What Is an MBA?

The Master’s Degree in Business Administration, or MBA, is one of the most flexible graduate degrees around. MBA grads are well-versed in a variety of business-related disciplines, from accounting to management and everything in between.

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For people who are already working in business, an MBA can be the key that unlocks the door to jobs with more responsibility, greater challenges…and higher salaries, too!

According to a 2017 survey from the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), a whopping 92 percent of MBA program alumni would still choose their degree if they could have a do-over. This just goes to show that an MBA can be a great investment.

What Can You Do with an MBA?

With a wide range of MBA programs to choose from, you can find grads in fields like finance or healthcare, or even founding tech startups!

You might choose a generalist MBA program that covers a broad scope of business topics, or you could choose a highly specialized program geared toward a particular industry. In a specialized program, there are dozens of options to choose from, and some of the most common concentrations include:

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • IT/IS
  • Operations
  • Entrepreneurship

Benefits of an MBA

An MBA is more advanced than an associate or bachelor’s degree in business, providing and in-depth education in the concepts and practices of business management. And all of that training can really pay off!

GMAC found that 83 percent of graduates from full-time, two-year MBA programs say that their degrees were financially rewarding. And that’s no surprise, when typical salaries top out around $440,000 per year for MBAs who work in chief executive roles.

It’s also important to keep in mind that on average, the base salary for MBA graduates only accounts for about 76 percent of their total pay. The rest of their compensation often comes in the form of bonuses, stock options, and other benefits.

Aside from the knowledge, skills and earning power gained in an MBA program, one of the most important benefits of this degree is the professional network that you’ll be able to develop. The fellow students, professors, and industry contacts you’ll meet can be powerful allies in building your career.

Outlook for MBA Programs

While many other industries are reeling from technological advances, changing regulations and increasing automation, MBA programs are going through different kinds of changes.

For example, many b-schools are reducing or shuttering their MBA programs, due to a downward shift in student demand. An article in Fortune cited increasing concerns about student loan debt among the chief reasons for the change.

On the other hand, the article noted that while the overall demand is decreasing for MBA degrees, the top ten b-schools are actually seeing an increase in applications.

And while some full-time programs are closing, schools are continuing to offer online and blended MBA programs. (Check out our list of the Best Online MBA Degrees here!) Online MBA programs allow students to continue working while pursuing their degree, offsetting the financial concerns that may keep some students from applying to a full-time degree program.