The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an internationally-recognized degree designed to develop the skills required for careers in business and management. The value of the MBA, however, is not limited strictly to the business world. An MBA can also be useful for those pursuing a managerial career in the public sector, government, private industry, and other areas.
Most MBA programs include a "core" curriculum of subjects, such as accounting, economics, marketing, and operations, as well as elective courses that allow participants to follow their own personal or professional interests. Some schools require that MBA candidates complete an internship at a company or organization, which can lead to concrete job opportunities after the program.
Quality business schools generally require that candidates have at least a few years of professional work experience before starting an MBA program. Applicants are also asked to submit Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, academic transcripts, letters of reference, and an essay or statement of purpose that reflects why they want to pursue an MBA. Non-native English speakers usually have to prove adequate English skills with TOEFL or IELTS scores, or through previous academic experience.
The MBA is currently the most popular professional degree program in the world. Today there are over 2,500 MBA programs offered worldwide; most are offered in English. First introduced at universities in the United States around the turn of the 20th century, MBA programs have evolved to keep up with the demands of the times.
While traditional two-year MBA programs are still common, especially in the United States, one-year programs have become increasingly popular. Part-time and online programs are also widely available for professionals not willing or unable to take a year or two off to do a full-time program. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs are part-time programs targeted at professionals with more years of managerial experience than traditional MBA candidates.