Do I Need An Undergraduate Business Degree to Get My MBA?
A master’s in business administration or MBA is highly valued in business professionals seeking management roles and entrepreneurs. Management training is the valuable core of an MBA program, which sharpens competence in leadership, planning, organization, and business strategy. MBAs are often required for top management positions and essential for launching successful startups.
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Do I need an undergraduate business degree to get my MBA?
No. An undergraduate business degree is not required for you to get into an MBA program. Unlike a master’s degree in business, which emphasizes highly specialised theoretical knowledge, an MBA offers a broader business management scope.
What’s the difference?
A business master’s degree is better for those who wish to specialize in only one aspect of business, such as in finance, management, marketing, and are pursuing a higher level of competence for better career options.
Meanwhile, the MBA program was designed expressly for professionals of any industry seeking career advancement and flexibility and focused more on the practical aspect of running a business. Therefore, business schools value practical work experience in MBA applicants rather than their business-related bachelor’s degree.
Diversified MBA programs
In recent years, the number of MBA applicants with corresponding business undergraduate degrees was only slightly higher than applicants with degrees from other fields. Many business institutions aim to develop a diversified cohort in their MBA programs, relying on the collaborations of the students throughout the course to broaden their perspectives and share individual strengths.
Choosing an MBA specialization
Your bachelor’s degree can direct your MBA specialization. If your undergraduate degree has nothing to do with finance or entrepreneurship, you would have to decide your specialisation based on your personal interests and skills acquired from experience. Many MBA programs allow their MBA candidates to focus on specific industries. The most popular specialisations include International Management, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Consulting, and IT Management. Still, there exist specialized MBAs in entertainment management, sports management, hospitality, and healthcare management, to name a few.
Advantages of an MBA
Career advancement. Let’s assume that you’re a talented, hardworking computer programmer, and after a few years at the job, you’re seasoned enough to lead a team of programmers to work on a significant project. While this talent and experience may be sufficient to lead a small group for a few projects, it may still take even longer before your company promotes you to a higher position. Your MBA on top of this talent and experience guarantees faster career advancement and better financial compensation.
Leadership. Many companies prefer to hire individuals who are familiar with their particular industry but armed with advanced knowledge in business through an MBA, especially for upper management positions.
Growth and expansion. Another scenario that shows the importance of an MBA assumes that you know everything about fitness and weight training, which equipment to use to develop which muscle group, which exercise program ensures safe yet effective weight loss. You can open your own gym with only this information, but launching and running this business would be a lot easier if you had proper business training in the form of an MBA. Perhaps an MBA is not needed for opening one gym, but those with an MBA would already be planning a franchise.
Requirements in applying for an MBA
If having an undergraduate business degree is not needed to apply for an MBA, then what is needed instead? Here is a rundown of standard requirements of most business schools:
- Work experience. The program relies on the level of experience that peers may learn from each other and require at least two years of work experience.
- An undergraduate degree. You can still apply for your MBA if you’re only waiting for the term to end, but with a guarantee of completion or records that reflect you have completed all coursework and other requirements of your degree. Some institutions don’t even require bachelor’s degrees, replacing them with extensive work experience, instead. Some business schools also look at your GPA – the standard minimum is 3.0. If your GPA isn’t very high, you can compensate with a high GMAT score and extensive work experience.
- GMAT and GRE. GMAT, or the Graduate Management Admission Test, is usually required when applying for an MBA. At the same time, some institutions will also need a specific score on your GRE or GMAT. The GRE is one of the requirements for admission to most graduate programs, but not always for an MBA.
- MBA Core Classes. Some business schools will require you to complete core business and finance courses to familiarise the non-business major with all that you need to cope with advanced business concepts. These courses are mainly statistics, accounting, and economics. The core courses and requirements vary between institutions, so you should do your own research on your desired school’s prerequisite courses or if they are already offering these courses within the MBA program.
Making the decision to get your MBA even without a business degree is the easiest step towards a hopefully bright career ahead. By then, you will be glad you decided to take it.