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Understanding the Master of Business Administration (MBA)

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One of the most popular degrees mentioned in cubicles and corporate offices across the country and around the world is the Master of Business Administration (MBA). The MBA is widely regarded by pundits and professionals alike as one of the best degrees available for individuals with high aspirations in the field of business. How many people truly understand what the MBA is and what the experience of earning one is like?

Not All Degrees Are Created Equal!

While an MBA can help you for effective leadership in today’s fast-paced business world, not all of the MBA degree programs out there are the same. When examining any MBA program, make sure the program is accredited by an accrediting body, such as The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes of these programs within a business school meet rigorous educational standards. ACBSP is a leading specialized accreditation association for business education supporting, celebrating, and rewarding teaching excellence. Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only business accrediting organization for all associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs.

A degree in an accredited MBA program can be the differentiator in today’s competitive job market, so be sure to ask questions about accreditation when talking to any college or university.

What Business Schools Want

Before applying for an MBA program at a business school, business professionals need to understand what business schools are looking for in an applicant so that their time and that of the school is not wasted during the application process. According to, schools will often look at an applicant’s prior bachelor’s level degree, undergraduate GPA, campus involvement, work experience, and answers to application essay questions. Some schools also look at GMAT scores of program applicants.

Joanne Starr, the assistant dean of admissions at the University of California-Irvine’s The Paul Merage School of Business, says schools will also be sifting through an application to see that potential students have an understanding of the purpose of an MBA and possess some “organizational savvy.”

More than Just Academic Knowledge

An MBA program is an academic degree, let’s be clear about that, but there is more to be learned from an MBA program than academics. David Fetherston, director of the MBA Center for Career Development at Babson College, told that an MBA program also teaches students valuable lessons in interacting in the workplace. He states that one of the best lessons learned is how to disagree politely and professionally with counterparts.

Social skills aside, an MBA program teaches students advanced financial skills, mathematic skills, and helps provide them with the analytical skills to view a corporation or industry as a whole.

What MBA Options Exist?

Many would likely assume that an MBA requires individuals to drop everything and return to school full-time. While this is certainly an option, many of the individuals who pursue an MBA are working professionals with financial obligations who cannot afford to simply leave their job and return to school full-time. notes that there are numerous options available for students looking to earn an MBA that don’t require them to leave the workplace. Examples of MBA programs include the following:

  • Weekend MBA: Designed for executives looking to earn an MBA, these programs take roughly 26 months to complete and are done with one weekend a month on campus. Program length can vary from school to school.
  • Online MBA: As the name would suggest, these programs can be completed entirely online. Coursework is submitted online and “class” can consist of chat sessions and discussion forums.
  • Onsite MBA: Not the most popular, but not uncommon, these programs offer MBA courses tailored to a specific company’s employees. Courses are delivered part-time onsite in the workplace.
  • One Year MBA: A full-time program, this course is designed to be an intensive on-campus program with the goal of moving students toward graduation within a year of enrollment.

These are some of the most basic factors that everyone considering an MBA degree should know before diving into the enrollment process. It is important to know that no two individuals are going to have the same experience with an MBA. Those considering an MBA should keep this information in mind and analyze it carefully to decide if the degree is right for them now or in the future.