Insead's one-year programme topped the rankings in 2017, as several institutions found that their two-year programmes were losing popularity © FT montage

The traditional two-year full-time MBA courses are losing their allure. The Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the official entrance exam for business schools, reported nearly 60 per cent of two-year MBA courses have seen a drop in applications.

Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, which has been ranked continuously by the FT since 1999, will close its full-time MBA programme and focus instead on one-year specialised masters degrees. King’s College London’s new business school will not offer MBAs.

One-year MBAs appeal to candidates who fear being out of the workplace for long periods, particularly in the technology industry. Shorter courses cost less, and offer savings on the opportunity cost of not working. Despite alumni earning similar salaries, Insead’s one-year course was ranked 11th for value for money in 2017, while Chicago’s Booth School of Business two-year course was 80th.

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Insead topped the FT Global MBA ranking with its one-year programme in 2016 and 2017. Between 1999 and 2015, the top slot was occupied by traditional US-type two-year programmes at Harvard Business School, The Wharton School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and London Business School.

Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge overtook London Business School in the 2017 list, climbing to fifth place with its one-year MBA. This was the first time two one-year programmes made the top five.

But performance in the MBA ranking is largely determined by average salary and salary increase, rather than course length.

Which MBA course will come out on top? Will one-year programmes continue to progress or will their two-year rivals fight back? In the 2018 ranking, a two-year programme has climbed the highest number of places, while a one-year programme has suffered the biggest drop.

The FT ranking of global MBA courses will be published on January 29

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