101 Guide on MBA: Qualifications, Types, Reasons, & More

When it comes to a postgraduate education, a lot of students choose between Ph.D. and MBA degree.

What’s MBA?

This abbreviation stands for Master of Business Administration. So if you plan your future career in business, taking an MBA might be the best option for you.


How to choose your perfect match when there are so many program options and specializations?

The answer is simple: keep reading my guide at IvyPanda blog!

Types of MBA Courses

First things first, let’s explore MBA types in more details.

You may have already heard about full-time MBA, accelerated MBA, global MBA. But what do these words mean. In my MBA types list, you’ll find the explanation:

  1. Full-time MBA is a two-year study program with full-time course load. That means you can’t combine work and study unless you’re a superhero.
  2. Accelerated MBA is similar to a full-time MBA, but the course load is tougher. Sometimes you have to take classes during both summer and winter breaks. The program duration usually varies from 12 to 18 months.
  3. Part-time MBA is usually 1-3 years study program with classes on weekends, evenings, or on certain few days once a month.

Business schools in the world

  1. Executive MBA (EMBA) typically requires 7+ years of experience after the first degree. Classes are commonly held on weekends or evenings.
  2. Online MBA: courses held on the distance basis, so you can study everywhere and anytime you want. Benefits? The program is less intensive, and you can study at your pace: slower or faster.
  3. Dual MBA is a combination of two types of degrees: MBA and graduate or undergraduate degree. For example, MD/MBA result in MBA and Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.
  4. Global MBA is designed for executives from all over the world. This is a 1-2 years program with the focus on global business affairs. Some business schools offer this degree in multiple locations to gain international experience.

MBA: Qualification requirements

When you start thinking about obtaining an MBA degree, one of the questions that arise in your head is “Am I qualified enough to do an MBA?”

Of course, entry requirements vary from school to school, but I’ve picked the most common of MBA qualifications:

US Business schools EU Business schools
First degree Bachelor’s degree or equivalent Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
Work experience 2+ years 3+ years
English proficiency (for international students) TOEFL, with a minimum score for computer-based 213 – 250 and paper-based: 550 – 600 TOEFL: paper-based: 577 – 587, IBT: 89 – 94
IELTS: minimum 6.0 or 6.5
CAE: minimum 142 to 210
PTE: minimum 59 to 63
Admission Tests GMAT score minimum 600 GRE, GMAT, or school admission test
Other requirements Resume/CV
Personal Statement
Letters of recommendation
International or study experience

As you can see, American business schools tend to be more firm in admission requirements. But on the other side, the admission process seems more clear and transparent.

6 Reasons Why Do an MBA

Another question you may ask is “Why should I do an MBA?” Well, everybody has their own reasons. However, if you’re in doubt, here are 6 reasons why you should apply for MBA degree.

1. Boost Your Management Skills

Whether you are a recent graduate or a senior manager, lack of management skills may become an obstacle in your career. Doing an MBA will reduce this risk and prepare for everything that makes your enterprise tick.

You will study how to:

  • develop, promote, and sell products
  • keep company’s financial balance healthy
  • manage risks
  • avoid a crisis
  • gather and analyze industry data
  • build a strong organizational structure
  • hire and motivate your dream team

I didn’t say that doing an MBA is going to be easy or comfortable. It’s a challenge. But taking a step out of your comfort zone is worth it.

2. Build Large Business Network

The networking is another great option of an MBA. During your studies, especially if you choose a global MBA, you will learn how to interact with potential and current clients from all over the world. Moreover, you will have the opportunity to meet potential employers and ace your career.


3. Increase Your Income

Did you know that MBA degree holder earns twice as much as a person with a regular Master’s degree? According to the PayScale website, the average MBA graduate salary is $80,125 per year, and the sky is the only limit.

4. Start Your Business

If you ever dreamed of becoming your own boss, but had no idea how to turn it into reality, an MBA degree will help you to jazz up your career. A lot of MBA students choose this degree to learn how to maintain a successful business. You will acquire skills and knowledge to start a new company or grow existing.

MBA students fact

5. Open New Career Opportunities

Many leading companies, like Dell, Amazon, Apple, Ernst & Young, Google, etc., are hunting for MBA graduates. According to Bloomberg, the job placement for MBA holder is 86.5%.

Course content for MBA prepares you to lead a middle to a top-level management position. More than half of MBA graduates are boarding directors or senior managers. But don’t forget that with higher salary comes higher responsibility.

6. Explore New Countries and Cultures

Whether you choose to study MBA abroad, or a global MBA, or the program curriculum involves campus rotation, you will gain multicultural experience, broaden your business career prospects and live in world’s most influential cities. You even may want to work and stay in these countries. A global MBA indeed opens the world without borders for you.

7 Things to Consider when Choosing an MBA

Well, now it’s time to reveal secrets of how to choose an MBA. Not only tuition costs matter. There are a lot of factors you should pay attention to before applying for a program. Below I’ve listed the most major ones:

1. Money Is Important

Don’t underestimate the actual cost of your education. It’s not about only tuition fees. Think about housing and living expenses, particularly, if you plan to apply to business school abroad. Add travel expenses for internships and job interviews. Check if your school offers merit or need-based financial aid and if you’re eligible.

MBA students expenses facts

2. The Location Matters too

You don’t want to find yourself, after graduation, living in a foreign country you don’t like, wasting your money and attending job interviews in other cities or states. So choose the school location carefully.

Perhaps, you might want to contact the career center and ask them about companies and locations that place their graduates before you apply for admission.

3. Explore the Career Support Options

When you think about obtaining an MBA degree, you don’t want to gain only theoretical knowledge. Don’t hesitate to ask about internships and training available to both current students and alumni. If you skip this factor, you may end up graduating the program that doesn’t meet your career expectations.

4. Take a Look at the Class Size

Small classes will provide you with more inclusive experience, a tighter community connection, and more leadership opportunities. You can also count on more personalized guidance and support.
At the same time, larger classes give you more networking options during your studies and after graduation, as well as attract more recruiters.

5. Check the Alumni Network

Believe me, connections you’ll make during the studies are priceless for the years after graduation. Take a closer look at how the alumni network is engaged. Will you have a chance to meet alumni before and after graduations? Are there alumni fairs? Do graduates act as mentors for current students?

Friendly colleagues with devices at desk

6. Analyze the Curriculum

Another crucial consideration is the curriculum of your future MBA program. Does it fit all your goals? Does it offer opportunities to study in and outside the classroom? Is it future-oriented and comprehensive enough to provide you with chances to land a higher job position?

7. Research the Extracurricular Activities

Before you make a choice, set your goals. Think about skills and experience you want to gain. Will your MBA extracurricular activities like networking, leadership training, participation in a student club, etc., address professional and personal improvements you’d like to achieve?

And the last but not the least thing to remember: your MBA choice will directly affect your future career and life. So think twice!
Tell me about your reasons to do an MBA in comments below!

Yvonne McQuarrie
Yvonne McQuarrie

Yvonne McQuarrie is a freelance recruiter and resourcing advisor from Portsmouth, England. Her passion lies in people and knowledge. She worked as a student advisor and recruiter for two years. Yvonne also has an outstanding academic background as a private tutor which allows her being an advocate for self-improvement and development.

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