Why a One-Year MBA?

Lehigh’s 1-MBA program offers those looking to enhance their careers or pivot a faster, more affordable option.

A recent Wall Street Journal article – “One-Year MBAs Gain Ground as Applications Drop” – points out that young professionals wanted a faster, cheaper option for getting ahead in business. The article quotes Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean of the College of Business, as saying, “When you get to the point where Harvard has declining applicants, you know the two-year MBA is in trouble.”

College of Business Dean Georgette Phillips

Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton Dean of the College of Business

In 2016, already seeing the trend, Lehigh Business became one of the few universities in the United State to offer a one-year full-time MBA program.

“Life had changed, but the MBA programs had not,” says Phillips, in explaining Lehigh’s decision to offer the one-year program. “There was a time where you would go from college to a job, and then your employer, after a couple of years, would tell you to go back and get an MBA, and sometimes even pay for it.”

However, Phillips says, companies realized money was just “walking out the door” as they were losing two years of productivity from the employees who were pursuing MBAs and often those employees were using their new degree to find another job. “Employers got smart,” says Phillips, “and they said, ‘Why are we doing this? Just stay. We're not requiring the MBA.’"

“From the employee’s perspective, there are two reasons to get an MBA,” says Phillips, “enhancement or pivot.” According to Phillips, today the enhancers are questioning the value of taking time out of the market for a two-year program, and the people who were pivoting realized that two years without a salary plus the cost of pursuing an MBA was too great an opportunity cost.

Because of these factors, says Phillips, students won't necessarily see a two-year MBA as a good use of their time and money. Declining enrollments have led to some institutions discontinuing their two-year MBA programs.

“But it still remains,” says Phillips, “that if you are going to be a player in business education, to really have the cred as a business school, you have to have a full-time MBA program.”

“So, we've cut cost in half,” says Phillips. “Students are only out of the workforce for one year and only paying one-year tuition.”

The Lehigh Business one-year, full-time 1-MBA program allows students, no matter what their undergraduate degree, to get an MBA in 12 months. The program is STEM designated and focuses on technology and business starting with project management. Societal shift courses are interwoven throughout the program and are designed to enable students to grapple with macro-level issues and challenges that affect businesses on a global scale.

“We are quite attractive to the type of people who are focused--People who say, ‘I want the education. I don't want the two-year party,’” says Phillips. “Our 1-MBA candidates know what they want out of life and know that Lehigh Business can deliver on a very pragmatic, straightforward, technology-focused kind of education."

Story by Rob Gerth

Related Stories

College of Business

Leading, Managing in the COVID-19 Era

Vistex Institute offers two new online courses to help leaders navigate in a virtual world.

College of

'Kitchen Table Talks' Aim to Help Employers, Employees Cope During Pandemic

Lehigh Business faculty members share their expertise in a series of short video talks.

Illustration revealing ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses

COVID-19: The Impact on the Economy

A Q&A with Ahmed S. Rahman, associate professor of economics at the College of Business.