The basics of a One year MBA in India #1 – Executive MBA? No. India’s first globally accepted MBA? Yes.

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The One year full time MBA has gained prominence in India after ISB adopted the course as its flagship offering in 2001. The IIMs, SP Jain, IMT, Great Lakes followed suit, and over the years they started to offer a one year full time MBA in addition to the two year one they already offered. XLRI and IMI had a One year full time MBA running for long and IMI infact was possibly the first B-school to launch the course in India way back in 1984.

While this course has become very popular, a lot of confusion regarding the course contents and value plagues students, the media and recruiters. This series aims to clarify key aspects of the one year full time MBA. The first article in the series examines the blurring of lines between a One Year full time MBA and an Executive MBA – a situation unique to India.

People mistake a One year full time MBA for an Executive MBA because of three reasons-

  • The One year full time MBA in India, on an average, stipulates 5 years of work experience as a requirement for admission (so people view it as an MBA for ‘executives’)
  • The course is shorter than the two year course
  • Nomenclature – The formal name of the programme often includes the word ‘executive’

Let us tackle the first point by quoting the authority on the MBA course, The Association of MBAs (AMBA) that accredits and governs MBA institutes worldwide. AMBA says, “The MBA is defined as a career development generalist programme for those who have significant post-graduation work experience on which the learning process should explicitly build”. It goes on to say “Students are expected to have a minimum of three years appropriate and relevant postgraduate work experience upon entry and the student body as a whole should average at least five years of such experience.” Further, the aim of an MBA is defined as to “(i) enhance and develop previous relevant experience in business and management” and “(ii) prepare students for leadership and transformational
roles in business”

One year MBA in India executive MBA 1yr

The One year full time MBA is the only course in India to meet these criteria and qualify as an MBA. Have a look for yourself – here are links from the accreditation page of the Association of MBAs, which accredits the one year full-time course at IIM Lucknow (IPMX), the same course at SP Jain, Mumbai, called PGPM, and the same course at MDI, Gurgaon, called NMP, as full time MBAs and the two-year PGP at these places as Masters in Business and Management (MBM or MIM) – a course for candidates without work experience. The links are (http://bit.ly/iimlaccreditation), (http://bit.ly/spjainaccreditation) & (http://bit.ly/mdiaccreditation)

Candidates admitted to this course typically have between 6-13 years of work experience and are working as managers, AGMs, and Zonal Heads at the time of admission. Upon graduation, they join companies in roles such as CEO, Vice President, GM and Senior Manager.

This closely resembles the intake and placements pattern of both the two year MBA courses at Harvard & Wharton and the one year MBA at INSEAD & Oxford. In contrast, the majority of candidates pursuing a Two year full time PGP/PGDM at IIMs and other Indian b-schools has less than one year’s work experience and join companies as management trainees.

It is for this reason that IIM A’s One year full time MBA (PGPX) is ranked No.11 in the world in the 2012 Ranking of Global MBAs while its two-year programme  is ranked separately as a ‘Masters in Management’ (not equivalent to an MBA) by Financial Times, London,.  It is important to note that the 2012 Ranking of Global MBAs includes the flagship two-year programmes of Harvard and Wharton and the flagship one year MBA of INSEAD and Oxford. All these programmes, are, therefore, considered on par. Financial Times, in line with AMBA’s definition of an MBA, only considers courses that recruit candidates with substantial work experience.

Across the world, substantial work experience is a must for enrolling for an MBA. Those without work experience are guided to a Masters in Management – a stepping stone to an MBA.  You can read more about the masters in management ranking at http://tinyurl.com/ftmim12 and the MBA ranking at http://tinyurl.com/ftmba12

Coming to the second point – of the one year full time MBA course being shorter – it’s interesting to know that the one-year avatar originated in the University of Pittsburgh, way back in 1963, and became the primary format of an MBA in Europe. INSEAD, France, IE Business School, Spain, IMD, Switzerland, Oxford and Cambridge offer only a one year MBA. Schools in the USA, however, primarily offer a two-year MBA . Both formats are considered a ‘Regular MBA’/ ‘Full Time MBA’ internationally.

