Master of Business Administration

The Master of Business Administration (MBA or M.B.A.) is a master's degree in business administration, which attracts people from a wide range of academic disciplines. The MBA designation originated in the United States, emerging from the late 19th century as the country industrialized and companies sought out scientific approaches to management. The core courses in the MBA program are designed to introduce students to the various areas of business such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, operations management, etc. Students in MBA programs have the option of taking general business courses throughout the program or can select an area of concentration and focus approximately one-fourth of their studies in this subject. Accreditation bodies exist specifically for MBA programs to ensure consistency and quality of graduate business education. Business schools in many countries offer MBA programs tailored to full-time, part-time, executive, and distance learning students, with specialized concentrations. Accreditation Business schools or MBA programs may be accredited by external bodies which provide students and employers with an independent view of their quality, and indicate that the school's educational curriculum meets specific quality standards. The three major accrediting bodies in the United States are Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which accredits research universities, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), which accredits universities and colleges, and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), all of which also accredit schools outside the US. The AACSB, the ACBSP, and the IACBE are themselves recognized in the United States by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). MBA programs with specializations for students pursuing careers in healthcare management also eligible for accreditation by the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). In the United States, an MBA program may also be considered accredited on the institutional level. Bodies that accredit institutions as a whole include the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA): Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASCSC), Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Accreditation agencies outside the United States include the Association of MBAs (AMBA), a UK based organization that accredits MBA, DBA and MBM programs worldwide, government accreditation bodies such as the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) that accredits MBA and PGDM programs across India, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa, the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) for mostly European and Asian schools, and the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA) in Europe. Basic types of MBA programs Two-year (Full Time) MBA programs normally take place over two academic years (i.e. approximately 18 months of term time). For example in the Northern Hemisphere beginning in late August/September of year one and continuing until May of year two, with a three to four month summer break in between years one and two. Students enter with a reasonable amount of prior real-world work experience and take classes during weekdays like other university students. Accelerated MBA programs are a variation of the two year programs. They involve a higher course load with more intense class and examination schedules. They usually have less "down time" during the program and between semesters. For example, there is no three to four month summer break, and between semesters there might be seven to ten days off rather than three to five weeks vacation. Part-time MBA programs normally hold classes on weekday evenings, after normal working hours, or on weekends. Part-time programs normally last three years or more. The students in these programs typically consist of working professionals, who take a light course load for a longer period of time until the graduation requirements are met. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs developed to meet the educational needs of managers and executives, allowing students to earn an MBA or another business-related graduate degree in two years or less while working full time. Participants come from every type and size of organization – profit, nonprofit, government – representing a variety of industries. EMBA students typically have a higher level of work experience, often 10 years or more, compared to other MBA students. In response to the increasing number of EMBA programs offered, The Executive MBA Council was formed in 1981 to advance executive education. Distance learning MBA programs hold classes off-campus. These programs can be offered in a number of different formats: correspondence courses by postal mail or email, non-interactive broadcast video, pre-recorded video, live teleconference or videoconference, offline or online computer courses. Many schools offer these programs. Blended learning programs combine distance learning with face-to-face instruction. These programs typically target working professionals who are unable to attend traditional part-time programs. Dual MBA programs combine MBA degree with others (such as an MS, MA, or a J.D., etc.) to let students cut costs (dual programs usually cost less than pursuing 2 degrees separately), save time on education and to tailor the business education courses to their needs. Some business schools offer programs in which students can earn both a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA in four or five years. Mini-MBA is a term used by many non-profit and for-profit institutions to describe a training regimen focused on the fundamentals of business. Mini-MBA programs are typically non-credit bearing programs that require less than 100 hours of total learning. Admissions criteria Most programs base admission on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), significant work experience, academic transcripts, essays, references or letters of recommendation and personal interviews. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is also accepted by some schools in lieu of the GMAT. Some schools are also interested in extracurricular activities, community service activities and how the student can improve the diversity of and contribute to the student body as a whole. All of these qualifications can be important for admission; however, some schools do not weigh GMAT scores as heavily as other criteria, and many distance learning schools do not require the GMAT for admission. In order to achieve a diverse class, business schools also consider the target male-female ratio and local-international student ratios. Depending on the program, type and length of work experience can be a critical admissions component for many MBA programs. Many top-tier programs require five or more years of work experience for admission. Program content Most top MBA programs cover similar subjects within their core required courses. For information about the typical content of an MBA program's core curriculum, see the overview at the Wikiversity MBA topic page. MBA programs expose students to a variety of subjects, which students may choose to specialize in a particular area. Students traditionally study a wide breadth of courses in the program's first year, then pursue a specialized curriculum in the second year. Full-time students typically seek an internship during the interim. Typical specializations include: accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, international business, management science, marketing, operations management, organizational behavior, project management, real estate, and strategy, among others. Many individuals choosing a specialized field of study, such as real estate or accounting, are well-suited for their respective industries through pursuing a Master of Real Estate Development or Master of Science in Accounting degree, for example. Other specialized programs include Master of Science in Finance, Master of Science in Information Systems, Master of Science in Supply Chain Management.

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