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Complete Guide to Getting an MBA in Data Analytics

Big data is ubiquitous in the business world. Big data refers to enormous sets of data that can be analyzed for insights, visuals, patterns, and trends. In business, studying big data is the precursor to forming sound business decisions. Due to the prevalence of big data in business, an MBA in data analytics is an extremely useful concentration for today’s business climate. Data analytics professionals analyze data to arrive at solid business solutions and projections.

MBA students in classroomIf you’ve chosen data analytics for your MBA concentration, you’ll find that there are a multitude of career opportunities available to you. Data analytics is a great field to enter as a recent graduate diving into the data analytics sphere or as a seasoned professional looking to fine-tune your skills to advance your career. Once the program has been completed, students will be greeted with a favorable job market. Job demand has grown over the years and is projected to continue growing at a faster than average pace over the next decade.

What does an MBA in data analytics program entail? In this guide, we’ll cover the different types of degrees, the admissions process, and the type of job and salary that you can expect after graduation.

What is an MBA Concentration in Data Analytics?

What are MBA analytics and decision science? An MBA in this concentration prepares students to use analysis of large data sets to improve the efficiency of a business.

How can an MBA in data analytics help your career? An MBA concentration in data analytics has become valuable in business. Since the rise of big data, job demand within this specialty has increased significantly. Through case studies and projects, you’ll amass valuable information regarding the analysis of data. You will also acquire important skills such as decision-making and query languages. An MBA program also provides an opportunity for networking with other professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Which is the best MBA for data analytics? When choosing to pursue a degree in this concentration, students will have the option for an MBA or an executive MBA data analytics program. An executive MBA in data analytics may be a good option for those with managerial work experience, typically at an executive level. Often, employers may cover or reimburse the cost of an executive MBA.

Master’s in Data Analytics vs. MBA in Data Analytics

When choosing to pursue a degree in data analytics, you will need to decide whether an MBA in data analytics or a master’s in data analytics is right for you. A master’s in data analytics is more hands-on, with specific courses geared toward a career in data analytics. This path may be appropriate for someone planning to pursue a job as a data scientist or other analytics-heavy occupation.

On the other hand, an MBA in data analytics provides a broader course of study that prepares students for a career in many different areas of a business. While typically not as hands-on as a master’s program, MBA students who complete the program will find there are more job opportunities available to them. In addition to data science positions, they often find jobs in areas such as accounting, marketing, or strategy.

Core Curriculum for an MBA in Data Analytics

Students pursuing an MBA with a data analytics focus will follow a structured syllabus designed to prepare them for the business world. The MBA program at Augsburg University requires 42 credits to complete. While many students work on their MBA full time, some opt to enroll in the program part time.

Augsburg Syllabus for an MBA in Data Analytics

The Augsburg MBA program requires the completion of 14 courses. The MBA data analytics syllabus includes 12 core courses covering a variety of business topics such as leadership, strategy, finance, and marketing. Two electives focused on the data analytics concentration must also be taken. Data analytics MBA courses include data programming and predictive analytics. Students will also become familiar with the software analytics program, Tableau. Tableau software helps users interpret big data through an analytics platform that aids in key management decisions. A significant number of companies use Tableau for the accounting, finance, marketing, and management departments.

MBA in Data Analytics Requirements

When researching institutions, online MBA programs in data analytics are often considered. Online programs can provide more flexibility, and they’re becoming increasingly accepted by employers. However, there are many benefits to in-person classes that one would miss out on in online degree programs, such as networking opportunities and face-to-face interactions. The best analytics MBA programs are often in bricks-and-mortar institutions.

When preparing to pursue an MBA analytics concentration, the first step is the admissions process. It’s important that you become familiar with the application requirements and guidelines to ensure that your application is complete. Common application requirements are:

  • GMAT, GRE, or MBA math modules
  • Work experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essay questions
  • Interview

GMAT or GRE

Students must take either the GMAT or GRE to be accepted into an MBA program. The GRE is more widely used across graduate programs and focuses on reasoning skills. The GMAT is specifically used by business schools and has a heavier focus on analytics. Though both are accepted, the GMAT is most often taken when applying to colleges offering an MBA in data analytics. Students are not required to take the GMAT or GRE. They may be required to complete five MBA math modules online at their own pace.

Work Experience

Relevant work experience is required by most MBA programs. Augsburg prefers that students have a minimum of two years of experience. Relevant work experience includes jobs that focus on analytics such as finance or marketing. Internships don’t always count as work experience due to the short duration and the fact that they’re typically unpaid.

Letters of Recommendation

Augsburg requires two letters of recommendation from professional work references. The letters of recommendation should highlight your accomplishments and work experience. They should also contain testaments to your skill and character.

Essay Questions

Essay questions are an important part of the application process. Your responses to these questions are a great way for the admissions committee to learn more about you and what you can bring to the program. Augsburg requires responses to two essay questions. There are often formatting and word requirements. Make sure you pay careful attention to these requirements when crafting your responses.

Admissions Interview

After your application has been reviewed, the final step is an interview with the admissions committee. While the interview may seem daunting, advance preparation can help you feel confident. Here are a few common questions to prepare for:

  • Why are you interested in pursuing an MBA in data analytics?
  • Why are you interested in this program?
  • Tell us about a challenging situation you encountered and describe the outcome.

Once the committee finishes asking you interview questions, you will have the chance to ask any questions you may have regarding the school or program. It’s important to be equipped with a handful of questions to ask, which shows you’re engaged and interested. A few questions to ask are:

  • What groups are recommended for students in this concentration to join?
  • Do you have any advice for incoming students?
  • Does the data analytics concentration have any limitations?

After an MBA in Data Analytics, What Can I Do Next?

What can you expect after completing the MBA data analytics program? Should you pursue an internship to put your new skills to use? Are there additional certifications you can take to enhance your new degree?

Pursue an MBA Internship in Data Analytics

Students and recent graduates often take on internships for opportunities to apply their skills and knowledge from the MBA program in real life. Many corporations have internship slots available in various departments, such as marketing or finance. Internships afford students the opportunity to work with big data while gaining valuable experience that looks great on a résumé.

Certification Courses After an MBA in Data Analytics

After completing the MBA program, graduates often consider taking certification courses to increase their knowledge. At Augsburg, a certificate of leadership studies is often considered. This leadership program is an attractive option for those pursuing management or executive positions.

MBA in Data Analytics Careers

Is a data analytics degree worth it? Graduates starting their career in data analytics after MBA completion will find job opportunities in many different domains. The job outlook for careers in this field is positive and demand is growing rapidly. An MBA in data analytics is attractive to many employers, especially as big data continues to be a valuable tool in today’s business world. Below are just a few of the opportunities awaiting graduates in small and large businesses.

