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Good and Bad of 1 Year Post-grad Management Courses

A lot of management institutes have now launched their specialized Executive 1 year MBAs. There are some that only exist for the 1 year course, totally letting go of the conventional 2 year programme. This is an interesting trend whose impact could go either way. It could get accepted as the default mode or might get totally jettisoned. On a more realistic scale, it now appears that both the single and double year MBAs are here to stay as both provide unique advantages.

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A lot of management institutes have now launched their specialized Executive 1 year MBAs. There are some that only exist for the 1 year course, totally letting go of the conventional 2 year programme. This is an interesting trend whose impact could go either way. It could get accepted as the default mode or might get totally jettisoned. On a more realistic scale, it now appears that both the single and double year MBAs are here to stay as both provide unique advantages. 

Let us explore some major advantages the one year management programme affords: 

  • It is specialized towards the career options the person is keen to, thus avoiding papers not relevant to the career path of the candidate. 
  • It saves time and usually also costs. 
  • As it is mainly for working professionals only, the pedagogy is designed in such a way that the course can take off on fifth gear from day one. No customization is required for different segments due to the qualitative homogeneity. 
  • A single year programme does not interfere much with personal or professional timelines. A person does not need to take out two full years to pursue this, but just a single year. So many working professionals already pen an agreement to come back to their existing company post skill upgrade. 

The major disadvantages of the one year programme are as follows: 

  • The time duration being low, a lot of students struggle to cope with the immense pressure. 
  • This low time duration also impedes overall personality development as students barely get enough time to finish the minimum academic requirement, let alone co-curricular developmental tasks. 
  • It is not suited to professionals who are actually looking to switch careers. Many professionals feel pigeonholed at certain jobs so want to make a change. Such flexibility is limited in this as the assumption is that one goes back to the same industry. 
  • The biggest hurdle in India is that 1 year programmes aren’t recognized as fulltime degrees. So any government jobs asking for MBA is out of the reach of those pursuing such a course. Similarly, due to the non-recognition, a PhD or entry into higher academics as a career options also gets highly restricted. 
  • The above reason also impacts the financials as banks by and large refuse to provide education loans to selected candidates. 
  • Specific to the Indian case, a lot of people actually want personal processes to get delayed and use an MBA as an excuse. A lot of youngsters get pressurized in India to opt for marriage in their early twenties, so a fulltime two years programme, affords them the ideal excuse to delay the process!

There are ample reasons on both sides to opt for or against the single year programme. It all depends on the candidate’s situation. Among all hurdles, it is the regulatory one which could end up hurting the feasibility of the one year programme the most. But even this is not much of an issue in the corporate world. 

While a formal ranking process will be conducted later by this publication, it is common knowledge that the best known single year programme belongs to the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad. A second campus has been set up at Mohali. A number of international ratings consider ISB to be the very crème from India. A special mention must also be made to two institutes which like ISB made their mark in the 1 year programme. But unlike ISB, both have now set up larger campuses with the recognized fulltime degree in place as well. They are Great Lakes and School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL). The former is originally from Chennai but have now set up their campus in Gurugram as well. SOIL has been at Gurugram throughout but has now built a larger campus on the outskirts of the city for the fulltime degree. In the same city of Gurugram, a new institute has been set up called Global Risk Management Institute (GRMI) for a similar one year programme, but this one tailored specifically for the risk and audit industry. Not being recognized has proven to be a blessing in disguise for ISB as they have been able to curate their own pedagogy tailored to specific industry requirements. 

In addition to these specialized institutions, it must be understood that most of the conventional colleges also provide the 1 year programme. The IIMs and MDI for example have had their courses for several years now. In addition, most also create short term Management Development Programmes (MDPs) for specific skill upgradation of working pros. 

With India’s economy entering a dynamic phase over the next few decades, specific options will be required away from the mass manufactured management courses. Thus the 1 year programme provides feasibility for experimentation in specific areas. For every ISB, several others have bit the dust. But this should not deter the innovators. Meanwhile authorities must create a viable regulatory environment where such specific courses can continue to thrive. Only then can we see successful professionals undergoing courses specific to say Real Estate Management, Business Analytics, Big Data, Digital Marketing or Energy Management for short durations. 


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