An MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is one of the most popular graduate degrees for those in the business world who are looking to step into C-suite jobs or upper management positions. For many of these roles, it is the entry point degree. For others, it gives applicants a leg up on the competition in a crowded field. It also helps up-and-coming entrepreneurs gain the skills they need to succeed in the world of business.
While it carries many benefits, an MBA degree is also an expense. If you’re considering one, understanding the degree, the doors it opens, and what type of commitment it takes will help you make an informed decision.
What Does an MBA Teach?
MBA training builds on the core studies in an undergraduate business program though most programs admit students from a wide variety of undergraduate majors. It is a flexible program, allowing students to focus on the areas they think are most beneficial to their career goals through electives and tracks, but overall most MBA’s will offer training in:
- Management/ Human Resources
- International business operations
In addition to these core subjects, an MBA degree program will teach skills that help students in their future careers. These include:
- Analyzing data quickly and accurately
- Developing smart solutions to common business problems
- Motivating and leading people
- Running an effective business
For most students, the MBA is the final degree they earn, as it opens most doors in the business world, and experience is the factor that opens others. Only those interested in business research typically choose to pursue doctoral-level training in business administration.
How Long Does It Take to Earn an MBA?
The length of time it takes to complete an MBA degree program depends on the course load the student takes each semester. Those who can take a full course load each semester typically complete the degree in two years or less. Some who are working full time and using online programs to get this training may take longer because they take fewer credits each semester.
Benefits of an MBA
Before investing time and money into MBA training, it’s a good idea to consider the rewards of doing so. Is it worth your financial and time commitment?
For many, an MBA degree leads to an increase in salary, but the amount of increase may depend on the school chosen and the sector in which the graduate works. According to US News and World Report, among the top 10 business schools in 2020, the average compensation for those holding an advanced degree, including bonuses, was $166,999 per year.
By sector, those working in consulting had the highest average pay, with an average of $130,600. Those working in nonprofit organizations had the lowest, with an average of just over $57,500.
An MBA can also be an important networking tool. While in the program, MBA students build relationships with their peers and their professors. Those relationships often translate into connections after graduation that can help build career potential and open the door to new career possibilities.
Finally, an MBA degree can be personally rewarding. Completing advanced training in your career field can give you the confidence to pursue new opportunities in business.
In the 2017 survey of graduate business students published by GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council), nearly all (95%) reported satisfaction with their training. While the satisfaction varied a bit based on the type of program they pursued, those who finished a full-time MBA program reported the following:
- 94% found it personally rewarding
- 92% found it professionally rewarding
- 83% found it financially rewarding
According to those who have earned the degree, an MBA is rewarding in many ways.
Online Vs. On-Campus MBA Programs
Today, students considering an MBA degree program have a greater level of flexibility than ever before because of the option to take MBA training fully online. This allows students to continue working while pursuing this additional training. Online MBA programs have the same high-level education provided in on-campus programs, so students should weigh the pros and cons of each.
The most important benefit of online education is the flexibility it provides. Students are not tied to a specific class schedule but can participate in their program when it fits their work and family schedules. This makes it possible to pursue an MBA degree while managing a full-time career and family responsibilities. In addition, online programs are often more affordable than on-campus programs, which makes them more accessible.
The one benefit of in-person training that is sometimes lost in an online program is the face-to-face interaction with peers and professors. As more and more schools begin offering online MBA programs, they are taking measures to address this concern. Online chat rooms, email conversations with instructors, and video-conferencing are working their way into online programs to help bridge this gap between on-campus and online education.
Both online and on-campus MBA degree programs provide a well-rounded education that can help advance your career potential. If you need the flexibility of online training, you can confidently enroll in a program knowing your education will be of high quality.
Finding a Quality MBA Program
In order to gain the benefits of an MBA, you must find a program that is from a well-respected school. This starts with finding one with high-quality instructors, as the program is only as good as its teachers. Next, look at the curriculum to see what will be studied, as well as the various focuses or tracks available. Finally, ensure the institution is accredited by AACSB which shows the institution’s dedication to quality education by meeting and maintaining specific requirements regarding curriculum quality, faculty scholarship, and strategic planning.
If you are looking for a flexible MBA program you can complete while working full-time, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga is a good option. We offer an exceptional learning environment—in either our 100% online MBA program or our Flexible MBA program—with quality instructors and programming. Learn more about our MBA degree programs, or apply today to start your advanced degree training.