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Essential MBA Information


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What it is...
MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs exist around the world, varying in length from one year programs in the U.K. to traditional two-year programs in the U.S., to flexible online programs that vary in duration depending on the pace of the student. They vary in structure, from part-time to modular to joint programs with other graduate and professional schools. They vary in specialization, from programs with a focus in international e-commerce to those with a specialty in accounting and information systems to those that concentrate on social entrepreneurship. With all of this variety, a person researching MBA programs is bound to encounter a variety of terms, some fairly self-explanatory and others more perplexing. What follows is an alphabetical glossary containing brief descriptions of some of the terms you are sure to encounter during your search for the MBA program that best suits you.

Why get one...
The MBA degree is a professional degree that provides rigorous training to prepare individuals to be leaders, primarily in the business field, but also increasingly in other fields such as government and the not-for-profit sector. MBA programs exist in countries around the world with the recognition that the training they provide is relevant to people in almost any type of management position. An MBA is almost a requirement for entry into many fields, and for other fields, if not essential, is it at least very useful to individuals hoping to hold higher-level positions. Programs today vary in length and structure and many focus on specific types of business or particular aspects of other fields, but all are alike in offering training intended to create effective managers and leaders.

How to qualify...
The GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) is a standardized test that most MBA programs use to assess applicants. Most programs will require you to take the test and report your score in order to be eligible to apply, and a high test score can contribute to a strong application. The test has three main sections - quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing. It does not require any specific subject area knowledge but is instead designed to provide an overall measurement of an applicant's abilities. Today the test is only available as a Computer Adaptive Test, meaning the test is taken at a computer terminal and questions vary from test to test depending on the test-taker's correct or incorrect answers. Knowing what you are in for when taking the GMAT and preparing accordingly is an important part of achieving success.

Consider your options...
An MBA is a valuable degree, and with the advent of online MBA programs, a degree that will help you get ahead has never been more accessible. Online MBA programs enable students to undertake the same rigorous advanced degree work they would in a bricks-and-mortar setting, but online programs also provide unparalleled flexibility and the convenience of completing coursework from anywhere a student can access the internet. In addition to the obvious benefits of being able to work at whatever pace and in whatever setting a student chooses, many online MBA programs have attracted first-rate faculty of the same caliber traditional institutions have. So with the added convenience and lower cost of many online programs, students can learn from outstanding professors who have are leaders in the business field, just as they would in a traditional setting.

Choose the right concentration...
An MBA can be an important part of achieving career success, but an MBA from the right program with the right concentration can be as valuable as the degree itself. More than ever before there are MBA programs tailored to suit almost any need, from choices between traditional semester-based programs or flexible online program to choices between programs with a general focus or programs that allow students to concentrate their studies on a particular field. To choose the right MBA program, it is important to examine your personal goals and circumstances. What are you hoping to gain from an MBA program? Are you most interested in e-commerce or non-profit management? Are you hoping to work in the health care management field or the international development field? Once you have assessed your own position and objectives, you can begin the search for an MBA program that is right for you.

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