FAQ - Business School Q&A

A master of business administration (MBA) program is designed to help graduates develop deep professional networks, high-level knowledge, and leadership skills. Before enrolling in an MBA program, degree-seekers should understand the nuances of the business school landscape, including which programs are available to them based on their experience and needs, how general and specialty MBA programs differ, and which type of MBA can best prepare them for their desired role or industry following graduation.

The market for online MBA degrees is exceptionally diverse, so prospective students need to have a clear intent and goal to choose the MBA program that best suits their needs. Also, because of the time, effort, and financial commitments required to pursue an MBA, making an informed decision about where to apply is essential.

Find out the answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that prospective students ask about online MBA programs.

MBA Basics

These FAQs offer an overview of what to expect from an MBA education. Prospective students can find answers to some of their first questions about this type of degree.

In 1994 and again in 2014, author Ronald Yeaple tracked the salaries of thousands of survey participants before and after they completed an MBA program. Unsurprisingly, respondents reported a 50 percent pay increase as soon as they graduated.

What students currently learn in business school differs radically from what they learned in past decades. Today, the better business schools include topics and experiences that weren’t even conceived of as a part of management education 20 or 30 years ago, such as innovation and design thinking.

To address growing demand, online MBA programs have made the degree accessible to more aspiring business leaders. Distance-learning provides the flexibility needed for busy professionals to maintain work and family responsibilities while studying. Online programs are also ideal for students who live in remote areas or who face other challenges to participation in campus-based programs.

Blended master of business administration (MBA) degrees are increasingly attractive to prospective students. Also known as hybrid degrees, these programs blend on-campus sessions with online education and offer unique advantages to students.

Online MBA programs are as varied as the students who participate in them. Overall, standard online MBA programs typically start at 36 credits, but they can quickly reach up to over 70 credits, creating a range of programs with many variables that students should consider.

Our editors analyzed the curricula at the world’s most popular MBA programs: those at Harvard University’s Harvard Business School, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. More candidates apply to these business schools than any others worldwide. From our analysis, we identified the required core courses common among all three business schools.

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application that instructors can use to develop, manage, and deliver their courses online. The market for software with these capabilities is vast and rapidly growing. MBA students and applicants might be surprised to learn about the upheaval taking place behind the scenes in the market for the software that drives modern university degree programs.

The skills and knowledge gained from a master of business administration (MBA) degree program prepare graduates for business leadership roles, which can result in higher salaries and better job opportunities. Of course, an MBA program requires a substantial investment of resources and, perhaps most significantly, time.

Today, almost all reputable online MBA programs require an on-campus immersion or residency as a graduation requirement, sometimes referenced as an “I/R” or “blended” in-person component. Regardless of terminology, an on-campus residency is where students who usually connect with each other through computer screens assemble in-person, typically on campus and sometimes at carefully chosen off-campus venues.

The only analysis that convincingly argues in favor of admission to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and similar schools depends exclusively on total compensation. Every student has to take into account his or her own individual situation and consider different metrics, such as salary-to-debt ratio, payback period, and salary uplift, which is where top-tier business schools may not win.

There are two valid answers to the question, “What can I do with an MBA degree?” One considers the top reasons people continue to want these degrees. The other answer reflects on the job and career prospects for MBA graduates.


Learn about the admissions process for MBA programs, from application requirements and the GMAT test to waivers and transfer credits.

The analysis and recommendations presented here for aspiring business school students on BSchools represent the collective wisdom of some of the most astute analysts and observers of graduate management education in the world.

MBA program applicants need a good understanding of what they can expect before they start applying to business schools because the process can be lengthy. Learn what MBA program applicants can expect during the application process, including application deadlines, GMAT waivers, and essays, admissions consultants, work experience, undergraduate degrees and GPAs, coursework and prerequisites, international student issues, and state authorization of online MBA programs.

To protect or improve their yield ratios, universities want to grant entry to applicants who will enroll, not those who are likely to decline and accept a competing school’s offer. Due to pressure from stakeholders to admit the most qualified students who are also the most likely to enroll, admissions officers continually want assurance that their school is a candidate’s first choice.

Although most MBA applicants aren’t familiar with yield, it embodies a significant concept frequently on the minds of university admissions committee members, otherwise known as “adcoms.” And as we’ll see, a broad range of stakeholders—from university boards of trustees to the bond market on Wall Street—pay close attention to yield statistics.

Yield management encompasses two main concepts: yield protection and demonstrated interest. Business school applicants need to understand these concepts because admission practices based on them affect the admission outcomes of all university candidates.

According to research by, there is an increasing trend within business schools to offer entrance exam waivers and grant admission to students who do not provide GMAT or GRE scores, even at programs highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

In this guide, we present a few examples of affordable, mid-range, and high-end online MBA programs. Then, to put the cost data in perspective, this article reviews some of the benefits of attending an MBA program, followed by some of the features that distinguish the high-end programs.

Concentrations & Options

There is a wealth of specializations and concentrations offered within accredited online MBA programs. Discover what those options look like and whether one might be a good fit.

An executive master's in business administration, or EMBA, is a unique type of MBA program that is typically completed part-time while students continue to work full-time. It offers unique advantages that differentiate them from traditional part-time MBAs.

Professional MBAs have two characteristics: the first is that a PMBA can be completed part-time; the second is that its curriculum is distinct from that of a traditional MBA.

