A Master of Business Administration (MBA), while not the highest degree available for business managers, is often the terminal degree for business managers across multiple fields. The master's of business was the second-most popular master's degree awarded to graduates (only a master's in education ranks higher) from 2005 to 2010 (NCES.ed.gov, 2012). Not everyone enrolls in an MBA program to go into business. Managers at nonprofits, schools, colleges, and other organizations have enrolled in MBA programs or been hired after graduating from the program.
In addition to providing both practical experience and the theoretical approaches to management, MBA programs may also provide students with the ability to refocus on their career. Aspiring business managers may also seek an MBA to improve their advancement opportunities or prepare them for managing larger divisions. However, as MBA programs are offered in a number of disciplines beyond business management, an MBA may be used to prepare managers for technical departments they have no experience in, such as accounting or information systems. These degree focuses maintain a business management education with the addition of specific training within a technical business discipline and may be beneficial for students without experience in a particular management field.
Besides preparing graduates for a management position, particularly in a business's technical departments, an MBA may also be pursued for its potential to yield greater earnings. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Education for Business, full-time MBA graduates from the "best business schools" (Forbes, 2011) earned up to 50 percent more after graduation than they did a year prior to enrollment. Over the course of five years, these earnings nearly double. Additionally, the study found that a student's investment in attending an MBA program from one of these top business schools could be paid back in three and a half years.
Some individuals attend an MBA program for neither the professional experience or to change their career focus, but simply to make new connections. In a 2012 Forbes article, Ronald Yeaple argued that earning an MBA can connect students to both the alumni base of the school they attended, "who will stay in touch and help each other," as well as with both national and international students attending the same programs. Together, these two groups may help further a graduate's base of connections, which may potentially help a graduate stay competitive.
What are the advantages of earning an MBA online?
Students who have professional or personal obligations may benefit from an online MBA program, as the programs allow for a more flexible class schedule even when a full-time program is being taken. The added convenience of the online format may enable working professionals or busy parents to earn their MBA without disrupting their current responsibilities. Online MBA programs may also provide the opportunity for students who are unable to attend campus courses the ability to earn a graduate degree in business remotely.
Not all MBA programs can be completed entirely online. For instance, some MBA programs may require either some campus attendance or appropriate work experience prior to graduation. These requirements may be in addition to required internships mandated by some MBA programs. Students should look into all of a specific online MBA program's requirements before enrolling.
"Bachelor's, master's, and doctor's degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions, by field of study: Selected years, 1970-71 through 2009-10”, National Center for Education Statistics, Institution of Education Sciences, May 2012, http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d11/tables/dt11_289.asp?referrer=list
"Measuring the Economic Value of Pre-MBA Work Experience," Journal of Education for Business, v85, no. 1 p.13-20, 2010, http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ860538&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ860538
"Is the MBA Obsolete?" Forbes magazine, Ronald Yeaple, May 30, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ronaldyeaple/2012/05/30/is-the-mba-obsolete/
"The Best Business Schools," Forbes magazine, 2011, http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/95/best-business-schools-11_rank.html