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What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School


The business sector all around the globe is pretty much blooming in almost an unstoppable pace—it’s simply everywhere. Surely, you have seen how the small and big ‘leagues’ play. But, in more interesting and even inspiring ways, you probably have heard stories similar to that of the growth of Amazon—one of the leading companies in the e-commerce industry as of today.

What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

Credit: Fortune

Two things: One, a remarkable grasp on the concepts and principles necessary to run a business; and two, a relatively large investment. They’re just two things. But for some people, these are all it takes to start a company that can grow timelessly—these are the two things Jeff Bezos used to start his company in the year 1994.

He built his business from a small garage where he managed an online bookstore which further grew as an online selling platform for various products over the years. Today, the products and services offered by the name continuously prospers—most of the time, ridiculously.

And now the Forbes’ World’s Billionaires list him as the top businessman billionaire across the globe with other people from that list being world-renowned businessmen too.

Surely, you’ve also had more or less the same aspirations. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be successful AND be a billionaire? Well, of course, success doesn’t always necessarily mean having financial prosperity. For some it’s simply happiness, family, academic accomplishments, contentment, or just a mixture of everything.

Knowing the financial opportunities you can have in this sector, it’s important to study and learn the ways of business in more in-depth ways. One way to achieve this is to pursue an MBA or a degree on Master of Business Administration.

So in this ultimate guide, we’ll discuss some of the most important things you should know about an MBA that can prepare you better for your business career ahead.

It’s going to be a bit of a long read too so let’s first arrange the points we will be tackling in a short while.


  1. Introduction: A Quick Overview on MBA

  2. Types of MBA Programs

  3. MBA Core Curriculum

  4. Why Pursue an MBA?

        What to Expect/What You Will Learn with an MBA

        Future Directions

  1. How to Apply for an MBA: Eligibility and Requirements

  2. Where to take an MBA?

1. Introduction: A Quick Overview on MBA
What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

In the early 20th century, global industries, most especially America, were becoming more industrialized. Business establishments needed professionals and scholars who have an in-depth grasp on how to manage businesses with the ultimate goal of growing it into a successful company.

So in 1908, Harvard University offered the first ever MBA or Master in Business Administration degree that aimed to produce professional businessmen capable of handling management, finance, and administrative responsibilities.

Of course, the range of skills that were taught in the degree further grew and developed as different schools adapted the core curriculum of the first MBA. For example, a lot of MBA programs now offer electives and specializations under business and commerce that are significant to today’s context. Similar to how the first MBA courses were structured to cope up with industrialization in the early 20th century, MBA programs as of today gives more emphasis to the discipline’s interrelationship with modernization and technology.

So overall, a Master in Business Administration is a graduate degree program that aims to equip its students the knowledge and skills one will need for their business career. The program generally consists of courses such as accounting, operations management, finance, human resources, management information systems, and growing electives offered by developing MBA programs.

You can pursue the degree right upon completing your undergraduate program and your undergraduate degree doesn’t necessarily have to be under the business field either. However, a lot of professionals in the field highly suggest MBA takers to gain work experience first before enrolling. This is because experiencing the business world hands-on first for a few years can guide you better in your practice once you pursue your MBA.

Completing the program will certainly give you more opportunities such as a better salary grade, a remarkable professional reputation, and an expanded network of business connections in the industry.

Although just like a lot of things, pursuing an MBA will not be a walk in the park. It’s practically expensive, it can get exhausting especially when you’re balancing it with work and your personal life, and it will be academically challenging.

But with the opportunities an MBA degree can offer as you will see later, it’s definitely worth it.

2. Types of MBA Programs

What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

It’s important for you to know the differences between the different types of MBA programs present today. By knowing these, you’ll be able to choose one the best suits your lifestyle. If you choose the most appropriate one for you, pursuing an MBA can be relatively easier.

There are several types of MBA programs you can choose from. An MBA degree is commonly pursued through a 2-year program but these new emerging programs are all designed to suit variety of preferences unique to the students’ needs—like the program’s length, admission requirements, level of experience, and career goals among a few. So checkout the list of MBA program types below and see which suits you best.

  1. Full-time MBA — Also called General MBA, a Full-time MBA program is a 2-year program designed for students who want to explore a specific specialization or concentration while they study. This program offers internships as well which can help you better on hands-on experience or practice. Overall, this MBA type is best suited for you if you are currently not working and if you want to focus on studying.

  2. Part-time MBA — This is a 3-year program in which classes are typically scheduled once or twice a week (mostly through night classes or weekend classes). This is a good option if you’re already a working professional with a relatively busier schedule. Through the program’s structure, you won’t have to compromise too much of your career or personal life while pursuing an MBA.

  3. Online MBA — This program is also referred to as the Distance Learning MBA. This is most ideal for students who can’t attend university because of distance, time, or other circumstances. With the remarkable development of online learning, this can become a revolutionary program in the near future. The availability of this program, however, might be limited to specific universities only so you will need to inquire from your chosen school first if you prefer an online learning arrangement.