Because of age, employment, or other life responsibilities, going back to school full-time on a campus may be impossible for some prospective MBA students. Flexible MBA programs—i.e., programs built around scheduling flexibility—are designed with these types of students in mind.

Part-time and executive MBA programs go beyond making a business school education accessible to those otherwise unable to afford the financial sacrifices, time commitments, and family lifestyle disruptions required by a full-time counterpart. Many part-time and executive programs offer outstanding educational quality, influential alumni networks, and an affiliation with more powerful university brands to students who might otherwise find themselves restricted to full-time counterparts.

Graduate education in healthcare offers students many more choices than in the past. Specifically, MBA degrees in healthcare provide a range of benefits for professionals with experience in the industry as well as those new to the sector.

Compare and Contrast

It is vital to compare and contrast MBA degrees before choosing to enroll. In this section, MBA applicants can learn more about the differences between program types.

Many business schools continue to require the GMAT or the GRE. However, there are ways MBA applicants can bypass admissions testing. This guide considers the strategies available to MBA candidates.

AACSB-accredited schools have the highest-quality faculties, deliver relevant and challenging curricula, and provide educational and career opportunities not found at other schools. Only about five percent of the 16,000 schools worldwide granting business degrees have met the AACSB’s rigorous "gold standard" accreditation requirements.

A master of business administration (MBA) degree is one of the most widely recognized graduate-level degrees available, but that does not mean that it is the only one available to business professionals. Other graduate-level programs can offer a similarly prestigious degree with a more specialized education—and sometimes at a lower cost. When it comes to their features, how do these programs compare to the MBA?

Universities have offered master’s programs for business professionals for decades. When students consider applying to a graduate program in this discipline, they must decide between an MBA or another type of specialized master’s degree.

An MBA is a generalist degree that teaches a business skill set with a leadership focus, while a master’s in accounting is a targeted degree that provides in-depth study to prepare students to pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

Would you rather be a jack of all trades or a master of one? Those debating between a graduate-level degree in either business administration or finance may want to ask themselves that question.

Those thinking about getting a master’s of business administration (MBA) or a juris doctor (JD) degree have plenty of company. There are 150,000 students who enroll in JD programs annually, and 200,000 students graduate from MBA programs in the U.S. every year.

Both a master of business administration (MBA) and a master of healthcare administration (MHA) can help professionals advance their career opportunities and move into leadership positions. There are similarities and differences.

While both the MBA and MPA degrees offer advanced education in how to run an organization, the two have distinctly separate areas of focus: the private versus public sectors. Both MBA and MPA programs prepare students to be leaders, but there are differences in admissions requirements, salary potential, and curricula.

At some point during the research process, most aspiring business school students wonder about the differences between traditional, professional, and executive MBA programs. So what do all these terms mean and why do so many different kinds of programs exist?

While many of the results are the same, the choice between a full-time and part-time program plays a large factor during the program and will shape one’s MBA experience.

If a prospective student is interested in continuing their journey of lifelong learning through an MBA, they can do so efficiently by choosing a dual specialization or a dual degree program. Dual specialization programs provide an MBA in two main areas of interest, and dual degree programs offer two graduate-level degrees at once.

The words administration and management differ little in dictionary entries. Similarly, business administration and business management are two similar sounding terms, and prospective students often wonder what differentiates these programs from one another.

Accounting, finance, or taxation? Candidates considering graduate study in one of these quantitative fields would be wise to weigh the pros and cons of each. Compare key characteristics of specialized master’s degree programs in each of these three fields with a general MBA degree.

Becoming a Business Leader or Expert

Accountants can specialize in tax matters; they can ferret out ways to improve a company’s operational processes; they can perform rigorous audits and financial evaluations; they can even on leadership roles as top corporate executives.

As college sports continue to grow in popularity and more people are projected to attend college in the coming years, there is a correlated need for more athletic administrators, who run the business side of a sports program.

Although the job description may sound vague, not everyone can be a consultant. It requires a thorough understanding of both specialized and fundamental business concepts that can be applied across a broad range of individual contexts.

Annual construction spending was over $1.2 trillion in November 2018, according to Census Bureau data. Whether that money was well-invested or not will depend, in part, on the quality of each individual building project’s construction manager.

Economists may work primarily with numbers and data sets, but their findings and recommendations have the power to create change in massive and meaningful ways. If you’re interested in studying how the gears of modern society tick, read on to get a step-by-step guide on how to become an economist.

Engineering managers need to be masters of two worlds: business and science. Those two worlds often butt heads and rarely speak the same language, but that’s exactly why the world needs engineering managers—they act as translators and experts in overseeing the construction of complex and critical engineering projects.

The GM of a business department isn’t all that different from the GM of a sports team. This is a role that asks for a competitive spirit, an appetite for risk, and attention to detail.

While data engineers, computer programmers, and UX designers deal with the more technical aspects of IT implementation, technology managers are responsible for macro-level decisions in strategy, operations, and governance. And with technology being an integral part of practically every sector of modern business, technology managers are in high demand.

To be a top sales manager requires one to marry the tried and true fundamentals of an old school sales professional with the cutting edge techniques and data-driven tactics of the modern business world.

In the world of business, most people focus on a short sequence of actions to capture a profit or achieve an objective. But the grandmasters of the business sector are strategy managers: people who can see several moves ahead, and orchestrate short-, mid-, and long-term plans for success.