Whether you want to launch your own business or take on a leadership role in a company, having a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can help. MBA degree programs teach you how to develop leadership skills and other skills you’ll need for a business career. With different types of MBA programs available, taking time to explore your options can help you find the best program to fit your needs.
What Are the Different Types of MBA Programs?
MBA programs vary in terms of length, cost, and the kind of material students learn. Some programs take place in the classroom, while others take place online. In other cases, a mix of online and in-person classes is offered. When comparing different MBA programs, you should think about your reasons for pursuing an MBA and your current situation, such as whether you’re a full-time employee or a full-time student. Weighing these factors can help you find the most suitable MBA program. There are several different types of MBA programs available, including:
A full-time MBA program involves having a full course load that might take a year or more to complete. This type of MBA program is suitable for full-time students or those who are looking to change careers, leaving their job to pursue a degree before pivoting to a new career. The cost of a full-time MBA program can vary considerably for a number of reasons, including the school you choose to attend. Admission requirements for these MBA programs typically include GRE or GMAT score, a bachelor’s degree, and some professional work experience.
A part-time MBA program involves having a partial course load, such as only offering evening classes. This type of MBA program can take three or four years to complete, although some schools offer accelerated programs to help students graduate sooner. The cost of part-time MBA programs can be slightly higher than the cost of full-time MBA programs, but keep in mind that this differs by school. Part-time MBA programs are suitable for those who want to advance their career while they continue working. Admission requirements for these programs are generally the same as the requirements for full-time MBA programs.
Executive MBA programs are designed for business professionals interested in improving their skills and learning to become more effective in a leadership position. Admission requirements for these MBA programs can vary, but they often include a minimum number of years of professional work experience. Executive MBA students might not need to meet the same GMAT or GRE requirements as full-time or part-time MBA students do. The cost of executive MBA programs is similar to the cost of traditional full-time or part-time MBA programs. These programs typically take one or two years to complete.
An online MBA program involves taking online courses, which offers a convenient way to set your own schedule. Online MBA programs might cost less than full-time or part-time in-person MBA programs, although tuition varies by school. These programs can take a year or a few years to complete, depending on whether you are in a full- or part-time online MBA program. The admission requirements for online MBA programs are usually the same as requirements for traditional full- or part-time MBA programs, such as GRE or GMAT scores and a bachelor’s degree.
A global MBA program focuses on teaching students the skills needed for international business management. This provides a broader scope and more diverse platform for learning how to be a successful business professional. Global MBA programs often have higher costs compared to full-time or part-time traditional MBA programs. These programs usually take one or two years to complete. Admission requirements for global MBA programs are often similar to requirements for traditional MBA programs, although they might also include international work experience. These MBA programs are a good option for those who are moving abroad for work or those who have moved abroad already.
MBA concentrations give students a chance to study a certain area in greater detail, such as finance or marketing. Having an MBA specialization means you can develop particular skills and gain more specific knowledge in your chosen area. Keep in mind that while a specialization might not be required for employment, having one can put you ahead of the competition when you search for jobs. Typical MBA concentrations can include:
- Strategic Management: A concentration in strategic management helps students develop skills needed for managing a company’s resources and using them to achieve goals. In this concentration, students typically take classes in competitive advantage, global strategy, technology strategy, and more.
- Finance: A finance specialization prepares MBA students for a career in banking, corporate finance, or other financial sectors. Students in this concentration focus on studying portfolio management, accounting, and other aspects of business finance.
- Operations: A concentration in operations teaches skills needed for a career as an operations manager, supply chain manager, or another leadership role in logistics. Students in this concentration study transportation, distribution, operational leadership, data analytics, and other aspects of business operations.
- Entrepreneurship: An MBA entrepreneurship concentration helps students build the necessary skills for becoming an entrepreneur. Some of the material students learn include developing concepts and products, assessing risk, and identifying market opportunities.
- Management: Specializing in general management gives MBA students a chance to learn more about the main responsibilities managers have in areas such as operations, finance, and human resources while also developing stronger leadership skills.
- Marketing: A marketing MBA prepares students for a career in marketing and covers a wide range of topics in this field, such as advertising, digital marketing, brand management, and product development. Students with this specialization can explore careers such as advertising manager, brand manager, and chief marketing officer.
- Healthcare Administration. A healthcare administration MBA concentration provides students with the business skills required for a management position in the healthcare field. Some of the classes students can expect to take include health systems administration, health care policy, and healthcare management.
- Business Analytics. An MBA specialization in business analytics involves studying business fundamentals and data. Students in this concentration will cover topics such as database management, data science, marketing analytics, as well as leadership, finance, and other business areas.
- International Business. An international business specialization offers an opportunity for MBA students to study different aspects of business from an international perspective. This concentration can help prepare students for an international business career.
- Leadership: Those who want to develop strong leadership skills can choose a leadership concentration. This MBA specialization helps students build and improve leadership skills and study aspects of leadership in depth, such as organizational leadership, global leadership, and more.
Other MBA Specializations
Several other MBA concentrations are available, including specializations in IT, economics, human resources, and hospitality. Depending on your interests and career goals, you might also consider an MBA concentration in non-profit management, innovation, public administration, risk management, or sports and athletic management.
Which Type of MBA Program Is Best for You?
The MBA program that works best for you depends on your career goals and your current situation, such as whether you are a business professional interested in advancing your career or switching careers. Once you’ve compared different types of MBA programs, you can decide if you want to choose a concentration to gain in-depth knowledge and skills in a particular area.
Exploring different MBA options can help you find the right degree program that best fits your goals and interests. To learn more about available MBA programs, please contact the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. We offer a fully Online MBA program and a Flexible MBA program that includes online and in-person classes, as well as MBA concentrations in either program. With our MBA programs, you can earn your degree in 18 to 24 months, depending on whether you’re a full-time or part-time student.