  4. Hybrid MBA — This program is a combination of classroom-based and online classes which is ideal for students who want to experience diverse methods of learning.

  5. Executive MBA — The Executive MBA program is designed for professionals with more than 10 years of working experience in the business industry. The courses under this program are specifically designed for the advancement of managerial and executive careers.

  6. Professional MBA — Somewhat a pair of Executive MBA, the Professional MBA program is designed for professionals with less than 10 years of working experience in the business track. This is also a part-time program wherein classes can be taken once or twice a week only.

  7. Accelerated MBA — Accelerated MBA programs can be taken in less than a year and are designed for students who just completed their undergraduate degree. In most cases, however, if you who want to enroll in this type of program, you are expected to have taken academic units or subjects under the business discipline in your undergraduate course already.

  8. Dual MBA — This program allows you to pursue your MBA with another master’s degree. This can help you create or experience an interdisciplinary approach to your practice.

  9. MBA Certificates — MBA Certificates can be taken alongside other MBA courses and can help you with more practical and hands-on practice in a specific specialization or concentration. This can also have a great impact in your employment upon completing your MBA degree.

3. MBA Core Curriculum

Most universities offering MBA programs typically consists of more or less the same foundation courses, core courses, electives/concentrations/specializations, and a capstone for most institutions. MBA curriculums are commonly structured as tabulated below:

Foundation Courses

Core Courses/Majors

Foundation Courses can help you in mastering the fundamentals of the degree. The concepts and principles under these courses will be constantly used in other advanced courses and classes.

  1. Business Finance

  2. Economics

  3. Statistics

You can also choose from various core courses and majors in their MBA program. Typically, you will be required to choose one or two majors and take the required units under your chosen major/s.

  1. Accounting

  2. Business Law

  3. Business Management

  4. E-Business/E-Commerce

  5. Economics

  6. Entrepreneurship

  7. Finance

  8. Global Management

  9. Human Resources Management

  10. Information Systems

  11. International Business

  12. Management

  13. Marketing

  14. Operations Management

  15. Strategic/Risk Management

  16. Technology Management

Electives/Concentrations/Areas of Specialization


The course pool under electives or concentrations continues to increase, vary, and develop in accordance to the university’s administration. But usually, the arrangement for most MBA curriculums include some major or core courses taken as electives if you prefer so. You will also take lesser elective units in comparison to your chosen major.

To illustrate, students can take Economics as their major or core course and take a few units under Finance and Entrepreneurship.

Capstones are projects that can be done through a variety of ways. This is usually done as a final or end-project which will weigh in the knowledge you’ve learned by application to concrete, physical, or real-life projects.

  1. Thesis

  2. Research Papers

  3. Business Proposals

  4. Business Conventions

  5. Other Projects with Professionals

(Tabulated and summarized from:

4. Why Pursue an MBA?

What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

The business sector plays a large and crucial role at a period where the world’s economy is rapidly growing. This makes MBA degree holders one of the major contributors to the advancement of different economic industries across the globe.

Of course, as already mentioned earlier, this also paves way to wider-scale opportunities for MBA professionals—better career advancement, broader connections to various business networks, and accumulating or learning skills you can practically use everywhere that is not only bound to your specific career.

So let’s delve deeper into those and boost your motivation to take an MBA degree.

What to Expect/What You Will Learn in an MBA

MBA programs have been thoroughly designed throughout the development of the course. And in each development stage, the program evolved and gradually acquired competitive features that makes an MBA degree remarkable.

One of these features is the program’s versatility portrayed from the interdisciplinary structure of the offered courses. Since MBA programs typically require students to take a major course along with a few electives, you will learn more lenses and perspectives in understanding the discipline better. The progressiveness of such approach to learning can train you to think in more ways than one. In the near future, this could improve your overall creativity and problem-solving skills too.

MBA curriculums are comprehensive and holistic as well. You saw from our sample MBA curriculum earlier that the courses under the program are extensive—reaching out to every fundamental course that students need to learn. With such curriculum structure, you will definitely learn everything you need and want to for you to be successful in your business career.

The program is also meant to train you on practical and hands-on experiences which can provide you with a head start on the stage of entry-level employment. Of course, the advantages of these trainings will not stop benefitting you at the initial stage of your career. In fact, you can even use it outside your profession. The practical and hands-on training under the program will train you to be better on teamwork dynamics as you will work with others consistently in the business sector. Alongside this, you will be also be able to improve your proficiency in communication, more particularly on public speaking and presentation skills. You might also find yourself developing your management and leadership skills as you continuously work with a team.

To summarize these points, these are the following things (among a lot more) you should expect and learn while pursuing an MBA:

  1. Versatility or Flexibility

  2. Extensive Knowledge on Various Area of Specializations

  3. Eye for Detail

  4. Creativity

  5. Problem-Solving Skills

  6. Analytical Thinking

  7. Business Acumen

  8. Practical or Hands-on Training

  9. Teamwork Skills

  10. Management or Leadership

  11. Research Skills

  12. Communication Skills

Future Directions

What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

The career path for MBA holders and professionals can be taken in many roads since the program is, as we’ve laid out earlier, versatile, flexible, comprehensive, and holistic. This paves way for a variety of opportunities for MBA graduates.

