What Is an MBA Degree? Is It Right for You? (2023)


Professional Development

What Is an MBA Degree? Is It Right for You?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

An MBA degree can open doors to some amazing career opportunities. Learn how to obtain a master's degree in business, what you can do with it, and how to get started with this guide from Coursera.

What Is an MBA Degree? Is It Right for You? (1)

Over the course of your working life, doing an MBA can often help you make more money, open more career doors, get promoted faster, and be better at your job.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a degree that prepares graduates to be effective senior managers in an increasingly complex and global business environment. Read on to learn about MBA programmes and what they can do for you.

What does “MBA” stand for?

MBA stands for “Master of Business Administration.” Most business schools offer graduate programmes that prepare students to lead companies in a variety of different capacities. For those interested in leadership positions in corporations, an MBA can be an excellent choice. At its core, an MBA teaches students how to apply theoretical concepts in real-world settings and prepare them for careers as managers or leaders in their industry.

An MBA is often considered the most valuable degree you can have on your CV. It shows that you have dedicated yourself to studying business and that you have a thorough understanding of best practice in the field.

(Video) What Is an MBA Degree? (What You Learn & WHY Employers HIRE MBA Grads!)

What can you do with an MBA?

Whatever career path you choose, an MBA can be a powerful asset. While it won't turn you into a brilliant business strategist or adept dealmaker overnight, it will help you manage people and projects more effectively. An MBA will help you to develop advanced skills and prepare for leadership roles as you begin climbing the corporate ladder.

There is no doubt that an MBA brings with it an enormous amount of opportunity. Whether you are looking to start your own business, join a business as a manager or work in the not-for-profit sector, an MBA opens doors. MBA graduates are in high demand at the moment in the health care, IT, consulting, retail, and accounting and finance sectors, according to a survey of corporate recruiters completed in 2021.

The bottom line is that getting your MBA will help you become more prepared to take on new management roles in the future. Perhaps even more importantly, it will help you advance in those roles once you've landed them.

Types of MBA programmes

There are various types of MBA programmes available at universities. If you are looking to pursue this type of course, here is your guide to the different types of MBA programmes.

An MBA stands out on a CV. Through the programme, students not only gain deep expertise in both business and management; they also learn to understand the big picture of business and management from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Full-time MBA

A full-time MBA typically takes 24 months to complete. It can be completed on campus, or through distance learning.

Part-time MBA

Part-time MBAs are an option for busy executives who cannot spare the time to commit full-time to their studies. A part-time MBA allows these professionals the opportunity to study at their convenience.

The schedule of these programmes is tailored to meet the specific needs of participants, who have busy day jobs and very little time to spare. Part-time MBA programmes take anywhere from two to seven years of study and can be pursued either in a classroom setting or through distance learning.

Executive MBA

The Executive MBA (EMBA) is designed for high-performing professionals who have attained success in their careers but want to further develop their management capabilities. It is an accelerated course of study that combines advanced academic learning and business practice.

With an Executive MBA, the student usually has several years of work experience under their belt, especially if they’re moving into a senior position within their organisation.

Global MBA

Global MBA is a broad category that includes international business administration programmes and other types of MBA programmes that relate to more than one country or region.

Global MBA programmes sometimes come with elements of exchange programmes and cater to working professionals all across the globe by providing a global outlook, helping them to develop leadership skills and business acumen.

Earning your MBA: Online vs. on campus

A Master's degree is becoming essential for board level career growth and success. The question then is which method to pursue: online or on campus? Each type of MBA has its pros and cons. Your decision should be based on your unique circumstances.

Online MBAs

There are plenty of reasons to choose an online MBA. With online programmes, students can choose their own schedules, allowing them to work full-time while earning their degrees. Additionally, online MBAs are typically cheaper than on-campus programmes, making them a smart investment. An online programme allows students to stay at home and learn from anywhere in the world.

Remember though, not all online degrees are created equal. Some schools offer fully accredited programmes while others offer lesser options that don't deliver real value to students. The key is to find a good online degree programme.

