What Are the Different MBA Specializations and Which One is Right For Me?

It’s decided: getting an MBA is your next step toward advancing your career in the business world. But you’re still not sure about which is the best MBA specialization for you. What’s the difference between the MBA specializations that are available, and which one will set you on the right career trajectory?

“A traditional MBA was created to train the corporate middle managers. If you have something else in mind, it may not be a bad idea to explore something more focused,” says Peter MacDonald, co-founder of Wunderite. His business partner Joe Schnare agrees, saying that students who choose a specialty are often more appealing to top employers than those who pursue a general MBA.

An instructor and student stand in front of an MBA classroom.

Specialized MBA programs offer in-depth knowledge in a single area of business, which can help you catapult your career by proving to employers that you’re serious about your career path and that you have the skills they’re looking for.

Take a look at this rundown of MBA concentrations to choose from. Keep your career goals in mind as you weigh your options and determine the best MBA specialization for you.

7 MBA specializations aspiring grad students should consider

1. Finance

This MBA specialization has a long reputation of helping finance professionals advance their careers in this competitive field. “An MBA with a finance emphasis gives you a deeper toolkit that is highly valuable if you’re interested in advancing your career in accounting, financial planning, or similar fields,” says Brad Plothow, vice president of marketing and communications at Womply.

Finance is a popular field for earning an MBA, with ONET reporting that 35% of financial analysts require a master’s degree. Earning a general MBA won’t give you much of an edge in this competitive environment, but pursuing a finance specialization will give you career-specific skills like financial reporting and forecasting, financial management, and corporate finance. Choosing to specialize in finance shows that you’re serious about moving up in your career and gives you the job-specific skills employers are looking for.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Go for a finance MBA if you’re serious about a career track in financial analysis or planning, stock market analysis, investment banking, or even accounting. “Some MBAs with a finance emphasis actually prepare you to sit for the CPA exam at the end, which is an efficient path to accelerating your career on multiple dimensions,” Plothow says.

2. Marketing

Many entry-level marketing positions are open to candidates who whose highest education is an undergraduate degree, and some marketing professionals pivot into the field from other careers with no formal training at all. Rather than making a marketing MBA specialization superfluous, this workforce landscape opens up advancement opportunities for those who are willing to put in the work by earning this specialized master’s degree.

Payscale reports that marketing professionals with a specialized MBA earn an average of $89,000 per year, compared to the $65,000 annual salary available to marketers with a bachelor’s degree. Specialized MBA holders also have opportunities to move quickly up the career ladder into management and director-level positions.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Holding a specialized MBA in marketing can immediately set you apart from other job candidates. A marketing MBA specialization is worth considering if you want the possibility of a fast track to upper-level management positions in the marketing field.

3. Economics

Economists are concerned with gathering data about and doing research on economic topics, then advising businesses or governments about actions to take or concerns to be aware of regarding economic issues. The majority of economist positions require an advanced degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with just a handful of entry-level jobs available to those with an undergraduate degree.

Economics is a specialized field, so it stands to reason that employees benefit from having a specialized degree. Students in an economics specialization are trained in advanced micro- and macroeconomics, as well as monetary policy and the basics of business operations.

Why choose this MBA specialization: It’s clear that a master’s degree is the bare minimum when it comes to most economist positions, especially if you want to advance beyond an entry- level job. Pursuing an economics specialization may be right for you if you want the opportunity to make a change in economic policy and you enjoy digging into research and analysis.

4. Data analytics

Managing and using big data is a top concern at companies both inside and outside of the tech industry. An MBA specialization in data analytics prepares students to collect, organize, and analyze data in the booming data science field with focused courses in areas like modeling, SQL, and the ethics of data analysis.

“I’m hearing that a short, analytics-focused MBA helps propel candidates to their next career,” says MacDonald, whose own MBA specialization is in data analytics. A joint report by Burning Glass and IBM shares that 39% of data scientists and advanced analyst positions require a master’s degree or higher, but these positions are difficult to hire for due to a lack of qualified candidates.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Data analytics is a rapidly growing field, especially in the finance, IT, professional services, and insurance industries. With corporations actively looking to fill gaps in data science positions, this MBA specialization gives you the education and skill set you need to step into one of these roles.

5. IT management

IT managers, or information systems managers, are in charge of everything related to computers and technology at an organization. Depending on the organization, IT managers could find themselves reporting to C-level executives and managing large teams of people, along with incorporating new and existing technology into the company.

Upper-level IT careers like this come with salaries in the range of $142,000, according to the BLS, which also reports that many organizations require their technology managers to have a graduate degree. With courses in areas like digital management, enterprise architecture, e- commerce, and data management, this MBA specialization prepares students for the critical projects they’ll be responsible for as IT managers with business chops.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Many people work their way into IT management after starting in entry-level technology positions, but an MBA specialization in IT can help you take your tech career to the management level more quickly—and even to C-level positions like chief information officer if that’s your goal.

6. Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs are often thought of as the business world’s savvy risk-takers, using self-taught skills to bootstrap their start-up companies. Though earning an MBA in entrepreneurship might seem counterintuitive, Schnare shares that this MBA specialization offers learning opportunities that benefit both students who want to build their own company and those pursuing a traditional corporate career.

“What I found by focusing on entrepreneurship is that classes in this specialty teach students how to innovate and implement change, which are skills big companies are looking for in their workforce today,” Schnare says. Students with an entrepreneurship concentration can expect to gain skills in entrepreneurial finance, business trends, valuation, and venture capital.

Why choose this MBA specialization: The courses you’ll encounter in an entrepreneurship MBA specialization will give you in-depth knowledge of how to navigate the murky waters of running a new business. This isn’t a skill every businessperson has, making this an MBA specialization worth considering for anyone with dreams of building their own company from the ground up. Students with a focus on entrepreneurship can also put their skills to use working for a start-up company or a long-standing organization that’s pivoting or expanding their business model.

7. Management consulting

Management consultants, sometimes called management analysts, work with organizations to improve efficiency and boost profitability. ONET reports that 46% of consultants are in positions that require a master’s degree, and it’s not hard to see why. Companies entrust consultants with their day-to-day business operations, and it’s critical that these management analysts have the business acumen to provide good advice.

An MBA specialization in consulting offers students in-depth knowledge of high-level business operations and strategy that go beyond the lessons of a general MBA. This specialization shows consulting firms, and the organizations they work with, that you can confidently direct them toward stronger business strategies in your role as a management consultant.

Why choose this MBA specialization: Consulting is the ultimate career goal for many aspiring MBA students. If you’re one of them, this specialization can show that you’re qualified to be a management analyst, even if you don’t have decades of business experience under your belt.

Choosing your MBA specialization

Now you can use this breakdown of MBA specializations, along with weighing your interests and your career goals, to determine the best MBA specialization for you.

Once you’ve decided on the specialization you want to pursue, check out Augsburg’s MBA opportunities to see how to make it work for you.

GRE vs. GMAT: What Are They and Which One Should I Take?

Choosing to attend grad school was a big decision, and now you’re faced with another choice: “Should I take the GMAT or GRE?” You need to take one or the other to be admitted to a master’s degree program, but how do you know which test is best for your situation?

Much like taking the ACT or SAT before applying to undergrad, the GRE and GMAT share some similarities. Both tests are timed and are divided into sections with a focus on reasoning and analytical writing. Scores are valid for five years after taking each test, and many schools accept both tests. Many institutions, like Augsburg University, do not require the GMAT or GRE, but they may require you to complete MBA math modules in its place.