Data Scientist

Using math skills and various querying and coding languages, data scientists discover and analyze business trends and issues. Those with a data analyst MBA have many of the required skills that they can apply in this role. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for data scientists is growing faster than average.

Management Analyst

Management analysts have the challenging task of finding and proposing ways to improve the processes of a business. By studying historical data, these analysts can make informed decisions and projections to improve the company’s overall efficiency. New graduates can expect a positive job market for this type of role as it is in growing demand.

Operations Research Analyst

Advanced math and analysis are used by operations research analysts. Through their insights and data visualization tools, they create and recommend solutions to complex problems in the business. The job demand is projected by the BLS to grow by 26% between 2018 and 2028.

MBA in Data Analytics Salary

The growing demand for data analytics professionals has made the job market favorable. The master’s degree in analytics salary will vary. Salary is dependent on the type of role, company, amount of work experience, and job location. When just starting out, a data analytics MBA salary is typically at least $80,000 annually, and some jobs may pay upwards of $100,000.

Resources and Books

There are many resources available for students entering the MBA program with a data analytics concentration. Students may want to read up on some query languages such as Python, R, and SQL to get a head start. Textbooks and other resources are available at the college bookstore.

Ready to apply?

Now that you are familiar with the difference between an MBA in Data Analytics vs Data Analytics master’s programs, it’s time to take the next step. We’ve covered many pieces of the admissions process and what you can expect when entering the program and upon graduation. Are you ready to submit your application? Get in touch with Augsburg admissions today!

Complete Guide to Getting an MBA in Entrepreneurship

Do you have an undergraduate degree and have a desire to pursue a career in business, perhaps by starting your own company or being involved in the start-up process? Or, maybe you already have an established business career but would like to earn a higher salary or climb further up the corporate ladder? You may be wondering how you can shine in a competitive industry full of eager entrepreneurs. MBA students in classroom

One of the best ways to stand out and prepare for a successful future is to acquire an MBA in entrepreneurship from Augsburg University, one of the three top MBA programs for entrepreneurship in the Twin Cities.

The Augsburg MBA program is designed to equip students for the fast-paced and ever-evolving business world that we live in today. This program creates critically and ethically minded citizens who are eager to tackle the challenges inherent in the global business environment.

What is an MBA Concentration in Entrepreneurship?

In order to discover if a concentration in entrepreneurship is suitable for you, you should familiarize yourself with the program details and explore how graduates stand to gain from it. This particular concentration targets risk assessment, business ethics, social responsibility, and new product and service development. It will also enable you to transform your theoretical business ideas into realistic business proposals.

One of the most valuable aspects of this program is the real-world experience we offer our students to ensure that their educational frame of reference is the real world and not confined to unrealistic textbook examples. Beyond the stimulating coursework, this program offers a huge boost for your career. Completing this program makes you more marketable than someone with a business degree. Your larger knowledge base will allow you to begin your career on a higher level and earn a higher salary.

Master’s in Entrepreneurship vs. MBA in Entrepreneurship

What degree does an entrepreneur need? A master’s degree in entrepreneurship is often confused with a Master of Business Administration in entrepreneurship. The more fitting degree choice largely depends on your personal career trajectory. At an elementary level both degrees are intended to provide advanced learning opportunities for ambitious and driven entrepreneurs, yet there are some significant but subtle differences between the two.

An entrepreneurship master’s degree is a science degree. As the Master’s in Business Degree Guide states, “The curriculum teaches the fundamentals of a specific science while applying business applications related to the science.” A master’s in entrepreneurship teaches students the intricacies involved in applying scientific methods to starting and running a business.

In contrast, an MBA in entrepreneurship is a well-rounded degree with an emphasis on leadership, data analytics, finance, and accounting. It balances a creative approach to business that stresses innovation and resourcefulness. MBA in entrepreneurship subjects include business ethics and social responsibility with a healthy dose of the quantitative skills needed to run a successful business.

Entrepreneurship Master’s Degree: Pros and Cons

The benefits of obtaining a master’s degree in entrepreneurship are mostly related to the acquisition of a PhD. Due to the more scientific nature of the master’s curriculum, someone with this degree is better suited to continue on the research path. On the other hand, a master’s degree doesn’t have as strong of an experiential learning component and isn’t as well-rounded or as comprehensive as an MBA program.

MBA in Entrepreneurship: Pros and Cons

The benefits of an MBA in entrepreneurship are plentiful. Those who have established business careers and choose to obtain an MBA in entrepreneurship set themselves up to earn a higher salary and be excellent leaders. The education involved in earning this degree is more well-rounded, involving a liberal arts education.

Core Curriculum for an MBA in Entrepreneurship 

The core curriculum for an MBA in entrepreneurship is comprised of a year-round accelerated program that is completed in 26 months, with classes in the evening. We have structured it this way so that both students and working professionals can obtain an entrepreneurship MBA without having to compromise their current careers or internships.

This is accomplished using a cohort model in which students follow a predetermined schedule with classes meeting only night per week.  In this model, students learn in a continually collaborative environment and remain in the same group for the entire program. The actual curriculum requires 12 core courses and two entrepreneur concentration courses.

Augsburg’s MBA in Entrepreneurship Syllabus

To get an idea of what the actual classes and schedule look like, here is a sample MBA entrepreneurship syllabus:

  • Semester 1:
    • MBA 592 – Leadership: Ethics, Vision, Transformation
    • MBA 545 – Organizational Behavior
  • Semester 2:
    • MBA 540 – Business and Professional Ethics
    • MBA 570 – Quantitative Decision-Making for Managers
  • Semester 3:
    • MBA 571 – Data Analytics for Managers
    • MBA 520 – Accounting for Business Managers
  • Semester 4:
    • MBA 510 – Applied Managerial Economics
    • MBA 530 – Managerial Finance
  • Semester 5:
    • MBA 550 – Marketing Management
    • MBA 595 – Strategic Management
  • Semester 6:
    • MBA 565 – Managing in a Global Environment
    • MBA 580 – Management Consulting Project
    • Entrepreneurship Course 1
  • Semester 7:
    • MBA 580 – Management Consulting Project (began in Semester 6)
    • Entrepreneurship Course 2

This entrepreneurship program requires students to complete an MBA research topic in entrepreneurship to earn a degree. The concentration courses where this will be worked on are:

  • MBA 596 – Managing Innovation
  • MBA 583 – Entrepreneurship: Execution, Planning, and Strategy

MBA Entrepreneurship Requirements

As an award-winning MBA program, Augsburg University requires certain materials from program applicants to ensure specific standards are met. Here is a brief overview of the requirements:

  • Fill out an application. You will need to include transcripts from the college or university where you earned your bachelor’s degree, two letters of recommendation, and a current resume.
  • The GRE or GMAT are optional, but you may be required to complete online MBA math modules.
  • Undertake two years of professional experience prior to application.
  • Complete two essay questions.
  • If your application is approved, you will be invited to campus for an interview.

