Individuals looking to advance their business careers have a variety of opportunities available to them. For recent graduates and working professionals, choosing to pursue an advanced degree like a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can be a valuable next step in moving toward competitive senior or management roles.
Earning an MBA degree can prepare individuals for a wide range of career opportunities, boost their earnings potential, and improve their fundamental business skills. But these degree programs are not one size fits all. Individuals asking, “Which MBA program is right for me?” should consider the different types of MBA degrees available and pursue the one that will optimize their education and lead them toward the industry and career that most interests them.
The Different Types of MBA Degrees
MBA programs allow students to build hybrid skills that are in high demand, providing them with career advantages and opportunities, and opening doors in a variety of fields. Understanding the differences and comparing one concentration to another is a crucial part of choosing which MBA program is the best option, ensuring students earn the degree that fits their goals and prepares them with the skills they need to find success.
MBA concentrations that individuals may want to consider when choosing their program include:
- Accounting. All businesses need to keep a careful record of their finances. An accounting concentration is a good fit for individuals who are detail oriented, comfortable with data and mathematics, and interested in managing the accounting strategies for a company.
- Business Data Analytics. Data analysts help companies make decisions based on trends and business predictions. Focusing on Master of Business Administration (MBA) collecting, organizing, analyzing, and presenting data, business analytics involves expertise in technology, critical thinking, and communication.
- Cybersecurity. For graduates with an interest in technology and computer science, cybersecurity is a growing field that is constantly evolving. Cybersecurity professionals find new and innovative ways to protect their companies’ vital data.
- Emerging and Digital Media. Combining creativity with hands-on technological and digital skills, an MBA in emerging and digital media enables graduates to work in a field that joins the arts and business.
- Financial Services. Individuals looking to advance in finance may want to consider an MBA in financial services. This concentration provides the in-depth knowledge and skills to assist companies and individuals with their financial strategies.
- Health Administration. For those passionate about helping others in the field of healthcare, an MBA in health administration may be a great fit. It does not require the many years of training needed to practice medicine.
- Human Resources Management. With a combined focus on administration and communication, an MBA in human resources management may be a great fit for individuals who have strong interpersonal skills and are passionate about improving the lives of their fellow employees.
- Information Technology. An MBA in information technology involves developing the high-tech skills to improve or create new technology systems. It may be a fit for individuals interested in a career focused on innovation across a variety of industries.
- Management. Finding the right MBA program often involves deciding what role a person is looking to play in a company. For those who want to oversee others and delegate tasks, an MBA in management can prepare them for the challenges of leadership.
- Marketing. A marketing concentration combines creative, administrative, and problem-solving skills. Pursuing marketing may be a great option for individuals who enjoy teamwork and projects that are constantly changing in response to the always-evolving marketplace.
- Project Management. Responsible for organizing and overseeing projects and the people working on them, graduates of an MBA program in project management can take on a supervisory role in industries ranging from online services to construction.
- Software Development. A great choice for those who enjoy working independently and within a set schedule, an MBA in software development takes advantage of a student’s ability to focus on creating and developing problem-solving software.
How to Compare MBA Programs
Location, enrollment requirements, and tuition can be deciding factors for individuals selecting an MBA program. Enrollment costs and tuition can vary among programs and from one institution to the next, influencing a student’s financial future and whether they will turn to loans to fund their education. Students need to conduct research into what option makes the most sense for their individual needs.
Selecting an MBA Concentration
Choosing from the many in-demand MBA program specializations can be challenging. The ideal fit can look different from one student to the next. Students need to consider their past work experience and employment demand in various industries when choosing a concentration. They should also consider their life goals and passions, since earning an MBA in a new, exciting field can help individuals find greater job satisfaction.
Exploring Admission Prerequisites
Prospective students should be aware of the prerequisites for the programs they are considering. Programs with specific concentrations may require students to have a certain degree or prior qualifications in a related field. If they haven’t yet been filled, these requirements can increase the time and costs involved in earning an MBA.
Examining Program Details
Individuals should also examine the coursework requirements for the programs they are interested in, as some may require greater time commitments than others. For instance, some MBA programs require in-person internships, while others have more flexibility.
The bottom line is that understanding all these factors, along with knowing what graduates can do with an MBA and how it can help them move forward in their careers, can greatly impact which MBA program is the right one.
MBA Program Formats
With in-person and online MBA programs, and full-time and part-time options, the investment required of students and their day-to-day schedules can take many forms. Individuals researching MBA programs should consider how flexible their education needs to be, how long it will take to complete different degree programs, and the costs associated with the programs’ formats.
In Person vs. Online
One of the biggest decisions a student needs to make is if they want an online or an in-person program.
While some students prefer in-person study, engaging with their teachers or other students face to face, opting for such a program can have a large impact on their time. It also comes with potential costs for transportation or relocation. In contrast, while studying online can require a learning adjustment, students can do it from the comfort of their homes, on a more flexible schedule, and avoid transportation and moving expenses altogether.
Part Time vs. Full Time
Finding the time to pursue an MBA degree can be a struggle, and personal responsibilities can dictate how much flexibility a student needs. Studying full time has the advantage of an earlier graduation, allowing students to move forward with their careers more quickly. However, it can be difficult to continue working while studying full time, and students with families or jobs may not have the flexibility to shift their schedules, making a full-time commitment hard to achieve.
In contrast, studying part time can have the advantage of allowing for a good work-life balance, allowing students to schedule their studying around their personal responsibilities or work schedules. Some companies even offer to fund an employee’s education. While less demanding on a student’s day-to-day life, studying part time extends the number of years it takes to earn an MBA, often doubling the one- to two-year commitment for those studying full time to two to four years, possibly delaying career advancement.
Work Your Way Up to a Dynamic Career
Earning an MBA degree can open new and exciting career doors for graduates and allow them to reach their long-term professional goals, whether they be senior roles, higher salaries, or more job autonomy. While an advanced degree can put those things within reach, it is not as simple as just choosing any MBA program. It is essential to determine which MBA program is right for you. With coursework focused on the knowledge and skills you’ll need in your chosen field, the right MBA and concentration can help you build a successful future.
With its fully online program, 12 concentrations, and experienced faculty, the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program from Maryville University was created to provide you with the hands-on skills you need to succeed. Discover how you can shape your future and pursue a dynamic career with an advanced degree from Maryville University.