Types of MBA
An MBA can be a critical next step for students and professionals looking to further their business careers. Before selecting a course, students should become familiar with the many types of MBA programs available. Additionally, the types of MBA courses available will differ at different schools.
Different types of MBA programs will also allow students to specialize in specific fields. Specialized MBA subjects, moreover, can vary from technology to finance. By thinking critically about your study interests, you can find the right types of MBA programs for your needs.
Overall, the best types of MBA for you will vary depending on your lifestyle, interests, and goals. In this article, we’ll supply you with the information you need to make an informed decision when considering the types of MBA courses.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Defining MBA course and MBA specialization, as well as the MBA meaning
- Types of MBA, types of MBA courses, and MBA courses list
- MBA specializations and concentrations
- Other MBA degree requirements
- And more!
Deciding to pursue a graduate degree is a big decision. However, business is a burgeoning career field with plenty of opportunities. So, if you’re set on pursuing a career in business, then an MBA will grant you more career opportunities as well as increase your earning potential. Moreover, there are plenty of different MBA programs to accommodate your lifestyle, including part-time and online options.
What is an MBA course?
First and foremost, let’s understand the MBA meaning.
MBA is an acronym that stands for Master of Business Administration. So, what is an MBA course?
All types of MBA are postgraduate courses, meaning that you need to have completed a Bachelor’s before moving on to an MBA. Of course, when considering the MBA meaning, it’s important to understand that there are accelerated MBAs that allow students to complete a Bachelor’s and MBA in five years. However, we’ll get into more details about 4+1 MBA programs later in this article.
If studying full time, a student should be able to complete their MBA in two years. However, there are various types of MBA programs where the pace will be different. The main types of MBA are a general MBA program and specialized MBA program. The course you choose will depend on your career goals. As evident, a general MBA will focus on types of MBA courses that cover a wide range of business related topics. By contrast, specialized types of MBA degrees will focus on a concentration within business.
Pursuing an MBA
An MBA certainly isn’t a requirement for those wishing to have successful and fruitful careers. However, many top executives at large corporations have them. MBA subjects cover a wide range of business fundamentals, from leadership to financial management.
Depending on your career goals, pursuing one of the many types of MBA degrees can open a lot of doors. Additionally, different types of MBA specializations can help increase your salary in your current position. Moreover, an MBA can help position you for promotion and leadership roles.
There are also plenty of cross-disciplinary types of MBA for those with specialized interests. By choosing one of these types of MBA programs, students can become dynamic candidates for a variety of leadership roles. Some popular dual programs offered at top MBA programs in the world are MBA /J.D. (Juris Doctor, i.e. law), MBA/ M.D. (Medical Doctor), and MBA/Ed (Education).
Choosing to specialize
Postgraduate education offers a lot of options. As you review the types of MBA courses, you’ll find a lot of variety. MBA courses lists online can help you learn more about the specific field of study that your MBA program will focus on. Each MBA courses list will be slightly different, so you should thoroughly research each program on your list. This can also help you learn more about which types of MBA will most meet your needs.
As you search for the right types of MBA for you, consider your goals. Reflecting on past internship, work, or course experience can help you identify the types of MBA that align with your professional interests and unique skill set. If you have a specific career path in mind, research what types of MBA programs will help to get you there. Not all types of MBA are the same, so you should choose one that aligns with your career goals.
When considering any type of postgraduate education, you’ll need to understand the MBA admissions process and MBA degree requirements. Depending on the types of MBA degrees students want to pursue, and where, these requirements will vary. Check each school’s specific site for their MBA degree requirements. For example, here are the UPenn Wharton MBA requirements. You’ll notice that the University of Pennsylvania Wharton MBA requirements for joint-degree applicants are slightly different from the Wharton MBA requirements for other types of MBA degrees.
What is an MBA specialization?
An MBA specialization allows students to specialize in a particular area of business with a narrower scope than a general MBA program. The MBA subjects you study will vary depending on whether you pursue a general or specialized MBA. When pursuing an MBA specialization, you’ll notice your MBA subjects and MBA courses list will center on your chosen concentration. With a general MBA, however, MBA subjects will be more varied.
