What Is an MBA? Full Form, Types, Opportunities and More

Ginger Abbot

Feb 18, 2023

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MBAs are some of the most popular graduate degrees among executives. You’ll hear a lot about these programs and people who earn them, but you need to get past the surface-level buzzwords to decide if it’s something you want to pursue. With that in mind, here’s a closer look at the MBA full form, program types, reasons to get one and what that takes.

What Is an MBA?

The full form of “MBA” is Master of Business Administration. As you might infer from the name, it’s a graduate degree that focuses on running a business, though the specifics of what that entails vary between programs.

Business degrees are the most popular undergraduate programs in American universities, and to many, an MBA is a natural next step. These higher-level degrees build on a business undergraduate program’s foundation, theoretically preparing you for C-suite roles or business ownership. If you’re worried about standing out from the crowd of business degree-holders, an MBA could help.

Like many graduate degrees, MBA programs typically last around two years. During that time, you’ll likely take classes in management, marketing, accounting and other areas you’d need to have experience in to run a company. Many also offer specialty courses focusing on specific industries or business types.

Types of MBA Programs

A traditional, full-time, two-year program is still the most common form of MBA. However, some full-time MBA programs last just one year. These more intensive programs often cut some generalized business courses you’d typically take in your first year.

Some MBA programs last more than two years. These are often part-time courses that let you pursue a career or take care of a family while studying. Similarly, you may find executive MBA programs, which target working professionals, often offering night and weekend classes while focusing on advanced topics over general business management.

Online MBAs are another increasingly popular option. The number of undergraduate students pursuing wholly online degrees rose 186% between 2019 and 2020, and graduate courses are following suit. Online MBA programs aren’t as widely available, but they’re more flexible and can be either part-time or full-time.

Why Get an MBA?

Regardless of what form of MBA you pursue, it will be a challenge. These programs are intensive and competitive, so you should consider their benefits to see if one is right for you.

Many people get an MBA to advance their careers. Pursuing further education is one of the best ways to develop your career, and you may also make helpful connections during your studies. If you want a leadership role, especially in a large corporation, an MBA can equip you with the necessary tools and impress employers.

Getting an MBA may also help you earn more money. The median starting salary for an MBA holder in 2022 was 22 to 40% higher than those for bachelor’s graduates. Many employers today also offer to help pay for these courses to attract more MBA graduates to their companies.

Eligibility Requirements

Part of the reason why MBAs are so desirable to employers is that these programs are difficult to get into. While eligibility requirements will vary between schools, you can expect some high expectations wherever you apply.

First, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, ideally in a related field like business or economics. You’ll need a high GPA, too. Many schools also require around two years of work experience and recommendations from professional references, and you may have to submit an essay or two.

You’ll likely also need to take and pass either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Top MBA programs often look for GMAT scores of 700 or above, but a 600 or higher may suffice for a less prestigious program.

MBAs Open the Door to Many Possibilities

Getting an MBA is a long, challenging and often expensive process, but it can be a rewarding one. If you want to pursue a career as an executive and feel comfortable with the requirements, these programs can open many doors.

Deciding whether an MBA is right for you starts with knowing more about it. Now that you understand what an MBA is and what it takes to get one, you can determine what’s best for your future.

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