MBA student in an Augsburg University classroomHowever, there are some key differences between the GRE and GMAT. It’s up to you to determine which test is right for you and your graduate school goals, especially if you’re preparing to get a Master of Business Administration degree from a quality university. We’re taking a deep dive into the difference between the GRE and GMAT so you’ll have all the information you need to make the best decision and start your grad school journey on the right foot.

What is the GRE?

The GRE—which stands for Graduate Record Examination—can be used to apply to most types of graduate schools, including some business and law schools. It’s a general test that sets you up for the grad school admissions process even if you haven’t decided which degree to pursue yet.

GRE sections

The GRE is broken into three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Each section is timed separately, with the entire GRE taking about three hours and 45 minutes.

These sections are designed to measure your general ability in each area. Verbal reasoning focuses on reading comprehension and your ability to interpret and draw conclusions about an author’s perspective. Quantitative reasoning measures your ability to interpret data and complete mathematical problem-solving. Analytical writing uses two essays to measure your critical thinking skills and how well you can express your ideas through writing.

GRE scoring

Verbal and quantitative reasoning are each scored on a scale of 130 to 170, while analytical writing is scored in half-point increments on a scale of zero to six. Some multiple choice questions require more than one answer, but there’s no partial credit if you get one answer right and another wrong.

The scores from each section are recorded separately rather than as a cumulative number. The GRE reports the average verbal reasoning score is 150, quantitative analysis is 152, and analytical writing is 3.5.

GRE tips

Tip #1: Skip difficult questions. The GRE is taken on a computer in most parts of the world, but the test software still allows you to apply traditional test-taking strategies. Don’t waste time on difficult questions! Skip questions you’re having trouble with, then use the GRE’s “mark and review” feature to return to them later.

Tip #2: Prepare with timed practice questions. Reviewing sample questions from each section will give you an idea of what to expect so you’ll know which areas to study before the test. Don’t forget to practice for the analytical writing section. With only 30 minutes for each essay, you’ll need to be prepared with an efficient writing process.

Tip #3: Read each question thoroughly. Some questions require a single answer while others need you to choose multiple answers or enter a numeric value. Rushing through the questions can lead to mistakes that could be avoided.

What is the GMAT?

The GMAT—which stands for Graduate Management Admission Test—is used specifically for applying to business schools. Though some business schools accept both the GMAT and GRE, some people believe schools give admissions preference to students who have taken the GMAT because it shows that a student is committed to business as a career path.

GMAT sections

The GMAT is divided into four sections: analytical writing assessment and integrated reasoning each takes 30 minutes to complete. Quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning each take a little over one hour.

Three of the GMAT’s sections are similar to those found in the GRE, but the GMAT has a heavier emphasis on data analysis skills that are necessary for business settings. The integrated reasoning section is designed to measure how well you evaluate and analyze data presented in different formats, like charts, graphs, and numbers.

GMAT scoring

The total GMAT is scored from 200 to 800, with each section also receiving individual scores that are reported to any business schools you apply to. This helps schools understand which areas you’re strongest in as they make admissions decisions. The GMAT reports that most test takers score between 400 and 600.

The GMAT is an adaptive test, meaning the computer will decide how difficult your next question should be based on how you answered the previous question. The scoring system takes this into account, awarding students more points if they answer more questions correctly and if their questions were of a higher difficulty level.

GMAT tips

Tip #1: Keep moving. The GMAT’s adaptive structure means you can’t skip questions and return to them later. Do your best to find the right answer, but don’t spend more than a few minutes on a single question. The GMAT penalizes test takers who don’t answer every question in a section within the allotted time.

Tip #2: Brush up on your math skills. Algebra, analytics, and other math skills make up a significant portion of the GMAT, so you need to be prepared. Be sure to refresh your memory about different types of charts and graphs while you’re at it.

Tip #3: Think like a businessperson. The GMAT is concerned with measuring how efficiently you can arrive at the right answer, much like a manager would in a business setting. A common GMAT strategy is to look at the answer options before you do a complicated equation. The right answer might be obvious without having to do many calculations at all.

Should I take the GMAT or GRE?

You may have been wondering which is easier: the GMAT or GRE? As you can see, both tests offer challenges and will require you to put in some hard work if you want to do your best. The bottom line of this decision comes down to your education goals for grad school and what type of test taker you are.

If you’re positive you want to enroll in an MBA program, the GMAT will show your dedication to the field. If you’re still on the fence about which degree you want to pursue, the GRE will allow you to begin the admissions process while keeping your options open.

If you’ve decided grad school is the right path for you and you want more information about Augsburg’s offerings, request some information and get started on the path toward your dreams. 

Choosing the Right MBA Program: Business Gurus Share 5 Factors to Consider

Choosing an MBA program isn’t easy. It’s a big commitment and you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your degree without drowning in debt or being permanently handcuffed by homework.

We enlisted the help of five business leaders to share the most important factors they considered when they were choosing which business school to attend. As it turns out, gut instincts are important along with careful cost comparisons, and networking before you’re accepted is a great way to help you decide.

All of the business experts we spoke to have successfully completed MBA programs and used their degrees to advance their careers. The list of considerations they gave us is lengthy, but these insights are invaluable in your own MBA program search.

Choosing the Right MBA #1: Go With Your Gut

There are endless data points to consider when choosing an MBA program—cost, proximity, post-graduate salary, to name a few—but don’t discount the value of listening to your instincts and choosing the school that feels right when it’s time to make your decision. You’re going to spend a lot of time at this place and its reputation is going to follow you throughout your career.

“When I looked at getting my MBA, the most important criterion by far was how the current and prospective students made me feel when I talked to them in person,” says Phil Strazzulla, who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and founded SelectSoftware. “At the end of the day, I went with a school that made me feel inspired and motivated by my fellow classmates to work towards my goals. I wasn’t peer-pressured into a typical career path, or made to feel like an outsider because I didn’t want to spend all my time partying.”

Like any other organization, colleges and universities—and the MBA programs they create—tend to have distinct cultures. A school’s culture can range from über-competitive to happy-go-lucky collaborative and anything in between. Culture is like the DNA of a school; it’s what makes up its identify and should not be overlooked.

“The best way to decide which business school’s culture is the best one for you is to visit campus, sit in on a class, and pay careful attention to how people within the MBA community interact,” says Tyler Cormney, co-author of “How to Apply for an MBAand the co-founder of MBA Prep School. “Aim to build a ‘personality profile’ of the schools on your shortlist to determine which MBA program has a culture that makes you feel at home.”

Choosing the Right MBA #2: Weigh Cost vs. Benefits

According to Investopedia, the average annual tuition for a two-year MBA program is around $60,000. When added to the cost of rent, food, books, and overseas tours and internships (depending on your area of concentration) it’s obvious how expensive an MBA can become.

MBA holders from accredited institutions, such as Augsburg University in Minneapolis, often earn an annual salary of more than $100,000 (depending on the field) so it can be worth that initial investment. But, don’t make a decision that big without first doing your research.

“I did a fair bit of research on the cost of MBAs and found a staggering difference across different schools,” says Jacob Beckstead, director of marketing and technology at Bailey’s Holding Company. “Knowing that the material would certainly differ, I had to decide on how much I thought an additional dollar spent on an MBA program would really get me a ‘better education’ or ‘better prestige.’”