On-campus MBAs

Earning an on-campus MBA requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but the experience can prove to be highly rewarding. A traditional MBA programme allows students to earn their degree in two years, after which graduates are ready to take on the world of business armed with the knowledge and skills necessary for success.

On-campus MBAs offer all the same benefits of an online MBA with the added bonus of being on campus. You're surrounded by the local community and have the opportunity to connect with classmates and professors. Plus, there are more classes and interaction opportunities than in online degree formats.

You'll also have plenty of chances to network, meet people in the field and land an internship or job straight from university.

What do you learn in an MBA programme?

There is a lot you can learn in an MBA programme. For starters, you can learn accounting and finance, valuable skills for those starting out in business or transitioning from other industries. But there are many more skills your MBA degree will teach you.

(Video) What Is an MBA Degree and is it worth it?

Below are some classes you might find on your MBA curriculum, though curricula vary from school to school:

  • Digital marketing

  • Business ethics

  • Business strategy

  • Corporate finance

  • Cultural psychology

  • Digital marketing

  • Investments

  • Leadership foundation

  • Managerial accounting

  • Operations management

  • Organisational management

How long does it take to get an MBA degree?

The short answer is that it depends on where you want to study and what you want to study. However, for most full-time MBAs, you should plan on about two years.

Some universities have structured their MBA programmes so that students finish their degree in three years. For some accelerated business schools, you could complete the degree in 12 to 16 months. Do keep in mind that earning your MBA requires you to be highly motivated and disciplined.

Is an MBA worth it?

The short answer is yes. An MBA will open doors for you, whether you're looking to advance your career within your current organisation, take a step up the ladder in another company or launch your own enterprise.

There have been many studies that examine the effect of an MBA on your career and personal life. One article by Investopedia reported that people with MBAs typically earned more over their lifetimes than those with only bachelor's degrees [1].

In 2021, the median salary for an MBA graduate was 77 percent higher than those with a bachelor's degree, according to annual research conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council. The same study shows that within the same industry, an MBA holder's salary is 53 percent higher than their colleagues.

An MBA from a good school like Imperial College London, London Business School (LBS), or Oxford Business School will impress your future employers and help you to open doors that would otherwise be closed to you. Some employers have an MBA as a prerequisite for senior-level positions.

The skills, knowledge and contacts you gain from an MBA will give you an enormous advantage over your peers in the job market, enabling you to start off on the right foot in a very competitive marketplace.

(Video) How Recruiters Regard your MBA (with former CEO) | What Hiring Managers Think of your MBA.

Do I need an MBA degree?

An MBA from a top business school can be an incredibly powerful way to break into top business positions.

You can usually expect a salary boost after getting your degree, and depending on the school you attend and the industry you work in, you may have a better chance of landing a high-paying job during or after school. But there are less expensive ways to get started in business without investing such a large sum of money.

If your goal is to go to the top of the management ladder, an MBA might be your best option. It will help you hone your leadership skills, give you a perspective on business as a whole, expand your network and teach you how to work with others. On the other hand, if you are looking to get into the marketing or finance field, a Professional Certificate may be a more suitable and specialised approach to your learning.

MBA application requirements

If you choose to go after an MBA, remember that this degree requires business-related work experience and good grades from previous college study. Professional Certificates often require less work experience.

The application requirements for an MBA differ from school to school. In general, though, you may need to provide any or all of the following:

  • Your undergraduate degree and transcript(s).

  • An official copy of your A’Levels.

  • Letters of recommendation from faculty, employers or others who can speak to your character and work ethic.

  • An essay that describes why you want an MBA degree and what you hope to achieve with it.

  • A CV showing all of your relevant work experience and extracurricular activities.

Some schools don't require all applicants to take standardised tests. They may even waive degree requirements if you have a tremendous amount of experience. The specifics are different for every school, so it is important to research the requirements of each programme you're interested in before applying.

