Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Programs
What is an MBA?
An MBA, which is short for Master of Business Administration is a professional degree. Known world-wide, it develops a cross-section of skills in business and management.
At the heart of an MBA program are core topics. These touch on areas like accounting, finance, operations, HR and marketing. Electives help you apply managerial concepts to your area of interest. Investment banking, healthcare, and analytics are a few examples.
Today's business schools offer a wide array of MBA degrees for new and seasoned students. The Executive MBA (EMBA) is a part-time program for current managers. There are also full-time (2 year) and online MBAs for at-work adults.
written by Rana Waxman
Full-time MBAs - This is the standard program and may take one to two years, depending on your level of experience. Some (BS/MBAs) enroll students with little or no work experience. Others may look for three or more years of experience. Expect a full course load and lots of interaction. You can study on-campus at a nearby business school or online.
Part-time MBAs - These are self-paced and flexible MBA programs. They reduce the work load so you’ll take fewer courses at a time. As such, expect them to stretch out your time to completion. Three years in some cases, longer in others. Many offer classes online, in the evening and/or on weekends. You may or may not need several years of experience to enroll.
- As the name suggests, an Executive MBA is for execs with 5 to 8 or more years of experience. They generally meet on weekends. Or, may have some modest online sessions. Some integrate an international immersion to enhance global business acumen. Since classes harness existing skills, many take less than 2 years to complete.
Global MBAs - A global MBA (GMBA) often melds international affairs with traditional business skills. Some are for the experienced business person who wants to understand foreign practices. This can be useful if you deal with people, banks and companies from other countries. Also, for those who lead or want to lead marketing initiatives overseas.
Accelerated MBAs - Often immersive, an accelerated MBA takes the traditional two-year program and condenses it. Many ‘fast-track’ the MBA into a one-year program. This may mean studying without a summer break. Others may take anywhere from 15 to 24 months. You can look for accelerated MBA online programs too.
Dual MBA Programs - These enable you to earn two degrees at the same time. Sometimes (JD/MBA or MBA/Nursing) a joint program will stack degrees from different areas. Other times, (MS/MBA in Marketing) it’ll meld the analytical aspect of an MS with the business focus of an MBA. You may have more courses to do. But these may ready you to ‘master’ your content area and gain leadership skills to boot.
Hybrid MBAs - These are a blend of online and on-campus requirements. They offer the interaction of face-to-face learning coupled with independent study. Look for them by other names like Saturday MBA or Flexible MBA. Choose a business school nearby or find one with easy to manage travel time.
Is an MBA worth it?
Whether you want to start your own venture or step into a promotion, an MBA may be a worthwhile pursuit. Known to build tactical and managerial skills, it has many uses in the workforce.
In fact, per BLS.gov, the credential may help your career prospects. From top executives to HR managers and Info Sec Analysts, many employers prefer it when they assess new hires.
Also, an MBA may enable you to qualify for higher paying jobs. Especially in areas like business, finance, marketing and sales. One study found that those with a professional degree earned $435 per week more than those with a master’s degree. That’s $663 per week more than with a bachelor’s degree.
What is an Executive MBA (EMBA)?
An Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) is for corporate executives and managers. Usually, students are professionals with 5 years of experience or more.
For this reason, EMBAs are often streamlined and skip electives. As such, they may take less than the two years required by full-time programs. Classes usually meet in the evenings, after work or on weekends to suit busy schedules.
Plus, unlike a full-time MBA program, EMBAs let you keep working. This may help you gain promotion-worthy decision skills whilst keeping your job. Plus, many employers offer tuition assistance to offset costs.
Can I pursue my MBA Online?
You can pursue an MBA online at many traditional and online business schools. Many people in the workforce who want to advance their career prefer it. There's no relocation or commuting cost, so you may save on time and tuition.
In 100 percent online MBAs you usually complete modules or watch pre-recorded lectures. Stop, rewind, go faster and learn the way it suits you. Others may entail a brief stint on campus for networking and team building. Need more interaction? Study on campus or in a Hybrid MBA
We asked Executive Chef of Wednesdays Jenny Dorsey how earning an MBA helped her in business:
My MBA truly showed me what "networking" - the effective, powerful kind - means. I learned how to network and prospect new clients, building my two businesses from the ground up. As the saying goes, people will forget all about what you say and do but they will remember how you made them feel.
What kind of jobs can I get with an MBA?
An MBA, with its strong focus on tactical thinking might help you pursue a wide range of jobs. It may be the missing link between an entry-level role and one in mid to senior management.
Many of today's managerial jobs need someone who can translate data into decisions. Some MBA grads may thus work for financial institutions like banks. Others may find leadership positions in private or public sectors. One might also tap the strengths of an MBA to launch a start-ups and small businesses.
