MBA: Degree Overview
The Master of Business Administration is a graduate degree sought by those looking to hone their skills for a business career. Students applying to MBA programs are required to have earned a bachelor's degree, though not necessarily in a business field. Many MBA students have earned their bachelor's degree in an unrelated field.
MBA core courses introduce students to business topics, such as accounting, operations management, finance, human resources and management information systems. Additional courses often include organizational management, macroeconomics, marketing management and computer information systems.
Schools may also offer additional courses and electives based on students' concentrations. Business and economic forecasting, public administration, management information systems, marketing, hospitality management and international business are some examples of possible MBA concentrations.
Types of MBA Programs
There are several basic types of MBA programs - they often vary in length and have different admissions requirements. Course topics are similar throughout all programs.
A full-time MBA program typically requires two academic years of full-time class work. Many universities offer this program in a daytime format, beginning in late August or early September of the first year and ending in May or June of the second year.
Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals. Classes take place during nights and weekends. This program may take three years or more to complete, depending on the chosen workload of the student.
Accelerated MBA programs are for students who'd like to get their degree as soon as possible. This program can often be completed in just one year or a little more. These programs might require that students already have some business courses under their belts. Students can expect a somewhat heavy course load in order to earn the degree in a shorter time period.
This MBA program is often meant for individuals with roughly ten years of work experience in the business world. Coursework is designed to meet the needs of executives and managers and can prepare them for career advancement.
Dual MBA programs allow students to combine their MBA curriculum with another degree, such as a Master of Science or Master of Public Health. Many schools also offer 5-year combined bachelor's and MBA degree programs.
Salary and Careers
According to the QS TopMBA.com Job and Salary Trends Report 2013/14, graduates of an MBA program receive an average salary of $82,200 in the United States. If you include bonus awards, the average is bumped up to $98,300.
The QS report also says that in the United States, a large percentage of jobs can be found in the industries of financial services and banking; recruitment and HR services; consulting and professional services; and IT and computer services. However, it should be noted that job growth is high in the pharmaceutical and law industries as well.
MBA graduates can work within private companies, nonprofits, government, schools or hospitals. Job prospects for MBA holders are good in the United States, but an added advantage is that the degree can open doors for overseas employment as well.
Interested in pursuing an MBA? An undergraduate degree in business is a great place to start! Check out Business 100: Intro to Business to start earning college credits towards your degree.