Many of us are attracted towards the prospect of earning an MBA within one year by pursuing a PGPM (Post Graduate Program in Management), instead of investing two years in a conventional MBA program, also known across B-Schools in India as the PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management). There are now many institutes and universities in the US and Europe that offer one-year full time MBA programs for professionals, taking in the best of these experienced professionals and training them to take up managerial and leadership roles. Some of these business schools include INSEAD, Kellogg, Babson and Johnson (Cornell University). These programs are full time and are not to be mistaken with part-time executive MBA programs. But how is a two-year course delivered in one year and how does it differ from conventional two-year programs? Who is this program more appropriate for? What are the gains and ROI of a one year MBA program? Let’s find out.

Where is the sharp contrast when it comes to a one-year MBA?

A one year MBA program, designed for professionals with at least two years of work experience or more depending on the MBA colleges or business schools offering it, leverages the experience and industry exposure to steer classroom discussions. An MBA is, after all, more than just theoretical learning. It is most effective when people with diverse experiences come together, learn from each other and deal with real world challenges. This is the peer learning that forms the cornerstone of a one-year MBA. Our own PGPM class at Great Lakes Institute of Management has a collective work experience of over 1300 years. People come from various industries including but not limited to IT, Manufacturing, FMCG, Automobile, Mass Media, Heavy Engineering and Marketing Communications.

A typical classroom session involves a faculty member guiding the discussion around concepts and students relating to those concepts through their own professional experiences, applying them to historic business cases and developing pragmatic solutions to business problems. A whirlwind of insights and perspectives ensue, questioning conventional wisdom and the status quo itself. This pedagogy eliminates the need to begin from basics and the assimilation of knowledge is faster.

Summer internships are not a part of the one-year curriculum as the participants already have the industry exposure. Instead, live-projects and experiential learning programs provide an opportunity to work on projects with companies, under the mentorship of a faculty member (and often also an industry mentor) and develop innovative solutions to real-world business problems. This helps a participant to be confident as a management professional by the end of the course.

A one year MBA program cuts back on redundancy and gets participants to speed by leveraging their collective experience. The quality and completeness of the curriculum is maintained to ensure a holistic learning experience, with peer-learning forming a major component of it. People from different educational backgrounds, industries and job profiles come together to share their insights, applying their experiences to concepts and relating them to real-word examples.

How intense does it get?

As stated by most premier business schools conducting such programs, one-year programs are quite rigorous but they do bring out the best in each student. The learning process is intense in terms of assignments, projects, readings and case analysis to be done each day. To quote a one-year program alumnus from an Ivy League business school, the first few core terms are in fact a pressure cooker. But that same rigor trains a student to stay charged up and handle tense situations and unpredictable challenges at workplace. And what else does this reward one with? Let’s look at the benefits.

A much lesser opportunity cost:

The longer you stay as a part of a workforce, the harder it gets for you to take a break and live without a steady income while pursuing higher education. This opportunity cost increases with the duration of hiatus. Here the opportunity cost is the income that you forego when you take a break from work and pursue higher education. Existing loans and family responsibilities make it even more difficult to take a break for two long years. A one-year program halves the opportunity cost and lets you get back to your professional and personal life in a year. Learn more about the ROI on a One Year MBA here.

A quick leap:

There are those who work hard and wait for the next appraisal, traverse the hierarchy and climb up the corporate ladder. And then there are those who jump a few levels and take up managerial roles by investing their time and efforts in management education. It’s one year in a business school versus years of appraisals and job changes. An investment of money, time and effort in the former saves one all the time and effort that would be spent in the latter.

A step ahead of the rest:

While fresh minds are still in their second year of management education and busy getting placed, the one-year graduates are already awaiting their first appraisal.  The course also helps one get back to professional commitments, especially those on sabbaticals, and to personal commitments in a matter of only one year. Saving one year of interest costs on education loans is also a major added benefit.

One year programs are gaining more and more traction every year with some of the best MBA colleges in India, such as the Indian School of Business (ISB), Great Lakes Institute of Management Chennai and Gurgaon, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), SP Jain Institute of Management and Research (SPJIMR), and others offering the One Year MBA in India for experienced professionals, among other MBA courses. Admissions to these programs are conducted through major management entrance exams such as GMAT, CAT and XAT, and follow the same rigorous admission process with Test Score and Profile-Based Shortlisting, Essays or Statements of Purpose, Written Ability Tests, and Personal Interviews. Both types of programs cater to different types of audiences and carry equal credibility. It’s just a question of how appropriate a particular program is for an aspirant based on experience and background.

Great Lakes Institute of Management has opened admissions for its Flagship One-Year Post Graduate Program in Management (PGPM) at its Chennai and Gurgaon campuses. The program is globally accredited by AMBA (UK), AICTE approved, and is consistently ranked among the top 5 one year MBA programs in the country by various ranking authorities. Click here to learn more about the selection process for the program.

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