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What Is An MBA?
In your pursuit of higher learning, you may have come across the program popularly known as a Master of Business Administration, or an MBA, and you may have wondered what the big whoop about this program is.
It is extremely popular across all industries, and it seems to be the go-to academic option for many, but who can study it and why would they study it?
Simply put, an MBA is a graduate degree that provides students with a practical and theoretical understanding of business processes and how to carry out business functions. An MBA teaches you effective leadership skills and gives you an understanding of business strategies and principles.
To pursue an MBA, you, unfortunately, cannot hop straight into the program without having the baseline of a graduate degree, as well as a master's degree in another field. Speaking to the broad spectrum that an MBA provides; your bachelor's degree and master's degree need not be in the business field.
For example, an MBA can be obtained through a dual degree program whereby your skills and experience lie somewhere outside of business, but you are hoping to turn that skill into a business or organization, and you, therefore, decide to obtain an MBA as a subsidiary degree to gain a better grasp and understanding on the business side of your organization.
Whether you are a great cook and you are hoping to start a food shop or restaurant, whether you are an artisan and you are hoping to establish a business from your trade, whether you are an artist that is hoping to sell your creations as a product, or whether you are a skilled medical professional who is hoping to establish a private medical practice, you need to have knowledge of business processes even that is not where your passion lies.
Having an MBA allows you to gain business-specific insight, even if it is not something that you are already skilled in. If you look at the example of a medical practitioner, operationally, it is not just about seeing, diagnosing, and treating patients. Instead, there is an exchange of money, whether it be through cash or medical insurance, there is a constant need for supplies and medications, there are administrative duties that need to be carried out, and there are financial, accounting, and tax processes that need to be carried out, and so much more.
In such a case as this, for all these functions to be carried out in a medical practice, there is also a need for administrative personnel which introduces a need for human resources management. For doctors or medical practitioners, their expertise is in medicine, not in business management.
However, considering that a doctor has already spent a substantial amount of their life studying for their medical profession, they may not have to nor want to dedicate another four years of their life toward a business management or business administration degree. In such cases, they can pursue an MBA that takes one or two years to pursue.
Who Usually Studies An MBA And Why?
If you are a fly on the wall in an MBA class, there isn't a generalization that you can apply to the student sitting in that room. Many of them come from vastly different professional backgrounds, they are pursuing an MBA for many different reasons.
Some pursue an MBA for upward mobility and career growth hoping to qualify for promotions and growth within the organization they already work in. Other individuals may seek to pursue an MBA for the salary increase that is usually given to those who have a higher qualification. Other people choose to pursue an MBA to gain skills and insights on how to effectively manage others or how to work and operate on an international platform.
Different Types Of MBA Programs
There are several options for the type of business administration degree you are hoping to pursue. Realistically, you may already be working full-time, or you may be pursuing an MBA straight after graduation. There are options that can accommodate the needs, wants, and goals of each individual.
For example, there are MBA programs that are part-time or full-time, which are designed to accommodate the lifestyles of different individuals. Many full-time courses are designed for completion a lot sooner, meaning that a full-time course will be completed in one to two years.
Alternatively, those who can't commit to attending a full-time program may consider a part-time MBA which can take between two to three years to complete. They can complete their course content over the weekends, during the evenings, or when they have available time, provided that the completion of content and coursework is done within a stipulated period.
There is also an executive MBA, which is also a specialized MBA that has been strategically designed for individuals who are hoping to add to their already glittering resumes. Professionals who may have a lot of experience, and who are hoping to advance or add to this professional experience, will likely pursue an executive MBA as a way of honing in and focusing on one specific element of business.
Specialized MBAs usually focus on finance, or sectors such as sports management, entrepreneurship, healthcare management, or even management of aspects within the entertainment industry.
Lastly, an extremely common type of MBA program is an online MBA which can be completed within two years. Given the direction that the world has taken with so many processes becoming digital and online based, learning programs have followed suit.
Online programs are great for people who are working full-time, and they can be completed remotely. However, you can still gain the same exposure and skills from an online MBA that you would from a traditional MBA.
What Courses Will You Cover In An MBA?
There are a number of courses and content that will be covered in an MBA program which includes accounting, business communication, strategy, ethics, data analytics, finances, marketing, operations, leadership skills, and economics.
What Can You Do With An MBA?
If you are already in a job, you can pursue a promotion in the relevant business-related industry that you already find yourself in. You can also establish your own organization quite successfully. However, if you are searching for a new field to head into, some jobs that you could successfully fulfill with an MBA are that of a finance manager, HR manager, management analyst or consultant, and operations manager.
How Much Would Your Salary Be With An MBA?
This will greatly depend on the job you have and on the role you are expected to fulfill. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, top executives in the c-suite level role can earn a median annual salary of $179,520, and management-level occupations can earn a median annual salary of $102,450.
If you have been on the fence and contemplating whether or not you should pursue an MBA, the skills and the benefits that it will provide you with are substantial. You will not only experience direct growth in your career as a result of the MBA if you are already working, but you will unlock a greater career potential for yourself if you aren't yet in your dream job.
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