Beckstead grouped the schools he was considering into three buckets:

  • Accreditation (i.e., is the school accredited by the Department of Higher Education?)
  • Regular schools (i.e., the most common state and public universities)
  • Prestigious schools (i.e., Ivy League and other notable universities)

Unlike some of his acquaintances who took two years off to focus on school full-time, Beckstead wanted to continue working while going to school. He ultimately decided on an online program that allowed him to do both, which helped offset the cost of the program and reduced his overall debt load.

Albert Ho is a project manager at Osler Health Systems and author of “Checkmate: How to Win the Sales Game in Healthcare.” He spent a year researching all 40 MBA programs in Canada and established strict guidelines to easily qualify or disqualify schools.

Ho immediately eliminated all schools that cost more than $50,000 and took more than two years to complete. “Students believe that every MBA must be expensive … this is not true. My tuition was only $22,000 for the entire program. I did not see the value of a high-priced MBA,” he said.

MBAs are valuable for both practical insights and long-term career rewards. Rahul Kashyap ’19 MBA, MD, says, “I was able to use valuable lessons from each semester toward my day-to-day roles in leadership at one of the world’s premier health care systems. The Augsburg MBA ignited a fire in me for innovation and entrepreneurial activities. I’m already rubbing shoulders with successful entrepreneurs.”

Choosing the Right MBA #3: Go With What You Know

Enrolling in an MBA program will be unlike any professional or academic experience you’ve undertaken in your life. You’ll be exposed to cutting-edge business theory, creative forms of entrepreneurship, and countless case studies of companies that have succeeded and failed.

The sheer volume of information and academic rigor will be challenging and unfamiliar. So, why not choose a program that builds on what you’ve already learned?

“I received my bachelor’s degree in economics … and really enjoyed the study of money and investing, the finance side. So for me, getting an MBA in finance was the perfect complement,” says Ron Auerbach, finance professor and author of “Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success.” “It best prepared me for working in banking, financial services, and Wall Street. And the concepts in finance were rooted in economics. So, the crossover between the two made it easier to comprehend.”

MBA coursework can be doubly challenging if you’ve never been exposed to the subject matter.

“If you were an undergraduate accounting major who is already fluent in the language of business, then a case study-based program might be perfect for you,” Cormney says. “But let’s say you were a liberal arts major who’s been working in public relations for four years and never touched a spreadsheet. In that case, you are probably better off at a business school that will begin by teaching you the ABCs of business.”

Choosing the Right MBA #4: Consider Your Career Options

Before you travel too far down the path toward applying to business school, think about your end goal. What do you want to do with your shiny, new degree once you’ve got it? There are plenty of benefits to earning an MBA but the work is only beginning once you graduate, so make sure to choose the school that will work hardest for you after graduation.

“Clearly defining your career aspirations is a precursor to choosing the schools that are best for you,” Cormney adds. “Business schools can’t be all things to all students so they tend to specialize in certain areas—entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and so on … shortlist schools that offer courses that appear tailormade for your desired career.”

Auerbach agrees: “With a finance MBA, it opened the door to working in banks, corporate finance … personal finance, financial analysis, and investment banking. Thus, wherever I chose to live or ended up, there would be a need for somebody with finance training.”

Sometimes your MBA will directly affect your career path in the middle of the program. Augsburg graduate Mai Moua ’19 MBA says, “As a result of my MBA consulting project, I was offered a director position with the client. This opportunity is leading me into a new and exciting industry and role.”

Choosing the Right MBA #5: Leverage Your Network

It’s easy to think choosing an MBA program is a decision that rests entirely on your shoulders. In fact, most would-be MBA students think choosing the right path comes down to cost-benefit analyses, class-size comparisons, and online applications. But our experts agree that you have much more at your disposal.

After you decide which area of business you want to study, “find out where the thought leaders in your prospective industry teach,” says Cormney. “You’ll also want to talk to as many people in that industry as you can to find out what they perceive to be the schools with the strongest MBA brands.”

Albert Ho used the networking approach by talking to admissions counselors and attending 10 different information sessions at the schools he was considering. He also used the people in his personal network to help him make his decision.

“I talked to 30 friends and contacts that had already completed their MBA to learn about their experiences,” Ho explains. “These conversations helped me to understand the reasons for completing my MBA.”

Also consider what you want your network to look like once you’re in an MBA program. With a finance concentration in Augsburg’s MBA program, Lara Dreier ’15 MBA says, “My cohort was diverse in every aspect of the word, and came from all sectors and career stages, which meant I had something to learn from everyone. We were encouraged to support and lean on each other, and as a result I developed some lasting professional connections and friendships.”

The Bottom Line on Business Degree Programs

Choosing the right MBA program isn’t easy, but at least you’ve got some guidance from people who have been in your shoes, made the decision you’re considering, and succeeded where you hope to succeed.

Just keep in mind, choosing the right MBA program means it has to be a good fit—personally, professionally, and financially. Don’t take the decision lightly, do your diligence, and dive in. There’s no better time to start working toward the future you’ve always wanted.

Get professional opinions on choosing the right MBA for you and your career. Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

Business Experts on the Benefits of Earning an MBA

So, you’re thinking about earning an MBA. Maybe you’re looking to land that elusive promotion or strike out on your own and take the consulting world by storm. Either way, an MBA might be the first chapter in your success story—and now might be the perfect time to go after what you want.

Top business schools across the country are reporting a significant drop in applications, according to a recent study from Kaplan Test Prep. The primary reasons given for the decline in future business leaders include:

  • Fewer international applicants (31%)
  • Strong U.S. economy (30%)
  • Cost of an MBA (17%)
  • Value of an MBA (13%)

It’s difficult for business schools to control the strength of the U.S. economy or the number of international students who might be scared off by America’s unpredictable political climate. But, the cost and value discussions are worth examining further because they speak directly to how current and prospective students define the benefits of an MBA.

To that end, we enlisted the help of four business leaders who hold MBAs to dig deeper into the subject and get their opinions on whether or not an MBA is a worthy academic pursuit.

An MBA provides career mobility

Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a global network of business consultants who provide strategic guidance to up-and-coming businesses.

“For me getting an MBA was definitely worth it. I went into finance right after college and realized I wanted to switch career tracks,” Arnof-Fenn says. “Going back to school allowed me to rebrand myself, try a new area as a summer intern, gain new skills, and build my confidence. For me it was critical for finding work I enjoyed and making the transition smoothly.”

In fact, earning an MBA can open doors to some of the most exciting business-related career paths out there. Coursework in statistics, economics, and entrepreneurship help degree holders establish themselves as business experts; while communications, management, and organizational behavior classes teach them to think critically and find innovative solutions to business problems.

“An MBA forces you to deep dive into topics and coursework that greatly broadens your business acumen,” says Shaan Patel, M.D., founder and CEO of Prep Expert. “By digging into case studies and working closely with peers, you are forced to develop skill sets and always question how businesses construct and execute their strategy.”

Arnof-Fenn and Patel both credit their MBA experience with helping them achieve the career goals they set out to accomplish.

Arnof-Fenn—who spent several years in corporate marketing, helped build multiple startups, and currently leads a global marketing firm—says earning an MBA helped her resume stand out and gave her “credibility as an entrepreneur.”

