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Is a One-Year MBA Right For You?

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These days, a Master of Business Administration degree, or MBA, is a handy qualification to leverage if you want to compete for competitive roles in the business arena. Yet for many busy professionals, the dilemma is finding the time to go back to school. Traditionally, pursuing this graduate degree meant a two-year commitment to an on-campus, full-time MBA program, and in many cases, an additional summer spent studying abroad or serving an internship.

Enter the one-year MBA. Given that many of today's MBA seekers already have full-time jobs, families and busy lives, they simply can't afford to stop working for two years to accomplish their advanced degree. For these students, an accelerated MBA can prove a compelling solution, compressing studies into a shorter time frame but still providing the knowledge and credentials they're looking for to get ahead professionally.

What is a one-year MBA?

These accelerated degree programs are designed to help students get the advanced, in-depth and industry-current business knowledge they need to take the next step forward on their career path. They can offer the same rigor and quality as a traditional MBA, just at a faster pace. Some are offered within traditional on-campus programs, while others are online MBAs that offer working students the flexibility to study and complete coursework on their own time. Regardless of which approach students take, they should look for accredited universities whose programs are also accredited by such organizations as ACBSP or AACSB. Faculty should be industry specialists with hands-on experience in the field.

How do these programs fit in the necessary material?

Two-year graduate programs typically offer students longer breaks between sessions, plus a five- to six-week summer break. In order to keep the faster pace, students take a heavier course load in addition to shorter session breaks. Because many MBA students are already working full-time jobs, traditional student internships or study abroad trips don't always factor into the equation as well.

A more efficient MBA

Some online graduate programs take a unique approach to the accelerated MBA, such American InterContinental University (AIU), which offers the first MBA program in the U.S. driven by adaptive learning technology. AIU's 12-month MBA in is customized for students with AIU's innovative adaptive learning technology, called intellipathTM, which personalizes the learning experience and helps students save time by letting them skip over what they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn.

Earning an MBA this way can be intense, but so is the business world. Accelerated MBA programs aren't for everyone, but if you are willing to commit a year to intense study, the payoff can be significant. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with a master's degree earn 20% than those with a bachelor's degree alone1. Another benefit is of one year MBA programs is that it allows grad students to remain in the workforce while they go to school, so they can offer employers the benefit of both experience and education. Finally, graduating a year earlier lets new MBAs hit the ground running and put their new degree to use even sooner.

Ready to learn more? Explore AIU's one-year MBA.

1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment: 2014 Chart, on the Internet at (visited 6/17/15)