One year is all you need : The new age MBA

Even though many Ivy league European b-schools have been running one year MBA programs for last several decades, for some reason it never became as popular in the US and Indian schools. The equations, however, are all set to change now. In fact, in India, the third-wave of MBA programs has already begun. Drawing a very crude analogy from Alvin Toffler's book The Third wave, a one-year MBA program can be compared to the third wave (post-industrial) and a two-year program to second wave (industrial) society.

Whatever was designed to serve the industrial society (whether punching cards or a two year business program) is running the risk of getting obsolete unless it is re-architected to embrace the onslaught of the electronic age. An age that is driven by Moore's law - my interpretation of which is - "future will empower us to accomplish more and more things in lesser time". It shouldn't come as a surprise that the legendary czar of electronic age, Bill Gates, couldn't afford to waste two years at HBS and dropped out after first year.

In the Indian context, ISB should get credit for spearheading the new era of one year MBA programs in India. It was setup at Hyderabad in 2001 in association with Wharton, Kellogg and LBS. IIMA joined the bandwagon in 2006 and then came along IIMC, L, B and I.

A one year MBA offers several benefits that one cannot realistically expect from a two year program but it comes with a price - the price of managing your time in the most efficient way. It is certainly not for the light-hearted. You cannot survive the program without becoming an expert in time management and prioritization skills, arguably the most important skills successful managers possess.

Most one year program take people with reasonable work experience, which essentially means the participants have tested the waters and have a fair idea about where they are going in life. Imagine the breadth of perspectives one can develop sitting among such classmates!!

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