Of all the degrees students have to choose from upon returning to school, the Master of Business Administration, or MBA, is one of the most commonly studied, and for good reason. The MBA is a very broad but very valuable distinction because it prepares students to move to higher positions with more responsibility and better pay by giving them more specialized skills. The number of schools that offer MBA programs increases every year, making it easy for almost anyone to find one that suits his or her needs.
Different MBA Options
Another factor that makes MBA programs so commonly studied is the fact that students can choose to pursue this degree regardless of their undergraduate major or concentration. Schools typically offer several different options for students depending on their educational background and current occupation. For example, students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in some area of business are usually able to graduate faster, having already taken some of the course requirements. Additionally, schools offer classes in full- or part-time format so that students can choose to work during the day and take classes in the evenings or on weekends. For a student with no previous business background who studies full-time, it will typically take about two years to earn an MBA.
Many accredited MBA programs require students to select a concentration: a plan of study that will place more focus on one or more specific areas of business. Obviously, concentrations will depend on the student’s field and what he or she expects of his or her career trajectory after obtaining the degree. One example of a concentration that could be chosen is corporate finance. An MBA with a concentration in corporate finance might help someone obtain a position as a financial analyst or even CFO who helps create and plan a firm’s monetary prospects. Other examples of concentrations are consulting, marketing, corporate accountancy, and entrepreneurship.
Like most graduate programs, MBA programs are much more specialized than undergraduate ones. As such, there are usually few core requirements; the classes students take as they pursue their degrees are highly dependent upon their concentrations. Even students within the same concentration can often be taking different classes if the program allows students to further specialize for the type of work they plan to do or for a specific position they are attempting to acquire. Aside from courses, many programs require that students take on case work and intensives that give them hands-on, real-life experience with problems from real companies.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers who held a masters degree earned, on average, over $10,000 more than workers who held only a bachelor’s degree in 2011. Not only that, but they were also much less likely to be unemployed. An MBA is the perfect way to jump-start your career if you feel that yours hasn’t been living up to your expectations or if you’re looking to get ahead in the hunt for a certain promotion. Even if your experience in business is nonexistent and you just want to get in the game, an MBA will show employers that you are serious about starting down a career path that has almost limitless potential.