There are many types of specializations for MBA degrees that you can pursue. Depending on the types of MBA specializations and programs that interest you, you may have a different application process. For example, some types of MBA specializations require students to apply directly. However, keep in mind that there are actually two types of MBA specializations: one in which students dedicate two years in their specialization and another that allows you to specialize in your second year. This, of course, would affect your potential MBA subjects of study and MBA courses list.
Understanding the types of MBA specializations
There are advantages to many types of MBA specializations. Ultimately, you’ll need to consider your interests and goals in order to find the best fit for you. You might want to work your way through the general MBA courses list your first year and later specialize in your area of interest. Or, perhaps you know you want to dive right into your concentration from the start.
Keep in mind that in most two-year MBA programs, you’ll spend your first year taking core courses. Then, in your second year, you’ll have the chance to specialize further, creating your ideal MBA courses list through electives and targeted course selection.
Do all MBA programs require specializations?
No! There are two types of MBA: specialized or generalist. Therefore, if you pursue a generalist MBA, you will gain a broad foundation of knowledge of business and management. Moreover, while most MBA programs allow you to choose elective coursework, these types of MBA courses won’t necessarily equate to a formal specialization.
Although, if you’re considering a specialization when pursuing an MBA, some areas have more demand. So, consider your interests and job opportunities when thinking about a specialized MBA. For further insight, check out these most in-demand MBA specializations.
Additionally, even though you’re considering graduate school, you can still consider these tips on choosing a major when considering an MBA specialization.
How many types of MBA are there?
We’ve already looked at two types of MBA that will determine the types of MBA courses and MBA subjects students pursue in their graduate studies. However, when we walk about types of MBA, there are other aspects of the an MBA program that students will need to consider. In particular, based on what career path a student hopes to pursue, the amount of time students take to complete their MBA program is another type of MBA they will need to consider.
Let’s look at the different types of MBA in terms of course length.
How long will an MBA take?
Two-year, full-time MBA programs
This is meant for students who want to be in school full-time. While some students may come straight from their undergraduate studies, often these students have some work experience.
One-year, full-time MBA programs
Students interested in this accelerated option will likely have to take classes in the summer or will have a more intense semester than a two-year program. Some specialized MBA programs fall into this category, allowing students to dive straight into their concentrations.
Part-time MBA programs
Those who need or want to continue working while pursuing their MBA will likely opt for a part-time program. There are many online and in-person options. How long it takes to complete a part-time program will depend on the individual, but it’s usually a few years.
Executive MBA programs
These programs are specific for those who have established careers but want to expand their managerial knowledge. Classes may be held in the evenings, on the weekends, or even online depending on the program. It usually takes two years to complete.
Online MBA programs
Part and full-time MBA subjects can be taken online. This is a great option for those with busy schedules, families, or full-time jobs.
4+1 MBA programs
This is another accelerated option for those undergraduates who are certain their future career path is business. Students will earn their Bachelor’s and MBA in just five years’ time. Many top MBA programs offer this option.
Of these different types of MBA programs, some will be specialized, while some will be general. Learn more about each type of program in order to make the right choice for you. Additionally, check out some MBA programs at universities that made U.S. News’ latest Best Business Schools list.
What courses will students take in an MBA program?
The types of MBA courses and MBA subjects that students will take depends on several factors. Generally speaking, this includes the types of MBA they pursue and what kind of career goals they have.
As we’ve mentioned, a general MBA will offer a wide range of courses on business and management, whereas a specialized MBA will hone in on a concentration.
No matter if you’re studying at one of the top MBA programs in the world or a lesser known program, MBA subjects won’t vary too much. However, hands-on experience, faculty, and other factors will affect the education you receive.
Generally, the types of MBA courses students take will cover a wide range of areas within business. These include finance, marketing, economics, and business ethics. Overall, MBA subjects seek to develop students’ skills in different areas: business analytics, financial management, leadership, project management, business strategy, and human resources, among others.
Exploring MBA courses
What is an MBA course? Well, to get a better idea of the types of MBA and their coursework, let’s look at some courses at top MBA programs. Keep in mind that each program will have a different MBA courses list.