Test Requirements

Almost all entrepreneurship MBA programs require that students take either the GRE or GMAT. These tests are similar but each is more suited to different programs. However, at Augsburg, if you don’t take one of these tests, we simply require that you complete MBA math modules in its place.

Work Experience

The best MBA programs for entrepreneurship consider academic performance an important factor in the admissions process, but it certainly isn’t the only factor. Admission is also based on your professional experience. At Augsburg, we require two years of professional experience that can be backed up with good references.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required. It is expected that you will have professional relationships with these individuals. It’s critical to use your strongest and closest professional relationships. Include their names and email addresses on the application so they can receive the email inviting them to submit their recommendations online.

Admissions Interview

If your application is approved, you will be invited to campus for an on-site interview so the admissions team can determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for the program. This interview is an important step in the admissions process. To prepare adequately, review the following questions and prepare your responses. This will bolster your confidence and enable you to present a favorable impression.

  • Why do you want to pursue an MBA in entrepreneurship?
  • What qualifications or experiences do you have that will contribute to the program?
  • Tell us about a challenging situation, how you resolved it, and what you learned.

Aside from giving thoughtful responses to the questions posed to you, asking questions of your own is important to demonstrate your interest and analytical skills. The admissions team wants to see that you have done your research and you are committed to your chosen career path. Some insightful questions you can ask include:

  • Is there an opportunity to complete a study abroad program?
  • What groups or organizations can students in this program access or join?
  • How does this program use business simulations and experiential learning?

To give you an idea of what interviewers are looking for in your answers and questions, explore more information regarding the interview process.

After an MBA Entrepreneurship, What Can I Do Next?

What is an MBA in innovation and entrepreneurship going to do for you in the future? What does an entrepreneur do? These are important questions to ask yourself before diving headfirst into this program. The value of an MBA in entrepreneurship cannot be understated. This is bolstered by the fact that an MBA is one of the most common graduate degrees earned.

As long as your interests lie in furthering your business career, acquiring this degree accelerates your career. It opens up more opportunities in your current career and makes you more marketable, giving you a leg up on your competition.

Pursue an MBA Internship in Entrepreneurship

Top entrepreneurship MBA programs like Augsburg’s make students excellent candidates for internships. Unlike many fields, entrepreneur-related internships with big businesses pay well and offer exciting networking opportunities while simultaneously providing you with valuable experience. MBA students often choose to do this during the summer, when some have a break and the widest variety of internships are available.

Certification Courses After an MBA in Entrepreneurship

After earning an MBA in entrepreneurship, there is more that you can do to make yourself even more marketable. Graduates should take these courses if they want to delve deeper into a specialized area. Here are a couple of certification examples:

  • Project Management Professionalism: This is recommended for those going into project management. It shows elevated commitment to the field.
  • Certification in Business Analytics: This is recommended for those seeking to pursue a career in data analytics, operations, or supply chain.
  • Certification in Leadership: This is recommended for aspiring leaders in the nonprofit market.

MBA in Entrepreneurship Careers

Jobs you can get with an entrepreneurship degree vary widely. An MBA in entrepreneurship is incredibly attractive to businesses. Profitable companies are generally starting new endeavors and looking for someone with an eye for innovation and entrepreneurial talent. Even if your entrepreneurial spirit takes a back seat in your vision of your career path, there are still a number of exciting job opportunities available after acquiring an MBA in entrepreneurship.

Job Opportunities After an MBA in Entrepreneurship

Senior Product Manager

This is one of the job opportunities for someone whose entrepreneurial spirit isn’t a key player in their career goals. This job requires excellent communication skills and an ability to take feedback from customers, partners, and in-house teams and incorporate it into product strategy.

Average salary: $135,000

Research and Development Manager

Leadership, management, communication, and presentation skills are all integral to this position. The ability to budget and an affinity for ingenuity and creativity are also important. A research and development manager is usually responsible for overseeing the entire development process of a new product.

Average salary: $139,000

Not-for-Profit Fundraiser 

Organizational abilities and superb communication skills are essential for this type of work. Organizing activities to raise funds and creating and maintaining relationships are vital in the not-for-profit world. If you are full of entrepreneurial spirit and have a desire to assist others, this is an excellent path for you.

Average salary: $73,000

MBA in Entrepreneurship Salary

Simply having this degree in your pocket generally means that you’ll be offered a higher salary than someone with an undergraduate degree. It shows that you know how to work hard and should be compensated for the time, money, and effort you invested to further your career. The average salary for an MBA in entrepreneurship is $106,000, which means you can likely repay your student loans fairly quickly.

Resources and Books

There are some remaining tidbits of advice for those considering this concentration for an MBA. If you’re still completing your undergrad, the best degrees for entrepreneurs are business, communications, finance, and marketing. For some extracurricular reading to help you understand the business world, consider this list of recommendations from top business professionals and academics. Additionally, Forbes published a list of five lessons for those considering this path.

Ready to Apply?

Augsburg offers a top MBA for entrepreneurship. Individuals who are globally minded, innovative, and want to further their career would thrive in this program and reap its benefits for the rest of their lives. If your interest is piqued, reach out to admissions for more information or get started and apply today!

Complete Guide to Getting an MBA in Finance

If you have an affinity for numbers and an appreciation for money management, a Master of Business Administration degree in finance is something you may want to seriously contemplate. There is a growing demand in the job market for graduates with an MBA in finance, making it an optimal concentration to consider.

MBA students in classroomThere are diverse paths you can pursue upon obtaining an MBA in finance; you are not constrained to one career trajectory. You can opt to work for a small firm or a large corporation, to deal with personal investments, or even to take on large projects analyzing and forecasting financial trends. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything from admissions to what can be expected post-graduation.

What is an MBA Concentration in Finance?

An MBA with a specialization in finance will give you a strong education in finance while simultaneously honing your business skills. This makes it a fantastic option for professionals who have some work experience under their belts and would like to further their careers.

A finance MBA can help professionals expedite their careers by providing a foundation in areas such as accounting, statistics, and communications. Often, obtaining an MBA in finance can launch your career by accelerating the climb up the corporate ladder and landing you a managerial or executive position.

Professionals with a finance MBA will find that the job market is more favorable and will typically enjoy a higher employment rate. An MBA in finance is also a wise choice for students who are planning to start their own businesses. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, an MBA in finance can help make your dream a reality.

