When most people hear the term “mba,” they think of a world-famous business school, an image of a sleek office in a global financial center with bustling white-collar workers huddled around their iPhones, or maybe even a famous alumni list with names like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They may also think of a business degree as a path to advancing into leadership roles or switching industries, and they might assume that the prestigious schools with top-ranked programs will offer them the best opportunities for success.
An MBA is a graduate degree that provides a comprehensive education in various business functions, including accounting, finance, marketing, and management. In a full-time program, this typically takes place over two academic years (i.e., about 18 months of term time). The degree is generally considered a prerequisite for senior managerial positions.
Students gain the skills to understand and communicate with people from diverse backgrounds through team projects in which they analyze problems and present solutions. These soft skills are often emphasized in addition to rigorous analytical work, such as constructing a P&L model.
Many MBAs pursue the degree to change careers, whether to move up in their current industry or to transition into a new one. In this scenario, the rigor of the program can be an excellent way to build the confidence and credibility to make such a career shift. Moreover, an MBA is an opportunity to be exposed to peers and faculty from varied professional backgrounds, which can help to open doors for future opportunities.