Appeared first in Business Standard, Rediff.com, Indian Management
The key benefit offered by the one-year full time MBA, we believe, is that the course gives you time to discover yourself before you manage others. In Indian society the pressure to rise above the neighbour’s kid is a constant one. The one-year full time MBA at business schools in India such as XLRI, SP Jain, MDI, IIMs, ISB, IMT and IMI, by adhering to the original mission statement of an MBA as defined by the Association of MBAs – to “enhance and develop previous relevant experience” – gives you on an average five years to pursue what your heart desires and will accept you with open arms whether you chose to spend those years becoming a Ranji cricket player or a DJ at a club. Diversity and experience is respected and encouraged in a one-year full time MBA.
Secondly, as discussed earlier in the series, the learning environment offered by the course is incredible. The class pursuing a one year MBA is full of people who have seen work life inside out. With close to 1000 years of collective corporate wisdom available in a typical class of 100 candidates in a batch of a one year MBA, the peer learning that the course offers is amazing.
Third, from a pure economics view, the opportunity cost of a one-year full time MBA is half that of a two-year PGP programme. You save one year’s post qualification salary and join work faster.
Fourth, the one-year full time MBA’s placement process is better equipped to place experienced professionals as opposed to the placement process of the two-year PGP at business schools in India. Since the bulk of the two-year PGP students, on an average, have less than one-year of work experience and almost forty percent of the students have zero work experience, most of the companies that come to recruit two-years PGP students offer them management trainee profiles – an entry level position. Many two-year PGP candidates with 4-5 years experience struggle to find suitable profiles.
Such candidates with greater than three year’s experience may be better of pursuing the one-year course after gaining some more work experience.
Fifth, candidates pursuing a one-year MBA receive a qualification that is recognized globally as an MBA as opposed to the qualification earned through the two-year PGP course which is recognized as a Masters in Management internationally – a course for candidates without work-experience.
As discussed in depth in earlier articles in the series, at certain business schools, the one-year course offers global exposure for the entire batch through an international immersion, a higher salary and senior roles after graduation as opposed to those gained from a two-year PGP course and the academic rigour of a global two-year MBA in a year’s time.
However, in case you are interested in pursuing management education right after college, without gathering any work experience, the two year course will probably serve you better as the extra year will give you more time to absorb concepts.
Also, because the one year course crunches a significant portion of the two year syllabus into a year, it becomes a bit heavy. Extra-curricular activities take a hit and students find it difficult to participate in festivals on campus or indulge in sports. I hope that going ahead the contact hours for the one-year course are reduced in line with those of its counterparts in Europe so as to give students more time to appreciate the nuances of their subjects.
A clear advantage the two-year course enjoys over the one-year course in India is that it has been in existence far longer. The industry in India has well established frameworks such as the Management Trainee programme to induct the graduates of the two year course into the workplace – this makes the placement process smoother.
As opposed to this, many companies here are still figuring out how to best utilize the experienced talent coming out of the one-year full time MBA at the IIMs and are establishing new frameworks for absorbing MBAs at senior positions. These frameworks have existed in companies abroad from the day the MBA degree was created. A student at an international B-school is simply not awarded an MBA degree unless he has substantial work experience – HR processes at companies abroad therefore have well developed processes to induct these senior hires.
The cost of the course is also a factor to consider when deciding which MBA to go for. The fees for the one-year course at the IIMs, for instance, ranges between Rs 14 lakh and Rs 21.5 lakh. The two-year course is subsidized by the government and the average fee across the IIMs ranges between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 14.5 lakh.
Lastly, in case you are planning to pursue an MBA at an IIM, be informed that there is no reservation in the one-year full time MBA as the course is wholly financed by the candidates. The two year course on the other hand reserves approximately 50% of the seats for OBCs, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. In case a candidate is applying under a reserved category he should keep this in mind when planning his applications.