India is belatedly seeing a trend of education sabbaticals among corporate workers. The late 20s, early 30s and in some cases, even late 30s is a time when many executives are looking to retool or take a break, call it what you will. In terms of decision points, outside of the institute itself, the crucial one is the choice between 1 year MBA and 2 year MBA programs. There are many arguments made for and against both ranging from course coverage to internships to bonding opportunities.
However, when it comes to experienced MBA candidates, the 1 year MBA program makes for a more compelling case. Reasons why:
- The Opportunity Cost
Opportunity cost is defined as the amount that you lose while engaging in an alternative activity. For a person with say 5-10 years of experience, taking a career break is an expensive proposition in terms of lost earnings. Very crudely and effectively, the opportunity cost of a 2 year program is twice that of a 1 year program, all else being equal.
- The Optimal utilization of time
In a 2 year program, time would be spent on elementary and introductory business concepts that an experienced student is expected to be well versed of. Besides this, a valuable period of 3 months is spent on internships, which are meant to acquaint an inexperienced student with corporate life, something that on the face of it appears needless for an experienced person.
- The Focusing Ability
One of the oft cited arguments against the 1 year program is that it crams in a lot of content into half the time. This is a fair point to some extent since the contact hours in a 1 year program are just about as much as that in a 2 year one. However, a person with work experience does bring in the focus, concentration and stamina that is expected to cope with this load.
- The Relevance
The case for the 1 year program becomes somewhat self-fulfilling given that such programs attract more experienced candidates, who can relate to each other in a classroom setting. On the contrary, a bulk of the class in a 2 year program will be fresh out of an under-graduate program, with no work experience.
The popularity and relevance of the 1 year MBA is borne out by the number of institutes offering this option. While ISB was the only port of call in India among the reputable institutes, in the last few years, all the major IIMs have added the 1 year option. XLRI, SP Jain and host of other established B-schools also now offer a 1 year MBA. The growing popularity and relevance of this option has seen a number of new programs coming up from established institutes/universities, among them are NorthCap University, Gurugram’s 1 year PGDM (specializing in Technology and Digital Businesses) and Crescent Business School, Chennai’s 1 year PGPM. Both these programs are targeted at students with extensive work experience and both focus on practical learning opportunities.
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