One of the most useful postgraduate degrees an international student can earn is a Master of Business Administration (MBA). This degree opens many doors regarding your employment, or any business endeavors you wish to pursue. MBAs are available to students who have already earned a bachelor's degree. Whatever your reason for considering earning an MBA, you’re going to want to begin the process having answered some key questions:
- What is an MBA?
- Why earn an MBA?
- How can an MBA benefit your career?
- How do you begin?
What is an MBA?
The MBA degree is widely believed to be one of the most prestigious and sought-after degrees in the world. Students of MBA programs study the theory and application of business and management principles. This type of study equips students with knowledge that can be applied to a variety of real-world business industries and situations.
Why earn an MBA?
Students may ask, what is an MBA for? In today's fast-paced economy, the MBA is the most popular professional degree around the world. The program blends advanced skills in business and management with real-world experience to prepare graduates for starting or advancing in a management career in any field they choose.
In many cases, an MBA degree is required for executive and senior management positions. There are some companies who will not even consider applicants unless they have an MBA degree. Business school professors say MBA programs help students develop the skills required to excel as business executives, such as the ability to quickly and accurately analyze large amounts of information and the ability to develop smart solutions to business problems.
How can an MBA benefit your career?
Some of the reasons and benefits include:
Advancing your career - This can mean a number of different things. In a circumstance where you have worked with a company and earned an MBA later on in your employment with them, you can leverage your position into a more prominent role. The best way to do so would be to keep an eye for in-house promotions that you could see yourself advancing to and being prepared to apply for it with your new credentials. An MBA is highly esteemed in nearly any industry and will often fast track you to better opportunities.
Developing your business savvy - Your MBA will help in growing your professional network. You will come across many opportunities to connect with other MBAs and companies seeking to work with an MBA graduate. Utilizing the skills you learn from having an MBA will be invaluable in helping you with job security. Your degree will often make you an indispensable team member.
Leading in an emerging field - Often these days, knowing an industry versus knowing how to maneuver in that industry with expertise will be the quality employers will seek. Many people can be taught how to work in specific industries, but not everyone will have the capacity to lead in said industries. Equipped with your MBA, you will likely be a frontrunner in any leading role in a field that is still budding.
Starting your own business - Becoming an entrepreneur might be one of the most popular reasons to earn an MBA. To excel as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to learn to communicate effectively and persuasively. For many people, these skills don’t come naturally, but now more than ever, business schools have come to realize how critical it is for their students to graduate with the personal skills required for effective leadership. Business school is also the safest place to test out your most creative, outrageous, and ambitious ideas without the pressure and fear of failure if that company or those ideas don't work. You'll have teachers and mentors guiding you along the way as you search for your big idea.
How do you begin?
You’ll want to begin by choosing a school. When searching for a college or university in the US to pursue an MBA, here are a few things to consider:
A good place to start is program length. There are a few options on what to pursue and how when it comes to an MBA. Full-time MBA programs in the US typically take two years to complete, but many programs also have one-year, accelerated options. Part-time MBA programs allow the flexibility of attending evening and/or weekend classes to accommodate to life’s busy schedule. Accelerated MBA programs are another recent addition to the MBA in the US offerings. Targeted at students with a background in business education (or the ability to make up for lost time through self-study), accelerated MBA programs in the US can take anywhere from 12-18 months to complete. Because of their emphasis on speed they spend considerably less time reviewing introductory material and eliminate many opportunities for degree specialization.
Your options are plentiful, but many people will consider rankings and student satisfaction when choosing a school. Schools throughout the US such as Auburn University in Alabama, American University - International Accelerator in Washington, DC, Emory University in Georgia, or Purdue University in Indiana that are ranked in the top 100 schools for MBAs are good ones to consider.
Once you find an MBA program you want to...
Begin the application process. There are actually three stages to the admissions cycle: pre-application, application, and post-application. Some business schools also give prospective MBAs three different application deadlines by separating the admissions season into rounds. Being aware of when each round occurs lets prospective students know when to complete the GMAT, get letters of recommendation, and prepare all other material required for admissions. If you have the chance to interview for programs where there’s the option to do so, be sure to take advantage.
Like most application processes your resume, recommendations, and a completed application are required. Beyond the standard, an MBA application will include essays, transcripts, and GMAT scores. The goal for applicants is to present a strong application across all the evaluation materials. The stronger each element of the application is the higher the chance of being admitted in an MBA program in the USA.