Patel turned his business vision into a successful bid on Shark Tank and now runs one of the world’s foremost standardized test preparation platforms. “For my own career, I found that the MBA experience shaped my understanding of strategy and how to execute longer term goals with actionable projects.”

Kevin Fleming ’14 MBA, MD, was thrilled with the career mobility afforded by an MBA from Augsburg University. “The Augsburg MBA enhanced my critical thinking process, business acumen, and leadership abilities,” Fleming says. “A few years after completing my MBA, I was selected to move to London as part of a new Mayo Clinic health venture in partnership with Oxford University. The Augsburg MBA program delivered!”

But, earning an MBA is a weighty decision

While it’s possible to create the next Fortune 500 company and make millions of dollars after earning an MBA, frankly, it’s unlikely. According to Poets & Quants, MBA holders generally earn a median base pay of around $125,000 and another $25,000 in annual bonuses. The potential to earn more is there, depending on your concentration—P&Q cited a few examples of MBAs who parlayed their academic prowess into starting annual salaries of more than $200,000—but the salary you might make after earning your degree shouldn’t be your only consideration.

The fact is, earning an MBA can be expensive. “MBAs, especially those who go to private business schools, can accumulate between $100,000 and $200,000 in debt and expenses in just over a two-year period,” according to Investopedia.

The average annual tuition for a two-year MBA program is just over $60,000, but add to that the cost of rent, food, books, and overseas tours and internships (depending on your concentration) and it becomes clear how the total cost of the degree could easily eclipse tuition.

“Business school is a daunting proposition—two years of lost wages combined with about $200,000 in debt,” says Alexander Lowry, professor of finance at Gordon College. Lowry holds an MBA from the Wharton School and knows full well the sacrifices it takes to attend one of the “elite” schools. “It took me three years to become NPV positive … and I was working on Wall Street!”

But don’t forget: financial aid and scholarships are available in MBA programs, including the Augsburg MBA, so you’re not having to pay the full cost on your own.

MBAs aren’t just about dollars and cents

Despite the tantalizing and terrifying realities of average salary and student loan debt, the benefits of an MBA may reach far beyond dollars and cents. The network you build among your peers and professors could benefit you throughout your entire career.

In fact, networking has become so important to business success that many MBA programs include skill-building courses and events in their curricula. And, if you consider the importance of referrals when courting clients or attracting top talent, your network becomes an invaluable tool. According to Business Network International, 98 percent of businesses rely on referrals to gain new clients and build new partnerships.

“It is a huge opportunity cost to go back for a degree so it has to be worth your while,” Arnof-Fenn says. “I do believe the degree is still relevant for the knowledge you gain but also for the contacts you make.”

Laurie Barger ’12, ’16 MBA, ’17 MAL says, “Rooted within the city, Augsburg has made its mark by fostering relationships and providing opportunities for the student population that go beyond classroom lectures. The MBA program brings together professionals from a diverse range of fields and industries, creating an environment cultivated for learning, building relationships and developing in ways that a typical, lecture-heavy program do not offer. With the professors drawing from their personal work experiences, they are able to cater the course to provide context that you can directly apply to your job, giving you the tools and resources to navigate your career.”

The bottom line on the benefits of an MBA

Earning an MBA is a big decision that should be carefully considered. While there are hundreds of success stories out there, plenty of money to make, and a countless exciting opportunities to build your network, it’s not for everyone.

Kenny Kline is an entrepreneur and managing partner at JAKK Media. He’s also a graduate of Columbia Business School who says an MBA is especially worth the time and effort if you fall into one of three camps:

  • You want to work in consulting, banking, or big technology.
  • You are sponsored and looking for a two-year [break] from your intense corporate job.
  • You are looking to grow your network for a very intentional reason.

Be sure you know what you want from the program before you start. It’s a challenging road, but it promises payoffs—personal as well as financial—if you’re willing to work hard to reach your goal. Just remember: Academic adequacy isn’t enough. You need to prepare for true scholarly success.

If you think you’re up for the challenge, the decreasing number of applicants means your chance of earning a spot in a competitive MBA program is getting better all the time.

Are you up for the challenge of an MBA program? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA professionals today.

Part-time vs. Full-time MBA: The Pros and Cons You Need to Consider

You’re ready to advance your career by earning your MBA—now your only problem is choosing a degree program. There are plenty of options to consider, but one of the biggest deciding factors is whether you want to enroll in a part-time or full-time MBA program.

Both types of programs get you to the same goal, but there are some important differences between full-time and part-time MBA programs. If you want to find success as a graduate student, you need to choose the MBA program that fits your needs.

We’re breaking down the advantages and disadvantages of a part-time MBA vs. full-time MBA so you can make an informed decision. Take a look at this list of pros and cons to determine which type of MBA program will work best for you.

Pros of full-time MBA programs

Shorter completion time

You can usually complete a full-time MBA in four semesters, which is about two years depending on the university’s course schedule. This short completion time means you can be on your way to career advancement faster, with less risk of burning out on your coursework.

Dedicated focus on your studies

A full-time MBA allows students to focus entirely on their MBA studies without also juggling a full-time job. Depending on your learning style, having more time devoted to your coursework could be a big advantage. You’ll also be surrounded by other full-time students, putting you in a ready-made community of people all working toward the same goal.

Additional financial aid options

Both full-time and part-time MBA programs offer financial aid, but many programs limit fellowships and assistantships to full-time students only. Unlike undergraduate financial aid packages, these options usually include a stipend to help cover living expenses in addition to tuition. Some external grants and fellowships may also limit their eligibility to students enrolled full time.

Cons of full-time MBA programs

Heavier tuition burden

Full-time MBA programs may offer more options for tuition assistance, but that financial aid comes with a downside. With most full-time programs being completed in two years, tuition is due in a more condensed time period. Students hoping to save up enough money to pay as they go might find this to be challenging in a full-time MBA program.

Less flexible schedule

Full-time MBA programs are structured more like the traditional undergraduate experience. Full-time classes would most likely meet on campus during the day, as opposed to more flexible online or night classes (which the Augsburg MBA offers). Committing to this schedule makes it nearly impossible to keep a full-time job, and it might also be a struggle to balance family obligations.

Loss of income

You’re going to have to give up your day job (or delay starting one) if you want to earn your MBA through a full-time program. Don’t underestimate the cost of losing two years of your full-time salary, including lost interest gains from contributions to a retirement fund. You can work part-time while earning your MBA to offset this loss, but it will still be a significant drop in income. In the Augsburg MBA program, you can keep working full-time and attend class one night each week to earn your MBA.

Pros of part-time MBA programs

Easier scheduling for working professionals

Earning an MBA will always require a time commitment, but part-time MBA programs offer more flexible class schedules that make finding time for school an easier proposition. If you’re working full-time and don’t want to give up your job, you’ll want to find a part-time MBA program that offers classes during your available times, like nights, weekends, or online.

More affordable tuition

Part-time students might lose out on some financial aid options, but that doesn’t mean they can’t afford tuition. Professionals who keep their current job while attending a part-time program might find that their employer will foot part of the bill for a tuition reimbursement program. Having a steady paycheck and a tuition bill that’s spread over a longer period will also make it easier to save up money for tuition and books each semester.

Real-life experience

Part-time MBA students can apply a lesson learned in class Wednesday night to their work on Thursday morning. Not only will this practical experience help cement what they learn in class, but it can also lead to advancement opportunities in their career before they even graduate.