Harvard MBA requirements
Unsurprisingly, Harvard is considered a top university to pursue an MBA. Of course, the Harvard MBA requirements will resemble those of other MBA programs. However, as an Ivy League university, the Harvard MBA requirements for admission may be more stringent. The Harvard MBA requirements for admission include an essay, a resume, and two letters of recommendation, among other things. Harvard’s courses focus on the foundations of business but in a refreshing and innovative manner. Check out the Harvard MBA curriculum to learn more.
MIT Sloan MBA degree requirements
Another top program is the MIT Sloan MBA. Through the MIT Sloan MBA core curriculum, students will take courses such as communication for leaders, financial accounting, economic analysis for business decisions, and leadership challenges for an inclusive world. You can see the MIT Sloan MBA offers a current perspective on a classic course of study, as will many types of MBA programs. Read more about the MBA subjects that you’ll study if you pursue an MBA at MIT.
Northwestern Kellogg MBA degree requirements
If considering completing the Northwestern University Kellogg MBA application, students should understand the coursework. Courses in Northwestern’s MBA program focus on three key features: balanced and dynamic skill set, leadership focus, and global acuity. If interested in completing the Kellogg MBA application, head to their portal to get started.
However, before diving into completing the Kellogg MBA application, make sure that the courses interest you. In fact, for all types of MBA, make sure to review each school’s MBA courses list to see if they mesh with your interests.
What is an MBA course like at Northwestern? Well, one of the offered MBA subjects at Northwestern is a Leadership in Organizations course. In this class, students will learn how to use social science skills in order to solve organizational issues.
MBA requirements at UChicago
UChicago offers various types of MBA programs to choose from, including the Booth part-time MBA as well as a full-time option. However, whether you are a full time student or completing the Booth part-time MBA, the coursework will be the same. However, students will complete coursework at a different pace depending on the types of MBA they pursue. Courses center on the fundamentals of business: accounting, economics, psychology, sociology, and statistics.
For example, if pursuing an Executive MBA at Booth, which takes 22 months to complete, students will take core classes as well as electives. Some electives offered at Booth include: Money, Banking, and the Financial Crisis, Commercializing Innovation, Advanced Negotiations, and Entrepreneurial Finance and Private Equity. When considering different MBA programs, be sure that the courses excite you. After all, these MBA subjects will form the foundation of your career. You can learn more about the different types of MBA offerings on UChicago’s website, including the Booth part-time MBA as well as executive and full-time programs.
Keep in mind that just as MBA subjects may vary at different schools, so will the MBA degree requirements and MBA admissions rates. Be sure to check each university’s MBA degree requirements if you plan to apply.
How long are the different types of MBA?
The amount of time it takes to complete an MBA program will depend on your circumstances. However, there are plenty of options to suit different students’ needs.
Most MBA programs are two-year, full-time graduate programs. However, there are multiple types of MBA programs available. These include part-time, evening, weekend, and even online programs.
In some settings, you might even find one-year accelerated MBA programs. Additionally, Executive MBA programs are also available for mid-career professionals. While accelerated tracks may suit some students, part-time options may be better suited for working professionals who hope to increase their skills and earning potential.
Is an MBA worth it?
If you’re wondering if an MBA degree is worth its cost, you’re not alone. However, the consensus seems to be that an MBA will pay off in the long run. So, if you’re set on a professional trajectory in business, then it’s certainly worth it. And, keep in mind the many options for studying an MBA. If your life doesn’t allow you to study full-time, part-time and online types of MBA may fit your needs.
It’s important to consider your time capacities when comparing programs. Think about your chosen path and a realistic timeline for you to finish your degree. From there, find your dream school, considering things like specializations, courses offered, faculty, and location. There are plenty of accommodating MBA programs for every type of lifestyle. Consider your availability when determining the best business school for you.
What is a 4+1 MBA program?
Because an MBA is a Master’s degree, a full-time MBA postgraduate education typically lasts two years. However, some types of MBA programs offer a 4+1 MBA degree. These types of MBA degrees are designed to grant students an undergraduate and Master’s degree in five years rather than the traditional six. In recent years, these 4+1 MBA programs have become increasingly popular given the rise in students pursuing MBA admissions.
