Since its introduction in the early 20th century, the MBA has evolved into a versatile program to hone skills that are easily transferable across a range of industries. MBA programs blend academic coursework with business acumen to prepare graduates for a leadership role in virtually any field they choose. In fact, many employers seek MBA graduates because of the depth and breadth of their business and management knowledge and advanced professional skills. But before you set out in pursuit of an MBA, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you can expect in a graduate school of business program.
What do you learn in an MBA program?
The best MBA programs combine formal classroom training with experiential learning opportunities.This gives you hands-on experience based on real business challenges.
The core classes in an MBA program vary among schools. However, typical coursework usually covers a range of major business disciplines including accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, economics, management and business ethics. Depending on the program, you may also take courses geared toward a specific concentration or specialization. This gives you the opportunity to customize your studies and acquire expertise in a specific aspect of business.
In addition to teaching the mechanics of how business works, MBA programs also help develop the skills needed to excel in business. There’s a lot to learn outside of the actual coursework like leadership and motivation, teamwork, communication and public speaking, analytical thinking, problem solving and ethical reasoning.
The capstone or final project gives you the opportunity to apply everything you have learned over the course of the program. This is typically done by creating a mock startup business, developing a business proposal based on an actual client or presenting a professional portfolio.
What is it like to attend graduate business school?
A variety of degree options are available. A full-time MBA program can be completed in about two years, however accelerated programs can be finished in less than a year. Part-time and executive programs designed for working professionals attending school while maintaining a full-time job vary in length depending on the amount of credits completed each quarter or semester.
Regardless of the type of program you choose, MBA classes are typically quite rigorous. The pace and amount of work can be particularly challenging, especially in the first year. At most schools this is devoted to completion of the core curriculum.
The second half of the program tends to be more relaxed and is spent focusing on your specialization and networking. The relationships you forge with fellow students, alumni, professors and other professionals can provide valuable leverage throughout your career.
Some programs may also require an internship that allows you to gain real hands-on experience. This typically takes place over the summer or during non-school hours.
Although an MBA degree can be a stepping stone for career progression, it’s not a golden ticket for success. Excelling in business requires more than an education, it requires initiative, creativity and effort throughout your career. If you have this drive and are considering an MBA, register for a virtual tour today to meet representatives from some of the world’s leading business schools.