Master of Business Administration (MBA) Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn what an MBA is, types of MBA programs, and common MBA jobs to decide if this is the right degree for you.

[Featured image] An MBA student stands on the steps of a university building with her cellphone in her hand.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is among the most popular graduate degrees in the United States and is currently among the top-paying master’s degrees, so it’s no surprise that many people consider it as an option when they are looking to continue studying at the graduate level. When you earn an MBA, you can open doors to higher level positions within business, demonstrate your expertise, grow your professional networks, and build entrepreneurial skills to launch your own venture. 

If you're considering whether an MBA degree is right for you, this guide is here to help with resources, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions about this graduate business degree. Bookmark this page to refer to, as we'll be adding new resources regularly.

What is an MBA?

An MBA is a master’s degree in business administration. In this popular graduate degree program, you’ll learn about business principles and develop your leadership skills across various disciplines, such as marketing, finance, and accounting. You can expect to build a strong foundation in management knowledge and skills, while also finding opportunities to specialize in specific areas of business like consulting, human resources, and data analytics.

People earn their MBA at various stages of their career, from a few years out of undergraduate-level study to seasoned professionals looking to advance to the executive level. The degree typically takes about two years to complete if you enroll full-time. 

Learn more MBA degree basics:

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Types of MBA programs

There are several types of MBA programs available to suit your needs. Some people seek their MBA part-time while they continue working or tending to other commitments, while others pursue their MBA full-time. No matter what your situation may be, there are flexible options that help make MBA programs accessible to all types of students. 

Learn more about the MBA options available to you:

MBA curriculum: What is covered in an MBA program?

An MBA is a cross-functional course of study in which you’ll learn about business across all facets, including marketing, finance, and accounting, while also building your workplace skills such as communication, project management, and leadership. 

Learn more about the MBA course of study:

How to get an MBA degree: Admission requirements

MBA admission requirements vary according to the school you wish to study at, but admissions departments typically look for candidates with a certain level of education and experience.

Often, a complete MBA application packet includes a resume, statement of purpose or essays, recommendation letters, and GMAT or GRE test scores. Some admissions departments invite applicants for an interview, but not in all cases. 

Learn more about applying for an MBA program:

What jobs can you get with an MBA?

MBA graduates typically pursue roles in business, often in leadership positions.

Learn more about jobs that you might pursue after earning an MBA:

Other types of business degrees

An MBA is one of many options for those interested in a career in business. Depending on your particular career goals and experience, you may also choose to pursue a different type of business degree.

Learn more about other graduate business degrees:

Learn more about business degrees:

Learn more about undergraduate business degrees:

Next steps     

Explore how you can advance your career with an online business degree or MBA from a top university. Try a course like Strategic Leadership and Management, Managerial Economics and Business Analysis, or Digital Marketing before you apply to experience for yourself whether the program is the right fit.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.