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What is an MBA?


What will you learn with an MBA?

A Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) is a well-known, highly esteemed and in-demand business qualification in both the private and public sector. The MBA is a post-graduate programme that equips professionals for a future in government, business or one of the world’s leading consulting firms such as McKinsey, Bain or Deloitte. Studying for an MBA will increase your business acumen and improve your network and career opportunities in most industries.

Whether you want a professional career in consulting, finance or management in either the public or private sector, an MBA is a great way to take your career to a higher level. Most MBA qualifications will offer you a range of modules to choose from, covering various business and other related fields.

Some of the topics covered in an MBA programme:

Unlike a master’s degree which specialises in a specific field of study, an MBA is a more general degree touching on several topics. The core content of an MBA is taught to ensure that the most important management knowledge and expertise are acquired by students to help improve their management effectiveness in the workplace. It helps managers to better understand other departments within the business and find synergy with all the different managers of various departments in an organisation.

The backbone of all MBA programmes is electives, meaning the programme allows you to choose the areas of focus or MBA concentration during your studies. The following are the main topics covered for most Master of Business Administration studies:

  • Human resources
  • Finance and accounting
  • Economics (microeconomics and macroeconomics)
  • Marketing and communications
  • Strategy and business management
  • Information management and technology
  • Law and business ethics

What are the core subjects in MBA?

The MBA curriculum and its modules get reviewed regularly to keep up with the ever-changing developments in the business environment. The MBA core curriculum provides you with a solid foundation in business fundamentals such as finance, accounting, marketing, economics, leadership, policy, business ethics and the broad management skills that are required for a successful career in most business professions.

The basic concepts of microeconomics, financial reporting, statistical methods and decision heuristics, leadership and working in teams are among the MBA subjects taught at any internationally accredited program.

MBA options or specialisations to study

Here are some of the most popular MBA specialisations or concentrations to choose from:

MBA in General Management

The MBA in General Management offers the foundation of all the different MBA concentrations. This is a good programme for business leaders who want to be well rounded and do not necessarily want to specialise in just one area of business.

MBA in Marketing Management

This MBA with a focus on marketing has the same core subjects as the general management MBA, but with a bit more specialisation. Marketing research, digital marketing, advertising and brand management will form part of the focus of your MBA in Marketing Management.

MBA in Human Resource Management

Human capital is an integral aspect of any organisation, especially in big businesses. An MBA with a focus on human resource management can set you apart as a leader and open executive opportunities at larger organisations. As an expert in change management, employee and personnel management between shareholders and stakeholders, you provide the synergy that keeps the organisation operating effectively and efficiently.

MBA in Entrepreneurship

The focus on entrepreneurship prepares the candidate for future endeavours in starting and running a business. Whether it is an internal corporate venture, a family business or as an autonomous entrepreneur, you learn the necessary skills and capabilities through a combination of theory and practice to position yourself and your venture to be a success.

MBA in Finance

An MBA with a focus on finance will set you apart as a financial expert, whether it be as an analyst, investment banker or financial manager. This MBA will provide you with an understanding of financial law, mergers and acquisitions, financial modelling and capital and equity markets, among others. You will acquire the confidence to provide financial advice to help organisations and high net worth individuals to manage their assets and wealth.

MBA in Management Information Systems

An MBA focussed on the management of information systems will advance your expertise as a business leader in the computer and technology industry. This MBA will build up your skills and capabilities in hardware, software, and information technology (IT) network administration. You will be able to help organisations grow and efficiently use computer and telecommunications systems.

What are the subjects in MBA first year?

Most MBA courses have similar subjects that they focus on in their first year of study. These may include:

  • Organisational behaviour
  • Marketing management
  • Quantitative methods
  • Human resource management
  • Managerial economics
  • Business communication
  • Financial accounting
  • Information technology management

Depending on the MBA specialisation, the first-year subjects may vary. The duration of your studies will depend on the specialisation and format of your MBA studies. If you choose to do an online MBA, the choice of subjects you choose for the first year may differ from full-time or part-time postgraduate students.

The duration of your MBA is a minimum of 18 months for full-time students, while executive MBAs can be up to 20 months. The type of MBA can influence the subjects studied within the first year.

Why study for an MBA?

For aspiring managers and business owners, the decision to pursue an MBA degree could be a very beneficial professional career move. As a trusted and well-respected qualification, it can open doors and offer opportunities for any graduate or professional, while increasing their network.

Is it a good idea to enrol in an MBA programme in another country?

This was the best option a few years ago before the spread of the pandemic. Now with an increase in online MBA programmes being offered globally, it is better to weigh the pros and cons when considering relocating to study abroad. Factors to consider are financial factors such as the cost of living in another country as well as family and work responsibilities.

Is an MBA degree worth it in the end?

These are some of the most compelling reasons to consider when trying to decide whether to obtain an MBA:

  • The programme will develop your management skills and capabilities in a shorter period.
  • There are several MBA specialisations to choose from to meet your specific education and career objectives.
  • Having access to a large business network by becoming part of your institution’s alumni could help you advance your career and business.
  • MBA salaries are among the highest in the industry.
  • Acquire the necessary knowledge, capabilities and skills to start and manage your own business.
  • An MBA can assist you if you are planning a career shift from your current industry to the business environment.

Finding the best MBA programme to fit your needs can be a challenge for most. As part of your self-development, adding a qualification such as an MBA has long-term benefits for your professional career and personal life.

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