Understanding the MBA Degree

What You Need to Know About a Master of Business Administration

A Divide Being Crossed Using a Massive Graduation Cap

wildpixel / Getty Images 

The MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a postgraduate degree awarded to students who have mastered the study of business and are looking to further their career options and perhaps earn a higher salary.

This degree option is available to students who have already earned a bachelor's degree. In some cases, students who earn a master's degree return to school to earn an MBA.

Students of MBA programs study the theory and application of business and management principles. This type of study equips students with knowledge that can be applied to a variety of real-world business industries and situations.​

Types of MBA Degrees

MBA degrees are often split into different categories: Full- and part-time programs. As the names suggest, one requires full-time study and the other only part-time.

Part-time MBA programs are sometimes known as evening or weekend MBA programs because classes are typically held on weekday evenings or weekends. Programs like this allow students to continue working while they earn their degree. These programs are ideal for students who are receiving tuition reimbursement from an employer

There are also different types of MBA degrees:

  • The traditional two-year MBA program.
  • An accelerated MBA program, which takes just one year to complete.
  • An executive MBA program, which is designed for current business executives. 

Reasons to Get an MBA

The main reason to get an MBA degree is to increase your salary potential and advance your career. Because graduates who hold an MBA degree are eligible for jobs that would not be offered to those who hold only a college degree or high school diploma, an MBA is almost a necessity in today’s business world.

According to U.S. News' Best Business School Rankings, the total annual compensation of MBA graduates of the top 10 business schools in 2019 ranged from $58,390 to $161,566.

In most cases, an MBA is required for executive and senior management positions. Some companies will not even consider applicants unless they have an MBA.

Before deciding on a program, make sure it fits your career goals and schedule.

What You Can Do It

Many MBA programs offer education in general management along with a more specialized curriculum. Because this type of education is relevant to all industries and sectors, it will be valuable regardless of the career chosen after graduation.

MBA Concentrations

Different disciplines can be pursued and combined with an MBA degree. The options shown below are some of the most common MBA concentrations/degrees:

  • Accounting
  • Business Management
  • E-Business/E-Commerce
  • Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Global Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Strategic/Risk Management
  • Technology Management

Best Content?

Much like a law school or medical school education, the academic content of a business school education does not vary much between programs. Generally, MBA graduates learn to analyze big issues and develop solutions while motivating those who work for them.

Though the information you learn at any school will be essentially the same, experts will tell you that the value of your MBA degree is often directly related to the prestige of the school that grants it.

MBA Rankings

Every year MBA schools receive rankings from various organizations and publications. These rankings are determined by a variety of factors and can be useful when choosing a business school or MBA program. Here are some of the top-ranked business schools for MBA students:

MBA Degree Cost

Getting an MBA degree is expensive. In some cases, the cost of an MBA degree is four times as much as the average yearly salary earned by recent MBA graduates. Tuition costs vary depending on the school and the program you choose. Financial aid is available to MBA students. 

The annual cost of a full-time traditional program was $50,000 in 2019, with some schools reporting $70,000, according to U.S. News' Best Business School Rankings. Those numbers, however, did not include financial aid.

There are many options for potential MBA candidates, but before making a decision, evaluate each one before settling on the MBA degree program that’s right for you.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Schweitzer, Karen. "Understanding the MBA Degree." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/mba-understanding-the-mba-degree-466766. Schweitzer, Karen. (2021, February 16). Understanding the MBA Degree. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/mba-understanding-the-mba-degree-466766 Schweitzer, Karen. "Understanding the MBA Degree." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/mba-understanding-the-mba-degree-466766 (accessed March 23, 2023).

Watch Now: How to Choose a Business School