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One-Year MBA Programs: How do they work?


One-year MBA programs (sometimes referred to as Accelerated MBA programs, or AMBAs) allow students to get their MBA degree in 12 months, as opposed to the 24 months a traditional MBA takes.

Students interested in an AMBA have clearly-defined, focused career paths (that is, a one-year MBA is not the best choice for someone who isn’t sure what field they want to go into upon graduation, or for people looking to make a major career change). They are typically leaving their jobs for one year, and then returning to the same company (perhaps in a different capacity) upon graduation, and often have advanced (Masters or Ph. D.) degrees in complex quantitative fields. Similar to EMBA programs, students in an accelerated MBA curriculum usually have extensive, proven track records in business, leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Students in an accelerated, one-year MBA program are often required to have a business undergraduate or graduate degree, or are required to complete a number of required courses prior to their matriculation in the program. Required courses are usually in accounting, finance, marketing, statistics, operations, and economics.

One-year, accelerated MBA programs are extremely structured, and often do not have the flexibility of a traditional MBA program, particularly when it comes to electives or internship opportunities. Classes take place over a full twelve months of study; students typically start in the summer with an intensive orientation and core curriculum, and then join second-year MBA students in the fall, winter, and spring, graduating with them in May.

A number of U.S. business schools have accelerated, one-year MBA programs, including Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Because the requirements for AMBA students vary from institution to institution, it is recommended that students interested in these kinds of programs contact the schools they are interested in before starting the application process, to ensure that they fill all necessary criteria.