The MBA degree is the single most popular graduate degree. With more than 250,000 students currently enrolled in business schools around the U.S., how can you stand out from the crowd?
One great way is to choose from a variety of MBA specializations. Lucky for you, there are countless types of MBA programs. Whether you’re interested in project management, financial management, human resources management, global business practices, or simply advanced leadership training, there is a master of business administration degree designed for your career goals.
Not only that, but each business school offers its own set of specialized MBA programs including one year and two year MBA programs; programs for part time and full time MBA students; and a selection of in-class, hybrid, and online degree programs.
In other words, whatever you plan to do in the business world, you have plenty of MBA degree options. For a look at the most affordable options, check out these excellent and cost-effective MBAs.
Otherwise, read on to find out about the different types of MBA programs.
Most MBA programs have their own unique requirements. However, whether you’re considering an executive MBA, finance MBA, an MBA in international business, or just a general MBA program, most business schools have these basic requirements:
Key Point: You may be able to bypass testing requirements with a look at the best online MBA programs with no GRE requirement or GMAT requirement.
Before considering the MBA specialization that makes sense for you, you should consider the differences between online MBA programs and in-class programs. Many aspects of the online and in-person program will be similar or even identical. Most business schools provide identical MBA courses, MBA curriculum, and even business professors whether you’re earning your degree in person or online. In most cases, you will experience the same basic core MBA curriculum. This means you will learn the same basic leadership skills, management skills, and business strategies whether earning your MBA online or in person.
However, there are a few key differences to consider when it comes to online MBA programs.
The good news is that the online MBA program is increasingly structured around the needs of working adults. That’s because many students pursuing their advanced degree are already working in the business world.
Online programs make it possible to enhance your business knowledge, become a business leader, or deepen your knowledge through specific MBA concentrations. For this reason, many programs are built to be flexible.
The part time MBA program allows students to pursue their MBA at a slower pace. This will usually mean taking fewer courses per semester and completing your degree over a longer period of time. How many classes you take will vary based on your program and the workload you can handle. The part time program is especially well-suited to those who are already balancing a business career.
The full time MBA program typically requires the completion of roughly 45 to 60 credits over a duration of two years. This is only the right MBA program for those who believe they can balance a challenging workload with work and home responsibilities.
Hybrid online MBA programs are designed for students who need a balance between in-person and online instruction. This can be a great option for those who wish to pursue full time MBA programs while balancing personal and work responsibilities. Hybrid MBA programs are an excellent way to enjoy some in-class instruction while also benefiting from the convenience of online education.
Self paced programs offer online students the chance to complete some or all of their MBA courses on their own time. This asynchronous model of learning lets students watch pre-recorded lectures, complete online learning modules, and complete timed exam requirements according to their own pace.
Regardless of your MBA concentration, the cost of an MBA can be high. In fact, some of the Best Online MBA Programs can cost as much as $60,000 per year or more.
However, a growing number of graduate schools now offer affordable alternative pathways to earning your MBA. For instance, many MBA concentrations can now be pursued through fully online MBA programs. This creates the kind of flexibility needed for accelerated and self-paced programs, which often provide a great pathway to affordable degree completion.
And the price of tuition is not always a direct reflection of a school’s quality or prestige. For example, tuition for Florida State University is only $7,000 per year. Florida State University ranks #13 on the list of the Best Online MBA Degrees. An online MBA degree from Brandeis University costs $60,000 per year. Brandeis ranks #12 on the list of Best Online MBA degrees. This shows how the cost of an online MBA depends on the school you choose.
One great way to save money as you pursue your online MBA is to choose a concentration that is noted for its accelerated time to completion. Some online MBA concentrations take longer to complete than others. For instance, specializations like Managerial Accounting, International Business, and Healthcare Management Concentration will usually take a requisite two to three years. These more complex MBA concentrations often come with additional testing and licensing requirements.
Other MBA concentrations that may be more rigorous, and may therefore require more time to completion, are highly specialized MBAs in areas such as sports management, supply chain management, and those preparing for financial management or financial analyst roles. The more complex subject matter means that most candidates will require the full duration of a traditional MBA degree program for completion.
By contrast, it may be possible to complete popular MBA concentrations in areas such as project management, marketing management, and business planning over a much shorter duration. Many of these MBA concentrations focus primarily on the refinement of leadership skills, the implementation of business strategies, and the development of core business skills. It may be possible to complete these more generally focused MBA concentrations in less time.
Other commonly accelerated MBA concentrations may include real estate, strategic management, and a wide range of management training programs for the public and private sectors.
