Posted by: Alison Damast on August 4, 2011
Next summer, Bentley University’s McCallum Graduate School of Business will be joining a small but growing group of schools in the U.S. offering one-year MBA programs, the school announced today. The school’s new 11-month program will target students with five-plus years of work experience and have a radically different content and delivery method from most typical MBA programs, said Bentley Provost Mike Page. Enrollment will be limited to 35 students.
“We decided to start with a clean slate. We looked at criticism of the MBA and business schools, as well as the challenges they are facing with the types of leaders they produce,” said Page, in an interview. “We wanted to design a new MBA concept for folks who want to go into leadership positions and have the aptitude for it. “
Instead of taking core courses and electives, student will take four ten-week terms that will include lessons on value, the environment, innovation and leadership. Business professors, along with faculty from the school’s arts and sciences school, will team teach the classes in a new facility being built for the program, a large open space that Page said will feel “almost like a creative design studio.” Students in the one-year program will not have time to do a typical MBA summer internship. Rather, they will get work experience through several field-based immersion experiences, where they will work with host companies, NGOs and government agencies to help them find solutions to pressing business problems. Two of those collaborations will take place overseas in a traditional market and an emerging market, Page said.
The school decided to offer a condensed MBA program after noticing that students in the school’s two-year MBA program had widely varying amounts of work experience, said Page. Moving forward, students who have spent less time in the workforce will be directed to the school’s two-year Emerging Leaders MBA program, while the more experienced students will apply to the one-year MBA, Page said.
While one-year MBA programs remain the most popular in Europe, more schools in the U.S. are starting to embrace the model. There are nearly two dozen schools in the U.S. that have one-year MBA programs, including Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business, the Boston University School of Management and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, Babson said.
Students are warming up to them, as well. In 2010, more students (48 percent) stated a preference for a one-year program over a two-year program (38 percent), according to the QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey.
“They are becoming more popular I think, in part, because the cost of higher education in this country is becoming tough for so many people,” Page said. “More and more institutions are starting them and I think that is in response to local market conditions.”
That may be so, but is 11 months enough time for MBA students to learn
everything they need to learn? With no internship, career switchers are going
to find it difficult to be taken seriously by recruiters. And if students spend
as much time as their counterparts in two-year programs immersed in the job
hunt, the program will be over in a flash. Thoughts?