Masters in Finance vs. MBA in Finance

There are many factors to evaluate before enrolling in a post-graduate program. You may face some quandaries such as: Should I enroll full-time or part-time? Is there a difference between an MBA and a master’s in finance? Will a master’s in finance suit my needs, or is an MBA the better option for me?

There are differences between an MBA in finance and a master’s in finance. The primary difference between the two is that a master’s in finance takes several years to complete, while an MBA with a  finance concentration takes a minimum of 26 months. Aside from the length of schooling, another consideration is the cost differential between the two options. Two years of tuition certainly costs less than three or more!

In addition to time and cost, it’s important to assess how you will be using the degree. While both types of degrees will benefit a career, a master’s in finance is primarily geared toward those looking to secure a position in a specific field, typically accounting or management.

Those with an MBA and a concentration in finance have more flexibility regarding their career paths and can pursue careers in economics, management, statistics, and communications. An MBA in finance also offers the added flexibility of part-time programs, while a master of finance degree can be a full-time, one-year commitment.

So, is an MBA in finance worth it? 

Though it takes a minimum of three years instead of just a one-year commitment, it may be worth the extra time and money for the increased career flexibility it yields.

Core Curriculum for an MBA in Finance

Students enrolled in the Master of Business of Administration program will be provided with a curriculum to prepare them for the challenging and often competitive business world. The MBA finance course structure can be completed in 26 months with the exception of those enrolled as part-time students.

Augsburg Syllabus for an MBA in Finance

The syllabus for an MBA in finance includes 12 required courses. In addition to the core requirements, MBA students must also take two electives geared toward a finance concentration. Electives related to finance include investment theory, portfolio management, and international finance.

MBA in Finance Requirements

After choosing to pursue an MBA with a specialization in finance, what comes next? The admissions process may seem daunting, especially when it is time to interview with the admissions committee. With adequate research and preparation, your interaction with admissions can go smoothly.

When submitting an application for an MBA program in finance, it’s important to research admission requirements to understand what is necessary for eligibility for MBA finance programs. Requirements typically include:

  • GMAT or GRE
  • Work experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Responses to essay questions
  • Admissions interview

GMAT or GRE

Sometimes the GMAT or GRE is required to be accepted into an MBA program (Augsburg University does not require the GMAT or GRE but does require two years of work experience). Both are accepted; however, it’s important to consider which one is more beneficial. The GRE focuses on reasoning and analytical skills. It is more broadly accepted across graduate schools, including business schools. The GMAT has more of a focus on data analysis and is specific to business schools.

Work Experience

Work experience is preferred when applying to an MBA program. At Augsburg, at least two years of experience is desired. During the admissions process, both academic and professional experiences are taken into account. Applicants who have had strong and positive performances in both areas are likely to be admitted.

Letters of Recommendation

Another application requirement is a letter of recommendation. Admissions at Augsburg requires two letters of recommendation from professional work references. Once the names and email addresses of your references have been entered on your application, they will receive an email address where they can submit their recommendations.

Essay Questions

There are typically two essay questions required by Augsburg during the application process. The responses to the questions are used to learn more about each applicant. This is an excellent place for you to detail the reasons why you wish to pursue an MBA in finance. When writing responses to the essay questions, pay particular attention to word count and formatting requirements.

Admissions Interview

If your application is approved, the next step is to attend an on-site interview with the MBA director or admissions committee. There are several common interview questions for MBA finance students. There may also be some finance-related interview questions for MBA students. Here are some common questions to prepare for:

  • Describe a challenging situation and how you overcame it.
  • Why are you interested in this MBA program?
  • If admitted, what skills or experiences will you bring to the program?

In addition to answering questions, be prepared to ask some questions of your own. Asking smart questions shows the committee that you’re invested in the program. Some important questions to ask include:

  • Is there an opportunity to study abroad in the MBA Program?
  • Are there networking opportunities to meet with MBA graduates?
  • Can you tell me more about the concentrations offered at this university?

After an MBA in Finance, What Can I Do Next?

You may be wondering: What can I do with an MBA in finance? There are numerous options that a recent graduate can pursue. When determining what is right for you, it’s important to consider which MBA finance careers interest you.

Pursue an MBA Internship in Finance

One option recent MBA graduates may want to consider is an internship in MBA finance. An internship is a great way to develop skills and gain professional work experience. Internships provide an ideal way for you to get your feet wet in the wide wild world of finance. Some MBA students pursue internships while still in the program; others prefer to wait until after completion of their degree.

Interning at an investment firm is a wonderful way to gain valuable skills and knowledge about finance. You will have the opportunity to learn more about the market as you manage stocks for clients. For those interested in global business or investments, many large corporations offer internships within various departments. It’s important to pursue these internships early as programs and positions fill up quickly.

Certification Courses After an MBA in Finance

Students may also take certification courses after MBA finance completion. These courses can be used to sharpen specific skills or show employers that you are knowledgeable in a specific area. A few beneficial certifications or short-term courses after MBA finance completion include:

MBA in Finance Careers

What jobs can I get with an MBA in finance? The career path after MBA finance completion will vary. Careers aren’t restricted to MBA finance jobs in banks. Graduates may work in investment firms, small businesses, corporations, or even opt to be self-employed.

Financial Analyst

A financial analyst is a common starting point for a recent MBA graduate. Financial analysts assess benefits, risks, and financial trends to provide informed advice to clients to guide their investment decisions. The demand for a financial analyst is growing faster than average. Analysts can expect an average salary of $85,660 per year.

Financial Manager

Financial managers often oversee a team of analysts. They review and analyze trends and investments in order to make long-term financial projections for a business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial managers earn an average annual salary of $127,990. The job market is favorable for this role, with the job demand expected to grow much faster than average.

Personal Financial Advisors

A personal financial advisor works with individuals on investments, mortgages, and other financial decisions. They advise their clients regarding these decisions or manage their finances for them by guiding their financial choices. With increasing demand, financial advisors will find an opportunistic job market and can expect an average annual salary of $88,890.

MBA in Finance Salary

Overall, there is an increasing demand for financial jobs. Graduates entering the job market can expect an average salary of more than $80,000 per year. The MBA finance pay scale may fluctuate due to several factors. Job location is one factor that affects salary.

Finance jobs in metropolitan areas will typically pay more than in rural areas. Another element that impacts salary is the type of establishment you work for. Large corporations will often offer higher wages than small firms. Whether it’s a contributor or managerial role, the type of job you have—as well as the degree of work experience you have—will also influence your salary.

Resources and Books

There are many materials and MBA finance textbooks that are handy resources when considering a concentration in finance. An important resource is the course catalog, where you can find a description of each of the required courses. You’ll also want to explore the college bookstore to find required finance MBA books as well as other suggested texts.

Ready to Begin Your Career in Finance?