The obvious benefit of attending a 4+1 MBA program is that these types of MBA courses allow students to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in one fell swoop. With this, students avoid accruing the extra year’s worth of tuition and student debt, making 4+1 programs a smart financial decision. An additional benefit to 4+1 MBA programs is the ability to specialize in specific MBA subjects such as finance or technology.
Different types of MBAs can provide different career opportunities. So, make sure to find the right types of MBA programs for you.
Exploring specialized 4+1 MBA programs
If you’re interested in pursuing a specialized 4+1 MBA program, you should consider the types of MBA specializations and choose your specialization based on your professional goals. Specialized 4+1 MBA programs offer pathways from any undergraduate degree to an MBA. For example, the University of Georgia has a 4+1 for students to earn a Bachelor’s in engineering and an MBA. Similarly, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst offers specialized 4+1 tracks in a variety of programs such as computer science, public affairs, and business analytics.
Pursuing the Engineering + MBA dual degree at UGA allows students to combine their interests. In fact, most specialized 4+1 MBA programs offer students the chance to pursue an interdisciplinary track. The combination of a bachelors in engineering and an MBA provides students with engineering expertise and business skills needed for professional advancement.
To earn this postgraduate education dual degree, students study exclusively engineering courses for the first 3 years. During their junior year, they apply to the MBA program. If admitted, their 4th year consists of engineering and MBA coursework. Year 5 is exclusively for MBA degree requirements.
What are the different fields in MBA?
Now, we will briefly discuss each of the most in-demand types of MBA specializations. We’ll also highlight some schools that offer these MBA subjects.
Let’s dive into these top ten most popular types of MBA specializations and explore some of the career paths they are associated with:
Top Ten MBA Specializations
1. General Management
This specialization allows students to gain broad business knowledge that touches on all aspects of the field. General management MBA programs give students skills in marketing, human resources, and business systems. Students interested in these types of MBA may pursue it at the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University as well as other universities.
2. International Business
This specialization is ideal for students who want to pursue business in the international sphere. These MBA subjects prepare you to conduct business with people, companies, and organizations all over the world. In these types of MBA programs, students will explore topics related to finance, strategy, and operations as they pertain to international business. One program that offers an MBA in International Business can be found at Southern New Hampshire University.
These types of MBA are designed to teach students to be experts on promotion strategy, marketing research, marketing psychology, international marketing, and product development. At the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, students can earn an MBA with a marketing major. Indiana University is ranked #1 by U.S. News for the best online MBA programs and offers a specialization in marketing.
Another popular type of MBA program is consulting. These types of MBA programs empower business students to enter one of the most sought-after industries. This concentration will sharpen your team problem-solving skills by participating in experiential learning opportunities like national case competitions. Students interested in these types of MBA might look into the program offered by the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina.
Pursuing finance MBA subjects can give you a better understanding of different finance-related areas, including global economic trends, corporate finance, and investment banking. Finance MBA subjects will equip you with the knowledge and skills for jobs in financial services, banking, and risk management. The Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a MIT Sloan MBA in Finance.
This specialization will prepare you to be a leader and business owner by developing your decision-making skills. These MBA students will learn how to turn a business idea into reality by pitching ideas, securing funding, and conducting risk assessments before developing new products. Students interested in a business career in entrepreneurship can do so at Augsburg University. You may also check out their other available MBA concentrations.
7. Operations Management
Types of MBA in Operations Management teach business students the essential skills of planning, organizing, and managing production to maximize operational efficiency. These types of MBA programs suit those interested in supply chain management or general operations. Students may pursue these types of MBA specializations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Check out the Kellogg MBA application and other admissions information here.
8. Human Resource Management
Types of MBA degrees specializing in Human Resources can help students learn to motivate employees, create a vibrant corporate culture, create competitive advantages, and increase profitability. The Broad College of Business at Michigan State University offers these types of MBA programs.
9. IT or Technology Management
Types of MBA degrees specializing in IT or Technology Management allow students to understand the evolution of technology. They also prepare students to navigate the intersection between developing technologies and business interests. The Kenan-Flagler School of Business at UNC offers these types of MBA.
