Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated October 2010
Studying In the field
The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most popular graduate degrees available. Perhaps this is because of its relevance in this world of ever-increasing business opportunities, or the ways in which the skills learned in class can be applied to the larger world of business in the expanding globalized economy about which so much attention is being paid these days. Or maybe it's because the MBA degree can often lead to lucrative careers in the public and private world of business. Whatever it is, one thing remains clear: Earning an MBA degree is one of the surest ways to further your career, jump-start a new one or set yourself up for the corporate position you've always dreamed of.
Of course, there are myriad options within the world of MBA's, and the area you choose to focus on will have just as much of an impact on your professional prospects as the fact that you have earned it in the first place. And that is the beauty of an MBA-it will not only give you the tools you need to succeed in the business world, but it will also open doors that might have remained closed before.
That having been noted, studying in the field is really a tale of two courses: There are the basics that most programs offer and that nearly all MBA candidates have to take, and then there are more specialized courses that you will only have to worry about if and when you choose to focus on that specific area of study.
As for the basic courses, they are likely to include the following: "Finance... Financial Reporting and Control... Leadership and Organizational Behavior... Marketing... Technology and Operations Management... Business, Government, and the International Economy... Strategy... Negotiation... Leadership and Corporate Accountability," and others of that nature (HBS). And while there will certainly be some variation in the programming from school to school, and while there will certainly be some courses that are offered in one place but not another, the general course of study will encompass similar topics and classes. The goal, after all, is to prepare students for the world of high-end business which they will likely enter following graduation from their MBA program.
Then there are the classes that are more specialized. Many of these will lie within the areas of finance, international business, venture capital, economic theory and the like. These are courses that apply to students who would like to specialize in one particular aspect of the business world.
In addition to the classes themselves, there is also the issue of how you would like to go about earning your MBA. Since so many students are also full-time employees of companies, it is not uncommon for students to earn their MBA at night while maintaining their full-time schedule during the day. And while this is often stressful and difficult, it is managed by hundreds of thousands of students every year. Plus, it is not uncommon for the company for which students are working to offer to pay for the MBA-with the understanding that, in return, the employee will agree to stay with the company for a specified period of time after earning the MBA.
Job opportunities In the field
Earning an MBA can not only facilitate job advancement, but it can also make you a much more marketable person when it comes time to move on to a new job or career within the business field. In addition, it is also common for MBA holder's to earn more money in their jobs, the assumption being that their increased level of knowledge will make their presence at a company that much more profitable.
For specific earnings and job outlooks, you should research each specific area of business on your own-there are just too many options to make any sort of generalizations accurate. But the one constant is this: Earning an MBA can have a profound impact on your career in the business world, and all the time and effort required to earn it will almost certainly pay off in the end.
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