A recent report by QS Top MBA.com reveals that the one year course has overtaken the two-year model as the preferred choice of applicants. It says, “48% of prospective MBAs now want to pursue a one-year program, with only 38% considering taking the qualification over two years”.

Regarding the third aspect, the nomenclature, I am of the view that the schools such as the IIMs, MDI, IMT, IMI could have branded the course sharply. The two year MBA at these B-schools is called Post Graduate Programme (PGP) or PGDM. When the One year full time MBA was launched, the institutes simply added the word ‘executive’ to the course name.

So you began to hear of Post Graduate Programme for Executives (PGPX) and Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP) and MBA – Executive — different names for the One year full time MBA.  The layman next made quick shorthand and labeled the course an Executive MBA.

Taking a cue from ISB, Indian B-schools should have retained the core name PGP/ PGDM to describe the One year full time MBA. To underscore the different durations of its one-year and two-year MBAs, the former course could have been called a One year PGP.

Surprisingly, even ISB, despite naming its flagship One year MBA the ‘PGP’, faces the same problem. The FAQs section on its admission portal lists a question asking whether the PGP is similar to the Executive MBA programme offered by business schools. The crisp answer – “No. The Post Graduate Programme is similar in rigor and content to a regular two-year full-time MBA programme offered by global business schools.”

So what then is an Executive MBA? It is a course for candidates who work full time while pursuing an MBA, and are hence ‘working executives’ while they pursue an MBA. It is a part time, evening, distance learning or online programme.

Its admission process is comparatively less rigorous than that of full time MBAs. The placements that accrue are, therefore, usually not on par.  ISB’s PGPMAX with classes conducted on campus every six weeks and FMS’s three year part time MBA with classes conducted after work hours – are examples of Executive MBAs.

The media and education websites are doing their bit in topping the confusion. A recent report in the Hindustan Times referred to the one-year course with the stunner label – One year Executive MBA programme (http://tinyurl.com/cbmpxbc). A respected student website topmba.com recently released a report titled ‘Understanding emerging markets – A focus on the Executive MBA in India’ (http://tinyurl.com/topmbaexe) and then focused largely on the One Year Full Time MBA. The most devastating blow comes from, ironically, the most important stakeholder in the scenario, the IIM!  IIM Lucknow’s website refers to the IPMX, a one year full time MBA, as an Executive MBA!

Some are slowly getting the story right. Outlook’s recent ranking of the ‘Top One Year MBAs’ in India showed a clear understanding of the various courses.  The programmes page of Aegis business school (http://www.aegisedu.org/programs.htm) lists the One Year MBA, the Two Year MBA and the Executive MBA as separate offerings. Thankfully so, because things will get more confusing as new programmes are launched. For instance, IIM Indore recently launched PGPMX – an actual living and breathing Executive MBA (alternate weekends), which sounds similar to the PGPX (full time MBA) at IIM A.

To wrap up, a ‘Full Time Executive MBA’, as the one year programme is often referred to, is a contradiction in terms. Like Mamta Banerjee with a sense of humour – it doesn’t exist. This term is misleading to prospective students and irksome to alumni of the course.

As a brand management professional, my humble advice to the B-schools in India is to follow one brand name for the one-year programme, just like the name PGP is used by every IIM to describe the two year programme. Different names for the same course, such as PGPX, EPGP, and IPMX, MBA-Executive do injustice to the course.  A Mercedes S Class isn’t branded as a ‘Car for people with substantial bank accounts’ – the eligibility criterion need not be a part of a brand name.

Continue Reading Article two in the series – The Basics #2 – A class profile in step with global standards 

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44 Comments

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  2. avnish pandey on

    i have completed three years in banking and want further course of action for getting my E MBA done

    • Hi Avinash,

      That’s great. If you are unclear on your next steps, please go ahead and ask a question and we will try and help you out with your plans.

  3. I have 9 years of experience in business credit appraisal in govt banks. I have only 600 GMAT 3 attempts. No time to study at all. Every holiday to office. Now I have secured admission in SPJAIN PGP. I want to know how the program fares in ccomparison to that of IIMs. Not the rankings as current rankings may be evasive. For example, IIM Indore graduates drew lower salary on an average. But the name’s IIM.In terms of potential to catapult into a CEO role in next10 years where SPJain fares?

