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What is an MBA Degree?

By DeVry University

November 30, 2023

12 min read
 

An MBA degree, or Master of Business Administration, is a post-graduate degree designed to help business students and established professionals who have already earned a bachelor's degree to further their business education and build management skills that can be used in modern workplaces.

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To more thoroughly answer the question of what is an MBA degree, we’ll discuss some of the potential benefits of earning an MBA degree, how long it might take and more in the following sections:

What Will You Learn in an MBA Degree Program?

The broad, practical core curriculum you’ll find in the typical MBA program includes subjects like:

  • Accounting

  • Business communication

  • Business ethics

  • Business strategy

  • Data analytics

  • Economics

  • Finance

  • Leadership and management

  • Marketing

  • Operations

In addition to the core curriculum, you will also have the option to choose elective courses that align with your individual career goals.

What are the Potential Benefits of an MBA Degree?

There can be many benefits to earning an MBA, including the potential to apply for higher-level jobs and prepare to pursue career advancement. Aside from adding a new credential to your resume that may catch the eyes of recruiters, you’ll also develop a well-rounded set of technical business and workplace skills, also known as soft skills, which enable you to understand many facets of the business world as well as how corporations function efficiently and effectively.

One appealing quality of an MBA degree that you may not find in a more occupation-specific business degree is the broader approach that it takes to education. MBA programs typically cover a variety of business-related subjects that can help you learn skills that are applicable across a wide range of industries and job types. This may help you prepare to pursue opportunities in related industries or fields.

How Many Years Does It Take to Earn an MBA Degree?

Here at DeVry, you can pursue a full-time or part-time MBA. Earn your MBA in as little as 12 months on an accelerated schedule (assumes 9 credit hours of prior learning credit and 3 consecutive semesters at an average of 10 credit hours each) or follow a normal schedule and earn your degree in 2 years and 2 months (assumes 7 consecutive semesters at an average of 6 credit hours per semester). Keep in mind that the time it takes to earn your degree varies based on the specialization you choose, and these estimates do not apply to MBA programs completed with a degree specialization. See our Keller Academic Catalog for complete details.

Who Should Earn an MBA Degree?

Another way to more completely answer the question what is an MBA degree is to discuss who should pursue an MBA, and why. According to Indeed, common reasons for pursuing an MBA degree include:

  • The desire to earn a higher salary: Many people choose to earn an MBA to prepare to pursue higher-level management or executive leadership roles that tend to pay higher salaries. Keep in mind, however, that earning a post-graduate degree is not a guarantee of increased earning potential. Other things like work experience, outstanding work performance and professional certifications can factor into job opportunities for MBA grads and non-MBA holders alike.

  • It’s a great way to start entrepreneurial ventures: Coursework and projects within an MBA program can provide a good basis for developing a professional network, as well as the skills and knowledge to launch a new business. Our MBA program offers an Entrepreneurship Specialization that helps provide practical leadership and management training for entrepreneurial ventures. 

  • Climbing the corporate ladder: After considering the options along your career path, you may feel the best way to prepare to advance to a more senior position in your current industry, with your current employer or a new one, is by earning an MBA.

If any of these sound like you, then you probably have a good reason to consider pursuing an MBA degree, with or without a particular specialization.

MBA Requirements

At DeVry, MBA program applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution as well as meet grade-point average (GPA) standards or submit acceptable Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores. Other requirements may also apply. More specific information can be found on our Graduate Admissions page. 

MBA Courses and Curriculum

Core courses in our MBA curriculum cover management theory in business and administrative areas like finance, economics, leadership, technology and marketing, such as:

  • Business Economics: Allocating resources and staffing within an organization requires an understanding of high-level economic principles. Business economics coursework helps MBA students to understand these principles.

  • Corporate Finance: Covering finance within the corporate world, this core course helps students gain a stronger understanding of how to approach the various financial aspects of a business organization.

  • Financial Accounting – Managerial Use & Analysis: Covering the high-level use of accounting for managers, this course focuses on understanding how accounting practices work, helping you analyze the way this field impacts the overall health of an organization.

  • Leadership & Organizational Behavior: Coursework in this core area helps MBA students better understand how leadership techniques and practices influence the way an organization is run and what methods and motivational tools most effectively achieve desired results.

  • Innovation Through Technology: This core focuses on the use of technology in modern business administration, helping students discover how technological innovations are driving business growth and how to take advantage of them to enhance productivity and efficiency.

  • Strategic Marketing: This core focuses on the strategic deployment of marketing initiatives and how they are used to increase brand loyalty through recognition and positive associations.

MBA Specializations

The core curriculum of a general MBA provides education in a broad skillset intended to help you prepare to pursue job opportunities in nearly any industry. If you want to set your sights on a particular sector or advance within the field you’re currently working in, you can choose an MBA specialization. We offer 10 MBA degree specializations in business, accounting, finance, health and more that can be earned 100% online.

