MBA Degree

An MBA degree, which stands for Master of Business Administration, is a graduate degree for those who want to achieve great things in the world of business. This highly-coveted degree has been in existence for over 100 years. Today, schools around the world have MBA programs, and individuals now have a wider range of choices when it comes to how they will study for their MBA. Full-time and online programs, as well as those designed especially for working professionals, are now widely available.

The MBA degree is recognized throughout the world, and those who choose to obtain the degree come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Because of this, those who hold this type of degree are quite diverse in comparison to, for example, those who pursue graduate studies in biology, physics, or English literature.

The degree is considered a very valuable asset by both MBA graduates and employers for several reasons. First, having an MBA implies that the individual possesses a broad knowledge of important business topics. The first year curriculum of most MBA programs covers numerous topics, including accounting, finance, and marketing. Second, many schools also offer students the opportunity to specialize, so graduates will have both knowledge of broad business topics and possess expertise in their specialization.

While there are many other business programs offered by universities, the MBA degree is unrivaled for its ability to develop good general business skills in students. Students find the MBA degree an attractive option because they can pursue a wide range of positions, competitive salaries, and virtually unlimited opportunities for advancement. These are just a few of the rewards that having an MBA degree can provide.

Reasons To Pursue An MBA

This year many individuals will apply for admission into an MBA program. The decision to obtain an MBA requires a substantial commitment of money and time. However, there are many compelling reasons to pursue an MBA if one wishes to get ahead in the business world.

MBAs are internationally recognized

Travel to many areas of the world, and most people have at least heard of the graduate degree known as the MBA. This makes it much more valuable than many other business degrees. For example, even though a Master's in Commerce may be a prestigious degree in some countries, other locations may not be familiar with the program. Having an MBA, which is recognized almost universally, will increase your ability to compete for jobs in more locations.

MBAs can earn higher salaries

One of the major reasons why people choose to pursue an MBA is because it often allows graduates to earn a greater salary. Although the average starting salary for MBA graduates is influenced by the number of years of work experience they have prior to starting their degree, even those with fewer than three years of industry experience reportedly start out earning close to $70,000. This figure rises dramatically as graduates build up more experience. Simply put, an MBA offers an earning potential that is unrivaled by most other degrees.

MBAs permit advancement

Even if an MBA graduate has to start out in a position that is somewhat lower on the corporate ladder than they would like, there are tremendous opportunities for advancement with the degree. Those who only possess a bachelor's degree may find they can only go so far in the corporate world, even if their skills and job performance are beyond reproach. With an MBA, the opportunities are virtually endless, and graduates can even assume the role of chief financial officer with good job performance.

MBAs increase business knowledge

Although this advantage may seem obvious, it is not one that should be overlooked. The MBA program will further your business skills, and provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge on which to build. People who complete an MBA graduate with a good understanding of leadership, marketing principals, financial matters, and how to conduct international business. The type of MBA they choose to pursue will influence how much knowledge they will acquire in each of these areas.

MBA Student: What To Expect

For many students who decide to leave the work force and return to school to obtain an MBA, the experience is much more intense than they could have anticipated. Students describe completing an MBA as an all-consuming experience, one that leaves little time for socializing and relaxing. If you are hoping to become an MBA student, or will be one in the near future, here is what you can expect.

Rigorous academics: Anyone who has completed an MBA will tell you it is work. A lot of work. Expect to attend regular classes and complete a large number of assignments and projects. Some MBA programs even require students to attend evening classes. Before deciding to head back to school for an MBA, be sure you are up for the commitment this program will require. Be prepared to devote as much time to study as you would devote to your job.

Diverse colleagues: MBA students are a diverse group of people. Expect to share the MBA experience with people from different undergraduate backgrounds, nationalities, and work histories. In fact, many universities specifically aim to establish a diverse student population. In this way, you will be exposing yourself to many different thoughts and ideas, rather than simply spending your days with people who share the same views.

Teamwork: Many schools are increasingly developing approaches designed specifically to allow students to work collaboratively in groups. At the Wharton School of Business, for example, students are placed in study teams, and spend their first year completing a variety of tasks with their group. Other schools have implemented similar practices. Because business is all about interacting with others and being able to relate to all types of people, encouraging group work and collaboration is an effective way for schools to prepare their students for the world of business.

Networking opportunities: Most MBA students hope to get a great job after graduation, and the people they meet at a university often prove to be very helpful in this respect. Professors, fellow students, and those you interact with during your internship all provide valuable chances to network and meet potential employers.

Valuable learning: This may seem obvious, but it is worthwhile to note that most MBA graduates consider their university experience to be an extremely valuable one. The rigorous instruction and requirements result in students gaining a broad understanding of the business world, and these skills allow graduates not only to secure positions, but also to apply the skills they have learned to advance in the world of business.

MBA Course: An Overview

Depending on whether you are attending school part time, full time, or completing your MBA degree through distance learning, the MBA course may be structured differently. For most full-time MBA students, however, the structure of the two-year program will be similar.

First year

The first year of most MBA programs is designed to give all students a broad set of business skills and knowledge. Expect to take courses in diverse areas like finance, marketing, ethics, and management. Basically, the first year courses required by many MBA schools are designed to put all students on a level playing field and provide them with a solid background in various business areas.