    • Hi Gautam,

      Congrats on making it to Sp Jains’s PGP.

      Can you clarify the info you are seeking? SP Jain’s PGP compared to IIM Indore’s PGP or to IIM Indore’s One year MBA (EPGP)?

      • I was seeking info for one year mba program. Actually i also searched for time series analysis of average salary of one year mba programs in india. I had to stick to the salary as “roles” and “designations” won’t match for candidates. Further, in the same vein It is difficult to compare course content. So the most obvious but much chagrined benchmark salary had to come in picture. But yes in long run it is doable and shall be done. I secured Admission in many UK B Schools like Cass; Manchester; strathclyde and Lancaster. Couldn’t go due to lack of funds. Now i have this. Really thinking hard. I am not from i-banking background nor am an engineer. But want to move in that sector.

        • Hi Gautam,

          It seems you have secured admission to SP Jain’s PGPM – one year MBA. This is a perfectly good course and in the same league as IIM’s and XLRI’s courses.

          As far as comparisons with IIM I’s One Year MBA go, students at IIM I have managed 17.75 Lakh average salary in 2011, 16.5 lakh in 2012. Only the highest salary has been revealed this year so far and this is Rs 48 lakh domestic.

          Sp Jain has been in similar territory. Average salary in 2012 was 16.71 lakh and for the Class of 2013 this figure is 18.5 lakh average.
          Where IIM I has a slight edge over SP Jain, Mumbai is in the IIM brand which is better known outside India.

          PS – Here is a story from a student from hult in a similar boat as you – he too had problems securing funds. Might be of help in case you are still keen on an MBA abroad: http://www.oneyearmba.co.in/my-journey-hult-financing-mba-low-interest-cheap-education-loan-scholarship/

    • Hi Gk,

      Can you share ur GMAT’s preparation experience..?? Also plz share your email id so that we can communicate further..

      regards
      Manoj

      • Hi Gk…Request you to please share how you prepared for GMAT being in Banking Sector,as i am also from the same background….

        Please share your email id too so that if needed i can contact you.

        Thanks
        Mamata

  4. Hi,
    I have 8 yrs of IT exp. Want to for a MBA. Initially I was preparing for CAT. Then I felt like I am too old for this program. Then I thought of going for GMAT.. again whether 2 yr or 1 yr MBA or executive MBA would be better I am not sure. I am so confused since past 2 months. Honestly speaking, I don’t want to go back to my same work again.. Also I want to give my full time in study. But not sure which MBA would added value to my life. My ambitions are very high. But but struggling for a decision. I have no one who ca guide me. My age is also like 35. Please guide me and suggest me what I need to do.

    • Hi Anamika,

      We agree with you. With 8 years work experience you would be better off exploring a One-year MBA or an Executive MBA in India as you will study with candidates with similar profiles and the job opportunities at the end of the course would be more in sync with your expectations.
      35 is not a problem.

      If you are sticking to India you could explore IIM A, B, C, L, I most of which have a Class with on an average 7-8 years of average work experience. You may feel out of place at ISB which has a younger cohort averaging 5 years work-experience.

      An Executive MBA on the other hand is a perfectly good way to learn. But since you say you are looking at shifting streams then a full-time course is what we would recommend.

  5. Hello There,

    I am in dilemma and need some advice. I am exploring options of doing E-MBA along with my curent job.
    Objective – Urgent Agenda of Growth in Current role
    Current Work Exp- 12+ Years
    Domain – IT Support
    Options on which I needed and advice along with reasoning
    -PGPMAX (ISB) – Excellent Course, But too expensive
    -PGPMX (IIM-I)-Within Budget but not sure if it carries weightage (Sikhsha Rank #9, No Global Ranking) as I have not seen any feedback for this course so far.
    -IIM Satellite Programs – No sure if it carries too much weightage

    Pls. suggest

    • Hi Ashish, among the executive MBA courses you mentioned, PGPMAX is of-course the most well known. But at a fee of Rs 33 lakh, it costs a bomb.