Accounting

An MBA with a Specialization in Accounting can provide you with the opportunity to build a thorough background in the theory and application of managerial and financial accounting in a business setting. Our online MBA with a Specialization in Accounting can help you gain knowledge and skills in corporate and financial management, directing cross-disciplinary endeavors and integrating functions across the business enterprise and gain practical, corporate-level communication skills. 

Business Intelligence and Analytics Management

Classes in our online MBA with a Specialization in Business Intelligence and Analytics Management are designed to help you effectively oversee and evaluate data using data analytics tools and develop your management expertise in the business analytics space. Coursework and insights from experienced professors are intended to help you prepare to pursue roles in data mining, business intelligence or managing big data. 

Entrepreneurship

Alongside the core business administration skills of the typical MBA curriculum, our MBA with a Specialization in Entrepreneurship focuses on the lifecycle of the new business venture from the initial concept through planning, funding and execution. This program offers you the opportunity to gain insights into successful marketing and exit strategies for small businesses from experienced professors who understand the industry.

Finance

Our MBA with a Specialization in Finance is intended to help you sharpen practical managerial skills while gaining hands-on experience in topics like mergers and acquisitions, real estate finance and advanced financial statement analysis. This MBA specialization will also teach you to apply the analytical tools and technology applications used by financial analysts to examine and solve organizational and stakeholder needs. 

Global Supply Chain Management

Courses in our MBA with a Specialization in Global Supply Chain Management offer the opportunity for you to discover the operations management processes used by high-performing organizations. Our classes are led by experienced faculty and cover a broad range of topics to help you gain a practical and thorough foundation emphasizing global relationships. 

Health Services

Delving into many of the issues facing today’s healthcare economics and public policy, our MBA with a Specialization in Health Services teaches the fundamentals of insurance and risk management, as well as the evolution of health insurance. Experienced faculty present real-world examples that provide a well-rounded perspective on this dynamic industry. This online MBA program will also allow you to build your skillset by examining legal and ethical considerations in health insurance trends, finance and more.

Human Resources

Helping you to understand the essentials involved in the cultivation of an organization’s people and culture, our online MBA with a Specialization in Human Resources can help you build a strong HR skillset. This MBA specialization will immerse you in areas of HR management that include planning, staffing, developing and rewarding personnel, and help you develop essential presentation and corporate-level communication skills. 

Information Systems Management

Blending management theory with real-world application, our MBA with a Specialization in Information Systems Management allows you to expand your management and technical competencies in this rapidly-expanding information technology field. The curriculum explores topics like implementing and maintaining computer networks, upgrading information systems and deploying new technologies.

Marketing

Focusing on building and developing sound marketing plans for today’s economy, our MBA with a Specialization in Marketing can help equip you with next-level business marketing knowledge and relevant skills sought after by employers. Coursework allows you to develop your business administration and management capabilities while focusing on marketing-specific topics such as market segmentation, sales management, search engine optimization, channel distribution and advertising.

Project Management

High-level project management skills are critical in a modern business environment. Our MBA with a Specialization in Project Management combines the management theory practices of our MBA program with role-specific tools like corporate team building, business analysis competencies and professional communication that can be used in the management of complex and multi-faceted projects. Experienced faculty present the concepts that can prepare you to make a difference in this problem-solving role.

MBA Jobs: What Can You Do With an MBA Degree?

MBA graduates may be prepared to unlock opportunities to develop new skills, pursue senior-level management positions, switch career tracks or start their own businesses.

An MBA may be applied to a broad spectrum of careers in fields that include:

  • Business administration and consulting

  • Finance and accounting

  • Marketing

  • Human resources

  • Healthcare

  • Information systems management

  • International business

  • Project management

Is an MBA Worth It?

We think so! An MBA program can certainly be worth it if you're interested in pursuing a higher-level business career. An MBA degree may be able to help you pursue more advanced roles and even expand the range of jobs you can consider, depending on the position requirements. An MBA can also teach you leadership skills that may help prepare you for management roles or to pursue a promotion.

When is a Good Time to Earn an MBA?

When to earn an MBA depends on you and your goals, but many students choose to earn an MBA degree right after earning their bachelor’s degree. Even if you've been in the workforce for a while, there are still benefits to earning an MBA, such as broadening the range of jobs you can apply for, preparing you to pursue advancement, helping you become a more well-rounded professional and teaching you important managerial and business-related skills.

Earn Your MBA Degree at DeVry

At DeVry, we offer 10 MBA specializations designed to help you build your skills in your area of interest. You can earn your MBA degree 100% online, allowing you to balance your commitment to education with all the other aspects of your busy life. Ready to get started? Our next 8-week class session starts soon. 

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