Masters in Business Administration (MBA)

A Master of Business Administration (commonly abbreviated to MBA) is a globally recognized academic degree designed to develop skills required for a career in business and management.  Students study the theory and application of business and management principles including marketing, finance, operations, strategy etc. that equips them with knowledge that can be applied to a variety of real world corporate situations.

 The value of the MBA, however, is not limited strictly to the business world. An MBA can also be useful for those pursuing a managerial career in the public sector, government, private industry, and other areas.

Overview:

1. Type & Duration.

  • Traditional full-time MBA – normally takes place over two academic years.
  • Accelerated MBA – involves a higher course load with more intense class and examination schedules and is usually condensed into one year.
  • Part-Time MBA – catered towards the working professional and normally lasts three years or more. Classes are typically held on weekday evenings, after normal working hours, or on weekends.
  • Executive MBA – developed to meet the educational needs of managers and executives, allowing students to earn an MBA in two years or less while working full-time. Typically students have a higher level of work experience, often 10 years or more, compared to other MBA students.
  • Distance Learning MBA – classes are held off-campus using mediums like mail or email, non-interactive broadcast video, pre-recorded video, live teleconference or video conference, offline or online computer courses. Duration varies based on the course.

2. Curriculum. Most MBA programs include a core curriculum of subjects, such as finance, accounting, marketing, operations, as well as elective courses that allow students to develop and expand upon their personal or professional interests. Additionally, conventional two-year programs include an internship at an organization, which can lead to job opportunities after the program.

3. Work Experience. Top business schools generally require students have at least a couple of years of professional work before starting the MBA program. There are programs that accept students directly after their undergraduate degree, however the average at premiere institutes ranges from 3-7 years.

4. Standard Requirements.

  • Application form(s)
  • Application Fees
  • GMAT / GRE
  • TOEFL or IELTS (Colleges may waive this requirement if certain prerequisites are met.)
  • Transcripts
  • Essays or Statements of Purpose
  • Resume
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation
  • Interview

Why Pursue An MBA?

There are several benefits of pursuing an MBA including:

1. Develop skill sets.  The MBA is a broad based degree that educates you in a wide range of areas including marketing, finance, operations, strategy, and leadership. You learn about the latest management techniques, how to problem solve, and think outside the box.

2. Enhanced job prospects.  An MBA degree can significantly boost your career prospects and accelerate your climb up the corporate ladder.  Most business schools have a career services office with full-time staff dedicated to helping students determine their professional goals, find resources related to their industry of choice and prepare them for interviews and even contract negotiations.

3. Enhanced salary.  With the enhanced job prospects also comes an enhanced salary.  An MBA for many is an investment in themselves.  A number of studies have found that MBA grads do earn more.

4. Opportunity to switch careers.  A number of students pursue an MBA to change careers.  The degree provides a platform for you to not only learn the relevant skill sets but also gain hands on experience.

5. Opportunity to network.  Business schools provide an incredible platform for you to network with not only your classmates, but also professors, other students on campus and alumni.  These connections you make have the potential of being your life long friends, future business partners, co-founders, investors, mentors, and so much more.

What Are Universities Looking For?

A business school application is not just a set of application forms that need to be filled out. Colleges are looking for profiles that showcase the right fit. The following foundational checkboxes will need to be tailored and prioritized according to your strengths and goals and the ethos of the institutions you will be applying to:

1. Leadership experience is the fundamental cornerstone of a strong business school application. To build leadership experience, start taking more initiative and responsibility in your current professional role, and provide critical support to your teammates when they are project leads. Work towards employee awards. Make sure to keep track of all appreciation emails and commendations from clients, team members and senior management.

2. A clear way to demonstrate leadership is to start a business, or join a friend’s startup. Try to find a market solution to a problem that you are deeply passionate about. If it doesn’t work out, you have an impactful learning experience to share with the admissions committee.

3. Community Involvement. If you are applying to business school and do not have enough recent experience with extra curricular activities or community engagement, you need to get cracking now. The greatest impact that you can demonstrate is by taking on leadership roles in a few organizations whose causes you are most passionate about. This will reiterate your ability to be an effective leader in a professional setting and at the community level.

4. Learning Beyond Office Hours. In addition to deepening your involvement and leadership in the community, start taking classes to either buffer academic gaps or strengthen core abilities.

5. Communication Skills. Given the participant-driven, case-based learning method that is foundational to most MBA programs, business schools want to ensure that you bring significant interpersonal impact to the table. To build your verbal communication skills, take public speaking/online courses. To get better at writing, in addition to reading more, take persuasive writing courses, or keep a journal.

6. Strong Relationships with Supervisors. It is imperative that you develop a strong relationship with supervisors in the workplace and community organizations you are engaged with who are potential recommenders. Consistently engaging with your supervisor on your progress will help you further cement your relationship and showcase enthusiasm and initiative.

7. For a strong business school application, you need to have a clear vision of your short and long term career goals. Engage with as many industry stalwarts as possible, keeping alumni of your target schools in mind. Have a set of questions ready, and get them to guide you towards finding your own success within the industry.

Is An MBA Right For Me?

An MBA may not be the right stepping-stone for everyone.  It’s important you spend time to reflect, undertake a complete assessment and identify specifically why the MBA is for you.  When it’s a right fit, it can provide you with the relevant skill sets and advancement you need to take your career to the next level.

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