A Master of Business Administration — or MBA — is a graduate degree focused on business and management concepts. Students take a wide variety of core classes focused in specific business disciplines such as finance, human resources and marketing. MBA students have the opportunity to concentrate on a certain discipline or take a general approach. A typical MBA includes a culminating project or thesis.
Types of MBA
There are various types of MBA programs. A full-time MBA program typically lasts two years. The part-time program takes longer than two years, with classes offered on evenings and weekends, allowing students to complete the program around their existing commitments. The executive MBA program’s admission generally depends on a higher level of work experience. Geared to current managers and executives, the program allows those with extensive business experience to earn the degree in two years or less while working full-time. The Dual MBA program combines the MBA degree with another related degree (commonly a Juris Doctor); these degrees share core classes so the dual program enables students to get both certifications in less time and at a lower cost.
Applicants for most MBA courses must take the Graduate Management Admission Test — GMAT — and provide a detailed application summarizing their business experience. Letters of reference are needed to confirm the student’s work experience or suitability for the course, and an application essay is generally required. The specific GMAT score needed depends on the institution.
The typical core curriculum for an MBA may include classes in: accounting; economics; finance; human resources; marketing; operations; organizational behavior; and statistics.
Common MBA concentrations include: accounting; athletics/sports management; entrepreneurship; finance; human resources; information systems; international business; management; marketing; and real estate.
Business School Rankings
U.S. News and World Report in 2010 listed the top 10 business schools as follows: Harvard University, Boston; Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), Cambridge, Mass.; Northwestern University (Kellogg), Evanston, Ill.; University of Chicago (Booth), Chicago; University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), Philadelphia, Pa.; Dartmouth College (Tuck), Hanover, N.H.; University of California — Berkeley (Haas), Berkeley, Calif.; Columbia University, New York, N.Y.; and New York University (Stern) New York, N.Y.