One-year MBA degrees are in vogue. The principal advantages are cheaper tuition fees and a lower opportunity cost — the price of not working. This has become even more important as the global economy strengthens, causing prospective MBA students to wince at the prospect of potentially missing out on a promotion, a pay rise or industry knowledge in fast-changing times.
One-year MBAs are most prevalent in Europe, but they can be found at a throng of highly ranked business elsewhere around the world. There are even some strong one-year MBAs in the US, where the two-year MBA has long been the norm.
While the one-year MBA has some tangible benefits—including that it's faster and cheaper than its two-year counterpart—it does come with some drawbacks. For example, in many one-year MBA programs, there is simply not enough time for a summer internship, which, for many students is a great way to get some practical work experience and job connections. Also, time for elective courses may be more limited, meaning that one-year MBA students may not be able to delve as deeply into topics that interest them.
However, for many time-strapped students, the one-year MBA is a great choice.
Below, find the 10 best one-year MBA programs in the world.
INSEAD made history when it became the first school in Asia to top the Financial Times’ global MBA ranking, a feat it pulled off in 2016 and 2017. The breezy 10-month program at INSEAD offers a low opportunity cost of not working and an excellent return on investment: three years from graduation the average weighted salary was $179,661. One unique factor is that students split their study across three continents: INSEAD has bases in France, Singapore and Abu Dubai. In short, the course offers serious bang for your buck.View School Profile
The Judge Business School draws on its connection to the prestigious and historic University of Cambridge in the UK — candidates on the school’s acclaimed MBA enjoy membership of one of the 31 Cambridge Colleges, which expand networks and learning opportunities. It also launches graduates into a global alumni network of more than 200,000 people. Creativity and innovation are at the heart of the highly-ranked Cambridge MBA, which is just one year long. The school leverages the nearby “Silicon Fen” startup hub and the activities of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge.View School Profile
The Kellogg School of Management was among the first of the elite US business schools to offer a one-year version of its reputed two-year MBA. Kellogg has world-renowned faculty and takes a cross-disciplinary approach to learning. The school’s one-year MBA degree kicks off in June, to get students accustomed to the rigorous pace of the program, which is completed via three to five courses in addition to electives. The program has graduated more than 3,500 students, so the alumni network is big and impressive — it includes the CEO of drinks giant Diageo and the president of Chinese tech goliath Tencent.View School Profile
SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked as the European Union’s best MBA degrees by the FT. It has excellent teaching faculty and a 1:1 ratio of staff to students, despite there being more than 100 MBA students across two classes. The cohort is highly diverse, with more than 30 nationalities represented and an impressive 42 percent women enrolled. The program is highly customizable, with five concentrations and a dedicated entrepreneurship path. Studying in Milan, Italy’s most European city and a hub of culture and innovation, is an advantage.View School Profile
IE Business School in Madrid, Spain was ranked eighth in the global MBA rankings produced by QS in 2019. The school is distinguished for its innovative culture. The learning is also very flexible thanks to IE’s acclaimed “Wow Room”, a classroom which uses AI, simulations, interactive robots, emotional recognition systems and the presence of experts beamed onto campus to facilitate online learning. And IE’s International MBA program, at just one year long, can lead to careers in financial services, consulting, and more, according to the school’s recent careers reports.View School Profile
Saïd Business School jumped 14 places to rank 13th globally in the FT’s MBA ranking this year, its best ever performance. The business school is housed by the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, which has a global reputation for academic excellence. Said’s MBA graduates enjoy massive salary increases of 118 percent. The average salary three years from graduation is $161,646. That makes it one of the best MBAs globally in terms of value for money.View School Profile
IMD Business School of Switzerland enjoys global acclaim. On the shores of Lake Geneva, the program attracts a highly diverse cohort of nationalities, and has been rated as the best MBA for international mobility by the FT since 2006. Graduates praise the diverse alumni network — it numbers 100,000 in 140 countries across the planet. That’s largely down to IMD’s smaller class sizes, which foster a close-knit community.View School Profile
Cornell University is one of the Ivy League group of prestigious US colleges. The university’s Johnson College of Business offers an accelerated yet flexible one-year MBA in Ithaca in New York State. Students can also take courses at Cornell Tech, a technology-centric business school in New York City. Employers do not appear to treat one-year MBAs at Cornell any differently to graduates of the two-year program. More than 30 companies hired one-year MBAs, with the average base salary being $122,124 and the average signing bonus $29,643.View School Profile
HKUST offers a 12-month version of its Hong Kong-based MBA program. Although 12-month MBA students forego the internship that’s included in the 16-month version of the program, career outcomes are still solid, and have established the MBA as one of the top management degrees in Asia, at least according to rankings publications such as the Financial Times.View School Profile
Where many of Canada’s top MBA programs are two years long, Ivey’s MBA lasts just 12 months. And fear not, this fast-paced program does not skimp on content: students have the option to participate in an international study trip and work on real-world projects as well. Best of all, the MBA program is currently ranked in the Financial Times’ Global MBA Ranking.View School Profile