In this guide, we’ve covered a plethora of information. We’ve touched on the difference between an MBA and a master’s in finance, the admissions process, and what to expect post-graduation. Now that you know why an MBA in finance is valuable, are you ready to get started? Get in touch with admissions today!

How Much Experience Is Required for an MBA?

Deciding to pursue a Master of Business Administration degree is a big step! Once you’ve made this decision, keep in mind that it is better to complete your MBA after you have acquired relevant experience. How many years of experience you need before that MBA varies, though, so here are a few tips to guide you in figuring out what type and how much work experience you need for an MBA.

Do You Need Work Experience to Get an MBA?

You will need at least two years of work experience for an MBA program. Most MBA programs typically require between two to four years of work experience in order to apply (the average student enters with about five years of professional experience). Some of the top business schools can even require up to seven years.

Why Do MBA Programs Require Work Experience?

This type of on-the-job experience is important because students with relevant professional experience are typically better prepared for the curriculum, more confident, and more proactive in their academic experience.

Occasionally,  applicants in the accelerated MBA program at Augsburg University may petition to waive the MBA 520 accounting course if they have passed the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and Certified Management Accountants (CMA). Having prior work experience also helps MBA applicants develop clear expectations on what they need out of the program.

Especially in a program such as ours, which takes only 26 months, there isn’t a lot of time for students to waste in exploring their aspirations like they might’ve during undergraduate studies. Incoming MBA students are focused and enjoy the cohort model because of the interaction between students based on their work experience. Being equipped with relevant experience will also enhance the program experience, providing the student with the appropriate knowledge to actively participate in course discussions, enabling real-world applications, and guiding smarter choices in electives and other program requirements.

How Much Work Experience Do You Need for an MBA?

Although there are specialized programs that do not require it, it is better to have work experience for MBA admissions. How many years of experience do you need before an MBA? The average expectation is about two to three years, but there are people who have been accepted to MBA programs with little work experience. The specific amount of time varies by school and program.

  • MBA with two years of work experience: Being admitted to an MBA with two years of experience represents the minimum work experience for many MBA programs. There are some specialized programs for newly graduated students with at least two years of work experience under their belt. These will be some of the most basic (i.e., not highly specialized) MBA degrees.
  • MBA with three years of work experience: Applying for an MBA after three years of experience can open up more opportunities for specialized coursework like finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
  • MBA with five years of work experience: Pursuing an MBA after five years of experience allows for a much stronger chance of being admitted to a specialized MBA program. If your professional experience is in managerial work, then you become eligible for executive MBA (EMBA) programs, which can offer greater flexibility in workload and allow for full-time work during the program.
  • MBA with eight years of work experience: This may seem like a lot, but an MBA after eight years of experience is ideal for the highest-caliber business schools, specifically for full-time programs. Many people worry that eight to 10 years is too much to be an appealing applicant to MBA programs, but do not fret—this is exceptional business school work experience! You will have greater access to highly specialized, accelerated programs that can be finished in as little as one year.

How Much Work Experience Is Required for an Executive MBA?

Executive MBA work experience requirements will typically be five or more years—but not just any kind of work experience. Having a professional role in managerial work is ideal for admission into an MBA program. Although an EMBA program is not dramatically different from an MBA, an EMBA student will likely be able to maintain a full-time job during the program and may even be able to work at a faster pace than they would in a typical MBA program. Are you interested in this? Learn more about the differences between standard MBAs and executive MBA programs.

What Kind of Work Experience Is Required for an MBA?

The quality of your work experience is just as important as the quantity, if not more so. The best work experience for your MBA depends on your particular career interests and aspirations. Does part time count as work experience for an MBA? It’s possible; however, experience as an accountant, for example, will carry a heavier weight in the admission process than a part time job like cashiering at a mom-and-pop business.

Does an Internship Count As Work Experience for an MBA?

Important things to keep in mind about potentially using your internship as your work experience when applying for an MBA are that, generally, many internships are unpaid positions and so may not qualify for formal, professional experience. (You can expect the same when planning to apply for an MBA with volunteer experience.) They are also typically short-lived, so you will have to rack up more than one internship experience to meet the average minimum work experience for MBA requirements.

Assuming that your position was in a reputable institution, or at least one that is directly relevant to your career goals, a part-time position does count as work experience. However, using a part-time role as your MBA work experience means that you may need more years under your belt to match that of a full-time position.

The bottom line is: Don’t get caught up in an extended internship commitment before you start wondering, Should I get work experience before applying to an MBA? Get started and complete it as early as you can. The sooner, the better.

Best Work Experience for an MBA

The best work experience for your MBA is that which is directly related to your projected curriculum. If you are aiming for an MBA program in finance, you may want to have experience as an accountant, finance manager, or analyst. Additionally, you want to make sure that your work experience is in a reputable institution so that you have strong references and a quality start to your professional reputation.

A few examples of some of the most promising fields to get involved in for your MBA education are finance, marketing, and data analytics.

Before you begin the process of applying to an MBA program, make sure to organize your business and academic goals to compose the best application you can. Do as much research in advance as you can to prepare your professional route and then narrow down what type of work experience will be best for the program you choose.

Lastly, remember that you can begin planning to apply to an MBA program after two years of work experience, but your chances of acceptance will increase with more work experience.

Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

How Much Does an MBA Cost?

Deciding to acquire a Master of Business Administration degree is exciting and often nerve-wracking. Whether you’re looking to develop business skills, pursue a specific career opportunity, or strike out on your own and start a business, an MBA is a valuable asset. One aspect of acquiring an MBA that is often overwhelming is the cost.

You’ve done your research. You have ferreted out which MBA program is tailored to your individual skill set. But as you eagerly dunk your toes into the wide ocean of higher learning and begin the application process, you are unceremoniously saddled with an application fee.

You stop short, stymied. How much does it cost to get your MBA? Is this something you can afford? Will your dreams be devoured by a lack of funds? Thoroughly understanding the breakdown of the expenses involved in getting an MBA and exploring different ways to cover those costs can provide clarity and direction.

The total cost of studying for an MBA in the United States is influenced by many factors. Tuition is only one of many expenses comprising the overall cost of an MBA. Many MBA students work part-time or not at all while pursuing an MBA, so it’s important to factor in living expenses. Additionally, most programs—at both private and public institutions—charge additional fees for registration and technology use. Transportation must also be taken into account when determining the MBA total cost. Bearing this in mind, getting an MBA may be more costly than it might first appear.

MBA Average Cost

How much does an MBA cost on average? The cost of getting an MBA can range from $25,000 to upwards of $100,000, though the average cost is about $60,000. This large range is due to several factors. Will you be attending a school in state, out of state, or online? Is the university public or private? What fees are associated with the cost of an MBA? While the average cost of an MBA may vary from school to school, the types of fees required do not. Each of these variables must be considered when determining the average cost of an MBA in the United States.

