A Master of Business Administration, commonly referred to simply as an MBA, is one of the most popular degree programs offered by top rated online colleges. This degree will provide a thorough understanding of business in general, as well as the structure, organization, and processes within businesses. Numerous MBA concentrations are available for students, allowing them to focus their studies on one particular aspect of business, such as marketing, accounting, finance, information systems, various areas of management, and more. The extensive knowledge gained from earning an MBA in whichever concentration you choose can be a great benefit to your career.
MBA Course Work Basics
To be accepting into a master's program at one of the accredited online colleges for MBAs, you are required to have already earned a bachelor's degree, preferably in a business-related area, such as business administration, management, or economics. The MBA program will expand on what you learned in your undergraduate studies, delving deeper into each subject area. An online MBA program typically takes a full-time student two to three years to complete, depending on the program. Even so, many top online colleges for MBAs offer accelerated MBA programs, some of which can be completed in as little as 12 to 18 months. The following are some of the commonly-found courses in an MBA program:
- Business Environment: This course will provide overall, general coverage of business, focusing on operations, legal aspects, management, technology, business culture and politics, and conditions.
- General Management Processes and Actions: This course will teach students about the processes that managers use to effectively manage their staff, including strategic, decision-making, coordination, and improvement processes.
- Leadership Development: This course will focus on what makes an effective and successful leader, including principles, values, ethics, relationship building, leadership style, purpose-driven leadership, and more.
- Business Strategy: This course focuses on how to develop business strategies that will give your organization a competitive advantage by learning how your organization competes and how to predict market changes.
- Innovation and Technology: This course teaches students how to use technology to effectively manage, as well as to improve their organization and gain a competitive advantage.
An online MBA program at one of the top accredited online colleges will usually require you to complete around 30 to 35 graduate credit hours, though some programs may require more, depending on the institution. The typical assignments for an online MBA student consist of written papers and reports, as well as exams. Many programs require students to complete group projects, coordinating with other students. There are also programs that require students to gain hands-on, real-world training through internships and field study projects. Many of the best online colleges for MBAs allow students to choose either a thesis or non-thesis program. A thesis program will require you to submit a thesis prior to graduation and will typically incorporate preparatory courses and allow extra time for you to work on your thesis.
Careers for the MBA Graduate
Since business encompasses so much, and there are so many concentrations for you to choose from, a wide range of career possibilities are open for MBA graduates. In general, an MBA can be used to advance your current career into high-level management or a top executive position. Many organizations prefer or even require their top-level managers and executives to have a master's degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), top executives are only expected to see a 5% increase in employment through 2020, and they earned an average of $101,250 a year. However, the amount of money you earn will depend entirely on the organization you work for.
MBA concentrations can lead to careers in your chosen major. For example, an MBA in Information Systems Management can lead to a career as a computer and information systems manger who, according to the BLS, earn an average of $115,780 a year and are expected to see an 18% increase in employment through 2020. An MBA in Human Resources Management can lead to a career as a human resources manager where, according to the BLS, you may be able to earn an average of $99,180 a year and see a 13% increase in employment. An MBA in Finance can lead to upper-level financial analyst positions where, according to the BLS, the average earning potential is $74,350 per year and there is an expected 23% increase in employment. These are only a few possibilities on the long list of career opportunities available to online MBA graduates.