Cons of part-time MBA programs

Lengthy completion time

Part-time programs differ in length, but you can plan on taking two to five years to earn your MBA part-time. Some schools offer accelerated or go-at-your-own-pace part-time programs to cut down on the time to completion, so check into those options if a lengthy degree program is a deal-breaker for you.

Greater total cost

The cost of a part-time MBA may be easier to swallow when it’s spread over a longer period of time, but the grand total could be more in the long run. Students who earn their degree at a slower pace are more likely to see a higher bottom line. The loss of fellowships that are only available to full-time students is also a factor. Calculate the total cost of a part-time MBA program to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Loss of motivation

Earning a part-time MBA alongside a full-time career and other obligations is like running a marathon. The longer MBA completion time means you might find yourself running out of stamina halfway through. Students who choose a part-time MBA need to be diligent to remember their goal and keep their motivation high—otherwise, they risk running out of steam before they have a degree in hand.

Choosing the MBA program that’s right for you

These important pros and cons will help you make the best choice when choosing a part-time versus a full-time MBA. Now it’s time to weigh your options and find the MBA program that fits your lifestyle, academic ambition, and budget.

Want help evaluating how an MBA can fit your schedule and your career? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA professionals today.

What Are Questions to Ask in an MBA Interview?

When applying for entry to a Master of Business Administration program, many candidates get nervous about the interview. You may have considered how to answer the questions the interviewer will ask. But what are the best graduate program interview questions to ask when the script is flipped? Knowing the questions to ask in this interview can help you get the information that equips you to make the best decision for your education and career plans.

What to Expect During the Interview

If you’ve gotten to the interview portion of the MBA admission process, you’ve reached the final step of the process. The university has determined you’re a prime candidate for the program based on your transcripts, essays, and test scores.

Now, they want to know a little more about you. This is also your chance to get to know more about them and show that you’re an inquisitive and motivated student.

The interview may be 20 to 60 minutes long. Make sure you’re punctual and allow yourself extra time at the end of the meeting. You want to be completely present, mentally and physically. If you appear rushed, you might give the impression that the interview isn’t important to you.

You may be required to visit the school for the interview. If you don’t live nearby, a faculty member, alum, or program director may interview you over the phone or online video conference.

Sometimes, there is more than one step required to complete the interview process. Some schools ask standard questions you can answer in a video recording before conducting an in-person dialogue.

You may even have to prepare a project or presentation for the day of the interview. Make sure you read all the requirements so you follow the interview process seamlessly.

What Questions Will They Ask You?

You’ll likely be asked questions similar to those you answered in the essays you already submitted for the application. Typical MBA interview questions include:

  • Why are you interested in continuing your education?
  • Why do you want to pursue an MBA?
  • What types of MBA are you interested in?
  • Why are you interested in this MBA program or university?
  • What skills do you hope to obtain?
  • What qualifications or experiences do you have that will contribute to the program?
  • How will this program help you reach your goals?
  • Tell us about a challenging situation, how you resolved it, and what you learned.

You might be asked some offbeat questions that force you to think critically. These questions—which differentiate the people who are willing to identify crucial issues and look at multiple factors to determine a solution—may catch you off guard:

  • Why are manhole covers round?
  • Why is the bus door located next to the driver?
  • How many airplanes are flying over the United States right now?
  • Do you consider yourself an ethical person?
  • What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Even if you don’t know the answer to these questions, indicate that you understand how to find out the solution by asking strategic questions.

If you’re applying for an EMBA program, you will be evaluated differently than someone who is coming straight from college graduation. You’ll be asked questions about your résumé and career. Tell a brief story about yourself that summarizes your career trajectory, emphasizing recent positions. Include one or two points that demonstrate your strategic thinking or problem-solving abilities.

Interviewers also want to know how you’ll balance school with your job and personal life. Acknowledge that this can be a challenge, and give examples that demonstrate you can handle pressure and take on the additional demands.

Questions to Ask During an MBA Interview

The final question MBA interviewers usually ask is, “Do you have any questions for us?”

The MBA interview questions to ask your interviewer are just as important as your responses to their queries. Graduate schools want to know that you’re committed to this path. It helps when they see you’ve researched their school or program. They will also assess your level of curiosity and analytical skills based on the questions you ask during the interview.

The best MBA questions to ask can set you apart from other candidates who have skills and qualifications similar to yours. Your questions should:

  • Highlight your strengths
  • Demonstrate your career goals
  • Show that you’ve looked into what the university has to offer
  • Establish that you consider an MBA worth your time and effort
  • Exhibit your passion for this program

Some of the best graduate school questions to ask include:

  • What were some of your favorite classes?
  • Can you tell me more about the specific program and concentrations available at this institution?
  • What is the program’s biggest limitation?
  • What groups or organizations can students in this program access or join?
  • Do you have a study abroad program?
  • Does your program use business simulations and experiential learning?
  • What is the best advice you would give to an incoming student?

When applying for an EMBA, you’ve already been in the workforce for a while; you need to demonstrate the strengths and interpersonal skills you’ve gained. Don’t neglect to prepare EMBA interview questions to ask just because you have confidence and experience in an established job.

The Worst Questions to Ask in a Graduate School Interview

There are some graduate school interview questions you should never ask. Don’t waste the interviewer’s time by asking logistical questions already addressed on the school’s website.

These questions should be considered well before you start applying to business schools:

Tips for Acing the MBA Interview

  1. Preparation is key. Go to the school’s website to find out if they tell you what to expect or what MBA-specific questions they will ask you. You might also search online for articles or forum posts written by previous candidates, which can give you an idea of what the process will be like.
  2. Be authentic and honest. The school has already deemed that you look good on paper. Now, they want to see what sets you apart from everyone else.
  3. Don’t lie or pretend to be perfect. Show you have an open mind and a willingness to learn.
  4. Prepare personal examples to reference during the interview. Schools want to see you can apply in practical ways the knowledge you gain.
  5. A strong first impression is crucial to succeeding during the interview process. Show you are unique, you will contribute, and you can adapt to a changing environment. Interviewers want to know about your strengths, weaknesses, and personal and professional accomplishments.
  6. With this knowledge and confidence, you are prepared to make your mark in an MBA interview and advance your career.

Still unsure about your upcoming MBA program interview? Contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with Augsburg University’s MBA professionals who can offer advice from years of experience.

How Can an MBA Help My Career?

An Master of Business Administration is the most popular master’s degree in the United States. Whether you already have a solid career, you’re searching for a job, or you consider yourself an entrepreneur, you might wonder about getting an MBA.

Why earn an MBA? The degree is widely accepted by employers and opens doors to future advancement and promotional opportunities. Business education has adapted to stay relevant to current trends, including the globalization of business and the drive for innovation.

Why an MBA Is Important for Your Career

One of the best reasons to get an MBA is that you become more marketable to employers. Just scroll through the job listings on Monster to see how many have an “MBA preferred” indication.

It used to be that MBAs were the degree of choice for people going into finance. Today, all types of industries are hiring people with these degrees. Tech companies are getting business school graduates on board in order to stay competitive. Hot jobs for MBA graduates include mid-level management and executive positions.

Companies prefer hiring people who have earned MBAs because these students are usually better educated and positioned for roles in strategic thinking, problem-solving, and ambiguity management. An MBA program does more than give you specific knowledge; it provides experiential learning opportunities to help prepare and train students for the rigors and processes necessary to lead successful businesses.

