The MBA - Facts & Fiction

What is an MBA degree and what can it do for me? If you want to know the answer to these and other basic MBA questions, read this.

What is an MBA?

The MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is a graduate management degree. Other management degrees include Master of Science in Business Administration (MSBA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Science in Administration (MSIA), Master of Public and Private Management (MPPM), and Master of Management (MM).

What is an MBA going to do for me?

The purpose of an MBA education is to provide training in the theory and practise of business management. Professional management programs are based on he premise that people can learn to manage all types of business situations more effectively.

MBA programs not only help their students to develop skills that are highly valued by many employers, but the programs also present a theoretical context for solving many business problems.

How long does it take to get an MBA?

It can take from one or two years to much longer to get an MBA, depending on whether the program is full or part-time. At some schools, students with undergraduate business preparation may find that they can complete their programs at an accelerated rate.

What kind of work can I do with an MBA?

While the majority of MBA's enter business, they do not necessarily work for large corporations. Many are employed by for profit and non-profit organisations, small companies, or work as consultants.

Are top-ranked MBA programs the only ones worth considering?

No. Ranking is at best a shorthand method for evaluating quality. The methodology used for ranking schools is not always made clear, even though this methodology invariably affects how schools are ranked. Furthermore, a uniform ranking scheme often ends up comparing apples with oranges, not taking into account the tremendous variety of MBA programs.

It is important to choose an MBA program on the basis of how it fits your needs. With a good match, the qualities of the student mesh with the characteristics of a particular business program, bringing out the best in the student and aiding them in developing their individual potential.

My career is established. Why should I get an MBA?

As managers progress within organisations, the technical expertise that helped them to obtain their first jobs often becomes less important, and their abilities to organise the work of others and to help decide what course of action the organisation should take become more valuable. As the environment or an organisation including economic, political, competitive, regulatory and cultural factors become more complex, there is an increased demand for managers with the skills, understanding, courage, and energy to tackle the difficult demands facing organisations of all kinds.

Do I need an undergraduate business degree?

No. Most graduate management programs want their MBA classes to be as diverse as possible. When students have different educational backgrounds, all may contribute and all benefit For this reason, applicants with a wide range of undergraduate majors are admitted. In some programs, fewer than 25 percent of the MBA students have undergraduate degrees in business.

Is work experience required?

Work experience gives students a reference point to use as they study business. When experienced students share what they have observed while working, it adds depth to the educational experience of the entire MBA class. In addition, work experience provides a means of demonstrating personal performance.

All of these factors make work history an important consideration in admission decisions. Schools vary considerably as to the weight given to work experience, and admission officers recognise that the abilities developed through employment can also be obtained in other ways.

Extracurricular and community activities, for example, can provide valuable experience and opportunities. When applicants do not have either work military or community/extracurricular activities, some schools offer deferred admission, guaranteeing acceptance into the MBA program after an applicant has gained a specified amount of work or military experience.

How important is the GMAT score?

No single factor merits an automatic decision of whether to admit an applicant or to deny admission. In general, admission requirements are multi faceted. The undergraduate grade point average, work experience, community involvement, recommendations, awards, essays, and personal interviews all combine with the GMAT score to form the basis of an admissions decision.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is designed to help predict academic performance in the first year of an MBA program. Together, the GMAT score and the undergraduate grade-point average provide the best prediction of academic success in an MBA program.

Admission decisions take into account patterns of accomplishment beyond academic ability that might indicate ‘the potential for success in business. Management and leadership ability, motivation for obtaining a business education, and preparedness for the program are qualities that admission officers also value.


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