Deciding on an MBA

Generally speaking, earning a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is a good move for a variety of careers.  Overall, MBA students are typically in their late 20's to early 30's.  Most of the schools that offer the MBA degree feel this is a good age for people to lay out their future plans and choose a career path.

The majority of MBA programs require that potential students possess some work experience before admission. Students with work experience have gotten a taste of the real world and can use their newfound knowledge to its fullest potential.  The focus of the MBA classes is on group discussions and exploring new ideas.  People that have spent some experience to call on are able to provide more insight into the conversations and share real world examples with their classmates.

It is possible to go straight from a bachelor's program into an MBA program.  These applicants will need to show a strong reason for wanting the MBA, as well as providing a strong record of successfully completing business classes or an appropriate internship.  This type of experience may be enough to satisfy the admissions requirements of some MBA schools.

Some schools now offer the opportunity to earn the MBA through online classes in addition to the campus classroom structure.  The on-line option gives people the flexibility to work at their full time job while completing classes in their spare time.  It is also possible that some employers will assist in paying for the online degree.

The Application Process

The majority of MBA schools will ask for the following information from all applicants:

  • Official college transcripts
  • Your personal statement
  • Recommendation letters
  • Your scores from the GMAT

The GMAT is the Graduate Management Aptitude Test, a standardized test similar to the GRE exam.  Since the score on this test is considered in high regard by most schools, you should study for the test just as you did for the ACT or SAT test prior to your undergraduate application.

If you choose to earn your MBA degree through online classes you will find that the admission requirements are the same.  Online classes are ideally suited for people with a strong drive and are able to properly manage their time without supervision. 

Common Areas of Interest for MBA

Certain industries and occupations seem more applicable for an MBA degree.  An MBA degree can focus on a particular segment of work or an industry, allowing students to specialize in a particular knowledge and elevate their worth in the eyes of a current employer or potential new employer.

A popular choice among the current crop of MBA students is a degree focused on information technology.  Computers, software, the internet and other forms of technology continue to grow in their use in companies across almost every industry.  Understanding how to use and manage this technology can be valuable for large corporations.

Computer software engineers can benefit from earning an MBA.  The combination of programming knowledge along with the knowledge of properly managing a business can help engineers see the product from the view point of the customers and lay out a solid plan for marketing and distributing the product.

Human resource managers continue to see their role in the company grow in a way that makes an MBA very appropriate.  Discussing different positions with other managers and determining the best way to utilize all of their employees is becoming more important.  These types of meetings and discussions make it necessary for the human resource personnel to have some experience working in different parts of business and to have some management knowledge.

Marketing managers can use the knowledge of an MBA to lay out a better marketing strategy.  Financial analysts who wish to advance to a management level can benefit from the MBA program as well.  And individuals considering a career in government work can use their MBA skills to take an idea and turn it into action.

An MBA specializing in organization management can help non-profits as well as self employed individuals.  Statistics show that new start ups that are run by an MBA degree holder succeed 50% more than their counterparts without an MBA.

Courses Covered in an MBA

Most MBA programs will cover the following material.

  • Determining goals for the business
  • Laying out a business strategy
  • Improving the value of services
  • Communication with colleagues
  • Presentation and speech skills
  • Managing employees
  • Problem solving

Using an MBA Degree to Build a Network

Besides the experience you will gain from the MBA program you will also have an enormous chance to increase your personal network.  Most MBA schools have an average student enrollment of 200 to 900 students.  This gives you a chance to meet people with similar goals and form a bond that can last long after college. 

For example, you may decide to pursue a management position at your present employer.  As you move up the corporate ladder you may see a need for a top IT manager or human resource manager.  It is possible you already know a good candidate based on your time in the MBA program.

If you are an entrepreneur at heart you may want to participate in one of the business plan challenges. Many of these challenges open their doors to any interested party and promise a nice cash prize along with some notoriety for winning the competition.  This could be the publicity you need to attract the right kind of investor to help get your business off of the ground.