Types of MBA
There are many different types of MBA. The primary objective for getting your MBA is to get you a higher paying job in an area you enjoy working in. The information below provides you with an overview of the requirements to get in to an MBA program, the different types of MBA programs available based on your working situation, the types of specializations available, the types of classes you'll take in an MBA program and an overview of the skills you'll learn.
What is an MBA?
MBA stands for Master in Business Administration and consists of a program of curriculum that provides a foundation in the core concepts of business, including management, finance, economics, sales, marketing, human resource management, and supply chain management,
Most MBA programs require that you hold a bachelors degree with very high GPA. The GPA requirements will usually depend on a comparison with the other candidates for the program, making entry into MBA programs very competitive. Previous coursework in business will be useful but is not always required. Because colleges and universities want you to also have real world experience, few MBA programs will allow you to enter straight into the program after your bachelors degree is complete. Usually you are required to have at least 2 years full-time work experience after receiving your bachelors in order to enter the program.
In addition, you will likely need to take the TOEFL and GMAT. Score requirements for theses exams will vary by school and may also depend on the exam scores of the other candidates applying at the same time.
And most MBA programs will require a written essay and an interview (or series of interviews) to assess your candidacy for the MBA program. Particular importance is placed on the interview, as it will allow you to set yourself apart from other candidates.
Types of MBA programs
There are a variety of MBA programs to fit your schedule. Many colleges and universities offer:
- 2-year Full Time MBA Program - Requires full time attendance, which means you can't easily work while attending school. Most traditional colleges and universities offer this type of program.
- Accelerated MBA Program - Usually completed in 18 months, the accelerated program is similar to the full time program, but with less down time between semesters. For example, you may take classes over the summer and winter breaks.
- Part Time or Weekend MBA Program - The part time MBA program is popular with working adults, because it allows you to attend class on the weekends or weekday evenings. The drawback is the part time MBA program takes longer to complete.
- Executive MBA Program
- Distance Learning MBA Program - Another option for busy and working professionals, the distance learning program allows you to take classes from your computer and is less time intensive since there is no commute and coursework may be completed on your own schedule.
- Dual MBA Programs - these are usually in combination with another closely related discipline. The most common is an MBA in combination with a Juris Doctor, a.k.a. the JD/MBA program. Other popular programs are the MBA/MA program and MBA/PhD program.
Types of MBA specializations
The purpose of your MBA is to help you land the job you want, in the area of business you want. To that end, there are many different MBA specializations to help you do that. Every college and university has its own set of options when it comes to MBA specializations. So it's important to consider your desired specialization before you choose your school. Keep in mind that some career paths will not require you to have an MBA, for example, in order to become an entrepreneur, real estate agent, or restaurant manager, you don't necessarily need a degree, or an MBA. However, if you're seeking an upper level management position with a company you've worked for for several years, an MBA might be just the leverage you need to be considered for the position.
In addition to the more common specializations, like economics, finance, and marketing, other specialization include:
- MBA in Health Care Management - prepares you for middle to upper level management in healthcare. Keep in mind that many of these positions may require some sort of medical credential in addition to your MBA.
- MBA in Human Resources (HR) - prepares you to work as the head of the HR department, advertising for, recruiting, hiring, training, evaluating and firing employees.
- MBA in Marketing - prepares you for a job in marketing, which may include media purchasing, working with a creative team, or writing ad copy for an advertising agency or PR firm.
- MBA in Communication - the study of communications prepares you for jobs related to journalism, PR, media and advertising.
- MBA in Project Management - project management is essential for fields like construction, technology, software development, architecture, and R&D firms.
- MBA in Entrepreneurship - focuses on developing critical thinking skills necessary for flexibility and innovation in a rapidly changing environment, usually best suited for technology endeavors.
- MBA in IT Management - prepares those with a background in programming, software development, CIS, database administration or IT to take on greater responsibilities managing a team.
In many cases, you may also have the choice not to specialize. In this case, you receive an MBA without an specialization attached. This is also referred to as a Vanilla MBA.
The types of classes you'd take as part of an MBA program may include:
- Human Resources
- Supply Chain Management
- Business Math and Statistics
- Operations Management
What You'll Learn With an MBA
With an MBA, you'll learn the foundation of business management along with the strategic and critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in a variety of situations. An MBA program is much less interested in the minutiae of daily business and more concerned with the broad and far reaching issues facing a business.
In terms of marketing, you'll learn marketing strategy development, including identifying your target market, product analysis, competitive analysis, market segmentation, the marketing mix and the four Ps of marketing: product, price, promotion, place. You'll discuss and implement strategies for positioning your product in the marketplace, including how to price it against the competitor and how to promote it through various media and advertising.
Reading financial statements is another skill you'll learn in an MBA program. Because you're not trying to become an accountant, you won't learn the specifics of generating accounting reports, however, you will learn to read and assess these reports, including balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, expense reports and annual reports.
Organizational behavior is another important area of learning in MBA programs. You'll discuss the importance of leadership in times of change within a company, how management influences a company's culture, and how various continuous improvement strategies can increase productivity.
In an MBA program, you'll also learn how to make financial assessments of a business, including evaluations of stock price, which allows you to determine if a company is under or over-valued. This can help you to make important decisions about when to make key investments, or when to sell certain assets. You'll also learn the time value of money, which allows you to determine the present and future value of money, and aids in making investment and purchasing decisions.
As part of operations, you'll learn how to manage the higher level management of the company. The emphasis will be on stepping away from the day-to-day issues that consume lower and middle management, and looking at the higher order of the organization. You'll learn the importance of resource management and develop the ability to analyze a project or situation and understand which resources (including people) to assign to that project in order to achieve the desired goal.
You'll learn aspects of macroeconomics and microeconomics, applying principles of economics to international, national and local economies to understand how people and organizations behave in the marketplace.
S.W.O.T. analysis is one of the key components to strategic planning you'll learn in your MBA program. A S.W.O.T. helps you to assess the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats faced by a project or the business as a whole. S.W.O.T. helps you establish achievable goals, take advantage of your best assets, limit your liabilities, improve your performance, and avoid problems.
Online MBA vs Regular MBA
There are benefits and drawbacks to both online MBA programs and regular MBA programs. Studying online can help with issues like busy work schedules and family commitments. However, with an online MBA program, you will miss much of the interaction that goes on in the classroom with a regular MBA. However, a regular MBA program will not be flexilbe in terms of your time commitment and it will be very difficult to work while you attend school.
When people are considering an online MBA vs a regular MBA, the question of legitimacy always arises. People want to know if a company will take their online MBA as seriously as a regular MBA. Although online MBAs have as much credibility as a regular MBA, it's advisable to also talk to the companies where you'd like to work, and determine the hiring managers views on an online MBA vs a regular MBA.