10. Business Analytics
These types of MBA will teach you the necessary skills needed to work with complex data. Business analytics types of MBA courses generally cover data modeling, visualization, and analysis. Students interested in pursuing this MBA concentration can do so at UPenn’s Wharton School. Check out their website for more information on the Wharton MBA requirements.
Which is the best course in MBA?
So, what is an MBA course? And, moreover, which is the best for you?
The best types of MBA will look different for every student. As you consider different types of MBA, think about your career goals. Choose a program and major that aligns with your aspirations. Like choosing an undergraduate college, selecting an MBA program takes a fair amount of self-reflection. Students should consider factors including program costs, admissions requirements, location and resources, and each program’s MBA subjects list/available concentrations.
When choosing your MBA subjects, focus on your individual goals. For instance, if you want a job centered around problem-solving with a high earning potential, you might pursue an MBA in Business Analytics. If you’re passionate about helping others, an MBA in Healthcare may be the right choice for you. Or, if you want job flexibility and ease in finding employment, might consider an MBA in General Management. If you’re looking to work abroad, an International Business MBA specialization will prepare you to conduct business with people all over the world.
There is no right answer when choosing your MBA subjects, just make sure to choose the best types of MBA degrees for you.
Types of MBA Specializations – Three Case Studies
Next, let’s look at the types of MBA programs at three top universities—UPenn, University of Michigan, and UChicago. Each of these universities offer several different types of MBA pathways.
University of Pennsylvania – Wharton
The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School offers an MBA program that emphasizes general business education plus 21 majors and nearly 200 electives. It is widely considered one of the top business schools in the country and top MBA programs in the world. Some types of MBA courses offered by Wharton include Finance, Health Care Management, Multinational Management, and Strategic Management. According to CNBC, the Wharton School’s MBA program has the best return on investment MBA, meaning this degree is well worth it. If you are interested in attending this program, be sure to check out the Wharton MBA requirements.
University of Michigan – Ross
The University of Michigan’s business school, Michigan Ross, offers MBA subjects that prepare you to succeed in the fast-paced, ever-changing environment of business. Students will develop the fundamental skills through their core courses. Then, they will build their expertise through electives. The Ross school allows students to dive deeper into their specific interests by offering types of MBA specializations like the Business and Sustainability Concentration and dual degrees like Public Policy, which awards an MBA and Master’s in Public Policy.
University of Chicago – Booth
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business offers a full-time MBA program. In this program, students advance their careers with a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and business. They also offer a Booth part-time MBA pathway. The Booth School of Business is ranked #1 by U.S. News for Best Business Schools and is one of the top MBA programs in the world. Booth offers 13 types of MBA degrees where students can demonstrate deep knowledge of a particular field. Some examples of these MBA subjects include Behavioral Science, Entrepreneurship, and Operations Management. Check out their website to see if the full-time or Booth part-time MBA is best for you.
Understanding MBA requirements
Make sure to research the MBA courses list and MBA degree requirements for the types of MBA courses that interest you. Course requirements may vary based on the program, especially at 4+1 MBA programs and in specialized tracks. Whether you pursue a general MBA or specialized MBA, the specifics of all types of MBA program will differ.
The first thing to consider is whether a general MBA or specialized MBA is right for you. When you think of an MBA, you probably first think of business and finance. These types of MBA degree requirements will make up a significant part of a general MBA courses list. Overall, a general MBA will prepare students for careers in business by equipping them with the necessary communication, management, and finance skills. The MBA courses list generally consists of courses in accounting, business ethics, data analysis, marketing, finance, management, and operations.
MBA Courses Lists – Specialized Types of MBA Programs
Specialized types of MBA programs incorporate most of the general curriculum while also allowing students to focus on a specific topic. In addition to the business MBA degree requirements, students enrolled in specialized programs take courses pertaining to their concentration’s MBA degree requirements.
For example, students pursuing a Healthcare MBA will combine elements of business with medicine and health sciences. Students pursuing a specialized Entrepreneurship MBA will have an MBA courses list centered around financing new businesses and assessing financial performance.
