When you’re planning on pursuing a career in business or already work in business, you might be considering earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This degree can help expand your knowledge and build additional skills for a successful business career. Knowing more about the benefits of having an MBA and the types of programs that are available can help you find the right MBA program for your professional goals and interests. Keep the following information about MBA requirements, options, and more in mind as you make your decision.
Is an MBA Still Worth It?
Earning an MBA is a commitment of both your time and money, so it’s understandable to wonder if it’s worth it. While you won’t earn this advanced business degree overnight, keep in mind that the time it takes to finish an MBA program might not be as long as you think. If you’re worried about cost, you can always look into financial aid options and other ways to pay for college. No matter how much it costs or how much time it might take to complete the program, earning your MBA provides a number of important benefits.
Benefits of Earning an MBA
The right MBA program can help you:
- Build entrepreneurial skills: The right MBA program can help you develop strong entrepreneurial skills, which you can use to manage a business or start your own.
- Pursue your ideal career: An MBA can help you work on moving toward the career of your dreams as you learn necessary skills and gain experience.
- Network effectively: MBA programs often offer access to a wider network of business leaders and alumni who can provide you with guidance and possible career opportunities.
- Improve your quality of life: In addition to business skills, MBA programs teach skills applicable to everyday life, such as managing finances and improving communication skills.
- Demonstrate employable value: Many employers value MBAs for their employees, which can expand your career opportunities and put you ahead of the competition.
- Learn your way: From online to in-person, many programs offer learning flexibility to earn your MBA your way.
- Feel a deserved sense of pride: The successful completion of an MBA program can give you a strong sense of accomplishment in how you worked to achieve your goals.
MBA Program Options
MBA programs offer different options for students to consider. Some programs are fully online while others are strictly on campus. Some types of MBA programs offer a hybrid format, combining in-person instruction and online classes.
Your personal situation helps determine which option would work best for you, such as whether you’re currently working full-time or part-time or whether you have other responsibilities to handle in addition to school. Knowing more about these program options can help you choose the one that fits your needs best.
Online vs On Campus
Deciding between an online MBA program and an on-campus program often comes down to the weight you give key factors, such as flexibility or learning styles. Online programs offer a more flexible schedule, since you don’t have to attend classes in person. On the other hand, on-campus programs provide you with a chance to interact with instructors and fellow students in person. Consider your learning style and your lifestyle when choosing an online or on-campus MBA program.
In some cases, you might not have to choose between a fully online or fully in-person MBA program. Some programs offer flexible options that include both online and on-campus instruction. This type of program can offer the best of both worlds if you want the flexibility of online learning while also being able to interact with students and instructors in person from time to time. You might be able to choose the online and in-person classes that work best with your schedule when you’re in a flexible MBA program.
MBA Program Length
The time it takes to earn your MBA can vary depending on the school you go to and the program you enter. As a full-time student, you might be able to earn your MBA more quickly. If you’re working full-time and going to school on a part-time basis, though, earning your MBA could take a few years.
MBA Admissions Requirements
MBA admission requirements differ from school to school, so it’s important to make sure you know the requirements for the schools that interest you. For example, many schools require MBA applicants to have a 4-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. You might not necessarily need to have a bachelor’s degree in business to be eligible. Some schools allow any major to be eligible for their MBA programs. You might need to complete some business prerequisites through online modules depending on your major. Other admission requirements might include a certain GMAT score minimum, an application essay, completed application forms, and work experience.
How Many Schools Should You Apply to for Your MBA?
The number of schools you should apply to for your MBA depends on your goals, your situation, and other factors, such as each school’s acceptance rate. You might plan to apply to two or three schools with higher acceptance rates or between four and six schools with lower acceptance rates. The number you apply to also depends on the type of program you’re looking for: from online learning to a choice of concentrations. Your options for schools might be more limited if you want to do an in-person program without having to move or stay on campus during each semester.
MBA Application Process
The MBA application process often involves several steps, such as gathering your transcripts, writing an essay, completing an application, and taking the GMAT test. You should carefully go over the admission requirements for your targeted schools, and make sure you meet each requirement and submit everything on time.
MBA Application Deadline
MBA application deadlines can differ from school to school depending on how often MBA programs are offered. In general, you should plan to submit your MBA application a few months before the semester is scheduled to start. For example, you should submit your application by June if you’re applying for a program that starts in August or September. Some schools accept early admission, which would involve submitting your application even earlier, such as in April for an August or September start date.
The GMAT score you’ll need to be eligible for an MBA program depends on the school. Some schools might require an overall GMAT score of 600, while others require a minimum of 450. Check with the schools to check what their GMAT score requirements are. However, you should make sure you prepare early in order to do your best on the GMAT, regardless of a school’s score requirements.
MBA Application Essay
As part of the application process for many schools, you’ll need to submit an essay. This essay provides the admissions department with more information on you as well as insight into the kind of person you are and what kinds of experience and skills you might bring to the school’s MBA program. This helps the school determine if you would be a good fit for the program. Depending on the school, you might write an essay focusing on your leadership experience or your goals, or you might write an essay that’s more of a self-reflection.
The cost of an MBA program can vary considerably depending on the school, type of program, and other factors. You might be able to keep costs down by exploring different options for paying for MBA programs, such as scholarships or loans.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Financial aid can help cover the cost of some or all of your tuition or provide you with a way to afford an MBA program. You might look into options such as federal loans or low-interest private student loans, for example. You’ll need to see if you’re eligible and submit required forms by the deadline. To receive financial aid via a federal loan, you’ll need to submit documents by July 1st in order to receive funding in time for fall semester payment deadlines. For spring semesters, the federal loan deadline is usually November 1st.
In some cases, employers compensate employees who go back to school to earn an MBA. Check with your employer to see if this option is available if you work full-time or part-time.
Scholarships are another way to cut down on MBA costs. Explore MBA scholarship options to see what you may qualify for. Pay close attention to deadlines and application requirements for scholarships. You may need to submit your application for scholarships in early January for semesters that begin in fall.
Earning an MBA can be well worth it for your career, but it’s important to make sure you find an option that fits your situation. If you’re ready to explore your options and learn more about the MBA application process and requirements, please contact The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Gary W. Rollins College of Business. We offer an MBA program that is 100 percent online as well as a flexible option that allows students to choose from online and in-person classes.