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The promise of improved job prospects, advanced roles, and naturally, a higher salary comes after completing an MBA program. However, the journey to earning this degree can be demanding and typically lasts at least two years, requiring considerable investment—both in monetary terms and time commitment.

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The typical cost of attaining an MBA ranges from $60,000 to $200,000, with some students potentially paying up to $100,000 per year to attend business school. Given these figures, wouldn't it be sensible to try and complete a program in a shorter duration?

There exists a solution: The 12-month MBA. More precisely, an MBA degree that can be achieved in as little as 12 months. There are business schools offering these programs—primarily through their online MBA programs—and for some students, this option can be incredibly appealing as a means to conserve time and possibly a significant amount of money. Here's what you need to know.

The Fundamentals of 12-Month MBA Programs

For students choosing a 12-month online MBA program, it's crucial to understand that the timelines of many such programs are not inflexible. Therefore, you might start with the expectation of completing in a year, but end up graduating 18 months later.

A significant factor leading many students to take longer to complete their degree is that they underestimate the amount of work involved, especially if they are still employed or have familial responsibilities at home. An MBA program is akin to a "full-time job," necessitating around 40 or 50 hours of work each week.

In some institutions, things need to align perfectly to ensure that a 12-month program can actually be wrapped up within the span of one year. But broadly, students are hunting for a few essential features: time, money, and flexibility.

As previously mentioned, opportunity costs also play a significant role. While students may earn their degree faster and pay less in tuition, leaving school also means they might miss out on internships, studying abroad, and networking opportunities.

Factors to Consider Before Enrolling in a 12-Month MBA Program

If you're weighing the decision between a two-year and a one-year MBA program, take the following into account:

- Time management: Assess how much time you can dedicate to your studies. Since an MBA program equates to a full-time job, if a student can't allocate 40 hours per week for studying, a longer-duration program might be a more suitable choice.

-Efficiency: Full-time working students will need to strategize how and when they can study and finish their coursework. As an example, some students, who frequently have extended commutes, have adopted the practice of listening to audio versions of their textbooks while on the road.

-Consider others: A major factor for prospective MBA students is contemplating how the time commitment will impact their relationships with family, friends, and work colleagues.

-Ensure the program is applicable: Students should consider whether an MBA program will genuinely benefit their careers and hence, if it's worth the investment. If your motive for getting an MBA is simply for the sake of having one, it might be wise to reevaluate or contemplate more deeply how the degree will facilitate your career progression.

Considering all of these factors, a 12-month program can provide something akin to a business school shortcut. However, it's crucial to maximize this time as you'll miss out on more opportunities for networking and gaining valuable experience through internships.

If the time pressure of a condensed MBA program is overwhelming, utilizing the flexibility of an online MBA might be the optimal path. After all, there's no need to exhaust yourself pursuing a degree in less than 12 months—especially if no one is timing you.

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