How to choose an MBA programme: Factors to consider

Choosing the right MBA programme can be a huge decision, as it’s a big investment and will likely have a lasting impact on your career. Below are some of the key criteria you should consider when searching for an MBA programme:

  • Location

  • Cost and funding

  • Accreditations

  • Programme design and curriculum

  • How is the programme ranked?

  • Expectations for post-graduation employment

  • Diversity

    (Video) MBA: Is It Right For You?

You'll also want to look at whether or not the school has scholarships available for MBA students. Some universities offer merit-based scholarships, whereas others offer need-based programmes. There are also some schools that offer need-based scholarships for women only or minorities only.

Finally, you should also look at your own personal goals and priorities when deciding which MBA programme is best for you.

Get started with Coursera

Are you interested in getting an MBA degree? If so, you might be considering taking an online course. Why not take a look through the MBA options available on Coursera from universities around the world. These courses are taught by many of the same professors who teach in the classroom, making them some of the most valuable classes you can take on the Internet.

What Is an MBA Degree? Is It Right for You? (2)

Global Master of Business Administration (Global MBA)

Macquarie University


Learn More

Written by Coursera • Updated on

(Video) Is MBA for you ? | Is MBA a good career option ?

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.


What Is an MBA Degree? Is It Right for You? ›

How does an MBA help your career? An MBA can enhance your marketability as a professional and increase the quality and quantity of job opportunities. Over 98% of Wharton MBA graduates are extended full-time job offers. An MBA also helps you build business leadership skills, as well as a professional network.

How do you know if an MBA is right for you? ›

How to Decide if an MBA Is Right for You: 4 Steps
  • Consider Your Personal Circumstances. ...
  • Determine Your Professional Goals. ...
  • Explore Your Options. ...
  • Assess the Big Picture.
Nov 15, 2022

Is it worth it to get an MBA? ›

“Especially when you factor in long-term career prospects, like earning potential and the ability to make an impact in an industry that's important to you, business school is a fantastic choice.” While no specific salary is guaranteed, an MBA can set you up to earn more than you would without it.

Is an MBA worth it in 2023? ›

So, you are considering applying to an MBA program this year but wonder whether the time, money, energy, and everything else involved in this endeavor is worthwhile. The easy answer is yes—go for it.

Is MBA worth it after 40? ›

Take Control Over Your Career

As one of the most versatile degrees, the MBA can help you pivot into a variety of sectors and positions. Many MBA graduates over 40 opt for consulting work, which allows them to draw on years of experience to bring expert insights to the organizations they serve.

Do employers care about MBA? ›

Do Employers Care Where You Get Your MBA? The answer depends on your intended employer. Some companies focus on where candidates earned their MBAs, while others prioritize the degree specialization or relevant work experience.

Do employers look at MBA grades? ›

Your GPA carries less importance to employers at the MBA level than one's undergraduate grades,” says Anjani Jain, senior associate dean of SOM's MBA program. “Employers of MBAs are often looking for a number of attributes, and they are keen to look for soft skills like leadership and an ability to communicate.

How much should an MBA increase my salary? ›

That's $40,000 higher than projections for direct-from-industry hires, and $50,000 higher than job candidates with a bachelor's degree [1]. Average MBA starting salary data does vary across surveys.
How much can an MBA increase your salary?
IndustryAverage salary increase
4 more rows
Jan 9, 2023

How difficult is an MBA? ›

Earning your MBA will be difficult; however, it should be an experience that challenges you to take risks in pursuit of higher learning, Beaver says. “Grad school is a collaborative setting where both faculty and students help you to be successful throughout the journey.”

Is it worth getting an MBA at 50? ›

The answer is that each person is different. For some, enrolling in an MBA or Executive MBA (EMBA) could be the best option for personal and professional growth; even at the age of 50. For others, it could be a bad investment, offering few benefits while you fork out a huge sum of money.

