MBA & Management Degrees

The master’s of business administration, or MBA, is an advanced degree for professionals seeking to gain expertise in business management and business administration. Opportunities for MBA graduates are plentiful in business, government, and nonprofit organizations. Students can choose from online MBA programs, campus-based MBA programs, full-time, part-time, and accelerated MBA programs. MBA graduates earn between $70,000 and $85,000 depending on their field of study.

MBA Job Outlook

While one advantage of becoming an MBA is the fact that you will have many opportunities for employment within different fields, it is difficult to provide a holistic view of the current job market for MBAs; different sectors of work will provide different job opportunities for MBAs. Since different job sectors provide different employment opportunities for MBAs, here are some general trends to watch to gauge how the job market is doing.

Factors of Growth

Since sound management is becoming one of the most important aspects of a business’s profitability, studying overall economic activity is a good way of gauging the job market for MBAs. One important factor in determining job market growth will be how the overall economy recovers from the recent financial crisis. As companies become more willing to invest in growth as a result of a recovering economy, companies will be more willing to hire MBAs at a higher rate.

Other factors to watch are the growth of the health care and housing markets. With the recent health care bill, many health care organizations, both public and private, are looking to reform their operations. For example, many are in the process of shifting from using physical records to using electronic records for their data storage. Depending on this trend, businesses may be searching for additional MBAs who are experienced in using new systems to store data.

Like the health care industry, the housing market faces the same economic forces. With the housing market as a main contributor to the financial crisis (also known as the “sub-prime mortgage crisis”), many people are weary of buying houses. Job growth for MBAs will depend on consumer confidence in the housing market.

Expected Salary

For management positions, job responsibilities are higher than entry-level positions. Obviously, with the higher responsibilities come higher salaries. Due to the disparity in job positions, there is a wide range of salaries for MBAs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most management positions pay at least $40,000, with the sky as the limit in terms of salary.

Generally, MBAs with specific specializations, such as health sciences or information systems, are paid more than general managers. Furthermore, having an MBA greatly increases the number of employment opportunities, as MBA holders are better equipped at landing higher management positions.

Overview of E-MBA Programs

E-MBA is short for Executive MBA, This degree is offered at many of the nation’s top business schools, including the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Columbia University, and Pepperdine University. The first Executive MBA program was installed at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in the 1940s. The degree was created to suit the educational demands of top business executives and managers in the nation and around the world, as they sought an MBA specialization that was specifically suited to their financial and leadership learning needs. Graduates of these programs may go on to be some of the top earning professionals in the world of business. (Executive MBA Council)

Who May Seek an Executive MBA

Unlike traditional MBA programs, Executive MBAs do not typically accept students who are right out of college. Work experience- most Executive MBA students have nearly a decade or more of administrative and financial experience- is essential to the success of students in an Executive MBA program, as professors will assume a certain amount of knowledge that can only be guaranteed of those who have enough experience. Government administrators, executives at major corporations, and people employed by non-profits are all welcome to apply to Executive MBA programs, and eclectic experiences are sought after so that students may learn from each other.

Graduate students who are seeking Executive MBAs nearly always work full-time while seeking their degrees, and this is often a requirement of the program. Curriculum and schedules are stuctured so as to allow students to hold full-time executive jobs and attend classes at night or on the weekends, as it is believed that this enhances students’ professional and academic lives. Despite the fact that students generally work full-time, most people complete their Executive MBAs in only two years.

Executive MBA Curriculum

Every Executive MBA curriculum is different, but in general schools strive to provide an educational experience that enhances a student’s knowledge of the business world- domestic and international- with an emphasis on how it functions. Students learn to understand how and why businesses are created on the financial, human resources, and production levels. Individual courses will vary significantly, but will likely cover marketing, finance, economics, international business, management and leadership development, business models, risk management, corporate governance, and human resource management. All classes will be geared toward professionals who are used to working as managers of large groups of people, and who typically manage relatively large budgets.

Bolstering Your MBA with a Certification in Your Field

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the number of students applying to and graduating from MBA programs was skyrocketing. As the business world only got more and more competitive, students and professionals were looking for ways to set themselves apart from other candidates, and the MBA nearly always led to career advancement and higher earning. It is now even more popular for recent college graduates to go straight into an MBA program.

However, this popularity had some industry experts concerned that the degree was becoming too standard and easy to complete, as graduates had not really mastered the fundamentals that graduates of MBA programs should have. To enhance the MBA experience and ease the worries of employers, the MBA certification was born. This optional exam is offered by the International Certification Institute and requires successfully passing an exam while still enrolled in or just after graduating from an accredited MBA program.

The MBA certification is not to be confused with professional business certification. There are many certification options for businessmen and women through regional, local, and national business organizations, as well as through many specialized organizations (such as accounting organizations or human resources associations). Most people who pursue these options have been full-time businessmen and women for years, and are no longer (in most cases) students. MBA certification is exclusively for students. (ICCI)

Why to Add Certification to Your MBA

The MBA certification option began in 2002, and is therefore still a relatively new concept. Most students who graduate with MBAs do not elect to include certification, as completing a thesis or intensive research project- or even a practical project or internship- is often a more valuable way to demonstrate one’s mastery of a subject and to appeal to employers. However, the organization behind the MBA certification touts it as a way to set oneself apart on the job market, as gaining even the slightest competitive edge can be important.

MBA Certification Process

In order to add certification to one’s MBA, students must first apply to sit for the exam, submitting a $75 application fee and transcripts to prove that one is enrolled and on track to graduate from an approved MBA program or that one has already completed an MBA. (Students who take the exam before graduating will not be officially conferred their certification until they submit final transcripts proving their completion).

The $255 certification exam can be completed at a Prometric testing center, and covers the essential areas of business mastery: Financial Accounting, Management Accounting, Quantitative Analysis, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Finance, Marketing Management, Operations Management, Organizational Behavior, and Business Strategy). (Certified MBA)

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