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M.B.A. Students Take Fast Track

Students can jump-start their careers with an accelerated, one-year master of business administration.

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[Learn how E.M.B.A.'s help executives gain a leadership edge.]

Despite the shortened academic term, one-year M.B.A. programs still strive to offer varied learning environments. Some schools provide a door to international study, giving students the chance to tackle real-world problems outside the United States. At Goizueta, for example, students can sign up for mid-semester programs in which they work on overseas projects such as redeveloping a slum in India, investigating business opportunities in China, or helping rural Nicaraguan communities develop more efficient, environmentally sound ways to plant and harvest.

While accelerated business programs are growing in number and diversity in the United States, their counterparts in Europe, where the one-year M.B.A. has always been the norm, may offer even more. One of the largest of these is INSEAD. In August and January, the school enrolls classes of roughly 500 students at its campuses in Singapore and Fontainebleau, France.

[Read more about cost savings of attending grad school abroad.]

The school additionally offers a weeklong elective course on a third campus in Abu Dhabi, and students may also spend an eight-week session studying at either the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School or the Kellogg School. INSEAD graduates include Walter Gubert, vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, and Kevin P. Ryan, a leading Internet entrepreneur and former CEO of DoubleClick, now a Google subsidiary.

Whether students pursue an M.B.A. in the United States or abroad, they will have to weigh the opportunity costs. But right now the return on investment in terms of time and money may well be higher with a one-year program, making it potentially a very good alternative.

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