What is the best age to pursue MBA? ›

Studies suggest that the best age for pursuing a normal MBA course in India is 25-27, and for an Executive MBA, it is 28-30. However, these are just numbers, and remember that you can do an MBA at any age! You can reach out to MBA degree holders and visit B-schools for additional information.

What is the typical MBA age? ›

The bottom line is you're never too old or experienced to get an MBA. The average age of a full-time MBA student is 28 years old but that is just an average. Countless 30 something's have received their MBAs at tops schools in the US and Europe and reaped the lifelong benefits of doing so.

What is the best age to go back for MBA? ›

Many MBA applicants look to averages, not only for age statistics, but also for test scores, GPAs and just about anything else you can quantify. The average age of MBA applicants is around 27.5 years, so if you are between 26 and 29, you are right in the sweet spot.

How many hours a week is an MBA? ›

Full-time MBA Program

While full-time MBA programs may mean that you could have a day of classes that only runs three hours, this program isn't meant to accommodate a busy work schedule. Most full-time programs will have students devoting 40 hours per week to their studies.

Is an Executive MBA better than an MBA? ›

The 'E' in EMBA stands for executive—but that doesn't necessarily mean EMBAs are superior to MBAs. They're essentially the same degree, but EMBAs are structured for current (rather than aspiring) executives and tend to be more flexible to accommodate busy schedules.

What is an MBA degree used for? ›

An MBA can enhance your marketability as a professional and increase the quality and quantity of job opportunities. Over 98% of Wharton MBA graduates are extended full-time job offers. An MBA also helps you build business leadership skills, as well as a professional network.

What are the disadvantages of MBA? ›

Common criticisms of M.B.A. programs
  • Costs of study- Studying for an M.B.A. can be expensive. ...
  • Limited skill development- Students studying for an M.B.A. ...
  • Lack of specialization- Those who decide to study for an M.B.A. ...
  • Uncertain return on investment- Because of the high costs of M.B.A.
Jun 22, 2014

How long does an MBA take? ›

A full-time MBA program usually takes 1 to 2 years to complete. From online to on-campus and full-time to part-time, you can choose from a variety of programs based on your needs. The number of years or months it takes to complete your MBA will vary based on the path you choose.

What's the difference between a Masters and an MBA? ›

While they share many similarities, the important distinction is that an MBA is simply a type of master's degree in general business administration, while a master's degree in business involves more concentrated study in areas like accounting, business analytics, or human resources.

What percentage of MBA graduates get a job? ›

Among the 149 ranked full-time MBA programs that supplied three-month employment rate data to U.S. News, the average employment rate for 2022 graduates three months after graduation was 86.4%. But three-month employment rates at these schools varied widely, ranging from a high of 100% to a low of 37.5%.

Should I put my MBA GPA on resume? ›

As with all other education, listing your GPA is not mandatory. If you do decide to include it, make sure it's 3.5 or above.

Can I get into MBA with 2.5 GPA? ›

MBA admissions requirements vary, but in general, students with at least a 2.5 GPA in the last 60 hours of their undergraduate studies are encouraged to apply to graduate business programs. These are not hard-and-fast rules, as MBA admissions counselors sometimes consider other factors.

Which MBA has highest salary? ›

Which MBA Has the Highest Salary? Three of the most paid MBA specialisations include- MBA in Business Analytics, MBA in Finance and MBA in Entrepreneurship. The salaries for each of these disciplines broadly lie in the range of 70,000 USD to 90,000 USD or 60,00,000 INR to 90,00,000 INR per annum.

Which MBA makes the most money? ›

Which MBA specialization has the highest salary? According to the BLS, some of the highest-paying management occupations related to MBA concentrations include computer and information systems management, financial management, marketing management, and human resources management.

What is the starting salary for MBA in USA? ›

The average salary of an MBA graduate in USA is $11,500 per annum. The demand for MBA graduates kept increasing as 92% of employers hired MBA graduates in 2022. MBA degree is the most popular course that international students are willing to pursue in abroad countries.

