What is an MBA?: Your Questions Answered

What is an MBA?

One of the questions that business education experts are regularly asked by MBA applicants is: ‘What is an MBA?’

While seemingly an obvious question that anyone interested in applying to business school should know the answer to, it can be surprising when asked by highly-skilled, talented professionals, intent on discovering the many benefits which MBA programs can bring.

What is an MBA?

MBA programs, short for Masters of Business Administration are renowned because of their career and salary enhancing benefits for alumni. Like a stamp of accreditation, employers know that any job applicant boasting an MBA is well versed in all that is business management.

However, while the outcome and results of graduating from an MBA are well-known, there is still a great deal of confusion over what an MBA program is.

So what is an MBA exactly? Traditionally, an MBA is considered to give an overview of management practices through a wide range of disciplines, ensuring that graduates are well-rounded and prepared for any eventuality. Interdisciplinary in nature, MBA programs are unlike other management qualifications such as a Master of science (Msc) in management due to various aspects.

Though there are many more, four answers to the question of 'What is an MBA program?' are listed below:

MBA curricula draw from a range of disciplines: psychology, economics, sociology, marketing and finance to name just a few. This ensures that graduates are able to take a holistic approach to business management, rather than focusing in one, narrow career path.

Prior work experience is a must on any MBA program: in order to ensure all students have value to bring to the classroom, MBA admission departments place great emphasis on their admitted students having an accumulative wide-ranging wealth of experience of the business world.

MBA pay: while MBA salaries vary depending on both the graduate and the industry they choose to enter, the average increase in annual pay for fresh MBA graduates from full-time, one-year programs is 80%. In comparison, for the average master’s program, fresh graduates see an average salary increase of just 31%.

Vocational nature: MBAs are very much orientated towards gearing students up to enter management roles straight after graduation. On two-year MBA programs, during the summer break students are expected to take part in paid internships. On all programs though, the emphasis is on vocational education, with tutors and lecturers often traveling straight from the board rooms of multi-national corporations to the MBA classroom.

Which MBA?

One of the reasons that the question ‘what is an MBA?’ is troublesome to answer is because all MBA programs and business schools are different.

While MBA rankings, personal recommendations and prospectuses can all be important decision making aids, which MBA you choose should primarily depend on what it is that you want to do with your career.

Some institutions, such as Wharton and London Business School excel at teaching their MBA students the finer details of finance. Others, like Harvard and INSEAD are particularly good at producing MBAs with entrepreneurial talent. There are also other important factors such as the availability of financial aid, class diversity, course length, and the range of elective modules on offer.

By far the most effective method of making an informed decision on such a complicated matter is to meet with the business schools in person. This way, MBA candidates are able to discuss any questions they have with the people who run the programs.

Written by QS Blogger
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