What is an MBA : Definition, Career Benefits, Learning Path, and Choosing the Right One

With today’s world offering multiple career opportunities but also being more competitive than ever, you need to figure out how to stand out from the crowd. Whether you have just graduated or are a professional looking to scale up in your career, you can never go wrong with an MBA degree. So what is an MBA degree and what are its benefits? Is it worth it? If so, how can you prepare yourself for it? Let’s dive into each of these questions in detail.

What is an MBA?

MBA or Master of Business Administration is an internationally recognized degree providing you with a plethora of job opportunities in the corporate world. Having an MBA goes way beyond three letters on your resume. It helps you to build in-depth business knowledge, boost your career and salary prospects, and also grow your professional network. 

Most MBA programs come with a broad spectrum of business-related topics such as marketing, operations, human resource, finance, and communications. They not only help you for a fulfilling career, but they also prepare you with the tools and mindset to start your own business.

The eligibility criteria to apply for an MBA degree is a bachelor’s degree. Some business schools may even select only those candidates who have a few years of professional work experience. 

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Types of MBA 

There are several routes you can take to earn an MBA degree. Although all of them result in you earning an MBA degree, there are some things that you should consider before choosing which route to take.

Full-Time MBA

A full-time MBA is the classic two-year MBA program that you may be familiar with. It includes physical classes, semester-wise assessment, internship, and placements. This is the most preferable option if you are a fresh graduate or want to put your job on hold for a while. 

Part-Time MBA

A part-time MBA is a program where classes are either conducted in the evenings or during the weekends. Usually, these programs won’t come with internships or placements. It is best suited for working professionals who want to learn key managerial skills after their work hours. 

Distance MBA

A distance MBA allows you to pursue an MBA degree via remote communication and correspondence. It is comparatively less expensive than a regular MBA program and offers you the flexibility to complete it on your own time. It is best suited for people with limited time and resources.

Online MBA

With everything moving online these days, this is currently the most popular mode of an MBA program that you can opt for. Lectures are given through live sessions or prerecorded and saved in the Learning Management System (LMS). There are no physical classes in an online MBA and all the assessments are done online as well. This is best suited for people who want to pursue an MBA program from a college or university which is not in their city or country.

Executive MBA

An Executive MBA program is specially designed for professionals with more than five years of work experience. The courses are usually of shorter duration but the curriculum is similar to a full-time MBA. This is the most expensive MBA program out there that will help you gain expert-level knowledge to enhance your career growth. It is best suited for people who work full-time and want to scale up to leadership positions. 

Benefits of an MBA

According to GMAC’s annual Corporate Recruiters Survey, employers offer new MBA hires with a median starting salary of $115,000 as compared to bachelor’s degree hires ($65,000) and direct-from-industry hires ($95,000).. Here are some more benefits of getting an MBA degree:

  • New Career Paths - An MBA program will not only help you understand complex business issues but will always help you determine exactly what you want in your future. This can open up your mind to new career paths than you originally planned.
  • Holistic business education - An MBA program will offer you in-depth insights into business functioning at advanced levels.
  • Improved communication skills - From oral presentations to sending emails to working with groups, an MBA program is uniquely designed to push students to communicate better and get their ideas across in a more concise manner.
  • Build Connections - This is especially true if you opt for an Executive MBA program as you will get to connect with people from different backgrounds and create a massively expanded network of business contacts.

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How to Prepare for an MBA?

Before you start considering an MBA, you need to do some research on the best business schools, study for GMAT, know which MBA field to specialize in, and lots more. Whether you plan to attend an immersive two-year MBA program or take up a course online, here are some practical steps you can take to prepare for an MBA.

Talk to Alumni or Current Students

Reach out to current and former MBA students enrolled at the program of your choice to get their perspectives. Some business schools arrange for campus visits and provide introductions, but you can reach out to current students through online platforms like LinkedIn as well.

Expand Your Reading List

Most MBA coursework includes reading a number of books as part of the preparation and coursework. Moreover, this will help you expand your knowledge in business, leadership, and global markets and make you more valuable as an MBA applicant to prestigious business schools. Here is a list of some of the best project management books to help you level up your skills.

Work on Your Networking Skills

One of the most valuable skills that you can possess as an MBA applicant is good networking skills. Over the course of an MBA program, you will get the opportunity to meet future business leaders and hence, good networking skills will work to your advantage. Prior to enrolling in an MBA program, make a conscious effort to network in corporate and social events.

Pick a Specialty

Many business schools offer a number of specialized programs like marketing, international business, finance, and so on. Figuring out what you want to specialize in will help you get a jump in your career.

What Next?

Regardless of your industry or specialty, an MBA degree seems like the next logical step for anyone who wants to advance in their career. While traditional two-year MBA courses are still popular, there has been an increase in the popularity of one-year PGDM courses as well. Simplilearn’s Post Graduate Diploma in Management by JAGSOM, one of the top B-schools in India, will groom you to become a business leader through a comprehensive curriculum delivered by the most eminent faculty. Choose the specialization of your choice from among Digital Marketing, Operations, Business Analysis, and Data Analytics and embark on your journey to a fulfilling career.

About the Author

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Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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