1/What is an MBA ?
The MBA (Master of Business Administration) is the world’s most popular postgraduate degree and is widely regarded as a passport to a successful management career.
MBA students are often seeking a more general management role in their current industry or may wish to move into a different industry. The MBA provides a portfolio of managerial tools and techniques as well as the ’softer’ skills needed to succeed as a manager.
The MBA degree in Europe is generally structured as a postgraduate and post-experience qualification. A typical MBA student will complete a degree (or equivalent qualification), then gain several years of management experience and then study for an MBA.
2/Where can I study for an MBA ?
Thousands of academic institutions around the world now offer an MBA.
When deciding where to study, one of the key factors to consider is whether you want to study at a local institution, at an institution in another area of the country or at an institution outside the country. This decision will depend on what you plan to do after studying for an MBA.
3/When can I study for an MBA ?
As mentioned previously, the MBA differs from other postgraduate qualifications in that MBA students usually have significant management experience (generally at least three years), in addition to an undergraduate degree. For this reason, the majority of MBA students on reputable programmes in Europe will be aged 25 or above.
Business schools have developed alternative postgraduate programmes for individuals who do not have significant management experience. These are often known as a ’Masters in Management’ or an ’MSc in Management’ and tend to follow a curriculum almost identical to the MBA. They differ in that they do not require expert input from a well-qualified and experienced student body.
4/What modes of study are available ?
Increased globalisation and changing lifestyles has led business schools to offer a wide range of study methods.
There are three main modes of study - full-time ; part-time and distance learning, though some programmes may be structured and marketed differently.
In the USA, full-time programmes are generally two years in length, whilst in Europe, most programmes last for one year.
Part-time, executive and modular programmes generally last for between two and three years and allow a student to continue working while studying. Part-time programmes usually require a student to attend two evenings a week or at weekends. Some part-time programmes are offered on a day-release basis, which means that a student would work for four days of the week and study for one day.
5/Can I study for a specialist MBA ?
Though the majority of people who study for an MBA do not specialise in any particular subject area, many institutions do offer specialist MBA programmes.
A specialist MBA may be of use if you are intending to pursue a career in a particular industry, but it is often more beneficial to study on a general MBA programme, which is likely to be of greater value should your career plans change in the future.
6/What is an accredited MBA programme ?
With so many programmes available, the quality and reputation of an MBA can vary greatly from one institution to another. Accreditation provides an independent indication of quality.
There are three main accreditation bodies in the world.
The Association of MBAs (www.mbaworld.com) is the main accreditation body in the UK and Europe. The AACSB (www.aacsb.edu) is the main accreditation body in North America. EQUIS (www.efmd.be), operates primarily in Europe. The main difference between the Association of MBAs and the AACSB or EQUIS is that the Association of MBAs specifically assesses MBA programmes, while the AACSB and EQUIS assess general subject areas.
7/Is there a ranking list of MBA programmes ?
Many organisations around the world compile ranking lists of MBA programmes. A wide range of lists can be found at www.mbainfo.com. The results of ranking lists can vary greatly, depending on the criteria used and the reputation of the organisation which is compiling the list.
Probably the best-known MBA ranking lists are those compiled by Business Week (www.businessweek.com), The Financial Times (www.ft.com), Forbes (www.forbes.com) and The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com).
9/ What is the GMAT ?
Many MBA programmes will require a prospective student to sit a GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) before offering them a place on their programme.
Before sitting the GMAT, you should check that the MBA programmes you intend to apply to do require the test - it would be pointless to invest time and effort needlessly. If they do require the test, ensure that you are fully familiar with the content - most people benefit from some preparatory study.
The GMAT scores required will vary from one business school to another. Leading business schools will probably require a score between 600 and 700. At business schools where the GMAT is required, the average student’s score is often an indication of the programme’s quality.
For more information about the GMAT, please visit www.mba.com/