Cornell University Does An About-Face On Generalist Accelerated One Year MBA

Cornell Tech Campus

For more than two decades, The Cornell SC Johnson School of Business has invested in its one year accelerated MBA, making it one of the top-ranked MBA programs in the United States. But a sudden pivot has seen the leading institute strategically abandon this course because it failed to live up to the “grander ambitions” the education behemoth had for the course, according to Andrew Karolyi, Dean of Cornell’s SC Johnson School of Business.

The Dean admits that unlike its more recent offering, the Tech MBA, which has now blossomed to 85 enrolments, the one year Accelerated MBA has been on the decline with only 50 graduates in the Class of 2021.

“What we made was – no doubt – a tough decision to basically close down the one year Accelerated MBA and redeploy those resources to the growth and expansion of the Tech MBA. We see clearer potential and differentiation of that program in the marketplace. So the marketplace is telling us that. It’s successfully differentiating itself relative to its competitive peers.

“It’s the sleeker one-year program,” said Mr Karolyi of the Tech MBA which will now be the only one-year MBA option offered by Cornell University in New York City.

Does This Signal Demand For Specialised MBAs?

It could be argued that the success of Cornell’s Tech MBA is linked to the fact that it offers specialised curriculum.

Tech MBA students spend the first 14-weeks of their study immersed in core business courses, and then spend the rest of their studies concentrating on specialist studio curriculum which gives students the opportunity to develop and implement new product and business ideas, collaborate with classmates, and interact with New York City innovators and start-up communities.

Match this information with the fact most of the students have an engineering background, with more than a quarter (28%) coming from the business technology industry, and the argument that the market is demanding specialised MBAs becomes stronger.

So far from being the great ‘generalist’ degree that prepared students for general management responsibilities, it is clear that an MBA is now also increasingly a tool to help students forge a new level of expertise in a chosen field.

Jess Singh Jess Singh is the Managing Editor at MBA News. She has over a decade of content and digital marketing experience in the Australian higher education sector. Jess is also the Chief Content Officer of RGC Media & Marketing (