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What is an MBA Degree? Everything You Need to Know in 2020

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An MBA is currently the commonest degree at the master’s level, especially with many Private Companies and firms demanding professionals that are good in business and administration. The degree is known worldwide, and everyone at the graduate level now wants to pursue the degree.

But with the popularity, many have not understood what the program entails or the requirement to pursue the program. So, what is an MBA? Why get an MBA? How does the degree help your career? Is it going to increase your chance of employment? With your current qualification, are you eligible to pursue the course? Is an MBA worth it?

The answer to these questions and many others will make up this guide, but to have a glimpse into the program’s details, we will start with the MBA Degree meaning.

An MBA is a degree at the graduate level designed or aims at training individuals to be ardent Professionals in the business and administration of an organization. The MBA is an acronym for a Master’s of Business Administration.

The program has worldwide popularity, and all institutions in the world know about it even if they do not offer it. Many see it as strictly for business, but the usefulness is not limited to business; it can be applied at the managerial level in the private and public sectors, Government, and other fields. 

The MBA degree is offered by business schools, and some even require professional experience as a prerequisite for Admission. Unlike other degrees that you can delve in without any experience, an MBA requires experience.

It is because the program is not designed for theories but practically to meet different needs and overcome various business challenges. The business sector is one of the aspects that seems fragile and rugged at the same time; therefore, it needs flexible and proficient professionals to meet its multifaceted needs.

What is the MBA Curriculum?

Now that you have decided to study an MBA, you probably will be curious about how the typical MBA curriculum looks. Or you are eager to know the examples of MBA courses. Then the examples below should satisfy your curiosity.

  • Finance

The Financial discipline centers on investments, particularly the dynamics of asset risk over a period under different uncertain conditions. At the beginning of an MBA finance course, students learn how to use the capital budget to make decisions and evaluate the corresponding strength of asset valuation methods, which includes Payback Period (PBP), Internal Rates of Return (IRR), and Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis. It also introduced the role of capital markets and institutions of finances as the sources of finance.

Business schools such as Harvard and Stanford also have another under finance that particularly focuses on Corporate finance.

Corporate Finances focuses on evaluating complex investments and defining and implementing financial guidelines. The various topics in the course include Tools for financial analysis, policy options such as financing of dividends or equity, market failures, mergers, acquisitions, and loan repurchase (Leveraged Buyout) hostile acquisitions and IPOs.

  • Marketing

In the marketing courses, the students learn how to identify needs and meet their needs. The course outline focuses on the four marketing Ps: Pricing, Promotion, Product Strategy, and Placement.

The Students will also learn how to manage the marketing mix elements such as Pricing, communication, channels of distribution, product policies, and the applications of analytical concepts to different decisions, for example, segmentation, differentiation, target positioning, sales, and branding.

Students will learn how to regulate prices by applying the economical price theory to sales strategies in environments that are competitive. Other topics include consumer behavior and decision making, as well as advertising and strategies that involve marketing communication.

The course recently received some updates on the role of digital marketing and the big data application; these updates are reflected in the final part of the course, with a focus on digital marketing, digital analytics, digital advertising strategies, and marketing on social media.

  • Accounting

The accounting course includes activities regarding financial information, activities like measurement, communication, and Processing. However, MBA Core courses in Accounting are not aimed at training people to be accountants. 

Instead, they allow students to become aware of essential financial information to understand the importance of accounting information that can relate to the company’s cash flow and profit potential.

The MBA program will start the teaching with financial accounting; how to measure economic activity to make decisions. Students first learn how to examine basic transactions, then learn financial reports such as balance sheets and income statements, and eventually complex reports on changes in financial position. 

The student will also learn the related assessments that will enable them to select the accounting methods that are accepted, generally make estimates, and communicate information in the financial statements.

The MBA program also teaches management accounting courses, where students can learn alternative cost techniques to evaluate the profitability of various products and manage costs in different business environments.

  • Leadership

In the leadership courses in the MBA, the students will learn how to motivate and control the company’s human resources and how to develop good leadership styles and skills in the future.

Students are mostly trained in applied psychology called organizational behavior in the last ten years, but the current management courses specialize more on strategic leadership, organizational strategy, and tactical skills such as negotiation.

  • Economics and operation research

Economic statistics is an applied statistic that focuses on the analysis of economic data. Most of the topics under this concentration include:

  • The basic concept of probability
  • Statistical Inference test
  • Standardized Distributions
  • Bell curves
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Methods of least squares
  • Linear and multiple regression
  • Statistical decision theory

While the operation research aspects can spend most of their time on Linear programming, the topic includes:

  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)

Different Types of MBA Program

There are various types of MBA programs, and depending on the one you are choosing, the year of study might vary, and the cost will also be different.

