Resource Guide for Prospective MBA Students
September 06, 2022
If you're considering an MBA, you know what a bewildering set of choices you face. This guide links to articles that can answer your questions and help you choose the best program for you.
You're mulling a career in business and asking yourself the big question: do I need a Master of Business Administration (MBA)? Whether you're looking to climb the corporate ladder or start your own business, there are compelling reasons to consider graduate-level business study.
An MBA covers all the critical fundamentals—management, finance, operations, marketing, supply chain, communications, human resources, analytics—so students graduate with a solid understanding of business problems and solutions. MBA programs train managers and high-level decision makers to develop a business' vision and forge strategies to realize it.
If you want to get really good at one specific function—whether that be marketing, finance, or analytics—you might want to consider a master's degree in those fields. You'll develop the expertise to oversee critical projects and make fine-bore decisions within your discipline. However, if you want to manage teams, supervise budgets, and contribute to long-term planning of the business as a whole, an MBA may be the better choice.
So, where do you start? We've compiled a resource guide linking to many helpful MBA articles on the Noodle.com site. They represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of our graduate business content, but they provide a good starting point for anyone considering an MBA program. This resource guide for prospective MBA students points to articles that address:
- Should you get an MBA?
- Choosing an MBA program
- Applying to an MBA program
- Paying for your MBA
- Online MBAs
- Executive MBA programs
Should you get an MBA?
An MBA requires a significant investment of time, money, and effort. It's not an undertaking to pursue cavalierly. You need to know what you're getting into and whether it's the right choice for you.
These articles help you identify your career goals and determine whether an MBA is the right degree to help you achieve them. Some careers are better suited to academic (as opposed to professional) graduate degrees. Others may benefit from a more narrowly focused professional degree or a certificate program. And some business careers require no graduate degree at all.
Still, there's a reason the MBA is the most popular graduate degree in the United States, one pursued annually by nearly 200,000 students. These articles explain why.
- Should You Get an MBA? Here's How to Decide
- Here's the Difference Between an MS, MBA, PhD, and DBA (Honestly, WTF) in Business Analytics
- How Much Do B-School Graduates Earn?
Choosing an MBA program
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredits nearly 500 US business master's programs. The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) approves of a similar number. When it comes time to look at MBA programs, you'll have a lot to choose from.
Which program is right for you? That depends on where you live, whether you want to attend in-person or online, what goals you've set for your career, and of course your qualifications for admission. The articles listed below help you inventory your priorities and your assets so you can apply to the right schools, where you're most likely to get in and benefit the most from the program.
- Which MBA Program Is Right for Me?
- The Pros and Cons of Part-Time, Full-Time, and Online MBA Programs
- Think About MBA Accreditation Like You'd Think About Buying Groceries (Kind Of)
- The HBCU MBA 20 + 2: Getting an MBA From an HBCU
- What to Look for in an MBA Alumni Network
- The Most Common Dual-Degree MBA Options and Where They'll Take You
Applying to an MBA program
Admissions committees are mysterious entities. What are they looking for when they review applications? Is there a magic formula that guarantees admission? Spoiler alert: if there is one, we don't have it (sorry!). What we do have is plenty of insights into how to build the strongest case for yourself in your application. The articles below can help guide you through the process.
- What Makes a Strong MBA Application?
- MBA Application Deadlines Ultra Guide: Requirements, Timeline, Checklist & Tips
- What is the GMAT?
- Is a Pre-MBA Internship Worth it? Here’s When, and Why.
Paying for your MBA
The most expensive MBA programs in the United States cost over $200,000. The least expensive programs cost less than one-tenth as much. Across that continuum, students have access to various forms of financial assistance, including employee benefits. The articles listed below explain how to get the most bang for your MBA buck.
- Don't Have a Rich Great Aunt to Pay for Your MBA? These Employers Will Help Foot the Bill.
- How to Save Money on Your Online MBA
- Most Affordable Online MBA Programs (AACSB-Accredited)
- Most Affordable Online MBA Programs (ACBSP-Accredited)
Online education was on the ascent throughout the 2010s. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic to push things into an entirely other dimension. Today, everyone who is or recently was a student has experienced online education.
Online MBAs can fit anyone's lifestyle. They're an especially good option for professionals who want to continue working full-time while they earn their degree. The convenience of remote study, coupled with flexible scheduling, means an online program can accommodate needs that a traditional on-campus program simply cannot.
Many excellent schools offer online MBA degrees, including Butler University, Case Western Reserve University, Howard University, University of Tulsa, Southern Methodist University, and Stevens Institute of Technology. These articles describe the online learning process and let you know what to look for in a worthwhile online degree program,
- Should I Get an MBA Online?
- Business School Online: The 11 Biggest Myths
- Online MBA Programs That Don't Require the GMAT
- Does It Matter Where You Get Your MBA Online?
Executive MBA programs
Traditional MBA programs typically seek students with two to five years of post-undergraduate professional experience. Some accept students with no professional experience. Executive MBA programs, in contrast, are designed solely for seasoned professionals, usually with at least ten years under their belts.
Executive MBA (EMBA) programs serve managers and low-level executives looking to ascend to the upper corporate levels; we're talking about aspiring vice presidents and c-suite execs. Executive MBA programs are typically scheduled to suit their students' busy work schedules, with classes held on evenings and/or weekends. More and more are taking their programs online for the same reason.
These articles explain what distinguishes an EMBA program from other MBAs, discusses the benefits and drawbacks of online programs, and helps you figure out how to meet admissions requirements.
- What Is an Executive MBA?
- Executive MBA vs. MBA: Which Business Degree Is Right for You?
- EMBA Online: Benefits + Challenges Explained
- Is an Executive MBA Worth It?
- Executive MBA Requirements vs. MBA Requirements [Difference Explained]
- Executive MBA Courses vs. MBA Courses [Difference Explained]
- Executive MBA vs Part-Time MBA: Do the Differences Actually Matter?
Choosing an MBA Specialization
You can complete an MBA in general management. In fact, some programs only offer a generalist MBA. Others, however, offer areas of specialization, pursued through elective coursework that you take after you complete required core courses.
Noodle.com has articles on all the most popular specializations and some that aren't quite as popular but should, or soon will, be. Below is a sampling.
- Which Schools Have the Best Online Analytics MBA Programs?
- What Is a Business Intelligence MBA?
- Which Schools Have the Top MBA in Consulting Programs?
- Is an MBA in Energy Worth It? The Jobs (And Salaries) That Power This Degree.
- The Best MBAs for Entrepreneurship Set You Up for Success
- What is an MBA in Healthcare Administration?
- Why You Should Consider Earning Your MBA in Human Resources Online
- What Is an International Business MBA?
- What is a Leadership MBA?
- Marketing MBA: The Graduate Degree for Ambitious Marketers
- The Most Common MBA in Real Estate Jobs Don't Involve Selling or Development
- STEM MBA: Programs, Cost, Careers & More
- What Is an MBA in Supply Chain Management?
- What Are the Best MBA for Sustainability Programs?
If you're interested in a specialized business master's—a Master of Science in Business Analytics or a Master of Health Administration, for example—Noodle.com has plenty of resources on those as well. The search bar at the top of the page will help you find what you're looking for.
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