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What is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree?

The MBA is a graduate management degree, or as more commonly known, a "professional degree." Most full-time MBA programs can be completed in two years, while part-time MBA programs can range from 2 1/2 to 4 years. Accredited MBA programs are members of the AACSB, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Certain non-accredited schools/programs can have reputable regional standings that may meet your professional needs too. Speak with school and corporate/business representatives to assess how important accreditation is to professional standing and success in the field.

In addition to the MBA degree, there are other management degrees which include: Master of Science in Business Administration (MSBA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Science in Administration (MSIA), Master of Public and Private Management (MPPM), and Master of Management (MM).

Do I need to have work experience to get into a good/top business school?

Although MBA programs vary in this regard, most require some form of professional level experience. When experienced students share their work experience, this adds depth to the educational experience of the class. In addition, work experience provides a means of demonstrating your personal performance and commitment.

In the admissions process, schools can vary as to the weight given to work experience, and admission officers recognize that the requisite skills can be obtained in ways other than employment. Extracurricular and community activities can provide valuable experiences and present opportunities in developing professional skills. When applicants do not have either work/military experience or community/extracurricular activities, some schools will offer deferred admission, where the applicant is guaranteed acceptance into the MBA program after gaining a specified amount of experience.

Do I need to take the GRE for an MBA program?

The GRE is for graduate degree programs, e.g. PhD, MA, MS, MFA, etc. An increasing number of business schools are accepting the GRE too. Check with the programs you are targeting to determine whether they accept the GRE, GMAT or either. Either way, be sure to check the admissions requirements for each school on your list.

Can I use the GMAT for admission into a business PhD program?

A PhD, i.e. a doctorate of philosophy, is a research-orientated academic degree. Therefore the GRE in most cases will be the required test for admissions into the program. There are some programs where under special circumstances the GMAT may be substituted for the GRE. If in doubt, be sure to check the admissions requirements for each school on your list.

I'm a non-business/non-economics major. Where can I get listings on part-time work or internships, so I can get work experience?

Check the online calendar for workshops on finding established internships or starting your own. View our internships web section to learn where to find internships and how to develop them on your own. View listings online (you can search your interests by keyword).

Do I need a bachelor's degree in business for admission into an MBA program?

Not necessarily. Most people pursuing an MBA have a bachelor's degree in any of a number of non-business areas, like the humanities, social sciences, engineering, and sciences. Most graduate management programs want their MBA classes to be as diverse as possible. For this reason, applicants with a wide range of undergraduate majors are admitted. In some programs, fewer than 25 percent of the MBA students have undergraduate degrees in business.

I'm interested in nonprofit organizations. Is there an MBA program that can help me?

At a growing number of MBA programs, special programs and courses are being developed for those interested in improving the management of government and nonprofit organizations. So if you are interested in, for example, developing a multi-site homeless shelter program, or administering a loan fund to support an urban housing development, then an MBA might be the degree for you.

Are there MBA degree programs available on a part-time basis, while I'm working full-time?

Part-time programs can offer distinct advantages for people not able to pursue the MBA on a full-time basis. Part-time MBA students are able to broaden their career options without interrupting their earning capabilities. The costs of tuition, books, and materials may be stretched over a longer period of time in a part-time program. Many part-time students receive partial or full academic funding from their employer's tuition reimbursement program.