What is an MBA?

Ben Maples  · Dec 5th 2023  · 6 min

An MBA degree is internationally recognised and allows individuals to obtain the skills needed for a successful business and management career.


MBA degree courses cover areas such as: accounting, business policy, entrepreneurship, finance, human resource management, international trade, IT, leadership, market research, and marketing. It’s a wonderful way of starting your career in related fields or even brushing up on your already-gained knowledge!


What is an MBA?

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. The MBA was initially established in the UK as a recognised postgraduate qualification in 1967 and has a set number of taught courses as well as a dissertation or project. By taking the course, you’ll gain an insight into key business practices, develop skills in specific areas and are great for those wishing to gain a promotion or a career change.

An MBA is a perfect way to strengthen your role within a business. While it’smore of a vocational qualification than your typical undergraduate or postgraduate degree, it will betremendously helpful when it comes to applying for jobs or other postgraduate degrees.

Who should take an MBA?

Anyone who is interested in business or the corporate world would benefit from an MBA. This isn’t a required qualification for most jobs, but it’s an excellent way to gain a foothold in the industry, as well as receive a universally recognised qualification.

This is also an excellent way to gain some work experience! Some MBAs have the option forindustry-related work experience, which allows you to beef up your student CV even further.

How long is an MBA?

This postgraduate course typically takes one year to complete if studied full-time and two years part-time. The length can vary depending on where you are studying and how — for example, online courses will take longer than those completed in person.

As a postgraduate course, this means that an MBA can only be undertaken upon the completion of an undergraduate degree. An MBA takes roughly the same time it takes to complete a Certificate of Higher Education.

What are the different types of MBA?

There are different types of MBA that students can study, and each one suits varying career goals, current experience and circumstances. Not all the various MBAs that are offered will be of benefit to you, so make sure you know which MBA you want to study before you apply.

MBA degree courses fall under five categories:

  • Distance learning MBA (sometimes known as an online MBA): A Distance Learning MBA is perfect for individuals who can’t attend university or classes full-time and prefer to manage their own studies around commitments. It’s also for students who have other circumstances, like living too far away from recognised MBA centres, that can affect attendance.
  • Executive MBA (EMBA): An Executive MBA focuses on practical knowledge and is designed to aid decision-making and problem-solving skills. Not all universities offer Executive MBAs, so you will need to speak to the university you are applying to for information on whether they offer this kind of postgraduate degree.
  • General MBA: A General MBA is the best option for individuals with some experience, but wish to fast-track their career in business and management, or wish to enter the world of business, finance and corporate.
  • Mini BMA (sometimes known as an MBA without work experience): A Mini MBA is a training course that focuses on business fundamentals. These cost more than your traditional UK MBA course and require less than 100 hours of total learning and will help you a lot when looking for MBA jobs. This is a less common MBA UK and is usually found in the USA, but it can still be studied in the UK.
  • Specialist MBA: A Specialist MBA is great for those who have managerial experience and looking to gain promotion in order to enter a particular career sector.

Be aware that these courses may have different names at different institutions. They will have the same basic function but may be known under a different name or have a different completion length; it will all depend on where you are studying.


What entry requirements do I need to study for an MBA?

Entry requirements will vary depending on where you study. To study a general MBA, students tend to need at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree, although, depending on the degree course, a 2:2 may be accepted, or extensive professional experience.

Work experience can also be important too. Business schools can expect individuals to have at least three years of relevant work experience, and this can increase for executive MBAs. Some universities also ask students to take the Graduate Management Admission Test when applying for the course, as well as other university admissions tests.

How much does an MBA cost?

MBA degree courses in the UK vary in price between the top UK universities. Tuition fees fall between £10,000 and £40,000 depending on the university and course. The majority of students fund their own course fees, although in some cases, employers may sponsor employees.

Costs may go down if you study an MBA online. Distance learning courses often tend to cost less than the average degree as you don’t need as many resources.

What can I do with an MBA?

An MBA is an excellent way to improve your career prospects. The obvious benefit is that the qualification will show potential employers that you have expanded your knowledge in the sector and have also gained a more vocational and specialised qualification than a normal degree.

An MBA can also be an excellent means of beginning work on another postgraduate course. Many students decide that, with an MBA, they can then focus on another subject, allowing for increased specialisation when it comes to the job market.

What does an MBA actually involve?

The content of an MBA will vary depending on where you are studying and for how long. Generally, an MBA will consist of full-time class-based learning.

You will have individual and group projects to study. These projects are often supplemented with lessons focusing on leadership, strategy and finance among others.


What do you study in an MBA?

This will depend on where you apply. MBA courses tend to vary, but most of them will consist of core modules that are compulsory, optional modules and a dissertation or a work-based project. Students will be assessed through examinations, coursework, essays and group activities. Some courses may also offer opportunities for students to gain work placements or study periods abroad, although this is rare for an MBA degree.

An MBA will allow individuals to achieve networking opportunities, gain insight into the business world, develop a marketing strategy, lead a team and assess financial reports. This qualification differs from other postgraduate courses as it helps to develop skills that a candidate gains through professional or life experiences, as well as build on the academic background of the individual.

When should I take an MBA?

It is worth remembering that an MBA is not an entry-level qualification. MBAs are almost always exclusively aimed at professionals who have a minimum of three years of business or management experience.

That’s not to say that you can’t study it beforehand, but it is generally more preferable to study with experience. Generally, the average age of an MBA student is between 27 and 32 and is used as a way of progressing in your career or making a larger career move.

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