Timing of this article cannot be better than today when scores of students across the country are gearing up to join the two year or the one year MBA program in prestigious institutes of the country. The students have always been in a dilemma while choosing between a two year and a one year program. Let us explore the advantages and challenges offered by a one year program.
Many premier institutes like ISB, IIM’s, XLRI and SP Jain offer accelerated programs. The admission process for these programs is holistic in itself. It is not only restricted to a written test score, a GD and a PI. It also includes a thorough analysis of student’s profile which includes their work experience, extracurricular activities and leadership competencies. An average batch is usually composed of 5 years of experience in diversified industries. Rich experience helps in co-relating theoretical concepts and application frameworks. An interim gap is necessary and sufficient to infuse fresh thoughts into the upcoming roles and activities.
Value proposition of the course is increased when the duration is halved. Professionals can wrap up the course in a year and join the industry. Hence, the curriculum is compressed in a year along with a rigorous academic schedule which a student has to undergo. A one year course is more grueling which includes day long classes, late night assignments, case analysis, submissions and presentations.
On the other hand, course concepts are too vast to be grasped within a short time frame. A certain amount of flexibility is obtained in later part of the course where electives are opted. Students can speed up the learning process but it takes time to translate them to competencies. Hence, the course structure stifles the candidate and leaves no room for fresh ideas.
The course is timed in such a way that it does not offer a handshake opportunity between the batches. The interaction with seniors is restricted to social media. This forbids the student from building up on the knowledge that has been acquired by their seniors.
The ROI of one year program completely depends upon the brand of the institution and capabilities of the student. An Individual has to be quite clear in his/her aspiration and goals since a two year program and a one year program cater to different professional needs. A one year course acts as a catalyst in promoting one’s position in same field or industry. A switch over to a different industry is a goal which is hard to achieve through this course since it gets difficult to justify a move from one profile to other after gathering numerous years of experience. A cross over to a new industry nullifies the already acquired experience. On the contrary, a two year program encourages movement across industries. This is because accumulated experience of the students is only elementary. A lot of thought needs to be invested to match ones relevant experience along with the role one is seeking for. While taking such a decision, one needs to consider the fact that organization will always prefer to hire a fresher against a professional with zilch relevant experience.
Yet another challenge is acceptability of a yearlong programs. A 24 months program is still preferred by employers because the learning process offered is extremely comprehensive. The general belief is that a novice can be easily molded, groomed and trained in an organizational context. Experienced professional accumulate a lot of expectations and aspirations and the onus of fulfilling them lies with the organization. This has been the perennial challenge across the industry.
About the author: Akansha is a 9 year veteran at Tata Consultancy Services and presently a student of PGDM (GM) at XLRI.