What is an MBA?

Studying for a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is a considerable undertaking, that requires discipline, time, and money but if you are determined and dedicated, an MBA can be life-changing.

An MBA is an internationally recognised passport to a successful management career. Designed to broaden your horizons and build on your strengths, it takes into account all the major aspects of business and gaining an AMBA-accredited MBA can bring with it a wealth of benefits. 

Studying for an MBA can help you advance up the career ladder, create new networks of people and open doors you may never have considered before. 

What types of MBAs are available?

MBAs are available in a variety of formats – online or classroom based; modular, blended or weekend programmes; full time or part time; distance learning or evening learning are all possible. 

You can complete a global MBA, learning about and often studying in countries across the world, and contrasting business theory and practice. 

If you work in a management position you could complete an Executive MBA, which will allow you to stay in your current job, study alongside this, and bring your MBA knowledge and skills into the role. 

You could also study a specialist MBA, which could look at business strategy in a defined industry – including hospitality, healthcare, luxury, energy, or even wine.

What are the entry requirements?

Entry requirements vary depending on the School or the course you’d like to undertake. 

Most MBA programmes would ask for three-to-five years of work. You would normally be asked to complete a test (GMAT or GRE are the most common formats) and you would be required to provide a personal statement and undertake an interview with the Schools to which you’re applying. 

Most MBA programmes – all over the world – are taught in English, so you might also need to complete a language assessment if English is not your first language.

How does an MBA programme differ from a regular master’s programme?

There are several key differences between an MBA and master’s degree. 

MBA programmes are all-encompassing, students gain functional knowledge across all aspects of business whereas specialised master’s programme provide an in-depth knowledge of a subject.

Masters programmes can be shorter than MBAs, and usually accept students with little work experience.

What is the average cost of an MBA?

Cost can vary depending on the type of programme you want to undertake, the duration, the location, or the mode of study. MBA programmes range in value from £10,000 up to more than £50,000 – as a general rule, expect to pay about £20,000-£25,000.  

More than four in five (82%) MBA graduates surveyed by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) in 2019, think their MBA represents good value for money. 

If you want to stay working at your current company or cannot afford to give up a salary for a year, then a part time MBA is still a great option for you, as you can continue to work full time.  

What MBA funding options are available?

Most Business Schools offer scholarship funds for which you can apply to complete the MBA. 

Your employer may even offer you the chance to complete an MBA that they will fund. MBAs offer the chance to learn valuable skills, and if you show promise, it could be in your company’s best interests to train you in this way. 

How long does it take to complete an MBA programme?

The duration of the MBA can vary, depending on whether you study full time or part time. Most Business School offer one-year and two-year programmes and some offer 16-and-18-month programmes. 

Many Business Schools offer flexible ways to study, either through distance learning or part-time programmes. 

How does an MBA improve your career prospects?

Studying for an MBA will give you the chance to enhance your skills and knowledge. 

While studying an MBA, you will develop leadership proficiency and study in-depth management strategy and analysis. You will learn about all aspects of business; not just the areas in which you work, developing an understanding of the roles of other people, which is paramount when leading in business.

During your MBA, you will get the opportunity to work on team projects, developing skills in people management, teamwork and negotiation. You may also be required to complete modules that require public speaking; developing your communication skills.

You might be considering starting your own business. The leadership and negotiation skills you develop during your MBA, as well as your contacts and knowledge, will put you in a great position to take this leap. 

During your MBA you will meet and build relationships with some of the best business minds in the world, including your tutors, lecturers guest lectures and industry leaders.

AMBA asked more than 1,000 MBAs how much more or less money, as a percentage change, they think they are going to earn in the future without factoring-in future inflation (i.e. their real salary change). Three fifths (61%) think they will earn at least 20% more next year than they currently earn. Looking three years ahead, almost half (47%) estimate they will earn at least 50% more.

The findings demonstrate that MBAs largely see an upwardly mobile career trajectory with 61% of graduates thinking that they will be either a Board member, CEO or business owner within the next 10 years. 

Are there any other benefits?

Graduates have reported that their MBA helped them achieve a promotion; expand their area of expertise; change career; equip them to start their own business; learn more skills and gain knowledge about the business world; improve their business and professional network of contacts; increase their international mobility; differentiate themselves in the job market; build confidence; get a broader understanding of how businesses should be managed; learn about developing a sustainable and ethically sound business

The people who will study alongside you also make great networking contacts, they will be likely to be successful in their field, so will be great contacts to have throughout your career. 

Our research shows that 71% graduates state that ‘I am more confident about myself’ as a result of completing their MBA. More than eight in 10 (85%) of those surveyed say that their MBA has had a positive impact on their own happiness, how they manage their team’s stress levels (83%) and how they manage their own stress levels (79%). 

The majority of MBAs also recognise how it will positively impact on helping those in society most in need (67%).


AMBA is here to support you throughout your entire MBA journey, from researching the right courses to offering support during and after your studies, through knowledge sharing, networking and learning events.

You will have access to our MBA Jobs portal, with relevant jobs to help you make the most of your qualification. You can also sign up to receive regular newsletters and updates on our activities, including international learning events. Our global network of 50,000 MBA students and alumni in 150 counties across the world, will help you forge new connections and business partnerships. Get actively involved with our varied programmes and help run events. You could even be put forward for the board and help shape our future.

For more information visit www.associationofmbas.com/mbaguide 

About the Author

About the Author

Andrew Main Wilson is the CEO of Association of MBAs and Business Graduates Association (AMBA & BGA)

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