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One Year MBA
MBA Students » Career Resources


Chrm Message From: anandsharma Total Posts: 19 Join Date: 20/11/2006
Rank: Executive Post Date: 01/12/2006 01:01:06 Points: 95 Location: United States

Dear Colleagues,

We have known it for a while now: when the seven-figure salary itch happens, the MBA is the quickest way to move up from the Dilbertian cubicle farm to the classy corner office with a view. And industry opinion converges on this fact: an MBA is on everyone’s radar. Says Shiv Aggrawal, director, ABC Consultants: "It may not seem like it now, but at some point in the future everyone will consider further study in business at the postgraduate level."

Whether to broaden horizons and shift your career focus, to accelerate your progression up the ladder by specialising in a particular field, or to strengthen your CV and, consequently, your earning potential, you are undoubtedly aware of the value an MBA degree offers to both prospective students and employers.

Now, however, two things are changing. First, the demographic the degree addresses is no longer the same. It’s no longer the fresh graduate who signs up for the course but the experienced professional as well. Second, the traditional two-year course is morphing into a one-year degree.

The Indian School of Business at Hyderabad was the first to offer the one-year MBA programme in India in 2001 followed by XLRI in 2004. IIM-Ahmedabad is also on course with its one-year programme, which begins in April 2006; there are also plans afoot by IIM-Bangalore to launch a one-year Executive Master of Business Administration programme from the academic year starting July 2006.

Says Ajit Rangnekar, deputy dean, ISB: "Trends in business education abroad generally point in favour of shorter programmes with the length of executive education courses continually shrinking." So, it is a global phenomenon that business schools are offering shorter duration full programmes or even shorter duration courses - from five-week courses to 10-day ones or even 7-day ones.

However, as Bakul Dholakia, director, IIM-A, points out: "A distinction needs to be made between short duration programmes and short duration courses." Most European business schools, including INSEAD in Paris, have adopted the one-year model.What’s more, American business schools have also followed suit: the Kellogg School of Management has a one-year programme in addition to its two-year offering, as do Goizueta Business School at Emory and Babson College.

Short and sweet. "The upsurge in one-year degrees has been driven by corporate demand," says Dholakia. The shorter course obviously serves mostly experienced professionals and recent undergraduates with some work experience. "The market for mid-career executives has been largely unaddressed but has huge potential," says Rangnekar.

The other clinching argument in favour of the shorter course is opportunity cost, since shorter courses also mean a year less spent outside the workplace. "Typically, working managers prefer a one-year MBA as opposed to a two-year programme because opportunity costs, in terms what they give up in time, career prospects and salary when getting the degree, are much lower," says Aggrawal.

The one-year MBA is also an excellent value proposition for those who have left their jobs or taken a mid-career sabbatical for higher studies. "It takes into account the substantial and varied experience the selected executives bring to the classroom," says Tamonas Gangopadhyay, professor in charge of the one-year MBA programme at XLRI.

One vs two? The obvious question that arises is whether the mere existence of a one-year programme will make the two-year template unnecessary. Die-hard conservatives might argue that one-year programmes go through material far too quickly and sacrifice extracurricular activities and the summer internship, but IIM-A’s Dholakia explains: "The question of comparison does not arise because the one-year MBA programme is a specialised diploma that addresses a specific demographic and purpose."

A one-year course is typically suited for experienced professionals with a couple of years’ work experience under their belt. It’s not meant for fresh graduates because, as Dholakia points out, one year is not enough to equip a student in all areas of management if he is a rookie with no experience. "In most business schools that offer the one-year programme, the curriculum condenses the core programmes in the first few months while the specialised courses are favoured in terms of time accorded and attention attributed," explains Gangopadhyay.

Classic two-year programmes most often focus on elective and specialised course work in the second year after completing the core requirements in the first year. ISB insists that its one-year programme is a two-year programme crunched into one. "We offer 680-720 contact hours for the student, comparable with global standards ranging from 650 to 750 hours," says Rangnekar. "It is a rigorous one-year MBA course that packs everything from a two-year curriculum into one intensive year," he says.

But ISB insists on at least five years of work experience, with all other schools offering the one-year course asking for anything from two to seven years of experience (See Sideshow). "Traditionally, Indian B-schools, unlike those in the West, have catered to a much younger student profile. But with the one-year format gaining ground, things seem to be changing," says Aggrawal.