Tuition Fees for an MBA in the United States

The advertised cost of tuition is often lower than the actual cost. Advertised costs generally only calculate tuition and don’t include additional expenses such as application and MBA course fees. Additionally, the cost of course books and boarding expenses are not included.

MBA Course Fees Details

Many diverse fees contribute to the total cost of acquiring an MBA in American colleges and universities. An application fee, registration fee, technology fee, and deposit are all required before admittance into a program. The fee structure for an MBA in the United States should be taken into account when considering the overall cost of MBA programs.

Application and Registration Fees

Application and registration costs are two fees involved in acquiring an MBA that are often isolated from the cost of tuition. The application fee goes toward the cost of reviewing your application for admission. The application fee is typically less than $300, although it can vary based on the specific school. Registration fees are incurred when registering for classes and are required during each class enrollment period. These fees are used by the school to cover the operational costs of the registration process.

Technology Fee and Deposit

A technology fee is another component of an MBA degree cost. The technology fee is used for WiFi, computers, and other technological software and hardware. Depending on the institution, this fee may be charged on a semester basis or based on credit hours. Even in online MBA programs, the cost of technology is often unavoidable as an internet connection upgrade or new laptop may be necessary.

A deposit is yet another often overlooked cost that is part of obtaining an MBA. A deposit is usually required upon admittance into an MBA program. The deposit secures the student’s place in class and is nonrefundable. The cost typically ranges from $1,000 to $2,000.

Other MBA Fees and Hidden Costs

An MBA program cost includes numerous lesser-known fees and hidden expenses. These additional expenses may be necessary to cover the cost of participation in clubs and events or transportation. The following are some relatively obscure fees that are associated with an MBA program.

  • Health fee: A health fee provides students with various health services. It is often charged regardless of whether a student lives on or off campus.
  • Boarding: Monthly rent or mortgage payments should be budgeted when planning for MBA expenses. If attending an MBA program requires relocation, additional costs are incurred.
  • Club dues: Those enrolled in an MBA program may join clubs or other organizations. Most clubs have mandatory dues required for participation.
  • Transportation: Driving or taking public transportation to campus, internships, and other events are unavoidable when obtaining an MBA. A transit pass, gas, and parking are necessary expenses.
  • Graduation fee: Students planning to participate in the commencement ceremony upon completion of the MBA program will need to pay a fee.

Ways to Cover the Cost of an MBA

The cost of acquiring an MBA isn’t cheap. However, do not despair—students can procure an MBA without going broke. There are several different ways students can cover their MBA program costs. Graduate students looking to continue their education may consider applying for a scholarship, grant, or fellowship. Others may be able to seek assistance from their employers.

Scholarships

Scholarships are awarded to students based on specific criteria. They are often career-specific. They’re funded by businesses, colleges, and other organizations. Some scholarships are specific to minority groups, women, or military personnel. Others may be awarded for academic or athletic achievements.

Grants

Grants are another resource for subsidizing the cost of an MBA in U.S. institutions. The types of grants are diverse. Some are based on financial need and others are merit-based. Merit-based grants may be awarded to students by universities for a variety of reasons, including academic achievement or work in the community.

Fellowships

Fellowships are another way to fund MBA expenses. A fellowship is typically awarded to graduate students continuing their education or research in a specific field. This type of funding doesn’t always cover tuition costs but it can fund other activities, such as internships and projects. Fellowships are competitive and are often awarded for academic achievements.

Employer-Sponsored Tuition Programs

Students may be able to seek assistance from their employers. Many employers offer full or partial reimbursement of MBA costs. Tuition programs benefit the employer by helping retain skilled workers, and employees can pursue their careers within the company as their skills and knowledge grow.

Prepare to handle MBA costs and earn a degree to enhance your career. Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

7 Tips for Writing a Great MBA Personal Statement

A successful MBA personal statement shows the applicant’s potential to be a great leader. Writing such an essay may seem like a daunting task, but if you abide by the following guidelines, your essay will stand a much better chance of impressing the admissions officers.

MBA Essay Tip #1: Focus on Relevant Experience

You may have demonstrated incredible leadership skills when you were the star catcher on your high school’s baseball team, but an MBA program is an entirely different playing field. Admissions officers want to see more recent accomplishments. Spotlight the professional achievements you’ve had since high school: internships, fellowships, and even entry-level jobs can show off your capabilities without wading into the warm fuzzies of nostalgia.

MBA Essay Tip #2: Tie Past Experiences to Future Goals

The summer you spent mucking stalls at a horse farm might have given you a great opportunity to test your resilience and bravery. However, admissions officers might not be interested in reading about how you held onto a rearing horse unless you plan to launch an equine-related venture. Choose your anecdotes carefully and be sure they tell a story about who you are and where you want to go in life.

Because many internships are unpaid, they often go to people of higher socioeconomic status who can afford to work without pay. If you haven’t had a prestigious internship or post-college work that ties directly to your future goals, don’t be discouraged. Ask yourself what you learned from these experiences. Admissions officers will want to know how these experiences led you to this point.

MBA Essay Tip #3: Absolutely No Cutting and Pasting

You might think you’re saving time by cutting and pasting information from your résumé into your MBA personal statement, but doing so will cost you in the long run. Admissions already has your résumé—they wouldn’t ask for a personal statement if they wanted a rehash of of it. The essay is your chance to dive into the specifics of those experiences and show how they made you who you are today.

Repurposing material from old essays is never a good idea. Admissions officers can tell when something isn’t fresh, and it just makes you look lazy. Lastly, cutting and pasting increases the odds that you’ll forget to make an important change. If you paste an essay you wrote for another school and forget to change the school’s name, it’s extremely off-putting to the admissions committee. Imagine if the person you are dating sends you a message, only in place of your name they’ve carelessly used someone else’s. Avoid committing this same faux pas in your MBA personal statement essay.

MBA Essay Tip #4: State Your Goals

MBA programs want students who are driven. Tell the committee what you hope to accomplish after you graduate with your MBA. Explain which concentration you’ll be pursuing—finance, leadership, entrepreneurship, or business analytics—and why. For example, if your long-term career goal is to start a small business, you should let the committee know that you plan on making entrepreneurship your concentration. To really make a splash with your personal statement, explain how this particular school or program is a good fit for you.

MBA Essay Tip #5: Do You

As the actor Will Rogers is supposed to have said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

In this case, your personal statement is the first impression you will make on the admissions committee. Don’t fill it with buzzwords and cliches. The committee does not want to read about how you “efficiently sourced materials that contributed to the overall synergy of the team.” They’ll know you really mean you were fast at getting coffee and they won’t be impressed.

