What is an MBA Degree?

An MBA degree is a Master of Business Administration. MBAs are post-graduate degrees that 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. To more thoroughly answer the question of what is an MBA we’ll discuss some of the potential benefits of earning an MBA degree, how long it might take and more in the following sections:

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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, MBA programs may also offer elective courses, which students choose based on their 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 pursue career advancement. Aside from adding a new credential to your resume, you’ll also develop a well-rounded skillset that enables 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 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 make it easier for you to pursue opportunities in related industries or fields.

If you’re looking for a more specialized degree path, you might consider a Master's Degree in Accounting. A specialized master’s program will hone in on accounting principles and concepts, deepening your knowledge in your chosen field. 

What is an MBA Degree Program?

An MBA degree program consists of graduate-level courses that can help you learn about business administration and management at a high level. These programs cover a wide range of business subjects such as marketing, accounting or finance, and can be expanded to have a greater emphasis on a key subject by applying a specialization.

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

This can depend on the institution. Generally in a full-time MBA program it can take a little more than two years to earn your degree. In instances where you want to work toward earning your degree part-time, it could take as many as four years to earn your MBA degree.

At DeVry, you can earn your Master’s Degree in Business Administration in as little as 2 years + 2 months*—or even more quickly with qualifying transfer credits.

Who Should Earn an MBA Degree?

According to the employment website Indeed, common reasons for pursuing an MBA degree include:

  • The desire to earn a higher salary: Many people choose to earn an MBA 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 promotions.
  • It’s a great way to start entrepreneurial ventures: Coursework and projects within an MBA program can provide a good basis for developing a network, skills and knowledge to launch a new business. In some cases, MBA programs may offer an Entrepreneurship Specialization that helps provide the practical leadership and management training required for an entrepreneurial venture. 
  • Climbing the corporate ladder: After considering the options along your career path, you may feel the best way 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 occupational specialization.

MBA Requirements

MBA program applicants must typically hold 4-year undergraduate degrees from an accredited institution, meet grade-point average (GPA) standards and may be required to take an admissions test like the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Some business school application processes take prior work experience into consideration, or may require submission of an essay.

If you hold a bachelor’s degree from a university-recognized institution, you are eligible to apply for graduate school admission to our Keller Graduate School of Management here at DeVry. As an applicant, you will need to demonstrate math and verbal skills proficiency and submit acceptable GMAT or GRE test scores. International students applying from outside the United States will have to meet certain eligibility standards and fulfill our English-proficiency requirements. More specific admissions information can be found here and in our Academic Catalog.

MBA Courses and Curriculum

Core courses you may find in a typical MBA curriculum cover management theory in business and administrative areas like finance, economics, leadership, technology and marketing:

  • 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 to enable you to analyze the way this field impacts the overall health of an organization.
  • Leadership & Organizational Behavior: Coursework in this core area helps MBA students to 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 prepare business professionals to pursue job opportunities in any industry. If you want to set your sights on a particular industry sector or advance within the industry you’re currently working in, you can choose an MBA specialization. We offer 10 specialized MBA degrees 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 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 prepare you 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 analytical tools and technology applications to analyze and solve organizational and stakeholder needs. 

Global Supply Chain Management

Courses in our MBA with a Specialization in Global Supply Chain Management offers 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 will allow you to learn 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 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 can be prepared to unlock opportunities to develop new skills, pursue senior-level management positions, switch career tracks or start their own businesses.

An MBA can 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
  • Project management

Learn more about what you can do with an MBA degree

Is an MBA Worth It?

At DeVry, we think that an MBA can absolutely be worth it if you're interested pursuing a higher-level business career. An MBA degree may be able to help you bypass some entry-level positions and even expand the range of jobs you can consider, depending on the application requirements. An MBA can teach you leadership skills that may help prepare you for management roles or to pursue a promotion at your current company.

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 the degree. An MBA can help you expand the kinds of jobs you can apply for, prepare to pursue advancement, help you become a more well-rounded professional and teach you important managerial and business-related skills at any stage of your career.

Earn Your MBA Degree at DeVry

Want to know how earning an MBA at DeVry can help you develop skills to advance your career? At DeVry, we offer 10 MBA specializations designed to help you build your skills in areas that speak to your interests. You can earn your MBA degree 100% online, allowing you to balance your commitment to education with the other aspects of your busy life. Classes start every 8 weeks.


*Not including breaks. Assumes year-round, full-time enrollment.