An MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is a versatile, internationally-recognized degree that prepares graduates for business and management careers in a wide range of industries. It is considered one of the most flexible graduate degrees available because it provides a broad base of transferable skills from a variety of business-related disciplines.
An MBA degree is a popular stepping-stone to top-level leadership positions and a valuable asset for aspiring entrepreneurs. In addition to increasing your employment opportunities, there are many personal as well as professional benefits of earning your MBA including enhanced confidence and credibility, a strong professional network and elevated earning potential.
What an MBA Teaches You
MBA programs are designed to help students develop the skills required to successfully run a business. These competencies include the ability to quickly and accurately analyze large amounts of information, develop smart solutions to business challenges, manage difficult situations and inspire and motivate others.
Core coursework varies among programs but typically covers business management fundamentals as well as subjects like finance, accounting, economics, marketing, communication, business ethics, operations and human resources. Many MBA programs also offer a choice of concentrations or specializations that give you an opportunity to customize your studies and acquire more in-depth expertise in a specific area such as finance, marketing, consulting, human resources, technology, international business and more.
This prepares grads for careers across a variety of fields and functions like consulting, investment banking, corporate finance, brand management and technology in addition to areas growing in popularity like sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Types of MBA Programs
There are multiple MBA degree program formats available that allow you to pick the best fit for your circumstances. A traditional full-time MBA program takes 2 academic years plus a summer internship to complete. An accelerated 1-year program typically costs less and can be completed more quickly, but that trade-off means a heavier academic workload. An executive MBA program takes 2-3 years to complete and is designed to allow business executives the ability to work full-time and attend classes on Fridays or weekends. A part-time program offers more flexibility to maintain work-life balance; however, since candidates typically take only 1 or 2 classes per semester, it can take 4-5 years to complete the program. Online MBA programs provide the most customizable experience but require a great deal of self-discipline to stay on track.
Keep in mind that cost will vary among program types as well, especially once expenses beyond tuition like course materials, living expenses and healthcare coverage are factored in.
MBA Admission Requirements
The MBA admissions process is a lengthy one that typically includes standardized test scores, a resume, academic transcripts, essays and recommendation letters. Experts advise allowing 6-9 months to prepare.
Nearly every MBA program requires applicants to take either the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination). However, some b-schools may provide a test waiver for qualified applicants based on impressive work experience or undergrad GPA. Generally, the higher your score the better, although a great score alone doesn’t mean you can get into any school you want.
An MBA degree is a great way to prepare for a changing business environment, which is more important now than ever. The skills and abilities an MBA program helps you develop will be a valuable asset for adapting to the unavoidable challenges in the marketplace. Ready to take the first step? Register for a Virtual MBA Tour to find the best b-school for you.