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Thursday, March 08, 2007


A few years back, the very idea of one year MBA was non existent in the Indian B-school education. Within a span of five years, things are so different. The concept of one year MBA was pioneered by INSEAD decades ago. The success of INSEAD alumni across the globe is a clear indicator of the fact that the one year MBA is not inferior to the traditional two year MBA. But when this concept was applied in the Indian scenario, critics (by their very nature) were pessimistic. But that is their job.

The one year model has simply revolutionized the complete concept in India. It could successfully tap the huge market that so easily was dominated by the schools of US and UK. Today ISB can safely be coined a “huge success” and I am sure the PGPX programs of the IIMs will also do great.

The one year MBA has its own advantages and disadvantages… the advantages being remaining away from work for only a year, which is a huge positive for people with years of work experience. Disadvantage is that the program is fast track and not all the age old theories can be covered in this period. Also certain things are taken to be granted considering the prior work experience of the students. Thus a young MBA who completed his MBA just after his graduation is likely to have mastered the theories to greater details as compared to someone who pursued a one year MBA. Also the former has more time to look into the details of his preferred topics. But for a person with years of experience, the advantages of returning back to work a year earlier far outweigh the advantages of learning some extra theory, which he might never use in his career.

Again, by its very nature, a one year MBA is more tuned towards career progression, while its traditional cousin is more favorable for career beginners or career switchers. A person with 5 years work experience in the energy sector, who wants to move into investment banking to re orient his career can be better served by a two year MBA. If he wants to move up the ladder in the energy or associated manufacturing sectors... nothing like a one year MBA. As far as consultancy is considered, I guess, one year MBA is good enough.

As far as work pressure is considered, the one year stuff is naturally much more demanding. It is even more in India, as the placements are also included within this period. But, the satisfaction is that the grill will end in one year.

To conclude, I will say that if you want to go for career progression, nothing suits you better than the one year MBA. You complete your MBA in year, save a year, earn the extra money as well as one extra year of your career. If you are frustrated with your present career, a two year MBA will be easier to get a career change. At the same time, there are number of cases where students in a one year MBA, with substantial efforts manage a career change while those in two years, without sufficient efforts are not successful in getting the switch. So it finally boils down to the concept of how much effort you are willing to put to get the shift.

But here is one question I would like to ask to career switchers: Think deeply and get an answer to why you want to go for a substantial switch? What is the reason you were frustrated with your past job? In case you are planning to switch to a new career, are you sufficiently aware of the aspects of the new career. Are you planning a switch just because it sounds glamorous in a b-school or is it because u genuinely like it?

If you are frustrated with your present career, just switching to a new field is not the end of the problem. You have to discover why you did not like your past career and what is there in a new career that you will like. Imagine the worst case scenario – you go for a switch ….u did not leverage your past experience…u restart your new career from scrap…u report to a person three years junior to you…only to realize that you hate it even more than your earlier job. In contrast, a career progression might erode the root cause of some of the problems and might look attractive. So what I want to conclude is that…think sufficiently before you plan career switch. Money is there in every industry, so it should not be the issue.

At the end of the day…all these things look so trivial. There are so many people in various organizations who are doing great without MBA. It all boils down to your interests, aspirations and a genuine search into yourself.

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