What is the hardest class in an MBA? ›

Here, in broad strokes, are some of the most difficult classes involved in an MBA program:
  • Accounting & Economics. ...
  • Management Communications. ...
  • Capstone Courses & Practical Projects.

Is an MBA a lot of math? ›

MBA programs typically require basic math skills. Students should be able to: Perform conversions on percentages, fractions, and decimals. Represent numbers as percentages, fractions, and decimals.

Is an MBA harder than a Masters? ›

Both an MBA and master's in business are graduate-level programs, and meet the same rigorous academic standards. So, neither option is inherently easier than the other. The difficulty of each program also depends on the student's background.

Should I put MBA after my name? ›

Whatever your area of specialization, your MBA is an achievement that only a few people share. Feel free to write MBA after your name whenever it's appropriate, you earned it.

Is 60 too old to get an MBA? ›

Yes, you can apply for an MBA even if you're older than the school's average age. Business schools have academic prerequisites and work experience requirements you need to meet to be considered. As long as you have those, you're eligible to apply.

What is the average age of a master student? ›

AVERAGE AGE: 29.8 years old

Of course, the average master student age is dictated by when they complete their undergraduate and this is typically in their early 20s. However, there are many people who do their masters at a much older age due to: career change.

What counts as work experience for MBA? ›

Full-Time Professional Work Experience

Traditionally, this has meant full-time experience working in some area of business. Work experience for MBA programs doesn't count internships or work in a role that isn't related to your field.

How much work experience is required for MBA in USA? ›

The average student has worked for five or six years between graduating from college and entering the MBA program. The Wharton MBA program does accept early career candidates with limited or no experience who exhibit strong managerial and professional potential.

Should I get an MBA right after undergrad? ›

Yes! Graduates of MBA programs command a much higher salary than students with a bachelor's degree, and it makes financial sense to earn that higher salary for as many years as possible. In 2021, the median salary of MBA graduates was $115,000, 77% more than those with a bachelor's degree ($65,000).

Is 30 too old to apply for MBA? ›

Are you too old for an MBA? The average age of an MBA student is 28 years old. If you're considering getting an MBA at 30 or above, you might be pondering that question. While you're never too old to improve your business education, enrolling in an MBA course may prohibit you from achieving your career goals.

How hard is an MBA online? ›

Undoubtedly, MBA programs are challenging, and their difficulty level varies. But, usually, an online MBA is neither a walk in the park nor extremely difficult. About 63% of online MBA students finish their degree. So, it's a challenge that you can take on with time management and discipline.

Is an MBA worth the time and money? ›

MBA Degree Pros and Cons

An MBA is only worth the expense, time, and effort when the graduate plans to work in a business-related field, in management, or as a company founder. An MBA may not be useful for those working in other industries unless they are in management or leadership roles.

What is the shortest time to do an MBA? ›

An accelerated MBA offers the fastest route to an MBA degree. Also called a one-year MBA, accelerated programs take as little as 12 months. Most accelerated MBA programs take 12-18 months.

Which MBA specialization is best in future? ›

Top 10 MBA Specialisations in 2023
  • 1) Finance Management.
  • 2) Marketing Management.
  • 3) Human Resource Management.
  • 4) Business Analytics.
  • 5) IT Management.
  • 6) Healthcare Management.
  • 7) Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
  • 8) Operations Management.
5 days ago

Why is Executive MBA so expensive? ›

Another reason for the sticker shock is the fact that Executive MBA programs often are taught by a school's star professors and boast dedicated career coaches and career development staffers. The high costs also reflect brand power. Schools with big brands are able to get better pricing than others.

Does Executive MBA or MBA have a difference in pay? ›

After graduation, students who've earned an EMBA often earn significantly more than those with an MBA. This is because EMBA graduates have more experience, and they also are usually working toward higher-level executive positions. Their EMBA degree helps them to get these top leadership roles that have higher salaries.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years after MBA? ›

Answer for “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” “In five years, I see myself as an integral part of the company who has helped contribute to the growth and success of the organization. I would like to continue developing my skills and knowledge in order to be able to take on more responsibility within the company.

