What is an MBA degree and what does it offer you?
MBA stands for Management in Business Administration and it is a degree offering you a 360 degree view on a business. It helps develop skills required for careers in management and business, with most MBAs having courses on finance & accounting, marketing, supply chain or logistics, economics and business strategy. On top of that, a range of soft skills are also developed, such as developing innovation, people skills, corporate ethics, leadership and others.
But what makes an MBA different to other courses or learning opportunities and what does it offer you?
Practical learning on all business aspects
Most MBA degrees recruit students based on their profiles and a minimum of 2 years work experience is often a requirement. This means that the information presented during the courses will assume a basic understanding of businesses and their processes, which makes the classes medium to advanced level.
On top of that, some MBAs, especially executive ones, will require several years in management experience. These prerequisites will set the stage for a degree in which you and your peers have a similar level of business knowledge, although your industries and backgrounds will be diverse. It is also a great environment for peer to peer learning, where your colleagues inspire you with their stories and their know-how.
Plus, MBA teachers are experienced practitioners, investors and business owners, so the courses are based on their practical experience from real life examples, topped with knowledge from business books. In MBA degree projects, you will work with your team on real life examples and be evaluated as you would be in a business setting.
This all leads to a better understanding of business concepts and departments, inspired by the way companies operate their real, day to day activity.
Useful skills for both the professional and individual side
Whilst the MBA degree will give your CV a boost in front of other professionals, this should not be the main reason you study for it. The combination of classes, projects, colleagues from diverse backgrounds and experienced professionals as teachers will, most probably, be a transformational experience both personally and professionally.
Any skills you develop to become a better professional and manager will impact your day to day life, in situations like how you give and accept feedback, prioritising and even work life balance.
The program also gives you a bird-eye view on the business, giving you a better understanding on the different departments involved in running the organisation: finance, marketing, strategy, business growth, logistics, HR. Knowing how they are connected supports better management decisions and is paramount for those aspiring to be better leaders.
As an entrepreneur/founder of a business, you will recruit and supervise all areas of the business, so your knowledge in the different departments will make a huge impact on how well your start-up performs.
MBA degrees offer a mix of learning, networking and sharing, with a dash of fun and, as you would expect, all this requires time and effort from your side.
A network of contacts with diverse profiles
Based on the profile of the MBA degree (whether it’s full time or part time, concentrated on a specific subject or general, executive or not), there will be a certain profile of student, which will include work and/or management experience, as mentioned before. However, the industry they come from, the department they work in or working in a for-profit or NGO will differ a lot, meaning you will meet a mix of complex people.
Throughout the program, you will spend a lot of time together, in classes, in projects, in parties and other informal meetings, so you’ll get to know them well. As experience of other MBA alumni has shown, your colleagues are very likely to become business partners, co-founders of a start-up and friends.
Moreover, the alumni network of the business school offering the MBA degree will mean you will also have access to students from other years. Throughout events and community meetings, you can tap into an even larger network than your class, including more opportunities for business partnerships and cross-industry know-how.
Frequently asked questions about MBAs
1. What types of MBA programs are there?
There are full-time MBAs, where students typically take sabbatical leaves from their work (or quit), in order to pursue the program, like one would go to class in university. For people who want to study for an MBA, but also work, there are also part-time MBAs, which take place during week nights, weekends or long weekends (Friday too).
The Executive MBA is part-time and addresses professionals with management experience. The program works around their work schedule, so they can still work while they study. Online MBAs allow a greater flexibility in terms of timing and geography (since you don’t have to attend anything in person), but takes out the face to face community interaction, that is seen as very valuable to students. However, it is an alternative for professionals who want to study at their own pace, in their own setting.
2. Can you study for an MBA if you’re a busy professional?
It depends on your priorities, but if you want to study for an MBA, you can definitely fit this around your work (and personal life) schedule. Throughout MBA programs, there are students who are full-time working professionals, directors, VP, CEOs and even working mums. If you think an MBA is valuable for you, you will be able to adapt your schedule and you can choose from the options above.
3. How long does an MBA take?
This depends based on each business school and their locations, with US full-time programs taking place over 2 years and Europe for 1 year. Part time programs usually have a minimum of 2 years duration.
There are also “mini MBAs” you can take, which will offer you bite size information into the same classes as an MBA, but without going into too much detail. These typically last for a few months, but they won’t offer an MBA degree at the end.
4. How much does an MBA cost?
This will vary greatly based on the country where you will study your MBA, if it’s full time, part time or online, but the degree will have a high cost, starting from around $5,000 and up to $120,000 or more (in the prestigious US business schools).
Whilst MBAs offer career advancement opportunities, which come with a higher salary range, you shouldn’t base your decision to fund an MBA based on prospective salary increase. There are different ways to fund the program, including personal savings, company funding, bank credits and scholarships from the business school offering the MBA.
5. What is the application process?
If you’ve read so far, you’ve probably guessed: it depends for each business school. Some will require you take previous tests (such as GMAT or an English test), whether others won’t. Most MBAs will require:
- a CV, which showcases your work experience and extracurricular activity
- a copy of your most recent academic diploma
- an essay or letter of motivation
- answers to an application form
- letters of recommendation from your manager or other work colleagues
- payment of an application fee
On top of the application process, some business school may also conduct interviews with candidates.
6. Where can I get more info about MBAs?
To find out more about MBAs in general and particular programs, check with:
- MBA fairs, that host a range of business schools and their offering. In Bucharest, QS Grad School Tour and Access MBA organise such fairs.
- MBA programs tutors, who can tell you more about the curriculum and course structure
- Alumni of the schools or current students, who can give you an unbiased look into how the business school they studied at is. You can find these doing a LinkedIn search or browsing the business school’s website for details about their students.
- Business schools’ events or open days, where you can meet tutors, students and other interested candidates. Check the website and/or social media pages of the business school you’re interested in for the schedule.
To find out more about the MBA experience, join one of our events, where you can attend a class similar to the ones from the MSM Executive MBA, meet one of the teachers or speak to an alumni about their experience.