Second year

Most top MBA schools offer students the opportunity to specialize. Be prepared to choose an area of business you would like to explore more in-depth. Depending on the school, concentrations offered could include everything from real estate, to finance, to arts administration. Whereas the first year provides instruction on a broad range of topics, the second year is designed to allow the student to cultivate expertise in a single area.

Extras

Most MBA courses also require students to complete a few extra requirements in addition to their courses. Perhaps the most common are the internship, which gives students experience in a real world business environment, and the dissertation, which requires students to use all of their acquired knowledge and skills to produce a lengthy document focusing on a business topic.

MBA Study: It's Harder Than Most People Think

Many undergraduate students are able to excel in an academic environment simply by memorizing course material and repeating it verbatim on tests and exams. Studying for an MBA is quite different. There are a few major differences between undergraduate and MBA study.

Application vs. memorization

As an MBA student, it is no longer enough to simply memorize information. Most schools will be looking for your ability to apply this information to case studies or real world situations. For example, you may understand the concept of price elasticity, which may have been enough to do well in your first year economics course, but during your MBA you will have to be able to determine how price elasticity (or lack thereof) can affect various industries and/or a specific company.

Independence vs. collaboration

Undergraduate degrees usually require students to complete most course requirements on their own. Studying for an MBA at many schools, however, is quite different. Top business schools often encourage debate and discussion. For example, your professor may present you with a case study outlining a difficulty currently being faced by a corporation. Students are then required to formulate a possible solution and present it during their next class. The goal is not to arrive at a correct answer, but to explore the topic from as many different angles as possible. In this way, the student gains a better understanding of the complexity of the challenges faced by many businesses.

Frequency of assessment

A typical course in an undergraduate degree is based on a small number of high stakes tests and assignments. A student who does well on exams will typically do well in the course, even if they do not make a consistent effort. While studying for an MBA, however, students are always being assessed. This is evident in the large number of assignments that must be completed for most MBA courses. In addition, some schools base a large percentage of course grades on student participation, so the MBA student must be consistently prepared for class and actively engaged during class time if they hope to do well in the program.

Writing Your MBA Dissertation

Most students studying for an MBA will be required, near the end of their study, to complete an MBA dissertation. Basically, the dissertation can be thought of as a way of synthesizing the knowledge and skills that have been acquired during the student's two years of study.

What is a dissertation?

The MBA dissertation is a long, written work that can range in length, depending on the academic institution. In general, you should be prepared to write a work that is at least 10,000 words. Some schools in the UK require students to write dissertations that are up to 25,000 words in length.

What can I write about?

Obviously, the MBA dissertation must focus on some aspect of business, but many schools offer students a good variety of choices when it comes to exactly what the work will be about. Students can choose to conduct research, formulate a business plan, or execute a case study. Many schools also offer students the opportunity to work with real companies to complete their projects. Incorporating data from actual businesses can enhance the experience for students by allowing them to apply the theories they have learned in the classroom to practical challenges and situations. For example, a marketing major could look at how a company could secure more customers, while a finance major might look at the effects of a merger between two corporations.

Will anybody help me with my dissertation?

In most cases, students are assigned a faculty member that will supervise them throughout the process. Usually, the student will have to discuss their dissertation ideas with their supervisor and get them approved before proceeding. This is very beneficial, as the student will not run the risk of choosing an unsuitable project and wasting considerable time and effort. The supervisor may also meet with the student on a regular basis to monitor progress and discuss any challenges or obstacles the student is facing in conducting research or preparing the dissertation.

How do I pass the dissertation?

After the dissertation has been completed, it is reviewed by faculty members at the school. In addition to the dissertation advisor, the school may also ask other staff members to review the document as well. In order to pass the dissertation component and receive the MBA degree, the project must be approved by those staff members responsible for reviewing it. The exact review process and requirements can vary, depending on the institution.

How An MBA Internship Can Help You

There is no doubt that good grades and a positive attitude will help you find a great job after you obtain an MBA. However, the internship can also play a crucial role in helping you find work in your field after graduation. Here is some basic information about MBA internships and how to get the most out of the experience.

What are they?

Internships are usually completed during the summer immediately following the first year of MBA study. They are typically eight to fourteen weeks long, and are completed in a business environment. Ideally, they will be challenging experiences that will allow the individual to take the theories and skills they have learned during their first year of study and apply them to real world business situations.

Do I have to do an internship?

That depends on where you decide to study. For some schools, it is a requirement for graduation. Students are also required to write a report about their experience and what they got out of it upon returning to school in the fall, and these reports are graded and reflected in the student's GPA. Other schools do not require students to complete an internship, but almost every school recommends them.

How can I find an employer for my internship?

Many schools assist students in finding a suitable internship, and some have departments entirely devoted to locating internship opportunities, advertising them, and even submitting applications on behalf of their students. If this is not the case, you may have to find internship opportunities on your own. You can search online or contact companies you are interested in to see if internships are being offered.

Where should I do an internship?

First, keep in mind that many people who complete internships with companies are ultimately hired by them. In fact, when companies were surveyed, almost three quarters of them stated that they would first consider past interns if they were in the position to hire new employees. In addition, the majority of companies surveyed also said they had hired MBA interns in the past. So, the first suggestion is obviously to choose a company you would be interested in working for. If this is not possible, make sure that your internship is related to the area in which you wish to specialize. Even if you do not want to pursue a career with the company, you will still gain valuable hands-on experience that will be a big help when you begin looking for positions after graduation.

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Last Updated: 07/24/2014