Tuesday Q&A: Can One-Year MBA Programs Help With Career Changes?

Question:

Given the one-year duration of European MBA programs, can career changers benefit from them since they are shorter programs? Especially those who plan to change both industry and function?

Answer:

Plenty of people make career changes in one-year MBA programs. Think about the opportunities and connections an MBA program has to offer: a great education, career placement services, competitions and conferences…

But yes, to be totally frank about it, it IS much harder to make a big career change in a one-year program, because you don’t get that summer internship that you have in a two-year program. That internship gives you some extremely valuable experience in your field, something to point to when you’re interviewing for positions with top companies, and (if all goes well) will lead to a job offer after you graduate. And so when you come out of a one-year program, you’re competing against people who DO have experience in that field. Since you won’t, there’s more pressure on your MBA experience.

But if you do find yourself in a one-year MBA program and looking to switch careers, it CAN be done. You’re just gonna have to make it happen:

1. Networking. You gotta work on making those connections while you’re in the program, both with students and professors. Go out of your way to meet a lot of people in your field. And be smart about organizing events—that’s a great way to meet people, and gain some good leadership experience to point to that others may not have. So go for it. Take charge of organizing the Real Estate Summit or what-have-you and show you can getterdone.

2. Take the right classes. And again in terms of meeting the right people, you’ve GOT to take the right classes. You’ve only got one year, so don’t waste time. Take the classes that directly relate to the field you want to switch into, and connect you to people who can have some influence in that field. Don’t dilly-dally on soft stuff. Push yourself. Do some serious research before you start your program so that you’ve got the whooole year beautifully planned out.

Basically, what you WON’T get in a one-year MBA program is the chance to explore—so if you’re going in to the program with no idea what you wanna do, that is no good. If you know you want to switch careers, you’re gonna be better off going with a 2-year or 18-month program. But if you don’t have 2 years… then you just gotta make that one year count. If you get there, and NAIL it from day one, then it’s possible to get what you need from the program. You just need to be EXTREMELY careful about how you budget your time. Don’t expect much free time, and proceed towards the main goal. If you’re up for the challenge, you can make it happen.

 

Jon Frank, Admissionado Founder

Axolotl: Come On, Stanford!