A Master of Business Administration is a postgraduate degree awarded to those who have studied business management principles and their applications. A student enrolled in an MBA program generally selects an area of concentration, such as accounting or human resources, so she can advance in her respective field or specialty. Depending on the type of MBA program that you choose, it can take 11 months to five years to earn this type of graduate degree.
An MBA can help an individual in a business administration or management field to become eligible for job offers or promotions in upper management positions. The advanced degree teaches a student to expand his communication skills so he can improve the dynamics within an organization or apply his multicultural understandings to the global economic environments of his company. MBA degrees help business leaders use data to support decision-making processes and create value for an organization’s stakeholders. In addition to helping an individual increase his salary potential and advance his career, an MBA can also give a student the tools he needs to become a successful business owner.
All MBA programs follow some type of basic, structured coursework during the first year or first half of the program. The general courses teach graduate students about the basic analytical tools and philosophies behind management functions, such as ethics, business strategies, leadership and teamwork. During the second half of an MBA program, students choose a specialization or concentration to pursue. In general, students have to present a thesis paper or project to earn the graduate degree. Such a project may include going through all the motions to start a hypothetical small business.
Receiving an MBA is about more than learning how to manage employees or run a business well. The specializations often focus on human resources, finance, organizational strategies and leadership. Human resources specializations prepare graduate students to manage risks, deploy projects and manage talent. Finance-related specializations focus on the economic aspects of a business, like investments, accounting or global backing issues. A specialization on organizational strategies may focus on topics such as sustainability, global business engagement or crisis management. A leadership specialization may provide training in organizational design, project management or entrepreneurship.
Executive MBA Programs
In general, universities that have a business school for graduate students have full-time and part-time MBA programs. Some may also offer an “executive” MBA program, designed for professionals who already have about 10 years of related work experience. This type of program generally takes less than a year to complete. Instead of focusing on business fundamentals, executive MBA students learn about the issues that mid- and senior-level managers face, but in an accelerated learning environment. Instead of attending lecture-based classes, students pursuing an executive MBA often focus on case studies and engage in dynamic exchanges with each other and the professors.
Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.