A Guide to Doing an MBA


An MBA is a rewarding and respected degree in the world of business, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. There is a lot to consider before undertaking this degree, especially if you are already working in a professional role. Below is a short guide explaining what an MBA is and what you need to do to apply.

What is an MBA?

An MBA is short for a Master of Business Administration, and it is a prestigious postgraduate qualification that is highly valued by employers. Along with this prestige, however, is an academically challenging course and very high tuition fees.

Because an MBA opens so many doors, most people who get this degree often terminate their schooling at that point; however, there are options to take your studies further to the doctorate level if you choose to.

How long does it take?

Full-time MBAs typically take two years to complete; however, in recent years, there have been accelerated MBA programs that only take one year. Part-time degrees take a bit longer and will depend on the circumstances of the person taking it (i.e., if they’re working a full-time job). In general, though, expect to take between 1-3 years to complete an MBA.

What are the entry requirements?

To apply for an MBA, applicants will typically need to submit standardized test scores like the GMAT and GRE, along with resumes, transcripts, and recommendation letters. Most business schools will also want to see evidence of experience and career progression in applicants’ resumes as it demonstrates their professional abilities. Some schools will also require in-person interviews and video essays, so it’s worth doing your research first before you start the application process.

Types of MBA Degrees

There are several different types of MBA degrees, which means you’ll need to assess which one best suits your level of experience. These include:

  • Full-time MBA: these are intensive and all-consuming programs that are best for those wanting to reset their career path
  • Part-time MBA: these degrees are ideal for those who are already in professional positions and want to move up the ranks in their company or organization
  • Executive MBA: these are well-suited to seasoned business people who want to increase their leadership skills and climb the managerial ladder
  • Distance Learning MBA: these degrees are best for those who do not live close to their institution of choice or are working full-time. Institutions like Suffolk University, for instance, provide flexible online MBA programs. Click here for more information.

How to Prepare

Applying for an MBA takes a lot of careful planning and preparation. If you intend to undertake this degree, it’s worth putting everything in order well in advance of the application deadlines. Below are some tips to get you started:

  • Choose your school and program: depending on where you live, there are a lot of MBA programs, so make sure you do your research ahead of time. Online MBAs have opened the door to a lot more opportunities, so you may even want to look at programs outside the US to see what they offer.
  • Prepare your transcripts: obtaining official transcripts can take time, so put these in order as soon as possible. Depending on which school or country you apply to, you may need to include additional information so check the requirements before you request your transcripts.
  • Take the GMAT and GREs: most MBA programs will require these tests as part of their admissions process. Your results on one or both of these tests will influence your application a great deal, so it’s worth taking special classes to prepare you.
  • Start drafting your professional essay: many universities will expect a professional essay alongside your resume. Use the time to draft this in advance and be sure to use this opportunity to list out achievements and skills that will boost your profile.
  • Request recommendation letters early: again, preparing early is essential, especially when it comes to recommendation letters. The person you are asking is likely very busy and if you want them to have time to write you a glowing recommendation, getting in touch with them early is imperative.
  • Prepare for your admission interview: if an in-person interview is required for your program, prepare for this in advance by doing practice runs and getting feedback from mentors, teachers, and family.

Costs of Study

Before you apply for your MBA program, it’s worth looking into the costs and whether you are eligible for funding or scholarships. MBAs are expensive degrees as they can run anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 per year, and the cost depends largely on whether you attend public or private schools. Distance learning degrees can also be less expensive.

If cost is an issue, look into scholarship eligibility as these can be highly competitive. It may also be worth investigating public or private financial aid to help support the cost of tuition.

What does an MBA involve?

MBA programs are intense and are designed to help students develop the skills to succeed as managers, leaders, or business owners. Other general skills that you can learn on an MBA include leadership skills, team building, finance, management strategies, report analysis, and business acumen.
The degree itself will vary depending on the subject area or specialism you choose. But most often, the course will involve exams, essays, group work, case studies, and real-life projects.

MBA Specialisms

There are many different MBA pathways, and it will depend on what your interests, skills, and experience are. Below are a few of the specialisms you can focus on:

  • General Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Strategy
  • Consulting
  • Finance
  • International Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • IT or Technology Management

MBA Salaries & Job Prospects

If you’re looking ahead to the future and are wondering what this degree will do for you, MBA graduates tend to be highly employable because of what the experience represents. These degrees show employers that you are highly skilled in business, in general management, and in the ability to oversee multiple departments in a company.

MBA graduates also command high salaries and are employable in a number of industries such as healthcare and technology. Average salaries for people with MBAs under their belt can be around $100,000 per year, with those in consulting positions making upwards of $130,000 or more.

Decide Whether an MBA is for You

Embarking on an MBA takes dedication, hard work, and commitment. While it is a challenging and expensive endeavor, the rewards can be found in the job prospects, high salary, experience, and the relationships that students forge on their program. Review this guide above before making your decision, and good luck with your studies!


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