This means that earning degrees in these MBA concentrations will ultimately cost significantly less.
There are other ways to save money on MBA, whether you pursue your degree online or through a brick and mortar graduate business school. You can start by looking for a public school in your state. Regardless of your concentration, you can get an in-state tuition discount even if you go to classes online. Start by looking for an online MBA from a public university in your state.
You can also save money by getting into an MBA program without paying for testing. Some MBA programs require you to take the GMAT exam. The GMAT only costs $250. But many students will pay for exam preparation too. Exam preparation companies like The Princeton Review charge nearly $2000 for classes. The good news is that you may not have to take the GMAT. You can save money and time by looking for the Best Online MBA No GMAT Required.
For more on how much MBA programs cost, and some tips on how you can save, check out our guide to the cost of an MBA.
The following graph depicts the average salaries of similar occupations to Accountants and Auditors in the U.S.
Source: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
There are different types of MBA programs for career goals of every kind. Below are just a few of the popular MBA programs you could pursue.
MBA graduates with a focus on marketing will study consumer behaviors, advertising best practices, and marketing research.
It may also be possible to choose from a number of marketing subfields including business development, consumer research, digital marketing, and more.
The MBA in healthcare management applies business administration to the healthcare industry, placing an emphasis on the operational management of health systems, hospitals, public health clinics, and more.
Though you aren’t required to choose a specialization within the healthcare management concentration, it may be possible to narrow the focus of your studies by completing a program subdiscipline such as health economics, health care information systems, or health care management.
MBA programs with a focus on entrepreneurship are best suited for those who wish to run their own business. Students will learn basic business administration and business leadership principles, as well as the basics of accounting and finance.
Students who pursue the MBA with an entrepreneurial concentration may also be able to choose from subdisciplines such as lean entrepreneurship, transformational leadership, and startup management.
The real estate concentration is an ideal MBA concentration for students with an interest in the general management of development firms, real estate groups, and public land management agencies.
One of the benefits of earning an MBA with a real estate concentration is the opportunity to dive into a specific area of focus such as Operations Management, Real Estate Investment Management, or Urban Economics.
MBAs in accounting will learn accounting principles, financial reporting regulations, corporate finance, and ethics in accounting. MBAs in accounting may become accountants, financial consultants, and more.
The accounting MBA concentration is often available in a wide selection of subfields such as Environmental Accounting, Financial Accounting, Forensic Accounting, Managerial Accounting, and more.
An MBA in data analytics will provide an advanced education in areas like information sciences, financial forecasting, logistics, and more. With an MBA in data analytics, you could become a security analyst, financial consultant, or risk management consultant.
Students pursuing the data analytics MBA concentration can often choose from several areas of focus such as Business Data Science, Marketing Analytics, and Supply Chain Analytics.
The MBA in business analytics applies statistical and mathematical sciences to business challenges. A concentration in business analytics will deal with subjects like human resources analytics, business intelligence, risk management, and more.
Business analytics students can often narrow their area of focus by combining this MBA concentration with an emphasis in an area such as Actuarial Science, Healthcare Analytics, or Recruitment Analytics.
An MBA in human resource management will provide advanced instruction in areas like business ethics, conflict mediation, and payroll management. Earning an MBA in human resources could qualify you to lead the HR department for your organization.
The Human Resources MBA concentration is a versatile advanced degree, and is often available to graduate students in a variety of subdisciplines such as staffing, talent development, performance management, and more.
The MBA in supply chain management provides advanced instruction in areas like advanced logistics, international finance, shipping laws, and more. MBAs in supply chain management will learn how to leverage technology and data to ensure an effective flow of goods and materials.
Students earning an MBA with a supply chain management concentration may be able to combine this concentration with various areas of focus such as production planning, inventory planning, and logistics.
The MBA in operations management is a versatile advanced degree that provides instruction in leadership principles, facilities management, multi-departmental coordination and other essential administrative skills. MBAs in operations management fill leadership roles in construction, development, production, and other settings.
Students pursuing the Operation Management MBA concentration will often choose areas of focus designed to enhance industry-specific opportunities such as service management, supply chain management, and strategic management.
The MBA in economics can be either an applied degree or a research-based degree. Students will learn fundamental principles including supply and demand, global economics, fiscal policy and more. Those who wish to become economists or government consultants will often earn a PhD in economics. An MBA in economics could qualify you for a career in investment banking, as a financial advisor, or as a chief financial officer for a corporation.
Economics MBAs will typically have the opportunity to combine their concentration with a focus in an area such as Financial Economics, Industrial Organization, International Economics, and Public Policy.