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Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a tertiary degree in business management. Originally designed to provide engineers with management skills, today's MBA draws applicants from a range of disciplines.

An MBA is considered a professional Master's degree rather than a traditional or academic Master's degree. However, completion of a professional MBA does not usually preclude admission to a Ph.D. program for research-oriented engagements. Schools that offer the MBA are usually known as either management or business schools.

Students do not necessarily need a Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Commerce to pursue an MBA.



The MBA designation originated in the USA, emerging as the country industrialized and companies sought out scientific approaches to management. The first two American business schools, (Wharton and University of Chicago), were established in the 1890s.

As the US MBA model emerged at the turn of the 20th century, Europeans developed centres of excellence in business, such as at the universities of London and Manchester. Elsewhere in Europe, companies started management programs, such as IMD, INSEAD, Henley and Ashridge to provide management training for promising employees. However, unless otherwise specified as Mini MBA program leading to an award and formal alumni status, quality of open-executive programs are not comparable with a formal MBA degree.

Executive MBA

EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) programs were first established for senior executives by the University of Chicago in 1943. Refer CEO & CFO. These programs typically require significant business experience to gain admission. They may serve as "finishing schools" for upwardly mobile executives, or as "catch-up" educational opportunities for technical executives who lack business expertise.

Such EMBA alumnus directories are generally regarded as the sources of top tier business talents in the world.

Program Content

Programs usually base admissions on the GMAT test, work experience, academic transcripts, references, and personal interviews.


MBA programs expose students to a variety of subjects, including economics, organizational behaviour, marketing, accounting, finance, strategy, international business, information technology management, and government policy.

In the traditional US MBA model, students study a wide breadth of courses in the program's first year, then pursue specialization in the second year.

In other parts of the world programmes normally last for shorter periods. Typically in Europe the duration is between 11 and 16 months.


Many programs allow students to specialize in a particular area, such as organizational behaviour, marketing, accounting, finance, technology management, strategy or international business. Unspecialized MBA programs often focus second-year studies on strategy.

MBAs in Academic advancement

MBAs from universities evaluated by United States National Research Council (USNRC) may equip future scholars and professors. Such MBA category is a milestone for both professional and academic career advancement. Refer to faculty directories of such schools and USNRC ratings.

MBAs in Management consulting

Business schools and leading media announced on regular basis recruitment of MBAs by leading management consulting firms.

International MBA Programs

Today, MBA/DBA designations can be found anywhere and even accessed through on-line or distance learning, such as that offered by the Open University Business School of the UK which has students world-wide.


The UK Government announced in its April 2004 budget that persons holding an MBA degree from the world's top fifty business schools will be entitled to work in the UK for one year. After this year has elapsed, they are likely to qualify for the UK's Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. This, in effect, means that an MBA from one of the top schools is a ticket to UK residency status.

Under globalization, both Oxford and Cambridge eventually joined London Business School for global MBA competition under Financial Times league table after 2000. It sounds that the American MBA culture do work in EU nations in 21st century.

Non-traditional MBA

MBAs may be freely granted by exemption of professional designation(s) or other undergraduate programs under certain jurisdictions. In such cases, holding a MBA may attach different non-traditional values or images etc. This may mean a pair of affiliated qualifications or co-branding applicable in certain circles.

Such post graduate level exemptions are generally not available in American accredited business schools. Under globalization, even in China, MBA as a state award with exemptions in Uniform MBA exams and/ or course work plus attendence is absolutely illegal and impossible.

Conversion of non-academic program (particularly at undergraduate level) into post-graduate credits without international credential evaluation and without a formal program of post-graduate learning process are innovative and technical arena in higher adult education.

Serious students should balance league table ranking and practicality of having a post-graduate MBA. Please notice that in leading Open Universities, no single module and learning compliance can be exempted. As such, the status of the degree award institutions are our primary reference for MBA value.

External links

  • MBA.co.za (http://www.mba.co.za): MBA.co.za - Your guide to an MBA degree in South Africa
  • MBA Depot (http://www.mbadepot.com): MBA Depot - Resources and tools for MBAs and managers
  • MBA Humor (http://www.abcformbas.com) Stuff you don't learn at Harvard
  • http://www.mba.org.uk - The Association of MBAs (AMBA) accredits Business Schools
  • MBA: Is the MBA Degree Worth it? (http://businessmajors.about.com/cs/decidingonanmba/a/mba_worthit.htm)
  • MBApedia (http://www.mbapedia.org): An open, collaborative and free encyclopedia for entrepreneurs, small business, and MBA students.
  • MBA programs (http://www.mbaprograms.org): Worldwide directory of MBA schools and programs that includes admission tips, scholarship links, and glossary of terms.
  • Canadian MBA Rankings (http://www.canadianbusiness.com/managing/article.jsp;jsessionid=HOPBHKDDFFGC?content=20041028_181007_1460)
  • Economist ranking of business schools-by poll of polls (http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=1383461)(a consolidation of top 5 league tables for global top tier)
  • MBA History from Economist (http://www.economist.com/globalExecutive/education/mba/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2135907)
  • National Research Council ratings for Chicago, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Stanford and MIT (http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/95/951010.nrc.univ.rankings.shtml) (Sources of national top 10 academic programs)

  Results from FactBites:
MBA Programs at Business Schools (206 words)
If you are working in business and are looking to move up the ladder or to move from your current area of expertise to a new one, an MBA program can help you achieve your goals.
Furthermore, in the high-level positions an MBA degree will allow you to hold, your work will often be more interesting and rewarding.
In addition, many MBA programs will allow you to earn joint degrees, so you can combine business administration training with training in another field, like law, health, or even social work.
Encyclopedia4U - MBA - Encyclopedia Article (158 words)
MBA is an abbreviation for Master of Business Administration, a tertiary degree in business management.
An important admission criterion to most MBA programs is the GMAT test.
An MBA is considered a professional Master's degree rather than a traditional or academic Master's degree.
  More results at FactBites »



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