MBA – 1 year vs 2 year

1year mba vs 2year mba

The Masters in Business Administration or MBA has grown to become one of the most popular masters programs over the last few decades. Considered as one of the most sought after degrees, any working professional with an undergrad degree can pursue the course irrespective of their fields of specialization. MBA has become so popular that business schools have even started to alter their programs in order to facilitate more students to pursue the course. Some b-schools differentiate their programs by offering a concise 1 year MBA course, while others offer the traditional 2 year program.

1 Year MBA

Lower opportunity cost is one of the biggest pros of doing a 1 year Masters in Business Administration. The course is shorter and hence commands a lower tuition fee in general. Moreover, with job prospects almost the same as that for a 2 year MBA graduate, students who do the 1 year program could potentially get a better return on investment. However, it also comes with a few downsides. 1 Year MBA programs are very comprehensive. Hence, it is recommended for students who can cope up with a fast-paced learning environments and a denser course structure. Moreover, it is usually recommended for applicants with at least 4-6 years of prior work experience.

This program is usually suited for students who are at least slightly clear in the field they want to specialise in. This is mainly because of lesser time to explore many different career outcomes. Since this program is already very rigorous, the course structure may or may not have exclusive internship timelines. Many b-schools provide an option for industry internship or completing extra elective courses based on the student’s interests and future goals. 

2 Year MBA

A 2 year MBA program on the other hand is more expensive overall but comes with other perks. Top business schools accept applicants with at least 3 years of work experience. A 2 year MBA is more detailed and provides in-depth knowledge of all business related fields and opportunities. It is more suited for aspirants who may not be sure about what they want to do later in their career. The longer duration of the course helps them in exploring multiple different career options. 

While the cost of a 2 year MBA program is significantly higher, students also get better networking and internship opportunities, which could eventually assist the financial or social return on investment. Almost all of these programs offer one or more internship periods that are exclusively set apart in the course structure/timelines. They are generally in the summer break between the 2 years and during the last semester of 2nd year. Moreover, these programs also have multiple specialisations available for a candidate to choose from. 


An important aspect that one needs to consider is the location. Most business schools in the United States and Canada usually offer a 2 year MBA program. However, some schools are incorporating a new program structures to offer 1 year MBA programs to meet it’s growing demand. European institutions are better known for providing students with the opportunity to complete their MBA in just 12-15 months. Most MBA programs in the UK are for a duration of 1 year. Hence, one must also consider where they wish to pursue their MBA and not just the duration of the course. 


Overall, both MBA programs come with their own upsides and downsides. In order to decide which type of program is best for you, you need be clear about your career goals. If you are below the average age and work experience of a particular business school, you should ideally opt for a two year course. It is more detailed and offers a variety of specialisations. Not to mention, better placements and job prospects upon graduating – solely because you have more time to explore and network.

If you are someone who wishes to get back into professional work soon and opportunity cost is a big factor for you, then a 1 year MBA makes more sense. It saves some time and money. Since one would ideally be clearer about their future career goals, they can specialise in the respective fields. 


Our team at LilacBuds has helped thousands of students get admits into the top MBA programs across the world. They could also help you decide between 1 year and 2 year programs based on goal clarity and school fitment. We would be more than happy to assist you in your journey as well. So just click here to schedule a free diagnostic call with any of our mentors. Most of them have been through the MBA journey themselves and can guide you in the right direction.


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