      Which programme is right among these and whether an Executive MBA is right at all for you depends on your aims – what do you want to do with this executive MBA? Are you looking at rising higher in your current concern or is your aim a new role/ new domain in which case we need to have a deeper discussion.

      You also need to consider that the classes will be held on campus from time to time and the geographies for these courses are very different.

      • Hi,
        I will jump in the discussion as i am in same position as Ashish. my Focus is to grow up in ladder in my own stream. I am solution architect and to take up more responsible role (director, marketing lead), its best to do MBA. i cannot leave job due to family commitments.

        I want to do E-MBA out of choice and not because i cannot do other MBAs. Basically, would E-MBA will help me meet my goals ?

  6. Hi , i am a B.tech graduate and have three years exp as an IT recruiter but now i want to change my job profile pls suggest a good MBA/PGDM college in india that has a one year full-time MBA (no executive).

    • Hi Shubh, there are many options – which one is right for you depends on your aspirations, GMAT, Work experience, etc. Share more details about you and we will try and suggest some possibilities you can look at.

  7. Hi Admin,

    I’m a woking profesional (Age:31) having around 3+years experience and currently I’m holding a sr engr position. I’ve a 2 years gap after fisnihing my bachelors, pursued master’s abroad for 4 years and it was 2 years programe actually but due to some reasons it took longer than it should be.

    Now, I would like to do MBA for career growth, which MBA program would you suggest.

    Basically I need the details about which exam to take either CAT or GMAT, which one is best both in terms of coursefee/ career growth.

    • Hi Ishaaanth,

      There is an extensive series of articles on this topic. Have you read: bitly.com/oymbabasics
      Feel free to get back to us on any questions once you have gone over these.

      (Note: questions posted on the forum get a 3 times faster response)

  8. Hi,

    I am working in software industry and I have 3 years of work experience. Down the line in 2 years I am planning to enroll for one of these 1 year program. However I am confused about the right age and right time.
    apart from GMAT score, does 5 years of work experience is enough to get into the top MBA programs? how much does the promotions and job level matters ? what about the job stability? Please put some points which can be helpful for me to take a decision.

    Thanks in advance.
    Shriraj

    • Hi Shiriraj,

      yes 5 years of work experience is enough to make you eligible for any 1 year course in India. ISB and a few others also induct grads with 2+ work ex. That said, the average work experience of an applicant applying to IIM A, B, C, L, I, XLRI is closer to 7-8 years and you will be competing with them to get in.

      Performance on the job is an important aspect in admissions and will typically carry 10-20% weightage at B-Schools in India – your essays need to portray your achievements clearly, whether its promotions you got or assignments you are proud of.

      *Questions posted on the Forum get a faster response*

  9. Hi,
    In one of your other articles, I read that you have a background in advertising. I have also been working as a copywriter in advertising for close to 7 years now. Presently, I’m at one of the Top 3 agencies in India. I have been thinking about moving over to the other side, i.e. marketing and for that wish to pursue a Management Course. As an expert on the matter with the added insights available to you because of your advertising industry background, could you please give me a few pointers and words of advise. Would really appreciate it.

    Thanks

    • Hi Vb, yes, I worked in advertising for the first half of my career as a copywriter at Mudra, Ulka, Grey etc pretty much like you. And just like you, after reaching a certain stage, I felt the need to know what lies outside the confines of the headline and bodycopy – and there was a lot to learn! I graduated eventually from IIM Indore and joined HCL in the capacity of Brand Head.


      As far as pointers go, be aware that while its tough to get in to a good B-School, its tougher yet to get out for the more creatively inclined peeps like us :-) You will have an in-depth look into concepts such as NPV, SVM, CIA & KGB – the last ones largely as part of the the many movie breaks you will resort to gulp down the oh so stimulating accounting principles and statistics! Thankfully, there will also be brand management subjects to keep you alive.

      Once out, you will be thrown into the deep end since you will join work at a mid to senior level – but you will learn immensely and will learn to appreciate everything that copy guys typically balk at and eventually will become a more all-rounded communication and marketing professional.

      The journey is challenging but gratifying!