How will the MBA help you in developing your skills? When you’re working toward this degree, you don’t just learn; you consistently use your knowledge. This is a vital characteristic of any leader, manager, or entrepreneur. You need to apply and interpret the data analytics in order to quickly transform ideas into profitable action.

From an employer’s perspective, an MBA graduate is likely to have the following qualities:

  • Commitment
  • Work ethic
  • Critical thinking
  • Business analytical experience
  • Collaboration and a love of learning

Will an MBA Help My Career?

Many people ask, “Is an MBA worth it even if I’m already established at a successful organization?” We’ve examined how corporations benefit from hiring employees with MBAs. What are the advantages of an MBA for you?

Gain Knowledge, Skills, and Experience

On the most basic level, you will learn more with an MBA than someone who enters the workforce after getting a bachelor’s degree. Those students may gain real-world experience, but the entry-level positions they take don’t give them the advanced knowledge they need to understand the subtle nuances of business.

Move Up the Career Ladder

Continuing your education after an undergraduate degree prepares you to start at a higher level when you do get a job. MBA graduates often move into more challenging and prominent positions at an accelerated rate.

At the same time, many MBA programs look at applicants’ work experience during the admission process. Therefore, you might want to consider getting that entry-level position while you’re earning your bachelor’s degree to gain a competitive advantage.

Earn a Higher Salary

Why get an MBA if you already have a job and have started your career?

MBA graduates are often offered a higher salary than direct-from-industry hires and students who have just graduated with an undergraduate degree. Therefore, if you’re considering employment elsewhere, you’ll be likely to get a pay boost. Even if you stay at the same organization, you may see a salary increase after earning an MBA.

The average salary for MBA alumni is $142,000 per year. Depending on your lifestyle, you can pay off your student loans fairly quickly at that rate, making the investment financially lucrative. The average payback for an MBA is about four years. Plus, unemployment rates for these graduates are low.


An MBA program gives you ample networking opportunities. This can help you make connections that will allow you to grow your current business. It can also give you the security of knowing you’ll have help and connections to a variety of companies and industries if you want to change careers.

Types of MBAs

A Master of Business Administration is not just a generic term for a business degree. There are a few different types of MBA and distinct concentrations to choose from.

The types of MBA differ based on the class format. Students can take MBA courses:

  • Online
  • On campus
  • Full-time (completed in two years)
  • Part-time (completed in two to five years)

An executive MBA, or EMBA, is typically a two-year program that’s directed at people with at least five years of managerial experience. This is ideal for people who have already started their careers.

A global or international MBA has a diverse student body. It exposes students to global policies and considerations and is ideal for people who want to work outside of the United States.

The most popular MBA concentrations include:

  • Strategy – Explore a general knowledge base surrounding business theory and the factors that affect a company’s success or failure. This can help your career if you want a big-picture focus, have ambitious goals, and desire a versatile degree that can be used in many industries. People with a strategy MBA degree often go on to become executives, entrepreneurs, supervisors, and analysts.
  • Corporate finance – Learn to maximize the value of an organization by understanding objective function, investments, financing, dividends, and valuation.
  • Operations – Gain knowledge and experience in supply chain management or logistics. This involves facilitating production and manufacturing, managing company resources, and mediating relations with everyone involved in the process.
  • Entrepreneurship – Prepare to develop and lead your own businesses. Students learn strategy, business ethics, social responsibility, and problem-solving.
  • Management – Focus on allocating resources, solving problems, and working with people on various projects.

Careers for MBA Graduates

What can you do with an MBA? Graduates with this degree can get a variety of high-ranking positions in almost any industry.

People with a corporate finance MBA may pursue careers in venture capital firms, in commercial banks, and as chief financial officers at Fortune 500 companies. After earning an MBA in operations, many graduates get jobs as operations, supply chain, or logistics managers; consultants; and inventory control managers.

An entrepreneurship MBA can help you launch your own organizations or work in a leadership or management role within a company. Graduates with a management MBA can pursue positions as management consultants or managers or supervisors in any industry.

The only question remaining is: Where will you go and what will you do with an MBA?

Have questions about how an MBA can help your career? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA professionals today.

How to Get an MBA: Everything You Need to Know Before Applying

Earning a Master of Business Administration has become a rite of passage for business-oriented college graduates. Having an MBA announces your presence to the business world, and it says you’re committed to understanding the complexities and nuances of business across myriad industries.

Most MBA programs will ask you to choose a specialization. These typically include finance, management, marketing, leadership, strategy, entrepreneurship, data analytics, and a handful of other specific areas of study. The point of specializing is to graduate with an area of expertise that will allow you to hit the ground running and, frankly, add more value to the organization that hires you. Check out our list of MBA specializations to figure out the path that is right for you.

Before you get distracted by all the job prospects you’ll have after you graduate, let’s take a look at the requirements and some tips for gaining admission to the program.

As you’re reading through the information below, keep in mind: No one is going to gift you an MBA. It’s going to take hard work, dedication, and financial commitment. Nothing worth having is easily gained, but trust us—earning an MBA takes a special person who can focus on long-term goals and isn’t scared of a challenge. If that’s you, here’s everything you need to know to get an MBA.


Regardless of the school you’re hoping to attend, the basic MBA requirements are similar. Here’s an overview of the details you’ll find useful.

Undergraduate degree and work experience

First, you need to have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Your undergraduate degree can be in any major, but it is helpful to have a degree in a business-related field such as management, marketing, or finance. Moreover, most MBA programs require two to three years of work experience to be seriously considered for admittance. It’s also helpful to have some kind of demonstrable management or leadership experience on your resume. Volunteer, internship, or small team-leading—the specific role matters less than the experience, and admissions committees are looking to see if you can handle steering the ship before they consider giving you the keys to it.

Your transcripts

You’ll need to provide transcripts from every college or university you attended and any additional coursework you completed or certifications you’ve earned. Admissions committees are looking for patterns of academic success, and, while switching to and from a few different schools to earn your undergrad degree isn’t usually a problem, it’s important to show good grades followed you throughout your transitions.


Usually, you have to have successfully completed the Graduate Management Admission Test or the Graduate Record Exam within five years of your application to the school. The GRE consists of three sections that are scored, and reported to schools, separately rather than cumulatively. Two sections are scored on a scale of 130–170; the third section is scored on a scale of 0–6.

The GMAT, on the other hand, is the more common B-school exam and consists of four sections that are equally weighted and scored on a scale of 200–800. However, most applications score between 400–600, according to GMAT data.

There are institutions that do not require the GMAT or GRE before pursuing an MBA, such as Augsburg University, but schools will often require you to complete MBA mathematics coursework in lieu of the exams. Check out our comparison of the GRE versus GMAT to know which exam makes the most sense for your academic path.


It goes without saying that you’ll need to complete your application to the university and pay any appropriate fees associated with the application process. Application fees for MBA programs range from $100 to $300, which adds up if you plan to apply to several schools.

Also, fully prepared MBA applicants applying to three separate business schools spend no less than 154 hours crafting the core components of their applications, according to Poets & Quants.

Identifying strengths and weaknesses, crafting career goals, choosing a specialization, considering if a school “fits”—these are all components that shouldn’t be ignored. MBA committees see hundreds of applications, so it’s worth the time and effort to ensure yours sticks out among the pool of applicants.

