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MBAs explained

Graduates at an MBA graduation ceremony.Find out what an MBA is and whether it could benefit you.

What is an MBA and who should study one?

An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a qualification in business management.

MBAs are intended for people who are pursuing a career in business or management. They will help to build skills like accounting, business planning, managing staff and marketing. They're also a very useful way to demonstrate your business knowledge to potential employers.

The exact content of a course will vary from institution to institution, so it's important to compare courses carefully. They normally take between one and two years if studied full-time. Part-time MBAs are often flexible rather than taking a fixed amount of time to complete.

Paying for an MBA

MBA fees vary widely, and there is no central student finance system to help with them. However, many institutions offer scholarships and grants. These are normally based on the strength of your application, not on your income – another good reason to make your application as good as it can be. Institutions use scholarships as a way to attract the best students to their courses, so you may have to choose between the course you most want to do and an alternative that offers better funding.

If an MBA would benefit you in your current job, your employer may help you with the cost while you study part-time.

Because MBAs are expensive and can involve taking time off from your career, it's important to think very carefully about whether the cost is worth paying before you start.

Who can get an MBA?

You'll normally need an undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification to get a place on an MBA course. However, some courses will accept people without a degree if they have a lot of management experience.

You'll also need work experience. The exact amount you need will depend on the specific course: some courses will accept any experience in a business environment, while others will demand experience in a management role.

How to apply for an MBA

You'll apply for an MBA directly to the institution, rather than through UCAS. This means that each institution will have its own process and deadlines¸ so check carefully and make sure you don't get different universities' requirements confused.

You'll normally be interviewed, either face-to-face or over the phone. You may also need to take an additional exam, such as the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

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