      • Thanks for that informative yet entertaining reply. Coincidentally, I started out at Mudra too! It seems you are the person I have been looking for. You clearly understand the frustration that has set in after being labelled a ‘creative’ for 7 years.

        I am willing to put in the extra work. The only things that’s holding me back is doubt and fear because it will be a huge risk, especially with the huge education loan I will have to take.

        As a favour to a fellow copywriter, will it be possible for you to communicate with me on mail/chat instead of this forum. I’m a little apprehensive about asking all my questions here, as my problems are more of the creative-corporate leap that I intend to take. Also, it will be faster than communicating here. I know it’s too much to ask for, but honestly you seem to be the only one I who can really help me out!

        Thanks a ton!

  10. I have around 4 yrs of work experience in IT and recently applied for one year residential PGPITBM [PGP in IT Business Mgmnt] course at SCIT, Pune. I believe it is equivalent to one year MBA, since it includes previous work ex as an eligibility criteria. Can you advise me as to if it is a good choice?

  11. HI THERE ,

    I have an experience of 5.5 yrs in construction Field. i have done my B.Tech and also courses related to Safety and Environment .I am planning to go for MBA , i donot want to be in my present field anymore. i want to study and be in learning process. Can u please guide me as if executive MBA program will be suitable for me and what is the placement scope after the executive MBA program in India and abroad .

    • An executive MBA is a part time course – if you are looking at changing fields, en executive MBA won’t give you the same depth of knowledge or
      placement oportunities that come with a One Year Full Time MBA or a Two-year Full Time MBA outside of India that recruits people with a good amount of work-ex.

  12. Hi,
    I hold a 3 yr diploma in electrical with 8 yrs of experience, please let me know if I’m eligible for executive MBA program, if yes then kindly suggest me few universities that offer. .

    • Hi Syed, can you confirm that you are infact looking for a part-time programme? (and not a one-year full time regular MBA) for students with work ex.)

      • Dear Admin,
        This is samrath currently I am having 4 years of experience and planning for 1 year MBA regular course. I have one doubt that I am not having good academic record in my past .Does it matter in the admission procedure for good colleges and their placements.

        • Hi Samarth, yes school and college marks play a part in admissions to a One Year MBA course. But unless your scores are terrible :-) you should be able to offset them by getting a good GMAT scores and through other parts of you application. Most schools don’t have cutoffs based on scores.

          Your school, college marks play no role in placements. At some colleges such as ISB, your grades in the B-School itself could play a part during placements, but many other B-Schools have a policy to not disclose your grades to recruiters.

  13. Hi ADMIN,

    I have 6yrs of IT experience and have fear of loosing job in IT sector when reached to mid age. So, Looking to change the field now only, Now iam 30 yrs age. So, Please suggest me which duration MBA I must choose like, 1yrs or 2yrs course inorder to change my career path.

    Thankyou
    Goutham.

    • Hi Goutham, the only MBA in India that meets global standards and is therefore accredited as a full time MBA in India is a one-year MBA. The two-year course in India is an MBM/ MIM – a course for freshers. After 6 years of work ex. we think you would stick out like a sore thumb in a class comprising of recent graduates with 0-2 years work ex. Placements tend to be also oriented towards freshers in a two-year PGP/ PGDM course at Indian B-Schools and companies offer entry level roles.

  14. Hi ADMIN

    Good morning,
    Thanks ! I got your point. So, you mean to say I can change my Career from IT to Telecom or Pharma after doing 1 yr MBA(Operations).. Sounds cool..! One more query, Tell me some colleges or univs in asia or europe which would give admissions based on Work Experience i.e without any entrance exam.

    • Hi Admin,

      Could you share some college details which provide 1 yr mba without gmat/cat

  15. Hi,

    I am B.Sc.I.T. grad and having 5+ yrs of experience as Software developer. I wish to go for one year MBA (full time) or Part time with IT specialization.
    What would you suggest for me.?
    Will PGPM from SP JAIN be worth for me??
    Since I am avg guy I fear of getting job after completing the course since i’ll leave
    my job at the age of 28 yrs :-/
    I have to boost my career so please guide me for the same.