The basic idea: while the two-year programme is best suited for greenhorns, for experienced professionals, the one-year programme promises to do the trick.

The nature of the offering also means that the one-year programme has begun to attract a really diverse audience. Says Rangnekar: "Doctors, lawyers, deep-sea divers, airline crew and defence personnel are just some of those who come with no background in corporate experience, hoping to make a career shift with the MBA."

Kulmeet Bawa, 35, business head, defence at Sun Microsystems effectively crossed over when he left the army to do an MBA. "Before I did the MBA, the only jobs I got were conventional ones that were supposed to be best suited for defence personnel: security agencies, logistics, operations and the like. But the MBA broke the traditional mindsets of employers," he says.

Timing it. Although experts are divided on the issue, general consensus says that the time to take on a one-year MBA is after spending about two to ten years in your career. "It also depends on variables such as how effective your exposure in business is before you reach a plateau in terms of learning, or when you need to expand your knowledge base and revamp your career profile to fit into the larger scheme of things," says Rangnekar. And remember, it’s going to prove tough to get back to the rigour and discipline of the classroom after many work years.

Dholakia agrees that about seven to ten years are needed to gain a good understanding of the functional areas of the organisation. "You can then effectively summon that experience back to the classroom and combine it with theoretical knowledge," he says.

Ravi Vadapalli, 39, principal consultant, Satyam Computers, went to ISB for an MBA after working 15 years. This despite the fact that he had already taken a traditional two-year MBA 13 years earlier. "When you look at how the world has changed -globalisation, revamping of corporate governance, companies growing across borders, and the increasing complexity of the financial markets - it’s a lot different than it was ten years ago," he says. And an MBA seemed the best way to Vadapalli to reacquaint and realign with changing trends in management techniques and practices.

Placements. "When ISB started the one-year programme, the market was not really ready for placements of experienced professionals; we really had to work hard to position them differently from other B-school graduates. Now, we offer campus placements for all our students," says Rangnekar.

IIM-A will also offer campus placements similar to its two-year programme for its one-year batch that begins April 2006 (see table: The Cost of Pedigree). XLRI, which started its first batch in 2004 does not offer placements as of now but will start offering them from the next batch (2005-06), according to Gangopadhyay.

Surprisingly, there is no difference in placement opportunity for people with no corporate experience. "Corporates actually look for people from diverse backgrounds to fit various profiles. For instance, a pharmaceutical company will willingly employ doctors with a management degree, and airline crew are in great demand for sales and marketing while armed forces personnel are sought after for their innate leadership qualities," says Rangnekar.

Costs. If you found the two-year MBA expensive, the one-year programme is going to take your breath away. For one, it is notably more expensive than the two-year programme (See table). For instance: the IIM-A offers its two-year MBA at little over Rs 3 lakh while the one-year MBA is priced at Rs 8 lakh. Dholakia justifies this difference in costs: "We offer an international immersion module where the students are sent to work in companies abroad, and the costs of travel, boarding and lodging are inclusive in the cost." However, there is some mention of it being an introductory offer, tacitly implying a price hike sometime in the future.

In terms of costs, ISB is the most expensive, with its course cost at Rs 15 lakh clearly twice the amount other schools are charging. But Rangnekar is quick to add: "We also offer scholarships on the basis of need and merit. Besides, easy study loans are available from all major banks."

The road ahead. With the number of business schools that have now sprouted up, it’s not just getting the MBA that matters but also where you get it that counts. Unfortunately for the short courses, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the regulatory body for technical education in India, does not recognise the one-year MBA. However, academics and consultants alike do not feel that this will impinge on the roaring popularity of the programme, at least as far as established first-class institutes go. "With the kind of brand equity that XLRI enjoys, the fact that a one-year MBA does not have AICTE recognition does not matter as much as it would to an MBA pursued at a second-rung business school," says Gangopadhyay.

Despite this hurdle, the focused and time-efficient version of the classic two-year MBA degree is getting to be very popular with its promise to accelerate careers to top gear. Besides, networking–the great, unstated purpose of going to business school–can be done in just an hour after all! - Excerpted from Outlook Money

Regards,

Anand Sharma

 
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