Full-Time MBA – 2 Years

The length of study for this program typically takes two academic years and spreads out to four semesters. The first year allows you to focus on the general courses, and you also get to develop some basic skills at the same time. Then the following years launches you fully into your chosen discipline.

Generally, more than 50% of candidates for the two-year MBA have prior professional experience of at least three years. This program provides students the chance to gain experiences while learning, i.e., experiences from projects and MBA internships.

It commits more time than other programs because it is full-time, and this experience at the business school is always much compared to others.

Being a full-time makes the career services, counseling, social and professional clubs, and speaker series more accessible to you.

Examples of schools that offer this program are Harvard and Stanford Business School, and Wharton business school.

Full-Time MBA Program – One Year

This program allows you to pursue an MBA in a compressed period, possibly between 11 – 16 months. This program requires that you have both academic and professional experience before you can be allowed to study the program within a shorter time.

The full-time program is for professionals who want to develop their career in their present field or at work and want to get higher education quickly.

The accelerated one-year MBA program can provide rigorous and enveloping experience in business schools. Since you will not have long breaks in the program, the opportunities for an internship might be limited. And most candidates that participate in these programs are experienced Professionals, so the eye is always on the ultimate goal – MBA.

Examples are INSEAD and IMD one-year MBA program.

Executive MBA Program

This program can be completed with two years or more, and it is considerably faster than the Part-time option of an MBA. The classes for MBA as an Executive MBA student will only be on weekends, mostly Fridays and Saturdays. It is a program designed for working professionals who want appointments into higher positions in their workplaces.

The curriculum for this program focuses on various courses in each of the key business disciplines: leadership, communication, strategy, and management skills. The Executive MBA provides managers and executives with career development training that empowers them with powerful management skills that help their business.

An executive MBA degree can provide a comprehensive learning experience both within and outside the classroom. Thanks to close contact with teachers and colleagues, you can significantly improve your experience. 

If you choose an advanced MBA, there are companies that provide financial support, so you can inquire about it.

Examples of schools that offer this program are INSEAD, Kellogg, and Chicago Booth.

MBA Program – Part-time

Studying the MBA Program on a part-time basis will provide flexibility and balance in achieving your MBA goals. You can work and also study at the same time, and your speed without halting your career. These programs usually run throughout the year, and the classes are organized outside the working hours.

You get to decide the number of classes that you want to take every semester, and the program may take up to four or five years before completion. The program has two options: self-paced and lock steps. 

The latter requires that you follow the curriculum with people having the same MBA goal with you while the former allows you to dictate and decide the curriculum yourself. The part-time program can take three years for you to complete.

Examples of schools that offer part-time programs are the University of California, and Chicago and Northwestern University.

MBA Program – Online

The MBA program online is the most flexible; it enables you to cope with your tight schedules and, at the same time, take your career to the next level. The majority of the MBA programs online enables you to spread costs and time over an extended period. 

Therefore, you can attend classes at your speed together with a curriculum that suits your personal and professional schedule.

The different course formats available are recorded lectures, web conferencing courses that take place in a virtual environment.

Many business schools that offer an online MBA program, some of them are Tepper business school, Kelley business school – Indiana University, and Kenan Flagler – university of North Carolina.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA?

The Time for completing an MBA depends on the mode of studying you choose. For some full-time learning, it can take up to either one year or two years. The executive Program can last up to two years but approximately three years.

The length of study for online MBA courses is 2 years, while the part-time option can take up to 3 years.

Eligibility and requirements to apply for an MBA program:

  • A bachelor’s degree earned at an accredited university or a four-year college in the US
  • You must have work experience not less than three years; however, it depends on the program you are pursuing. Some might not need any working experience, while some might require eight-year working experience.
  • Your Resume
  • Statement of purpose/personal statement
  • Two professional letters of recommendation 
  • TOEFL will also be required with a minimum score of 550 to 600 for paper-based and 213 to 250 for computer-based
  • A minimum score of 600 in the Graduate Management Admission Test

What is the Difference Between MBA and EMBA?

The MBA is a postgraduate program offered by the Business Schools and aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of business and administration. Executive MBA is a graduate school for workers, that is, managers, leaders, executives, and other professionals.

The regular MBA program specializes in both practical and theoretical knowledge. In contrast, an Executive MBA focuses more on practicable and applicable knowledge to develop various skills that will make them good at making decisions and solving problems in their different workplaces.

The mode of studying the MBA is Full-time while the Executive MBA is part-time.

The classes for the full-time MBA are conducted by the business school throughout the year, while the classes for an Executive MBA only take place during weekends.

Before you can be considered for admission to study a full-time MBA in university business schools, you must pass the entrance exam while the executive MBA only requires the minimum working experience, once you can meet that then you will be considered for admission.

The MBA program is ideal for students who want to acquire a master’s in Business management to gain knowledge. On the contrary, an executive MBA is best for experienced people who want to improve their skills and develop their careers.

