What is an MBA? [2020 Ultimate Guide]

What is an MBA? An MBA, also known as a Master of Business Administration is a flexible, in-demand graduate degree with excellent job perks.

group of MBA students working for their projectWhat is an MBA? An MBA, also known as a Master of Business Administration is a flexible, in-demand graduate degree with excellent job perks.

Earning an MBA is so popular right now, that more than 100,000 people earn their MBA each year, according to Graduate Management News.

If so many people are earning one, it must be valuable in the business world. If you put into your MBA what you want to get out of it, it can be very valuable indeed.

This article breaks down the basics of what an MBA is and where you could potentially go with one.

It also highlights the ways in which you can earn your MBA in just a year, making it easier than ever to join the growing number of MBA program graduates who have successful futures ahead.

What is an MBA?

To start with, MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. It is a graduate degree that prepares people to become experts in a specific area of business. From Finance to Marketing to International Business, many MBA graduates specialize in a specific niche in the business world. An MBA also prepares students to work on teams and become effective leaders in their fields, often securing jobs in leadership, management, or training positions. The best candidate for an MBA degree is someone who works well with others, is motivated and focused, and has basic knowledge about the workings of the business world.


Now that we’ve covered the basics of what is an MBA, it’s time to delve into the specifics of what you’ll learn in an MBA program. Of course, all programs will offer and require different courses, but there are many overlaps between programs. You can expect to take the following subjects in an MBA program:

  • Business Ethics
  • Business Strategy
  • Business Markets
  • Finance
  • Project Management and Organization
  • Global/International Business
  • Data Analysis
  • Marketing

Many MBA programs allow students to choose a concentration that enables them to take courses specific to that concentration. MBA graduates with a concentration will have expert knowledge in that concentration and it can help them land more specialized positions. MBA concentrations include:

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Global Business
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Leadership

Some MBA programs even offer field-specific concentrations like Pharmaceutical Management or Environment and Sustainability Management. Because of this, many undergraduate degrees are suited for an MBA program. Many programs have no requirement as to the type of undergraduate degree applicants must hold.

The hour requirements for an MBA program vary, but the average is between 30 and 50 hours, depending on the program and internship requirements. If you choose a program that requires an internship or outside project, this will be in addition to the required courses. These internships can be instrumental in enabling you to practice the skills you learned through a class in a real-world setting, so they are usually worth the extra time and credit hours. Most programs require them for graduation, too.

Possible Careers

One of the reasons why pursuing an MBA has become so popular is because of the diversity of career choices upon graduation. Many people earn their MBA in order to stay at their current company or organization, hoping for a promotion, salary raise, or additional responsibilities and duties in a managerial or leadership role. Many graduates, however, seek entirely new jobs and careers upon completing their MBA.

Possible careers with an MBA include finance management, information systems management, management analysis, international sales, marketing management, and accounting. As you can see from this list, MBA graduates are well prepared to immediately enter management positions and then work their way up. Many CIO’s (Chief Information Officers), CEOs (Chief Executive Officers), and CFO’s (Chief Financial Officers) at companies hold MBA degrees. Of course, the pay for all of these positions varies and is dependent on the company and the level of management. Most careers that are suited for MBA graduates, however, pay well over the average American salary (about $50,000 per year) and many pay in the six-figure range.

One Year Programs

While most MBA programs take about 2 years to complete, it is possible that you can earn your MBA in just one year’s time. In fact, the number of accredited institutions offering these one year programs is growing. Online programs that offer one year degrees are particularly popular right now, as they enable students to remain in their current job rather than putting their career on hold to pursue their degree.

One year programs are just as rigorous and require as many courses and practicum components as their multi-year counterparts. The way they can offer all of this in just one year is by offering shortened semesters. Students in one year MBA programs take 5 to 8 week courses that overlap. They do not have traditional multi-week breaks in the winter and summer, but rather have a few one week breaks in between the class rotation schedule. This way, they take classes the entire year but finish in a much faster time than in a traditional MBA program.

For More Information

If you still need more information to help answer your question what is an MBA, check out individual MBA programs. Every MBA program brings something different to the table. Some specialize in global or international business training, while others focus on training MBAs for fields like healthcare and technology. The program’s website can be valuable in determining which program is right for you or how that individual program defines what is an MBA.

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Joy Mays
Joy Mays
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