Salaries for Jobs with an MBA
Medical and Health Services Manager
Top States for Employment with an MBA – Executives
Annual Mean Wage
Top Metro Areas for Employment with an MBA
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Battle Creek, MI||$194,920||Not Reported|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$182,490||5,630|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||$176,520||23,200|
There are corporate jobs in nearly every industry. Some executives (23%) work as independent consultants. Others work for small and large businesses. Yet many also work in government, manufacturing, healthcare, marketing and retail.
Top MBA Programs
Business Administration degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Business, management, marketing, and personal and culinary services.
In fact, in the most recent update of the data (2013), across the U.S, there were 116,792 Business Administration degrees awarded to graduate students. The majority 98 % of these graduate programs were at the master’s level.
MBA vs Executive MBA (EMBA)?
Both the MBA and Executive MBA may equip grads with sharpened business skills and a stand out CV. So, what are the differences between an MBA vs an EMBA?
A typical MBA takes 2 years to complete full-time. You'll need a bachelor's degree to enroll and often must furnish GRE/GMAT scores. Many, but not all business schools want to see you have related experience. Often up to three years of it.
The main part of your program focuses on basic business classes. These cover the things managers need to know to oversee operations, people, projects and finances. Other courses tailor the MBA to career interests. Marketing analytics, human resource management (HRM) and so on.
To pull off the rigors of a full-time MBA program, juggling a career with classes may be out of the question. It may be easier for someone early in their career or fresh out of college.
A typical EMBA may take fewer than 2 years with the range starting at 15 months. You'll need a bachelor's degree to enroll and professional work experience of 5 years and up. Many business schools waive the GRE/GMAT because of this.
Many EMBA programs cut to the chase and forego the electives. The average age of students ranges from 32 to 38 years old. So, these programs go on the premise that you’ve been at work in your industry and want to refine skills. Not build them from scratch
EMBA students take most, if not all, classes with the same classmates. They face a faster pace, with opportunity to network and learn from peers as well as professors. There's usually a focus on teamwork, and practice-focused skills.
Since classes meet in the evenings, it may be easier to juggle school and career. Even if you travel for work, you may be able to use web conferencing and not miss a beat.
Business Administration Graduate Program Guide
Master’s in Business Administration (MBA)
Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) or Executive MBA
|Length of Program: 88 weeks, 36-42 credits||Length of Program: 15 months, 20 + courses|
|This program offers a well-rounded business core. This covers areas such as operations, finance, marketing, accounting and business strategy. A list of 14 concentrations helps you tailor your MBA to a career niche. It caps with a research project.||This program offers a practice-focused management core. Students also travel to Cape Town South Africa for an immersive experience to understand multi-national business. It caps with a Key Reflection Project (KRP).|
|Accredited by the IACBE||Accredited by the AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS|
Takeaways? One trade-off is that the MBA is full-time and immersive while the EMBA is intense and part-time. That said, both target students at different points in their career and education. You'll want to look at tuition, schedule and format to see what makes sense.
MBA Degree Specializations
After you complete your business core, you can customize an MBA with a concentration. This allows a more in-depth view of one area of study. Some students use this focal area to shape their career path.
Below are some of the popular MBA specializations. Expect to take about 3 classes (9 credits) per. Most schools have a menu of several to choose from.
MBA Course List
The MBA revolves around a series of core business topics. Some help you understand the economy and how it relates to costs, profits and growth. For example, how to market a product or manage personnel. Others touch on professional ethics and standards to guide your leadership style.
Along the way, you’ll often study business strategy. This often leads to a greater understanding of how to make decisions based on analytics. It involves learning to work towards a goal, solve problems and negotiate results.
While not an exhaustive list, below are some sample MBA courses. These may comprise about 30 credits or more of your program requirements.
- Financial Accounting
- Intro to Business Statistics
- Basics of Management
- Business Law
- Managerial Marketing
- Human Resources
- Operations Management
Financial Accounting - This type of class takes a look at the way a firm will capture, record and report financial data. You'll often learn about cash flows and how to prepare income statements.
Intro to Business Statistics - This class may cover the statistical methods that drive savvy business decisions. It’ll often focus on tools of analysis and forecasting.
Basics of Management - This theme of class gets to the bottom of what management involves. It’ll often explain how smart leadership can support success.
Business Law - This class may get into commercial law as it affects day-to-day operations. It may provide insight into when a manager should look into legal counsel.
Managerial Marketing - This class may look at the strategy and research methods that go into marketing. Other topics may focus on developing skills to manage a sales force.
Human Resources -This type of class is about managing people. It might explore practices such as recruitment and hiring. Also, employee training, corporate policies, change management, and executive leadership.
