstone project or experience in which you practice the skills you learned in the classroom out in the real world. It’s quite popular among many EMBA programs to send their students on an international business trip for about a week. This trip is usually included in the tuition and curriculum and is an integral part of completing the degree. After all, your employer wants you to gain unique insight and knowledge about how business markets work both domestically and internationally.

Most EMBA programs have a set curriculum, which means you have to follow the courses laid out for you and in the exact order the program requires. You will most likely work with the same cohort of students for the entire year, completing classes and projects all together. The number of credits required to complete the degree will vary, but it will probably be around 30 with the number of credits for each class varying (some may be 1 credit, while others may be 2 or 3 credits).

Business management classesA lot of EMBA programs deliver course information through workshops or seminars that meet every so often (a couple times a month, for example) for an entire day or weekend either online or in person. This is quite different from a normal program in which you would take classes or complete course work throughout the week. Because EMBA students are working professionals, programs have designed creative ways in which their students can complete all of their required coursework without having to do a lot of it during the work week. Of course, you will still have to prepare on your own time, but the majority of the time spent toward your degree will be during these intensive workshops.

Most EMBA programs only award an EMBA with no concentration or specialization. In the programs that allow you to choose elective courses, you could cater those courses toward your specialization or interest so that you can gain additional expertise in that area of business. These programs are designed to cover all aspects of business to produce well-rounded, knowledgeable, and skillful business executives and managers. There are a handful of programs that advertise themselves as pertaining to a specific field (Healthcare Executive MBA, for example), but most programs are more general.

Online eMBA Options

Because EMBA programs require their students to work in teams to best mirror the real working world, most of them are hybrid rather than fully online. This means that you’ll be required to complete some of your course work online from your own home and attend some in person lectures, workshops, seminars, or business trips. Since most EMBA students are working professionals at high-paying levels and many of them receive financial support from their companies, this hybrid format shouldn’t be too inconvenient. Plus, 1 year executive MBA programs are very up front about what schedule you’ll be expected to follow so that you can easily plan well in advance for the days, weekends, or weeks where you would need to be away from home and participating in an on campus or on site visit or learning experience.

1 Year vs. 2 Year MBA Programs

1 year mba programOn the surface, it may seem like the only difference between a 2 year MBA program and a 1 year MBA program is the length.

Top MBA reports that more than half of all MBA applicants prefer a program that’s shorter in length. There are so many factors other than length to consider when selecting an MBA program, though. These other factors are outlined below and will help direct your consideration of different MBA programs.

Be smart about what program you choose, whether it ends up being about length or not.

Specific School and Program

Before highlighting the major differences between these types of MBA programs, it’s important to note that the best program for you specifically might not have anything to do with the length and everything to do with a specific school or program you’ve always wanted to receive your MBA from.

Going to graduate school can be a grueling experience in someone’s life, so choosing a school or program you’re excited about can go a long way toward ensuring your success in that program. In other words, don’t choose an MBA program solely based on its length, especially if you already have a specific school or program in mind that doesn’t offer the length of program you’re considering.

Previous Experience in the Field

One year MBA programs tend to cater to students with previous experience working in the field, while two year MBA programs are more open to recent college graduates who haven’t even held their first full-time job yet. Some 1 year programs actually require a certain number of work experience years, so be aware of those requirements before applying.

Because of these requirements and preferences, the student cohorts in 1 year programs tend to be of higher age and have more work experience than the student cohorts in 2 year programs. Check out a profile of the recent incoming class to get a sense of what types of students are enrolling in the program you’re researching.

While it’s certainly advantageous to have diversity within your cohort, it wouldn’t be beneficial to take courses with other students who have years more experience than you do or you may feel behind from the get go.

Curriculum and Course Schedule

Because a 1 year MBA program is accelerated by nature, the curriculum and course schedule will be quite different from a 2 year MBA program.

Generally, a 2 year program will include more basic courses and will offer longer semesters so that students can delve deeper into the core business subjects. 1 year programs, on the other hand, usually expect their students to have basic business knowledge and will offer accelerated courses through shorter semester formats (8 weeks instead of 16 weeks, for example).

If you have solid foundational knowledge and are comfortable with information flying at you quickly, a 1 year program would be a good match. On the other hand, if you never learned basic business principles and take longer to digest information, a 2 year program will allow you to take your time.

In terms of credit hours and number of courses required, that will vary from program to program, regardless of the length of the program. Some MBA programs require around 30 credit hours to complete, while others might demand upwards of 55 credit hours. Since 1 year programs make use of an accelerated format, shorter academic breaks, and summer sessions, you will still complete as many courses and credit hours as someone would in a 2 year program. So a 1 year program doesn’t mean that the curriculum is shorter or easier; it simply means that you complete it within a shorter time period.

Internship or Practicum Component

Most MBA programs, regardless of the length, will require you to complete an internship, practicum, or other experiential component that puts you directly in the field. You may have a longer and more in-depth opportunity to complete this component in a 2 year program versus in a 1 year program.

These internships can become integral in receiving a job offer upon the completion of your MBA program, so if you’re pursuing your MBA for a new job offer, a 2 year program might give you more time to feel out the field in which you’re planning to apply close to graduation.

If you already have a job and are simply earning your degree for promotion, a lengthy internship might feel like a waste of your time. Some 1 year programs offer shorter international opportunities instead of an internship. These opportunities might better serve MBA students who wouldn’t really benefit from an internship.

Preparation for the Job Market

Online student enrolled in the mba programMost people pursue an MBA because they want their first job, a better job from the one they currently have, or a promotion within their current company. If you have never worked full-time before or are looking to switch fields completely (moving from the health sector to the finance sector, for example), a 2 year program might give you adequate time to make connections, apply for jobs, and attend interviews before you graduate with your degree.

In a 1 year program, all this job hunting might seem overwhelming. Plus, applying and interviewing for jobs is a time-consuming task, and one that you may find yourself doing long after graduation from a 1 year MBA program, potentially putting a gap on your resume. Additionally, building confidence to have a successful interview takes practice and time. A 2 year program might give you the opportunity to develop that confidence.

If you’re simply looking to move up in your current position or field, 1 year programs might better suit those goals. For example, if your employer has pledged to promote you or bump up your salary once you complete your MBA, there’s no point in taking 2 years to complete your degree when you could receive the same benefits by completing a 1 year program. If you’re looking for a new job, but within the same field, some additional courses in management or leadership might help you get there. Those courses are easily possible through a 1 year program and will get you on the job market quicker.

The value of a 1 year MBA versus a 2 year MBA is pretty equal. Top MBA discovered that the highest paid salaries of MBA graduates were split across 1 year and 2 year programs. An employer probably won’t offer you a higher salary because you spent 2 years in school versus 1, but if it will take you 2 years to become a competitive candidate, it would be worth the investment to enroll in a longer program.

Online Programs

Both 1 year MBA programs and 2 year MBA programs are available to complete online, either fully or in a hybrid format. Accelerated degree programs at all levels usually cater to online students who are serious about finishing their degree quickly.

Because of this, there may be more fully online options that are 1 year  in length than there are more traditional 2 year MBA programs that still require you to show up to class or to other in-person events like workshops or seminars. Of course, there are many fully online and excellent 2 year programs.

If you do choose the online path (and many MBA students do), make sure to choose a program that is accredited so you can be sure you’re getting a professional and respected education.

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