Should I add MBA to my email signature? ›

That's not to suggest that if you are filling out a job application (or writing a resume) you should leave out your MBA. Just don't use it like M.D. or even CFA or other similar designations. You only add initials after your name if you are licensed.

Which MBA specialization is best paid? ›

Listed below are the top 10 highest paying specializations of MBA:
  • Finance.
  • Marketing.
  • Economics.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Data Analytics.
  • International Business.
  • Investment Management.
  • Innovation Management.
Apr 7, 2023

Does MBA look at GPA? ›

Along with your GMAT or GRE score, the GPA acts as an indicator of your academic aptitude and plays a vital role in your application. The admissions committee looks into the GPA to take an educated guess of how well you would be able to handle the academic rigor of an MBA program.

How much does an MBA raise your salary? ›

Perhaps a better question to ask is, what is a reasonable MBA salary increase to expect? While an MBA program is a considerable investment in both time and money, research indicates the average base salary and compensation increase for MBA graduates may be as high as $20,000 per year.

What is the average salary of an MBA graduate in the US? ›

What is the average salary of MBA in USA? The average salary of an MBA graduate in USA is $11,500 per annum. According to Statista, Stanford Graduate School of Business alumni earned the highest average salary with an annual income of 2487,669 U.S. dollars.

Which is the most in demand MBA? ›

Most in-demand MBA specializations in 2023
  • MBA in Human Resource Management (HRM) ...
  • MBA in Operations Management. ...
  • MBA in International Business. ...
  • MBA in Healthcare Management. ...
  • MBA in Marketing. ...
  • MBA in Finance. ...
  • MBA in Project Management. ...
  • MBA in Supply Chain Management.
Jan 27, 2023

Can I get an MBA with a 2.7 GPA? ›

At Chicago Booth School of Business, someone got in with a 2.7 GPA. And at Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, one extraordinary candidate was admitted with a 2.4 — a year after the school admitted an applicant with a 2.5. We can deduce some extraordinary cases even when we have less data to parse.

How long is an MBA program? ›

A full-time MBA program usually takes 1 to 2 years to complete. From online to on-campus and full-time to part-time, you can choose from a variety of programs based on your needs. The number of years or months it takes to complete your MBA will vary based on the path you choose.

Can I get my MBA with a 2.5 GPA? ›

MBA admissions requirements vary, but in general, students with at least a 2.5 GPA in the last 60 hours of their undergraduate studies are encouraged to apply to graduate business programs. These are not hard-and-fast rules, as MBA admissions counselors sometimes consider other factors.

What is the average age for Executive MBA? ›

An EMBA, or an Executive Master of Business Administration, is also a two-year program, but it's aimed at business executives with five years or more of managerial experience. The average age of students is 38 years old.

Which is the hardest specialization in MBA? ›

MBA in Operations Management

Operations Management is concerned with planning, organizing, and supervising the design, development, and delivery of products and services. MBA in operations management is also one of the most demanding specialization in MBA.

What are the most satisfying MBA jobs? ›

The Most In-Demand MBA Jobs
  • Financial Advisor.
  • Management Analyst.
  • Investment Banker.
  • Finance Manager.
  • Information Technology Manager.
  • Marketing Manager.
  • HR Manager.
  • Business Consultant.


1. Is Business School Worth It? How MBA Programs Are Revamping in 2019 | WSJ
(Wall Street Journal)
2. What is an MBA | Should You Get One? (with former CEO)
(The Companies Expert)
3. Why To Get An MBA Degree Right Now
(CNBC Make It)
4. What Is MBA? | Master Of Business Administration | What Is A MBA Degree? | Simplilearn
5. Is the MBA worth it? (2022)
(Ryan Crandall)
6. Executive MBA vs MBA | Is an EMBA Degree Right For YOU?
(Richard Walls - Career Dev & Finance)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated: 03/11/2023

Views: 6143

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.