Operations Management - This kind of class looks at concepts like efficiency and supply chain. It often discusses ways to streamline internal processes. The goal is to learn how to foster productivity and a better bottom line.
Studying at an accredited university ensures a high level of quality. It may enable you to use transfer credits or apply for federal aid.
Another level of standards you might rank on your list of priorities is at the program level. These MBA programs pass peer reviews. The process ensures that the courses you learn adhere to ethical norms. Also, that students gain relevant skills for the modern marketplace.
There are several accreditors for MBA programs to know about. These set their own criteria and limit accreditation for specific periods of time. Usually about 7 years.
To maintain their status, the university must show its MBA program is up-to-date. First they need to prepare a new self-study and undergo another site visit.
You can check accreditation status on the databases of the following agencies.
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- International Assembly for Collegiate Education (IACBE)
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- EFMD Global Network (EQUIS)
- Association Member Benefits Advisors (AMBA)
- Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA)
How long does it take to earn an MBA?
A traditional full-time MBA takes two years to complete. It often requires from 36 to 45 credits. Many schools do enable full time students to take courses in summer. This may mean graduating in from 12 to 15 months instead.
Many schools offer ways to quicken or lengthen the pace, wanting to appeal to the working student. Shorter programs such as the one-year MBA may have fewer (30) credits. They usually target the more experienced student. Part-time programs may take 3 years or more.
# of Credits Required
Starts Per Year
Minimum Months to Complete
Sacred Heart University
36 to 45 credits
12 to 15 months
2 or more
How Much Does an MBA Cost?
The average cost of a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you will be able to find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.
To give specific examples, this visualization shows graduate tuition costs of 4 institutions with MBA Programs as reported by the NCES. We have then compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also as reported by NCES.
Instate/Out Of State Tuition
How Many Credit Hours Does It Take to Get An MBA?
To earn an MBA degree, you usually need to complete from 36 to 55 semester credits of study - or 60 to 90 quarter-credits. This equals 12 to 18 courses of 3 credits each. To maintain status as a full-time student, some schools set a 12 credit per semester bottom line.
Cost per credit of course is different at every College or University. State Universities are also likely to have in state costs vs out of state costs. Below are a few examples of the cost per credit as reported by each one of these institutions
# of Credits Required
Cost Per Credit
Total Tuition Cost
60 quarter credits
Find 79 Top EMBA & MBA Programs Here:
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Northcentral UniversityMaster of Business Administration - Management Master of Business Administration - General Business Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management
Dakota Wesleyan UniversityMaster of Business Administration
Babson CollegeMaster of Business Administration – Miami Master of Business Administration – Part Time Online Master in Business Administration
Widener UniversityMaster of Business Administration
Loyola University ChicagoMBA- One Year MBA- Flexible MBA- Executive Master of Business Administration Dual Degree MBA/MS in Accounting Dual Degree MBA/MS in Finance
Tufts UniversityMaster of Global Business Administration
The University of ScrantonMaster of Business Administration MBA - Business Analytics Dual MBA-MHA
Queens University of CharlotteMaster of Business Administration
Benedictine UniversityAccelerated Masters in Business Administration Master of Business Administration
Rivier UniversityMaster of Business Administration
Winthrop UniversityMaster of Business Administration
Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaAccelerated MBA
Rockhurst UniversityMaster of Business Administration
Fordham UniversityOnline Master of Science in Management
Utica CollegeMBA - General MBA - Insurance and Risk Management
University of Colorado DenverMaster of Science in Global Energy Management
St. John's UniversityMaster of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
University of DenverMBA
Concordia University ChicagoMBA, Digital Marketing Specialization MBA, Chief School Business Official Specialization The Concordia University Chicago Core MBA MBA, School Business Management Specialization
Norwich UniversityMaster of Business Administration - General
Walden UniversityMaster of Business Administration (MBA) - Healthcare Management - Tempo Learning® Master of Business Administration (MBA) - General (Fast Track) Master of Business Administration (MBA) - General Master of Business Administration (MBA) - Self-Designed Master of Business Administration (MBA) - Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Master of Business Administration (MBA) - Project Management - Tempo Learning® Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) - Communication
Manhattanville CollegeMaster of Science in Business Leadership
Quinnipiac UniversityMaster of Business Administration
American InterContinental UniversityMaster of Business Administration
Purdue University GlobalMaster of Business Administration
Colorado Technical UniversityMaster of Business Administration Master of Science - Management
Southern New Hampshire UniversityMBA MS Management MBA with concentration in International Finance MBA with concentration in Business Analytics
Grand Canyon UniversityM.B.A. M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Sports Business
South UniversityMBA Master of Business Administration AMBA Master of Business Administration
Sacred Heart UniversityMaster of Business: Administration