Usually, however, MBA professionals can take the following jobs:

  1. Finance Manager — Financial Managers govern the finance department of a company. Generally, they need to make sure that the financial health of the company is growing or at least stable. Their role is to produce financial reports, manage investment activities, and create strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals of their organization. This makes the job best suited for people with a good background on MBA.

  2. Marketing Director — Marketing Directors manage all the marketing operations (such as directing marketing, advertising, and promotions) for the business of a certain company or organization. 

  3. Human Resources Director — Human Resources Directors manage and coordinate the administrative department of a company. They create administrative connections to make sure that employer-employee relations are kept intact. Some of the tasks of a Human Resources Director include: employment responsibilities, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, organizing employee benefit programs, and mediating disputes between employees within the company. This job is also perfectly suited for MBA holders with a specialization on Human Resources.

  4. Sales Director — Sales Directors often work alongside Marketing Directors as they manage the sales operations in a company such as: product and advertising campaigns, collaborating with other departments to ensure efficient operation, and reporting results to executives.

  5. Senior Accountant — Senior Accountant positions are executive positions relative to entry-level Accountant jobs. They manage, examine, and prepare financial records and taxes for companies and organizations. With the increasing tax rates caused by globalization, this job will always be in-demand paving way for a more competitive salary grade and better opportunities for Senior Accountants.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, since courses and areas of specializations for MBA programs are growing and developing, more job positions and employment opportunities for MBA holders will also grow in the near future.

5. How to Apply for an MBA: Eligibility and Requirements

What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

The basic requirement for you to be accepted at MBA programs is the completion of your undergraduate or bachelor’s degree. Your college degree doesn’t have to be necessarily in-line with business either. But usually, professionals and some universities highly suggest getting a few academic units that tackles some of the fundamentals of the discipline.

Admission requirements also vary from one institution to another. Generally, you need to take note of the following before enrolling:

  1. Your Undergraduate Degree — As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have to be a business-related course, but business-related degrees can help students a lot in their academics and they might have higher chances of getting accepted to MBA programs.

  2. GPA and Academic Units Taken — The Grade Point Average (GPA) required in each university varies as well. And in a similar manner, the school will also need to assess the Academic Units or courses you’ve already taken.

  3. Pre-requisite Courses — Some schools require students that have already taken pre-requisite courses in their undergraduate course but some universities also offer these pre-requisite subjects at the first semester or first year of the program.

  4. Entrance Exams and Interviews — Before admissions, schools with MBA programs usually administer entrance exams and interviews to assess your current knowledge on the discipline.

6. Where to Take an MBA

The following institutions listed below are the top 3 universities offering MBA programs based on the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) Global MBA Rankings for 2020. As they’ve ranked at the top, expect that you’ll be able to experience remarkable world-class education and learning there.

1. Stanford University (Stanford Graduate School of Business)

What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

The Stanford Graduate School of Business consists of experts, professionals, and leaders who have been successful in the field. And maybe, soon enough, you’ll be a part of it too!

The university offers a business education that will challenge you to become a better professional in your career and also help you grow in your own development as an individual. You will also be working and learning with other people from all walks of life as the school’s MBA program is designed for diverse learners. Overall, Stanford takes pride in helping its students experience ‘transformational education’.

2. Harvard University (Harvard Business School)

What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

Harvard University is founded on the six (6) tenets that make Harvard Business School different from the others.

The first one is Global Intelligence. Here, you will be experiencing learning modes that can prepare you for the global challenges you’ll face in your career ahead.

In relation to this, the second tenet, Learning in Practice, will equip you with hands-on training that can greatly help you master your profession.

The third tenet is Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In here, you will be expecting new ways wherein business can be done, usually connected to the role of technology in your practice.

The fourth one is Residential Learning Community wherein the institution assures you that you will be working and learning with your own peers which can lead to stronger ties and sense of community as time passes by.

In a more or less similar manner, the fifth tenet, Alumni Relationships, can give you a sense of a timeless link or network among your colleagues.

And the sixth tenet, Publications and Resources, can give you a chance to take a look at the world’s leading research studies and resources in the business sector.

3. University of Pennsylvania (The Wharton School)

What is an MBA: Your Ultimate Guide to Business School

The Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania offers five (5) things you will experience by joining a school who have earned global reputation over the years: expanding your business leadership skills, harnessing the power of data, fueling your entrepreneurship, growing your global reach, and participating in the future of business education.


Okay, so that must have been a lot of information. More importantly, that must have been overwhelming. But knowing the opportunities you can get with an MBA degree, everything will be worth it.

We hope that this ultimate guide on knowing MBA will help direct you to the right path in business school. Good luck out there!

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