(MBA) Master's Degree Programs

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. Find out what MBA programs are like, and review the prerequisites for enrollment. Explore some course topics, see potential specializations in an MBA program, and get info on possible jobs after graduation. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What's an MBA Program?

MBA programs are terminal degrees in business that qualify you for upper-level management, executive or supervisory positions. In addition to traditional programs that take 2-3 years to complete, MBA programs are also offered in several other formats in which the time needed to earn the degree varies.

For example, accelerated formats are intensive courses of study that allow you to graduate in less time. Flexible formats allow you to enroll in courses at your own pace and complete them according to your schedule. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs are designed for professionals who already work in a managerial capacity, and these programs may only meet a few times per month. EMBA programs may also include online components and work around full-time employment schedules. Lastly, some programs are offered entirely in distance-learning formats.

Degree Levels Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA)
Common Courses Operations management, organizational behavior, leadership principles, financial reporting, business analysis
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree, GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose; a current resume is sometimes required as well
Possible Career Areas Technology, international commerce, marketing, general management, finance, and banking
Job Outlook (2016-2026) Overall employment of Top Executives is expected to grow by 8%*
Median Salary (May 2018) $100,930 for General and Operations Managers, $189,600 for Chief Executives*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

Many MBA programs allow you to choose a specialization, such as marketing, human resources management, accounting, finance or sales. Other specializations could include innovation entrepreneurship, sustainability, supply chain management, international management or healthcare management. No matter your emphasis, most courses of study include training in management, finance, and marketing. The following are examples of classes you might find in the curriculum:

  • Financial reporting
  • Strategic decision making
  • Organizational behavior
  • Marketing principles
  • Venture capital and fundraising
  • Operations management
  • Leadership principles
  • Business analysis
  • Energy businesses and geopolitics
  • International trade and investment

What Do I Need to Apply?

You need a bachelor's degree to apply to MBA programs, and some admissions committees prefer applicants who have master's degrees in a related field or professional business experience; in fact, professional experience is sometimes a prerequisite. Other application requirements could include a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and a resume. You should also expect to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) scores.

What Careers Could I Pursue?

Graduates of MBA programs are eligible for many different careers, and the type of career you pursue might depend on your specialization. Another option is to start your own business. You could be eligible for management or executive positions in fields like the following:

  • Finance and banking
  • Healthcare management
  • Technology
  • International commerce
  • Marketing
  • Operations management
  • General management

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

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  • Florida Tech

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  • American University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Regent University

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  • Colorado Christian University

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