What Do I Need to Think About to Graduate with an MBA Degree in the US?

What Do I Need to Think About to Graduate with an MBA Degree in the US?

One of the most prestigious and advanced degrees you can earn is the MBA, or Master of Business Administration. This Master's Degree is for students who know they want to work in the world of business as a manager specifically. There are many other business degrees that can prepare you to hold any business job, but the MBA deals with leadership, management, decision making and operational understanding. The MBA was created in the US, and as a result, the US is the most beneficial location for studying business administration. There are more schools that offer MBA programs, and the quality of these programs is higher. Because it is such an advanced degree, you need to know all the graduation and entry requirements before applying. More than that, however, you need to learn everything there is to know about the MBA so you can decide whether it matches your career goals in the first place. This simple guide will help you make these complicated decisions.

  • Understanding What an MBA Is

    Before you can consider taking an MBA, you need to understand exactly what it is. Like all other Master's Degrees, the MBA is a postgraduate degree. This means it needs to be taken after earning an undergraduate degree of some kind. Many students choose to jump right into their career after earning a Bachelor's Degree. Either path is a perfectly valid option, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Which option is best for you depends on what you plan to do professionally.The Master of Business Administration program requires 60 credits. This is meant to take either two years of studying full-time or three to four years if studying part-time. Other kinds of business Master's Degrees usually require fewer credits in European countries. If time is your biggest concern, this is one advantage for studying outside the US. Of course, it is also possible to study for your MBA online.Additionally, the MBA is considered to have above average cost. In 2017, the average MBA cost between $40,000 and $60,000. The exact cost of your program will vary depending on your unique situation, the location of study, and whether you study full-time, part-time or online.

  • The Difference from Other Degrees

    There are many degrees that can be earned in the business field. So, what makes an MBA unique? A Master of Science is more technical and focused than a Master of Art. In the same way, the Master of Business Administration is specialized for business management skills and knowledge. While you can earn an MSc in many different science fields, it is impossible to earn an MBA in anything unrelated to business. You can, however, still focus your studies. It is possible to, for example, earn an MBA in accounting or an MBA in marketing. It is also important for you to understand that there are two primary types of MBA programs. The standard MBA is designed for young students right out of their Bachelor’s program. There are heavy study requirements. The Executive Master of Business Administration, or EMBA, has lighter study requirements because students must hold a management position while studying. For the former, students usually study during the week, while the latter attends classes on Friday, weekends, at night or online. Additionally, the EMBA is intended for students with a longer work history. The average age of those taking this special type of MBA is about 35. The courses taken in an EMBA are intended to prepare students for one of the highest business positions possible: CEO, executive, corporation president or executive board member.

  • Admission Requirements

    The entry requirements to enroll in a Master of Business Administration program in the US are quite high. Just like other Master's Degree programs, the primary requirement is holding a four-year Bachelor's Degree in a related field.  One of the most common causes for rejection is related to the Bachelor’s requirement. Some students only have a three-year degree, have a degree in an unrelated field or hold a degree from a school with questionable academic reputation.Nearly all MBA programs also require students to have work experience. This may be an internship or a part- or full-time job. The exact requirement varies, but it is usually two or three years of working experience in a business environment. You must also create a CV – or the US equivalent, a resume – to represent this time spent working. Finally, students must have two recommendation letters from a professional source and passing scores in the GMAT and an English proficiency test. To recap, the entry requirements for an MBA are:A four-year Bachelor’s DegreeTwo or three years of business working experienceA resume or CVTwo professional letters of recommendationPassing GMAT score Passing English proficiency test score If you decide to earn your MBA in Europe, the entry requirements are a little different. You must have a related Bachelor's Degree, three years of full-time working experience and international work or study experience. Additionally, you must still take a managerial admission test and an English proficiency test, but the specific tests you take are more lenient.

  • Grades

    The entry requirements are quite high, but the MBA is also considered one of the most difficult degrees to earn. Course expectations are strict and there is a large workload. In order to graduate, most MBA programs require students to have an average grade of B or higher. This is a GPA of 3.0. All courses generally require students to earn at least a grade of C (2.0 GPA) in order to receive credit. In addition to the relative difficulty of study, MBA programs are highly competitive just like the world of business that they prepare students for. Programs are usually impacted and only the most committed students can succeed. On the other hand, MBA programs give students an excellent opportunity to develop their network with other students.

  • Standardized Admissions Tests

    If you hope to enroll in an MBA program, you need to take an exam that tests your managerial abilities. If you are studying in the US, this exam most likely must be the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The test is graded on a scale from 200 to 800, and to be accepted to an MBA program, you must score at least 600. It is vital that you treat the GMAT responsibly. It is a hefty exam, taking three hours to complete. It is possible to try the GMAT again if you do not get an adequate score, but it costs $250 to take the test each time. Additionally, you cannot take the GMAT more than five times in one year or more than eight times in your life. The exam is given around the world and throughout the year, so you should be able to schedule the test near your location at a time convenient to you.There are four sections to the GMAT and you need to prepare for each one extensively. The first two sections are a little shorter (30 minutes each). The first is the analytical writing assessment, which requires you to analyze an argument. The second is the integrated reasoning section, which has 12 questions, including multi-source reasoning, graphics interpretation, two-part analysis and table analysis. The final two sections are longer (1 hour each) with about 30 questions. These two sections are quantitative and verbal assessments, with questions involving data sufficiency, problem solving, reading comprehension, critical reasoning and sentence correction. Before you take the test, learn more in-depth details about the GMAT from the official GMAT website.

  • English Proficiency

    The other exam requirement for MBA admission is an English proficiency test. The most common option is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). You can most likely take the TOEFL in your home country. You can retake the TOEFL as many times as you need to pass, but not more than once in 12 hours. There are usually about 50 exam dates per year. Additionally, it costs between $160 and $240 for each attempt, depending on which country you are in. In some locations, you can take a computer-based TOEFL, or TOEFL iBT, however the most common option is paper-based. It takes three to four hours to complete the TOEFL. The proficiency exam has four sections: reading, listening, speaking and writing. There is also a short 10-minute break in the middle of the exam. In the reading section, you must read passages and answer 36 to 56 questions. Similarly, the listening section has you answer 34 to 51 questions based on a spoken lecture. For the spoken section, you must fulfill six verbal tasks. Finally, the written section requires you to complete two essays based on reading and listening tasks.Now that you have a better understanding of the MBA requirements, expectations and benefits, you can make an informed decision. If you decide to pursue this prestigious degree, you can enter a hugely fulfilling and successful career in the exciting and prosperous world of modern business. SchoolApply can help you research MBA programs and universities in the US and support you as you put together your application.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.