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MBA

Ah yes, the MBA. Notoriously and reassuringly expensive. This, we know. But what does an MBA actually involve?

What’s an MBA?

An MBA is the Master in Business Administration: a master’s course business administration. This particular qualification has a much-debated reputation as being a must-have for all students who wish to enter executive business management levels in their careers. It could lead to top jobs in management consultancy and business roles across pretty much any industry.

An MBA gives students an in-depth insight into the theories of how a business runs and how this works in practice and aims to develop management and leadership skills.

The fees for this particular qualification can be incredibly expensive – fees at the top end of the scale are around £64,000! There are options that start from around £16,000.

So the MBA is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly!

What does it involve?

The MBA course content covers a number of compulsory modules and some elective subjects. Topics could include the following:

  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Organisation and people management
  • International business
  • Accounting
  • Consultancy
  • Data
  • Business operations

Electives can give students the opportunity to shape an area of specialism. MBA students often have to carry out placement-based projects and internships as well as part of their studies and assessment.

A full-time course usually lasts between a year-and-a-half to two years. It’s a very intense period of study whichever way you decide to do it, so be prepared!

What will it enable me to do?

For the amount is costs to do one of these qualifications, you could be forgiven for thinking an MBA will allow you to perform minor miracles. Alas, magical powers aren’t part of the deal with an MBA, but serious career progression to the very top levels of a business can be possible. Indeed, there are some companies that run specific recruitment drives for MBA graduates. 

There is a lot of debate surrounding MBAs and whether they are really worth all that money. An MBA could provide you with the knowledge and skills to bag management jobs with huge salaries that mean that the course can pay for itself in a few years’ time after you’ve graduated. But this doesn’t mean to say you can’t earn a tasty salary and have a senior role without this qualification. The banking and finance sector is one of the top sectors for high salaries. 

Networking opportunities are a big draw for some who consider this option. There can be chances to make very useful connections throughout the course and its work experience opportunities. And there is flexibility in it too; it can qualify you to work in management in pretty much any industry.

How do I get an MBA?

As the MBA is a master’s degree, the process of obtaining one may be familiar in the sense that it is possible to study it full-time like an undergraduate course. There is plenty of choice in business schools that run MBA programmes and flexibility in study modes. Part-time, distance learning, blended learning and accelerated MBA programmes are all options if full-time study isn’t right for you.

Funding in the form of scholarships is, thankfully, also available at some business schools to help cover the dizzying fees. You can check out the funding section for more information on this. 

 An MBA is open to graduates from any degree discipline; it’s not restricted to those who have already studied business-related degrees at undergraduate level. A 2:2 or the equivalent is usually necessary to undertake an MBA in the UK (some institutions may require a 2:1 minimum) as well as a minimum English test score for international students. Course providers will usually also specify that applicants have had a good spell of work experience (at least a couple of years) before taking on the MBA.

By Jos Weale, Editor, All About Finance Careers