The MBA might not need a professional working experience, but it is part of the minimum requirement before you can gain Admission to study the EMBA.

The Average Cost of an MBA

The cost will depend on the type of program you are choosing, but generally, an MBA that runs for two years will cost you more than $60,000. But if you decide to pursue the program at reputable business schools, the tuition cost can be more than $100,000.

But the above cost can be reduced if you have access to MBA scholarships.

How to Choose the Right Program for You?

After several considerations, now you have eventually decided it’s time to get an MBA. The first step is identifying the main reasons for getting an MBA. Are you looking forward to a change in your career completely? Or are you changing your job sector?

In addition to your career considerations, you should also spend some time thinking about the business school location. This may be an important factor in leveraging the network of graduates from the school and developing relationships with the local business within the location.

  • Define your focus area

After determining the location and why you want to study an MBA, the next thing is knowing where you want to focus on; the MBA has various aspects of concentration such as finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, operation management and Human Resource Management, and many more. In all these MBA courses, determine where your strength lies, then you can now develop them by pursuing an MBA tailored to your focus area.

  • The mode of study

Are you going full-time or part-time, or you want to consider the online program, and as a professional, do you want the executive or the full-time. You have to determine the mode and choose the one that will be flexible with your schedule.

An MBA helps you improve your skills, but you would not want to do that at your inconvenience. If your work schedule is tight, you can choose the executive program, but if you have ample time to spare, then you can go full-time.

The goal is for you to pursue your MBA and not affect your Professional and Personal schedules.

  • Choosing the right business school

There are many criteria to determine the right school to choose; it might be based on location or the ranking of the school. What kind of experience do you want? Is it local or international? And also, you have to consider the curriculum of the school you want to choose. 

It is possible some schools major in an area more than the other. For example, if you want to focus on finances, you would not want to choose a school that majors in General management.

Another thing is ensuring you get all the necessary information you need about the program from the school; request for their brochure to see their MBA description so you can know the cost, curriculum, and other things. You might even decide to visit the school to have a firsthand experience of where you would be studying.

  • Calculate your return on investment

Consider the cost of different schools and programs and compare this with what you can expect to earn after your MBA. Then you can decide to choose the option that will generate a faster return on investment.

What Does an MBA Do for Your Career?

  • Increases your earning potential

An MBA will not only increase your chance of having the best employment opportunities, but it will also increase your potential for earning higher salaries. And if you want to work at the top tier of management or want a career advancement in business management, then the MBA is your best chance.

  • Networking with others

Asides from positioning you for high paying jobs, the program will also enable you to connect with different people in your field. There are schools that allow you to have a one on one talk with experts or alumni of the school. 

And through the internship, you will be opportune to meet different professionals and employers who can be of good help seeking your first employment.

  • Improves your skills and knowledge

The experiences you gain while working might not be enough and can be restricted to your current environment. In fact, if you are a lover of knowledge, after working for some years in the same office you will devise means to learn more.

An MBA offers an opportunity to challenge yourself more and thus continuously improve on some skills. And if you work at the management level in your organization, the program will equip you with more leadership and problem-solving skills.

Salaries for MBA Graduates

The average MBA salary will depend on your focus area as an MBA graduate.

The survey that was conducted by PayScale on thousands of MBA Graduate shows that graduate with MBA jobs that has a working experience below a year earns the median salary of $52,872 and the ones that have between one and four years of professional experience earns $60,779.

While on the other hand, an MBA graduate with experiences between 10 to 20 years earns an approximate salary of $100,283. From the results, it shows that experience is also a determiner of how much you will earn as an MBA Graduate.

Conclusion

The MBA benefits are endless, and it is the best way to stand out from your colleagues. If you also want a leadership position in your organization, the MBA is a suitable choice. An MBA combined with a good year of working experience will give you the best result in your career.

Earning the degree is challenging and costly, and you will also be pushed out of your comfort zone. But the ROI on your career and personal development is great, and you will always thank yourself for paying the price to pursue an MBA.

Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth getting an MBA?

An MBA is worth the time, money, and effort spent pursuing it if you are currently working or want to work in the business and managerial field.

Is it better to get a master’s or an MBA?

An MBA is for students with various academic and professional qualifications but who want to improve their knowledge of business and management while Masters is for students who want to improve their knowledge in a particular field. So, both are good but have different usage.

Which concentration in MBA comes under STEM?

The concentrations are Business Analytics, Information Technology, management, decision theory, statistics, finance, and strategy.

Helen Vlasova
Helen is the girlfriend of the co-founder of admissionsly.com, a thorough career guidance website for college students. She's currently trying her luck in the ever-changing digital world, ensuring the smooth stream of informative content on the site. When she isn’t working, you’ll find Helen reading on the beach, making her home, and playing the piano.

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