What is an MBA?

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A Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is a general graduate business degree that teaches students technical, managerial, and leadership skills.

It’s not only an opportunity to gain valuable business acumen, but also to expand your professional network and create new opportunities. Whether you’re looking to accelerate your career, transition to a new industry, or become an entrepreneur, an MBA can help you get there.

What is the MBA curriculum?

An MBA is a generalist degree that covers a variety of business principles, such as accounting, economics, finance, and marketing. Throughout your program, you’ll apply ideas from the classroom during real-world consulting projects and gain exposure to an array of business functions. You’ll also learn from your classmates’ and others’ practical experience via group work and case studies. The results will afford you a comprehensive set of business and management skills that are applicable to a wide range of industries and career tracks. Click to watch this short video about what to expect during your MBA program.

An MBA comes in many different shapes and sizes from full-time one- and two-year programs to part-time, flexible, online, and executive MBAs (EMBA). Delivery methods will vary based on your program, but courses may be conducted in person, online, or a hybrid of both. When considering your program options, you’ll want to weigh factors such as experience, location, and employment status as you evaluate which MBA program is right for you.

Am I a good candidate for an MBA?

An MBA is a flexible degree that provides the in-demand skills you need to take on a managerial role, break into a new industry, or simply earn more money. Given the broader focus, an MBA is attractive to candidates who are looking for greater flexibility after graduation and those hoping to gain skills that are both valued by employers and relevant across trades.

MBA programs attract applicants with work experience from all industries. While there’s no perfect time to pursue an MBA, most programs prefer or require prior experience—some more than others. Ninety-eight percent of EMBA applicants have three or more years of work experience, followed by 75 percent and 66 percent of professional and full-time MBA candidates, respectively. However, there are some programs designed for the recent graduate and your bachelor’s degree does not have to carry a business focus. When it comes to an MBA candidate’s undergraduate studies, over half hold a nonbusiness-related degree (54 percent), while 46 percent have previously studied business.

How long will it take me to get an MBA?

The duration of your MBA will depend on which program format you choose. On average, full-time MBAs take 18 months to complete, followed by EMBAs (20 months), and professional MBAs (26 months part time, flexible, and online). Most prospective MBA students prefer full-time enrollment with in-person coursework, however, different programs are appropriate for different students. Read more about the full-time two-year MBA, full-time one-year MBA, and part-time MBA programs to help you decide which best meets your needs.

What can I do with an MBA?

An MBA can be a valuable asset during the recruiting process. The degree can help you break into competitive industries, land a job away from home, or help you secure an executive role. B-school alumni are employed across a range of industries, including products/services (20 percent), technology (17 percent), and finance/accounting (15 percent). Job functions also vary with the most common being general management (24 percent), finance/accounting (21 percent), and marketing/sales (18 percent). While recent alumni tend to be employed in mid-level positions (49 percent), many earlier graduates climb to senior, executive, or C-suite positions. Furthermore, an MBA can help you become your own boss; 1 in 10 B-school alumni are entrepreneurs who founded their own companies.

Why should I choose an MBA?

When full-time MBA alumni were asked about the value of B-school, the vast majority consider their degree personally, professionally, and financially rewarding (95 percent, 91 percent, and 79 percent). MBA alumni say their degree not only prepared them for leadership positions, but also increased their earning power and opportunities for quicker career advancement. According to the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants annual survey of MBA applicants, the top reasons candidates choose an MBA are to: acquire new skills, gain access to job prospects, change careers, access a strong network, and increase their salaries.

Additionally, graduate business degrees make you more marketable, which often translates to higher wages. In the Graduate Management Admission Council’s 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey, 81 percent of the companies said they planned to hire MBA talent last year and in the US, graduates were offered a starting base salary that was US$40,000 above that for bachelor’s degree holders alone. Find out how much you could earn post-MBA by using our interactive salary calculator and watch this short video on why your peers chose to pursue an MBA.

Ready to take the next step in your B-school journey? Complete the business school self-assessment and set up your profile here to find and connect with programs that meet your goals.

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