5 of the best one-year MBAs in the USA in 2023

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Disha Patel - June, 03 2021

7 min read

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SEO Analyst at Prodigy Finance - helping international students gear up to study abroad

Doing a one-year MBA program in the USA offers a highly focused, streamlined path to an MBA that appeals to many with its reduced time and financial investments, and the benefit of getting back to the workforce quickly.

Not only will you spend half the time getting the same degree, but you’ll cut tuition and a year’s worth of living expenses.

Is a 1-year MBA in the USA right for you?

For many, the efficiency of completing an MBA in one year and the chance to get back to work quickly is the right answer, and you might be one of these people if:

  • You know exactly what your goals are, short-term and long-term, and you have mapped out your path step-by-step, from the MBA forward.
  • You are returning to the same company and your road to advancement requires you to check that MBA box.
  • You are returning to your family-run company, and need to gain a “very particular set of skills,” in the infamous words of Liam Neeson.
  • You have a specific entrepreneurial goal in mind, and you know what you need to learn in order to make that idea a money-making reality.

What makes 1-year MBA programs in the USA different from 2-year programs?

But, before signing the dotted line, however, you should know the key differences between the 1-year and 2-year program options.

1. With a shorter timeline, you won’t have the luxury of gaining work experience.

The two-year MBA programs in the US include a summer internship, and often, that’s when MBA candidates land their post-MBA full-time positions, or gain the experience critical for landing those positions.

With hyper-focused goals, you may already have these steps mapped and the requisite experience. When you already have a plan, whether it’s returning to your previous company or starting your own, you’re free to focus on being a student.

2. Your study year will be extremely focused.

With a one-year full-time MBA, you know what skills and knowledge you need to gain, and you know what areas will be useful and beneficial to you, and what will not.

Unlike the 2-year programs, you won’t spend time dabbling in this or that, trying out one area or another to find your calling, or picking up random electives - you will instead gain exactly the skills you need to succeed in your goals.

3. Your classmates will be different from those in the two-year program.

This group of students attending American universities is likely to be slightly older and more experienced, and they too have clear goals , with many staying in the same company or industry.

As a bonus, 1-year MBA programs also often accept a lower GMAT score, in the 600s on average, than their 2-year counterparts.

4. With less time overall, expect less opportunity for networking.

In the second year of the MBA program, candidates have, for the most part, committed to full-time positions and are ready to kick back and get to know their peers. While the one-year MBA program won’t offer this same kind of networking opportunity, this is less vital for candidates remaining in-industry.

5 best one-year MBA programs in the US

Does a 1-year program sound like the right MBA for you?

You’re not alone. With all that up-side, it’s no wonder that interest in one-year MBA programs has exploded in the past few years. And while students previously traveled to Europe to get a taste of a one-year MBA program, we’ve seen more and more of them pop up in the US in recent years.

If you’re eyeing a one-year MBA program, here’s what you need to know about the 5 best MBA programmes in the USA:

1. Northwestern Kellogg

One of only 2 top-10 management programs that offer a 1-year MBA option, Kellogg focuses on making sure it’s one-year students feel like they’re getting the two-year MBA experience.

While you won’t have the summer internship experience, a June start allows you a jump on the MBA before your full-time peers join in September, and 1-year candidates are integrated into the lab-based learning platform, KWEST, and other Kellogg-specific offerings.

In addition to no FOMO, the ability to bypass core courses and focus on exactly what you need means you won’t waste any time getting the education you’re seeking, and you can bet your 2-year program colleagues will be a little envious when you graduate and move onward and upward while they pay an additional $30,000 for another year of book-learnin’.

2. Cornell Johnson

The other top-10 business school with a 1-year MBA program is Cornell’s Johnson, which offers a May-to-May accelerated MBA. If you don’t want to miss out on the core courses in a one-year program, Johnson’s your ticket; you’ll spend the first part of the program laying that foundational groundwork before taking electives mixed with 1- and 2-year MBA peers.

Johnson also ensures it’s 1-year candidates don’t miss hands-on experience with an immersion program that offers industry-specific fieldwork opportunities. With an average age of 30, this program is designed for experienced professionals.

3. Emory Goizueta

Goizueta touts it’s top ten ranking for employment and excellent career services, including a personal career coach for every student. With 93% of their one-year MBA students gaining job offers within 3 months of graduation, the proof is in the pudding.

Beyond the hyper-vigilant career counseling, Emory is focused on career preparation, with applicable coursework that you will apply in hands-on IMPACT courses. The smaller class size as well as the school overall, is “by design,” offering personal attention and greater opportunities to connect with peers and professors alike.

4. Notre Dame Mendoza

Mendoza’s focus is on amplifying your business background and building leaders. Unlike many programs that seek to attract engineers, lawyers, scientists and others, Mendoza looks for those immersed in the business world for an MBA focused on business analytics, accelerating your career. Basic economics tells us specialization is good, and Mendoza’s focused program could give your career exactly the boost it needs.

The focus on a “values-based” MBA means they aren’t just handing you some knowledge, but building you into a leader in this intensive program that, after a 10-week summer session, drops you into year two of the MBA coursework. On top of that, you’ll be joining one of the largest and most active alumni groups out there, becoming a part of Mendoza’s community as well as Notre Dame’s.

5. USC Marshall

Marshall’s 1-year IBEAR MBA is aimed at a slightly older age group, with the average candidate at 35, meaning you’ll not only learn from the program but from your experienced, mid-career peers. The IBEAR MBA is all about experience; with a four-month international consulting project and a capstone experience, you’ll learn by doing.

The associated benefit of all this hands-on work means you will travel globally while doing your MBA, and simultaneously making valuable connections. To further support your professional goals, IBEAR offers personalized career counseling aimed at mid-career professionals.

The 1-year program is a great option for a focused and streamlined MBA, and with these top 1-year MBA programs in the USA, it doesn’t necessarily mean missing any key components of the MBA experience. On the contrary, the better, faster ROI plus the opportunity to get back in the game quickly with a top-notch degree makes a one-year MBA the ideal for many candidates.

What are some other top One year MBAs across the world?

If you are open to study anywhere in the world as an international student, then the following are some of the best international business schools offering 1 year MBA programmes as ranked by Forbes.

Ready to jump-start your career with a one-year MBA in the USA?

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Post updated for accuracy and freshness on October 7, 2019. Originally published on February 2, 2018.

For the past decade, the team at Admissionado has worked on over 30,000 applications, helping MBA applicants from all over the world gain acceptance into top-tier, M7 MBA programmes like Harvard Business School, Wharton, Berkeley Haas, and many more.

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