Overall, the MBA courses list will look different for each program. So, make sure you find a curriculum that suits your needs.
MBA Programs – Beyond the classroom
In addition to curriculum requirements, many programs will have internship or hands-on experience requirements. Part of the Harvard MBA requirements is summer work experience. During the first year, students fulfill the requirement through successful completion of a summer work experience. This experience can be with an established organization or an entrepreneurial venture. These kinds of experiences and opportunities are just another factor to consider when choosing your MBA path.
Overall, remember that every MBA path will look different depending on your interests, passions, and career goals. Additionally, the MBA degree requirements will differ considerably by program.
MBA requirements by specialization
As we’ve discussed, different types of MBA courses will have different structures. So, depending on which MBA subjects you choose to focus on, your experience may differ considerably based on your program of choice.
Next, let’s discuss the course requirements for different top MBA programs. We’ll also describe how MBA courses lists differ depending on specialty.
University of Pennsylvania – Wharton
The Wharton School at UPenn has an MBA core curriculum composed of six fixed core classes in leadership, marketing, microeconomics, statistics, and management communication. Students also take courses within the flexible core including operations, marketing, communication, accounting, corporate finance, macroeconomics, management, and legal studies. Further, students’ curricula will differ depending on their concentration.
Let’s look at the requirement differences for two Wharton specialties. The Health Care Management concentration at Wharton requires students to complete 9.5 course units in the MBA core, 5.0 course units in the Health Care Major, and 4.5 minimum course units are electives. Meanwhile, the specialization in Business Economics and Public Policy (BEPP) requires 4.0 BEPP course units.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Business
As for the Sloan School at MIT, MBA students have a required core curriculum composed of courses in leadership, economic analysis, data, communication, organizational processes, and financial accounting. Sloan students can concentrate by pursuing certificates. The Healthcare Certificate requires students to complete the core curriculum as well as two required healthcare classes and 18 units of healthcare related electives. To earn the MIT Sloan MBA Sustainability Certificate, students must complete five required sustainability courses in addition to the MBA core curriculum.
As you can see, there are many different paths to an MBA. So, as you choose the best MBA course for you, keep these differences in mind.
Types of MBA – Final Thoughts
In this guide, we have explained the MBA meaning and the timelines of different MBAs. We’ve explained the differences between the two main types of MBAs – a general MBA Program and a specialized MBA Program. The MBA subjects you choose will depend on your career goals.
Remember that a general MBA offers students a broad base of knowledge in business and management. You will learn the basics across all specialties and develop skills that can be applied to many practice areas in almost any industry.
In contrast, types of MBA specializations allow students to concentrate in a particular area of business. If you’re interested in a specific industry or profession, like healthcare or public policy, a specialized MBA and these types of MBA courses can give you more targeted management experience.
As mentioned, the top ten most popular MBA specializations are general management, international business, marketing, consulting, finance, entrepreneurship, operations management, human resource management, IT or technology management, and business analytics. Remember, you should pick the MBA subjects that best align with your career goals. Specializing in particular types of MBA can help you demonstrate your unique skill set to employers.
Once again, what is an MBA course? An MBA course provides a pathway to a Master’s degree in Business Administration.
It is important to remember that the requirements for different MBA specializations will vary depending on the types of MBA. For instance, specialized MBA programs will have different prerequisites and course requirements than generalist programs. Furthermore, the requirements will differ between specialties. For example, check out the differences in the Wharton MBA requirements, Harvard MBA requirements, Kellogg MBA application, Booth part-time MBA requirements, and MIT Sloan MBA requirements.
When choosing between different types of MBA courses, here are some things you should consider:
- Your strengths and interests.
- What industry you might like to work in.
- What you’ve liked or disliked about previous jobs and internships.
- Your earning potential.
As always, CollegeAdvisor is here to help you approach every aspect of your MBA admissions process and get you into your dream school. Feel free to revisit this guide when choosing your career focus or scheduling an appointment with one of our advisors for more individualized help, like with the Harvard MBA requirements or the Kellogg MBA application.
This article was written by Sarah Kaminski and Bailey Bennett. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.