The primary elements of most MBA applications include:

  • Statement of interest
  • Background information
    • Biographical information
    • Academic history
    • Professional history
  • Answers to essay questions
  • Letters of recommendation
  • GRE/GMAT test scores
  • English language test scores (if applicable)
  • Current résumé


While each school’s requirements are different, there are some useful tips that can help distinguish you from the droves of other students applying to MBA programs.

Research each school

To understand which university is the best fit for you, you’ll need to understand what separates them. Pay close attention to the mission of each school and the clubs, organizations, and faculty at each school. Focus on schools that align with your goals and will help you reach those goals.

If possible, take the time to visit the top schools you’re considering. Most have programs in place that will expose you to life as an MBA student so you can make an informed decision about whether that school is best for you.

Display a global flair

In an increasingly global economy, admissions departments prioritize applicants who have some degree of exposure to the world on a global level. Some top-quality MBA programs even include international trips to offer hands-on experiences in global business. If possible, gain international work experience and knowledge. If that’s not possible, plan a trip abroad before applying for your MBA. Anything you can do to show admissions staff that you’re a member of the world on a global scale will be helpful.

Curate your references

Take special care when deciding whom to ask for references. Of course, your goal is to receive a glowing recommendation. But, you should also consider the impression your reference will have on admissions staff who review your application materials.

If possible, seek references from professional contacts who can speak to your business acumen and work ethic, and don’t reach too far back to get them. In other words, a reference from your current manager holds much more weight than a reference from a friend or old acquaintance.

Ace your interview

When it comes to the interview, admissions departments are looking for relaxed and confident people who can not only speak to the information on their application, but also to information not found in an application. This includes personal experiences, anecdotes, and knowledge of the school and its MBA program.

Don’t lose focus

The competition for admission to an MBA program is extremely stiff across every university in the country. If you’ve been wait-listed by your top school or you suspect you may be wait-listed, don’t lose hope or focus.

Instead, take this as an opportunity to learn and improve. Speak with the admissions department about why you were wait-listed or denied, and use that information to improve your application.


Who makes a good applicant?

In addition to ensuring you meet the requirements for an MBA program, most institutions favor applicants who demonstrate strong character and intelligence beyond the basic MBA degree prerequisite courses and requirements.

Meeting the MBA requirements and possessing a strong and diverse range of educational and extracurricular activities is the best way to distance yourself from the competition.

Can I apply without taking the GMAT or GRE?

Yes. While some MBA programs in the country require prospective students to have taken one of these entrance prerequisites, many institutions (including Augsburg University) have other criteria to weigh your application. While the scores are self-reported, the university will confirm your scores before granting admission to the program.

Can I apply with a three-year undergraduate degree?

Most universities are happy to accept qualified applicants who received accelerated degrees. While you may occasionally encounter a school that requires a four-year undergraduate degree, most have no issue accepting qualified applicants with three-year degrees. If you have a three-year degree, having at least two years of work experience will enhance your chances of being accepted into the program.

When will I receive a decision?

While each school is different, most schools strive to review applications and decide on admission within six weeks of receiving your completed application.

How can I schedule an interview?

Admissions interviews typically occur on an invite-only basis. These interviews represent the final step in the admissions process before you’re accepted to a program. If you’re contacted for an interview, it’s usually an indication that you’re strongly considered for admission into the program.

The Big Takeaway

If earning an MBA is still the path you want to pursue, be sure to heed the advice above. Getting an MBA shouldn’t be a decision that’s made on a whim. Applications committees are strict and they won’t waste time on applicants who are obviously only somewhat interested.

While the requirements for MBA programs differ for each institution, the minimum requirements are similar across the board. Spend more time than you think is necessary on your application. Be sure you have relevant and recent work experience. And, don’t waste your time if you haven’t earned a four-year degree from an accredited university.

Strong academics and extracurriculars aren’t just bonus points—they’re valuable components admissions committees use to determine whether or not you’re well-rounded and have some life experience.

At the end of the day, getting an MBA is an investment in yourself. It will take hard work but your determination will definitely pay dividends if you’re up for the challenge.

If you’re ready to take the next step, request information on Augsburg’s MBA programs to figure out if it’s a fit for you.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA Degree?

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a highly prized graduate degree. It offers a wide range of knowledge and skills that are helpful in many industries. There’s a lot to look at, from accreditation to admissions criteria for an MBA. You may wonder if getting an MBA is worth it. The answer is different for everyone, but those who decide to earn one gain a competitive advantage. Whether you are a few years out of college or have been working for 10 years, an MBA degree will help hone your skills.

The course duration of an MBA depends on the type of program you attend. There are different types of MBA degree programs, and they all have varying lengths.

How long does it take to get a traditional MBA?

A traditional full-time MBA program length is about two years. The program usually starts in either late August or early September with a couple of short breaks and a longer two- to three-month break during the summer between the first and second year. Most students opt to do an internship during the summer break.

As a full-time student, you can expect to take classes throughout most the day during your first year. After you finish class, expect a few hours of homework and other activities. During your MBA years, homework may include reading textbooks and case studies, working on projects, and writing essays.

Many students go to class activities such as bar nights, dinner parties, and other social gatherings. Many schools offer presentations from successful business people as well. Days off may include comprehensive studying for the coming week.

Things change a bit the second year, when the focus is all about specialization. Students choose electives from broad fields to customize their education. These fields include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Sustainability
  • Real Estate

Some universities specialize in other fields. Besides the time commitment, the average cost of a two-year MBA is $130,000.

How long does it take to get an MBA degree online?

An online MBA may not have a defined length of time. Some online MBA programs are self-paced learning and can take multiple years to finish. Most people take about two years to complete an online MBA. Universities all around the country offer online MBAs to students who choose to study off-campus.

These programs typically require about half of the credits that a full-time MBA requires. They’re an excellent choice for working professionals and business owners who want an advanced degree but don’t have time or flexibility to go to a campus for classes. Students spend an average of 10 to 15 hours a week outside of class doing work.

Online MBAs cost significantly less than a traditional MBA. The average cost ranges from about $35,000 to a little more than $39,000. An online MBA cuts down on costs like transportation and living expenses because students don’t have to worry about commuting to class or staying close to a particular university or college.

How long does it take to get an MBA degree if you go to school part-time?

Part-time MBA students take classes at night and on the weekends. They’re popular among working professionals working to change careers or improve their prospects. The part-time MBA program can be completed in about a year, or up to five years depending on the program. The shorter programs are accelerated, which means they move faster and require more rigorous studying.

These programs can be less of a financial burden than full-time programs, because you can still work while attending them. Expect to spend seven to eight hours a week doing homework on top of any work you may have for your job. The time commitment may make it hard to spend time with family or go out with friends.

Many top-tier part-time MBA programs aren’t cheap. The average cost is about $110,000, slightly less than a full-time MBA. However, a part-time MBA may spread the cost over an extended period, and you have the advantage of the income from a full-time job while completing it.

How long does an accelerated MBA take to complete?

And accelerated MBA is an excellent option for people who want the benefits of an MBA but don’t have two to three years to earn the degree. An accelerated MBA takes between 10 and 24 months to complete, depending on the program. This makes an accelerated MBA an attractive option for someone who has a year to dedicate to education.

The work is rigorous for an accelerated MBA. Universities cram in two years’ worth of learning in a single year. Expect to study all the time and give up your free time if you decide to get an accelerated MBA. Break times are shorter, lasting about a week instead of a few weeks in a traditional MBA.

