Choosing the MBA That’s Right for You: One-Year vs. Two-Year Programs

Choosing the MBA That’s Right for You: One-Year vs. Two-Year Programs

Choosing the MBA That’s Right for You: One-Year vs. Two-Year Programs banner

If you’re considering going back to school to earn your Master of Business Administration (MBA), good for you! An advanced degree in business expands your career options and can help you earn a higher salary. However, you’ve likely seen a variety of degree programs available and may be confused between the value of a one-year degree program versus a two-year program. We’d like to help clarify the differences so you can choose the program that best meets your needs.

What are the differences between a one-year MBA vs. a two-year MBA?

Aside for the obvious time difference, there are some key differences between a one-year and a two-year MBA program. In a one-year program, the course material is more condensed, although no less comprehensive. In general, the one-year program is better suited to students with a strong business, finance, or economic background, since little time is spent in the program reviewing these areas. Most students in the one-year program have spent time in the business world before applying, with students averaging five years of work experience in the one-year program. Few students in the one-year program are recent bachelor’s degree graduates.

Understanding the one-year MBA program:

There are beneficial reasons to opt for a one-year MBA program, including:

Less time away from your career

Although it is possible to work full-time while completing a one-year MBA, most students take the year off from their career while achieving their degree. Finishing the program in one year allows you to return to the workplace faster and resume earning your preferred salary.

Advance your career sooner

Completing your MBA in one year allows for a quicker opportunity to see a return on your investment. With your degree in hand one year faster than that of a two-year program, you can explore career opportunities sooner and begin the process of accelerating your desired career goals.

One-Year MBA Differences

Of course, no degree program is perfect for every student. Some things to consider about a one-year MBA are:

Concise course material

Depending on how you learn, the compacted course material in the one-year MBA program may present challenges to some students. You’ll need to dedicate your time to your coursework to move quickly through the program. In Johnson & Wales University’s one-year MBA program, students will complete four classes each semester, including the summer term.

Significant time commitment

Because of the accelerated pace of a one-year MBA, students should consider the time commitment to learning their coursework. Students in a one-year MBA program may need to take more courses each semester than the two-year program to complete on time, which means you’ll spend more time studying. As a result, the demanding tempo of the program may not be suitable for all potential students.

Understanding the two-year MBA program

The two-year MBA program has some distinctions over the one-year program, including:

More opportunities to explore different career paths

With the two-year MBA program, there is more room to change up your career path without having to repeat courses. For example, if you entered the program thinking about a career in finance, but became intrigued with international business, there is time in the program to make that change and better match your new career goals.

Better networking opportunities

Since you’ll be interacting with three classes of students (your class, the class before you in your first year, and the class after you in your second year), you’ll have more opportunity to network and build relationships that will aid your school career as well as your business career.

Two-Year MBA Differences

The two-year MBA program also has distinct differences from that of the one-year program:

Time commitment

By definition, the two-year program takes more time to complete than the one-year program. Not everyone can afford to take a two-year hiatus from their career to earn their degree. In addition, many people have family and other obligations that would conflict with a longer degree program.

Longer ROI

By taking two years to complete the degree program, the amount of time to return to the workplace will naturally be double that of a one-year program. As a result, it will take more time before you can begin to see a return on your academic investment.

Choosing the MBA that’s right for you

Choosing the MBA program that’s right for you depends on your professional goals, your budget, your educational background, and how much time you can devote to your education. Whether to opt for a one-year or two-year program is a personal decision and one you should consider carefully before making a commitment.

Johnson & Wales University offers both a one-year and a two-year MBA degree program. Both programs can be completed completely online or at the university’s Providence campus. The one-year degree program is designed to allow students to complete their degree in 12 months, in five 8-week semesters, while the two-year program can be completed in 24 months over ten 8-week semesters. In addition, both programs require the same number of credit hours for completion; as a result, the cost of either program remains identical.

The program explores executive business competencies, professional leadership, and strategic and creative thinking skills, giving students the skills and information they need to pursue a variety of career paths. Upon completion of the program, graduates gain the ability to critically analyze information through a business administration lens, to solve high-level problems, and to build the leadership and strategic skills they need to excel.

For either program, online or on-campus, students will benefit from industry experts as professors at JWU come from a variety of professional backgrounds. Course highlights (in both programs) include classes in:

  • Financial Management
  • Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Law
  • Global Economic Environments

Graduates of the JWU MBA programs are qualified for a number of business careers, including those in management, financial analysis, business education, and real estate. The possibilities are almost endless.


Johnson & Wales University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in more than 50 fields of study. Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales has a current enrollment of around 8,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. The university is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Financial aid is available for qualified students.

For more information about completing your degree online or on-campus, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

Step 1Step 1 of 2
*Required Field Step 1 of 2
Step 2

By clicking Get Started below, I consent to receive recurring marketing/promotional e-mails, phone calls, and SMS/text messages from Johnson & Wales University (JWU) about any educational/programmatic purpose (which relates to my inquiry of JWU) at the e-mail/phone numbers (landline/mobile) provided, including calls or texts made using an automatic telephone dialing system and/or artificial/prerecorded voice messages. My consent applies regardless of my inclusion on any state, federal, or other do-not-call lists. Consent is not a condition for receipt of any good or service. Carrier charges may apply. Terms and conditions apply.

« Previous Step 2 of 2
Request info