Your essay needs to be a reflection of who you are and what you’ll contribute to the program. Don’t read someone else’s essay and then twist yourself in knots to make yours the same. It will come off as inauthentic. Remember, MBA programs are all about leadership. The strongest leaders are honest and unapologetically themselves. Be who you are, not who you think the admissions committee wants you to be.

MBA Essay Tip #6: No Excuses

There is a difference between excuses and facts. “I couldn’t do my coursework because my grandmother got sick and I had to take care of her” is an excuse. That your grandmother got sick is fact. That you didn’t do your coursework is another. But is it really a fact that you couldn’t do your coursework because she got sick? It may very well be. But the committee will look far more favorably upon it if you take responsibility and write, “I devoted less time to my coursework so that I could care for my ailing grandmother.” This way, the committee won’t have to wonder whether you are stretching the truth or whether you will find other reasons not to do coursework in the future.

It may seem unfair to have to take ownership of something that isn’t entirely in your control. You may feel like you are admitting wrongdoing. However, in most cases the opposite is true. By taking responsibility, you are showing the committee that you have integrity. You will show the committee that you’ll reflect well on the university and they’ll be excited to have you as a student.

If you need to supply a GPA explanation with your MBA application, keep these things in mind. If your GPA fell below 3.0, you do not need to make apologies for that. Simply make the committee aware of what was going on at the time, sticking as closely to the facts as possible.

MBA Essay Tip #7: Edit, Edit, Edit

The internet loves to poke fun at brands when they misspell words or leave grammatical errors in their copy. However, it’s not so funny when you’re the person who made the mistake and has to answer for it. Forgetting to edit makes companies look careless and lazy—this is not the impression you want to make in your MBA personal essay. Make sure there are no typos, missing words, run-on sentences, or misplaced apostrophes. An ideal candidate for an MBA program knows that professionalism is in the details.

Are you ready to write your personal essay and advance your career with an MBA? Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA professionals today.

How to Pay for Your MBA

You’ve submitted your test scores. You’ve written your MBA personal statement. You’ve received your letter of acceptance. Now, one important question remains: How will you pay for your MBA? By following these three simple steps, you can make a worry-free investment in your business degree:

  1. Search for scholarships and other awards.
  2. Apply for federal student loans.
  3. Look into privately funded student loans.

Step 1: Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants

The best way to fund your education is with money that you won’t have to repay. Scholarships can drastically reduce or even eliminate the amount of debt you’ll have after you graduate. There are a wide range of MBA scholarships available to students like you. You may qualify for several scholarships. The more effort you put into applying for financial aid, the more likely you will be to win one or possibly more. Some students have financed their entire degree programs with scholarship money. It just takes some extra work.

Career-Specific MBA Scholarships

As an MBA candidate, you likely already have a specific career path in mind. A smart way to finance your business degree is to find scholarships specific to your line of work. Some examples include:

  • The FEMC Richard Metzler Scholarship is awarded to students who are committed to entering management consulting careers.
  • Government Finance Officers Association Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship is available to students who intend to work in government finance at the state or local levels.
  • If you’ve ever owned your own lawn care business, you could receive a $1,000 scholarship from the LawnStarter Lawntrepreneur Scholarship.

MBA Scholarships for Women

There are many organizations committed to strengthening inclusion and equity by helping women advance their educations and careers.

  • American Association of University Women Career Development Grants are available to women who are committed to elevating their careers or re-entering the workforce.
  • AAUW Selected Professions Fellowships are available to women of color who are in their second year of study.
  • Angela Dipietro Women in Business Scholarship

MBA Scholarships for People of Color, Immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ People

If you are a member of a federally protected minority group, there are a number of scholarships that are available to you. Below are just a few examples.

  • The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is available to students who are permanent residents, naturalized citizens, or children of naturalized citizens.
  • If you are a tribal-enrolled Native American, you are eligible for The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development Scholarship.
  • African American students who have been accepted into a master’s-level business program are eligible for National Association of Black Accountants National Scholarship Program.
  • Openly LGBTQIA+ students may qualify for Point Foundation Scholarships.
  • The Award for Excellence in Business Commentary National Essay Competition is open to African American students who are currently enrolled in MBA programs.
  • The Association of Latino Professionals Annual Scholarship Program is open to ALPFA members who are of Hispanic heritage.

MBA Scholarships for Military Personnel

If you are a veteran, reservist, or active duty, you may qualify for scholarships reserved for candidates with military experience.

  • Tillman Military Scholars Program scholarships are available to veterans, active duty military personnel, and their spouses who are enrolled in full-time MBA programs.
  • Veterans who are U.S. citizens demonstrating financial need may qualify for AMVETS National Scholarship Program awards.
  • Fleet Reserve Association scholarships are available to those who are serving or have served in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, or U.S. Coast Guard.
  • The Katherine F. Gruber Scholarship is sponsored by the Blinded Veterans Association and is available to active duty military personnel as well as the children, grandchildren, and spouses of blinded veterans.

Grants

Augsburg University offers a partnership grant that helps local businesses develop their employees’ talents while allowing students to save money.

If you are employed by one of our partner institutions when you enroll in our MBA program, you will receive a tuition discount of $80 per credit.

Augsburg alumni, AmeriCorps/Lutheran Volunteer Corps volunteers, and military personnel are also eligible for $80-per-credit discounts.

Step 2: Applying for Federal Financial Aid

To determine whether federal financial aid can help you pay for your MBA, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Types of federal financial aid include:

  • Federal Direct Loans: You may borrow up to $20,000 in fixed-rate unsubsidized student loans from the federal government. Federal Direct Loans are what used to be referred to as Stafford loans.
  • Direct Graduate PLUS Loans: Though these credit-based federal loans come with higher interest rates than Federal Direct Loans, the Graduate PLUS loan is a good option if you have a healthy credit score and need additional funds.
  • School-based aid: Many Augsburg students qualify for Federal Work-Study programs and find on-campus employment that helps them with living expenses.
  • State aid: Augsburg University is a participant in the Minnesota State Grant program. Your FAFSA will tell you whether or not you qualify for financial aid via the state of Minnesota.

Step 3: Financing Your MBA with Private Loans

Private loans can help you fill in the gaps that remain after you have exhausted your scholarship search and received your federal financial award letters. Repayment terms for private loans may be less flexible than terms for federal loans. Private loans often come with higher interest rates.

There is a reason why private loans are last on this list. It is imperative that you borrow conservatively. Do not borrow more than you will need for tuition or living expenses, and consider how much you can expect to earn after you graduate. Responsible borrowing is one way to ensure that your MBA is a sound financial investment.

Deferring Undergraduate Loans

While you are enrolled in the MBA program, you may choose to defer your undergraduate student loan payments. This will help you keep your expenses low while you focus on your studies.