    Thanks & regards
    Manoj

  16. Hi,

    I am a B.Com Graduate from LU (aggregate percentage in between 45-50%, as im not good at filling pages in exams and believes in writing crisp and correct answers) followed by Post Graduation Diploma In Marketing, Advertising and PR from Delhi. It was a one year weekend course (scored 72%), simultaneously i joined an online insurance aggregator worked there for almost 1 year and 9 months in B2C sales and website monitoring and than i switched to a KPO in their Business Development Team, i am working here from past 3 years 3 months. I am looking out for a job change but not getting the desired in term of work as well as salary and designation. My work is not getting recognised (which includes more of the calling in the international market and recahing out to the CXO level people and lead generation part) and 5 yrs of work experience seems like of no use. I was wondering if a 1 Year Executive MBA course can help me come out of this and give me some confidence and growth in my carrier. My budget for the course is under 7 Lacs. I am 25yrs old and I am looking out for a change in the e-commerce industry (realising my interest after i left my first company). I really need help. Please advise me colleages and courses.

    Hoping to hear from you. Thank you.

  17. Hi,

    I have query regarding 1 year MBA progs in India or nearby India (Dubai/Singapore).Brief about me

    GMAT: 630

    Total exp : 9 years (IT)

    6 years international exp ..Currently in US

    Decent academics ..

    I know by this GMAT score i cannot think of high end B schools such as ISB/IIM’s but please let me know if there is any other option apart from this like tier 2 B schools.I am looking for 1 year full time MBA.So i found only options available :

    1) XIMB,SP JAIN(Dubai),SP JAIN (mumbai),IMT,IMI,MDI,XLRI..

    Not an option :

    1) FMS,NMIMS,SYMBI,TAPMI,GIM,IIFT,MICA

    Please help me if i am correct in my understanding and help me what other options i can look for.

    Thanks in advance..

  18. Siddharth Sharma on

    I am having the total experience of 6 yrs till now.I want to do regular 1 year mba program.Belwo is my academic details:-

    10:72.40
    12:64.25
    B.Tech:63.60

    I am in a state of confusion that whether with a good gmat score(say 700),will I be able to make to IIM/ISB?
    Also pls let me know that is the GMAT required for an executive MBA?
    Thanks.

    • Hi Siddhartha, many things go into a strong application and a good GMAT score is one of them. Your 12th marks are on the low side and a strong GMAT score will indicate your academic prowess – aim for 700+ for a one year full time mba. Executive MBA courses have differing admission norms depending on the school – generally a lower GMAT could be acceptable.

  19. With two years experience in IT and above 90% in 10th and 12th, XAT-2014:99.65%ile. Due to some financial constraints, I cannot leave my job as of now. Plus, I don’t think it wise to leave the job for an MBA in some average B School or even IIMs (xcpt A,B,C for that matter). So this course seems to be perfect for me.I am 24 years old. Considering this, what should I work upon (wrt aptitude and attitude) for the next 3 years in order to ensure a strong candidature.

  20. hi, i m working as a district level state provincial civil service officer for 7 years. managing local bodies of entire district, leading 1500+ employes, and vast experience in conducting elections, law and order situations, health , education,social securities schemes and sanitation. though i have done only bsc {bio stream} and MA in history.
    now as i desperatly want to shift to corporate world . do you think that one year mba will be enough for me to learn the techniques and practices of private sector and will companies be interested in such a general expertise of mine without any specific expertise at the time of placement.thanks

  21. Thanks for so many valuable answers in this thread and thanks for the wonderful article too where you raised the vice for branding of different courses in a coherent manner to be maintained by all B schools. i have a career question to you Admin!
    I am B.E.+M.E.(IT); have total IT exp of 9Years->right now in US since last 6 years; working as Solution Architect @ Ford Motors –>getting handsome salary in $ but have plan to go back to my own country in another 3-4 years. Have zeal to do MBA either from IIMs(1Year full time/executive) at my age of around 39!! is it too odd(old)?
    Also, I was finding some option of doing one year MBA-type courses here. can you check this link and suggest from your experience level that if i do this from US will that give me more/less/no mileage in India(vs. IIMs certificate)? it has AACSB accreditation though. thanks for your time.