The price is significantly lower than a traditional MBA. Some programs from state universities start in the tens of thousands of dollars, while you’re looking at about $100,000 at an elite school—that might sound like a lot, but it’s roughly $40,000–60,000 less than a two-year program.

How long does it take to get an executive MBA?

An executive MBA is a great way for entrepreneurs, people in middle management, and executives to learn the necessary skills to take their career to the next level. It can take anywhere from a year to three or four years to get an executive MBA. Each program is different, and there are online and on-campus programs available.

They’re designed for individuals who are already employed. Typically, classes meet at night a couple times a week or on weekends. The executive MBA works around the busy schedule of a high-level working professional.

An executive MBA isn’t cheap; many programs cost over $100,000. Though that’s a large number, it shouldn’t be out of reach for most people interested in getting one. Many are already making six figures a year and continue to work while they get their degree. Some employers offer financial assistance for executive MBAs, because the companies reap the benefits as well when that employee grows in business savvy and skills.

The bottom line

If you are considering pursuing an MBA, you will likely need to devote a large amount of time to complete the program, typically one to two years. Expect to spend multiple hours dedicated to schoolwork each week in addition to class time. Additionally, if your college or university offers networking events for MBA students outside of the classroom, it would greatly benefit you to attend them.

The decision to continue your business education and attend graduate school is an important one that requires the consideration of many different factors. How long does an MBA take to complete? The answer is entirely dependent on which degree program you choose to enroll in.

Request specific MBA program information or contact the business professionals at Augsburg University to find out which program is best suited for you.

What Can You Do With an MBA?

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a widespread post-graduate program. It is a versatile master’s degree that offers extensive value. One of the greatest questions to ask when considering any prospective program is wondering where it will lead you.

The MBA is no exception. If you’re asking yourself, “What can I do with an MBA?” consider the skills you’ll learn with an MBA, the benefits of obtaining an MBA, and what post-MBA career paths are available.

MBA Skills

An MBA program offers many skills that can open opportunities in the future. Different programs will emphasize different skill sets. However, there is a general focus that many MBA programs share. An MBA addresses a broad spectrum of topics related to business. An MBA covers quantitative topics like economics, statistics, data analytics, finance, and accounting, and qualitative business areas like leadership, organizational behavior, ethics, communication, and management, as well as entrepreneurship.

Along with practical knowledge in a wide variety of business fields, MBAs provide an assortment of soft skills, sometimes called “people skills.” Enhancing your business knowledge is powerful, but many employers seek more than just a knowledgeable applicant. Matriculating in MBA courses develops leadership, critical thinking, and analytic abilities. These courses also help build communication and teamwork. All of these talents will help you become a better leader and advance your career goals after obtaining an MBA.

Benefits of an MBA

There is one crucial question to ask before delving into the options of an MBA: is an MBA Worth it? Evaluate the benefits of an MBA and the options that an MBA can open for you. Now that you know some of the skills taught by MBA programs, consider how those skills can be used and what you gain by obtaining an MBA.

One of the most influential purposes of pursuing higher education is to advance your career. An MBA degree helps you advance your job prospects and opportunities. Having an MBA increases the appeal of your resume and increases the ability to market yourself. Additionally, the skills you learn in an MBA program can increase your confidence in a job interview, giving you an advantage over other applicants.

Where you get your MBA matters. The number of people getting an MBA is increasing. To stand out from the crowd, recognize your potential school’s standing and what level of name recognition it offers. Obtaining an MBA from a top-rated institution will provide you with better opportunities than obtaining one from an online-only institution.

What Can I Do After Obtaining an MBA?

With the knowledge gained from the rigor of an MBA degree, return to the question at hand: “What can I do with an MBA?” An MBA is a flexible degree path. There are many things you can do with an MBA, and there are many MBA career options that are often taken by MBA graduates.

Management Consultant/Management Analyst:

The job of a management consultant is to analyze the managerial practices and procedures of a company. The consultant will then advise the company on strategies to improve their management systems and processes. Additionally, management consultants detect potential issues within a company’s infrastructure and provide consultation on how to reduce those problems.

Management consultants must have a firm understanding of the principles of business management. They must have strong analytical skills to deconstruct the practices of a firm and detect issues in those practices. This career is a great fit for MBA graduates.

  • Median Salary: $81,330 (Applicants with an MBA are typically offered a higher initial salary over $100,000)
  • Expected Growth Potential (2014–24): 14%

Marketing Manager:

A marketing manager oversees the overarching marketing plan for a product line, division, or company. Marketing managers are in charge of organizing, forecasting, and planning the marketing plan and bringing the plan to fruition. This process includes setting budgets, conducting market research, designing and enacting marketing campaigns, and managing the company’s marketing team to achieve these tasks.

MBA recipients learn the fundamentals of business, and marketing is a key area on that list. They gain skills in leadership, ethics, finance, communication, and management, all of which are essential skills in leading a marketing team.

  • Median Salary: $131,180
  • Expected Growth Potential (2014–24): 9%

Operations Manager:

The MBA is a multifaceted program, and the responsibilities of an operations manager are similarly varied. An operations manager oversees the day-to-day operations of a company to ensure that everything runs smoothly and corporate goals are met. These duties may include policy creation, logistics, data analytics, ethics, production, forecasting inventory, assisting in marketing, setting and reviewing budgets, and managing aspects of employment for your personnel, like scheduling and performance reviews.

Operations managers must be flexible; they require diverse knowledge and skills. This vital adaptability and preparation for a variety of tasks and situations are gained through MBA programs.

  • Median Salary: $99,310
  • Expected Growth Potential (2012–22): 7%

Investment Banker:

Investment bankers provide leaders with investment advice to grow their capital and increase the value of the organization. They do this by providing insight into the purchasing and managing of debt and assisting in the transition during mergers or acquisitions. Investment bankers ensure that all paperwork is in order and all regulations have been met.

An investment banker requires a combination of economic and business expertise to navigate the complexity of financial deals being made. They must be adept at critical thinking, finance, data analytics, and possess distinct attention to detail. This specific knowledge and skill set are foundational in MBA programs.

  • Median Salary: $258,000 (The salary of an investment banker has a wide range. It is typical to start out closer to $100,000 with high potential for increases.)
  • Expected Growth Potential (2014–24): 10%

Financial Advisor:

Unlike the other fields we have been discussing, a financial advisor doesn’t necessarily work with businesses. Instead, a financial advisors typically deal with individuals. They offer financial advice and financial planning for people’s future. Financial advisors may help someone plan for retirement or simply offer investment advice to increase individual wealth. It is the job of a financial advisor to ensure their clients make good investments and create plans to ensure their client’s future.

As you can imagine, a financial advisor must have a strong understanding of finances and the economy. Additionally, a financial advisor must be good at analysis to determine the best plans for their clients and the communication skills to articulate those plans to their clients. These skills are core features of an MBA.

  • Median Salary: $90,530
  • Expected Growth Potential (2014–24): 30%

So, What Can You Do With an MBA?

You began by asking, “What can I do with an MBA?” Now you have some specific examples of what’s available to MBA graduates. The Master of Business Administration enhances your knowledge of common business principles and areas. It boosts your skills for working in a business, making you the type of candidate that businesses are looking to hire for their top positions. An MBA opens a plethora of post-MBA career paths to consider, offering you a diverse path forward.

Take a step closer to the career you want. Contact business professionals at Augsburg University or request specific MBA program information.