Tuition Reimbursement

Many companies will offer tuition reimbursement to their employees. Be sure to let your employer know that you are pursuing your business degree and find out if you can be reimbursed for tuition expenses.

Paying for a master’s degree program may seem like an overwhelming task, but remember that a little bit of savvy and effort go a long way. Choosing the right payment strategy can leave you in excellent financial health after you graduate.

Get more perspective on how to get an MBA and prepare for your next career move. Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

Outside-the-Box MBA Books Students Need to Read

Whether you’re rushing to your next class, hidden under stacks of homework, or schmoozing at the latest networking function, being an MBA student is a significant time commitment. The only guarantee that comes with earning an MBA is that there will be a lot to learn and even more to do in order to successfully complete your program.

We get it. The last thing you need is an extensive list of voluntary MBA books to read while you’re preparing to apply or smack dab in the middle of your degree. Well, get used to it. However, there are plenty of people who have been in your shoes and can provide the tips, tricks, and perspective you need to make it to graduation.

But, bear in mind, we’re not talking about the classics. Save your copy of Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and disregard “MBAs for Dummies.” We enlisted the help of professors, business professionals, and MBA-holders to bring you a list of outside-the-box MBA books you can’t afford to miss.

MBA Books That Define Leadership

Work Rules! Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

Author: Laszlo Bock, former senior vice president of people relations at Google

Why it made the list: “One of the biggest challenges companies undergoing transformations face relates to the hiring and retention of employees,” says Carlos Castelán, Harvard MBA grad and managing director of The Navio Group. “One of the companies that has pioneered human capital management is Google and ‘Work Rules!’ provides fascinating insights from the former SVP of People Operations at Google that show how the company succeeded in building perhaps the world’s greatest collection of talent.”

What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School

Author: Mark H. McCormack, attorney, sports agent, author, and founder of IMG

Why it made the list: “Although getting an MBA is a lot about the theory behind management and leadership, you rarely ever read or get trained in actual leadership situations,” says Shruti Pangtey, founder of IndianGirling and DigitalEmpires. “This book takes you through the reality of being an actual leader from an experienced leader. The way negotiation and meetings are discussed in the book makes you reassess interpersonal communication.

Shoe Dog

Author: Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike

Why it made the list: The notoriously shy Nike co-founder shares a rare and revealing glimpse into a man who borrowed $50 from his father to launch a company that, today, is globally recognized and generates over $50 billion annually,” says D’vorah Graeser, MBA-holder and founder and CEO of KISSPatent. “But, even more important than his tireless and hard-working attitude, one of the greatest takeaways is his unique management approach, completely abstaining from micromanaging and favoring his own personal style: Don’t tell people how to do things; tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”

MBA Books That Inspire Action

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Author: Simon Sinek, author, motivational speaker, and organizational consultant

Why it made the list: “[Sinek] shows how successful leaders throughout history have been able to inspire their organizations to achieve greatness by identifying the underlying motivation,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls. “It is a compelling book to show how great leaders become influential when they can answer why they do what they do and connect with people on an emotional level.”

Let My People Go Surfing

Author: Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Why it made the list: “This book is everything. [It] provides a manual on how to build a company built on empathy for employees, customers, and the planet,” says Sam White, MBA-holder and marketing manager at Del Mar Jiu-Jitsu Club “It’s a beautiful story of how a wildly successful company can be built on principles other than maximizing shareholder wealth—a topic that will be drilled into the heads of MBA students.”

Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future

Authors: Leonard A. Schlesinger, Charles F. Kiefer, and Paul B. Brown

Why it made our list: “Business school is more than just figuring out how to do financial statements and writing business plans,” says Russ Nauta, owner of creditcardreviews.com. “To succeed in business school and business in general, you need to be able to identify opportunities and quickly act to test viability.”

MBA Books That Question Capitalism

Belly Up: The Collapse of the Penn Square Bank

Author: Phillip L. Zweig, award-winning investigative reporter and author

Why it made the list: “All MBA[-holder]s and their companies are affected either by bubbles in their industries or bubbles in the economy. Learning how to exercise independent judgment and spot bubbles is a skill that can’t be taught but should be mastered,” says Donald E. Petersen, consumer protection attorney and MBA-holder. “Market exuberance, Penn Square’s loose underwriting standards, and four major banks bidding up the market for these loans created a bubble which … burst with a resounding crash when energy prices decreased in the early 1980s.”

The New Human Rights Movement: Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression

Author: Peter Joseph, independent filmmaker and activist

Why it made the list: “This book is the anti-MBA. That is, the essential and unquestioned foundation of every MBA program is capitalism. Any challenge of capitalism would be heretical,” says Laura Snyder, international member of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. “This book challenges capitalism by explaining its role in perpetuating the biggest problems society faces today: inequality, social alienation and depression, environmental degradation, war …” If after reading this book you still want to do an MBA then you definitely should do one because you are clearly and staunchly committed to its underlying principles.”

MBA Books That Teach Business Savvy

Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs

Author: Norm Brodsky, author and veteran entrepreneur

Why it made the list: “You’ll get plenty of theory in your MBA program and plenty of high-level, birds-eye analysis. This book isn’t that; instead, it focuses on building a business from the ground up, starting with the most essential part: knowing your numbers. If you don’t know your numbers well, you’re not really in business—you’re playing at business,” says Julia Kelly, co-founder of Rigits Bookkeeping & Accounting.

WHO: The A Method for Hiring

Author: Geoff Smart, author, and founder of leadership consulting firm ghSMART

Why it made the list: “The book provides a valuable framework for building a team and defining roles and objectives,” says Bethany Babcock, MBA-holder and founder and CEO of Foresite Commercial Real Estate. “Building a team is the most important part of starting or running a business as it is the only way to expand a person’s reach beyond their own individual capabilities.”

The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu, military general, tactician, writer, and philosopher

Why it made the list: “This book is helpful to get you thinking about strategy as well as how to use information when thinking about career moves in business,” says Sandra Mohr, academic resources dean at New England College of Optometry. “A couple of key takeaways from this book are to know your strengths and weaknesses, understand and know yourself and the enemy, and know when to fight and not fight—key lessons to use in business and in life in general.”

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know

Author: Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author, speaker, and podcast host

Why it made the list: “Leaders have to communicate well to their followers,” says Augsburg University MBA Program Director George Dierberger. “In his latest book, Gladwell’s premise is that humans ‘default to truth’—that is, we tend to take on face value the things people tell us, even if we should know better. It is good to trust but better to validate and research the truth of complex issues.”

Get personalized MBA book recommendations and prepare for your next career move. Explore Augsburg University’s MBA program or contact mbainfo@augsburg.edu to talk with MBA experts today.

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.