Master’s in Business Administration Degrees & Schools Guide

Master's Degree in Business Administration Career Options & Salary

Why Earn a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA)?

An MBA is the most common master’s earned. This is partially because business is such a large sector for employment, but it is also because the Master’s in Business Administration is applicable to all kinds of career choices. If you are looking to move up in any kind of management position, a Master of Business Administration degree could be just the thing you’re looking for. If you want to start your own business, an MBA program will give you the foundation in business you need, and you can choose to take extra courses, along with your MBA curriculum core courses, in entrepreneurship or a number of other concentrations in order to help you figure out where to start. It’s no surprise so many people are earning this degree because it can help you advance in nearly any industry.

A concentration can provide MBA graduates something beyond basic management skills such as problem solving, communication skills, presentation, analytical thinking, and more. Business schools, colleges, and universities offer these as part-time or full-time (two-year) MBA programs to working professionals all over the U.S. And the options of what concentration MBA students can add onto their main MBA degree program are vast, including:

  • Executive MBA
  • Digital Marketing
  • Marketing Management
  • Business Analytics
  • Healthcare Management
  • Management Information Systems
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Leadership and Decision Making
  • Human Resources and Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Financial Accounting
  • Financial Management
  • International Business
  • Project Management
  • Risk Management
  • And Many More


While the path to receiving an MBA degree may be long and hard, the benefits you can receive shouldn’t be discounted. You’ll be able to make a positive impact on your employer, colleagues, and even the world around you.

  • Credibility — Completing an MBA program gives you credibility that will serve you in your job. With all the new knowledge you have, you’ll find it easier to move out beyond your comfort zone and succeed.
  • Increased self-confidence — Because you have new knowledge that often delves deeper into your field, you may feel more confident in the decisions you must make in response to business analytics or marketing research.
  • Transferable skills — Even if you begin in one industry, the knowledge you obtained during your MBA program will easily transfer to another industry.
  • Strategic thinking — You’ll learn how to think in new ways by developing strategies to deal with new issues.
  • Self-discipline — It isn’t easy earning an MBA degree. You’ll develop new levels of self-discipline, which will help you in other areas of your life.
  • Better time management — You’ll learn how much you can take on at any one time and still complete work assignments.


Cons: While completing an MBA program can offer you a lot, you also need to look at possible drawbacks. While receiving an MBA degree may pay off in the future, you may be wondering if the effort is worth the outcome.

  • Loss of paid earnings — Even though you may get several scholarships, those are to use for school-related expenditures. While you’re in school, you may lose as much as $30,000 in earnings during that time, especially if you attend full-time for two years.
  • Not knowing your own passion — If you are going to graduate school or business school, are you doing so because someone else expects you to do so? Before making this critical decision, know yourself and what you want in your life first.
  • Know the ROI — You should know beforehand if your new level of earning is going to cover the cost of paying for the MBA program. If your pay isn’t increasing by that much, you could end up with more debt and not much else to show for it.

Overview of a Master's in Business Administration

What Business Administration Master’s Degrees are Available?

  • Master’ of Business Administration -
    This program should allow you to earn a master’s degree from an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)-accredited business school. Whether you attend on-campus classes or your coursework is delivered to you 100% online, you should be taking every class that on-campus students take. When you graduate, your MBA will be indistinguishable from those earned by on-campus students.
  • Master of Science in Business Administration (MSBA) -
    This program is offered after earning a traditional MBA. Students choosing this program will benefit from additional study in a specialization. Students who wish to earn this degree should have a plan for their future career; they should also know how an MSMBA will help them reach those goals. You’ll be able to choose from a full list of MSMBA specializations from which to choose.

Admission Requirements

You’ll have to send in several documents in order to be accepted by the university of your choice. Graduate schools in which you are interested will require you to show proof that you were a university student in good standing, and that you earned your undergraduate degree.

  • Official GRE or GMAT scores
  • Past academic records (official transcripts)
  • Resume that shows your professional work experience

You may be able to have the GMAT exam waived if you meet specific requirements.

Make note of all deadlines at all graduate schools you’re considering and send your materials in well before the deadlines. If you miss the deadlines, your application packets may not be considered.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Business Administration Master’s?

If you’re looking to earn your masters, you likely already spent four years in school earning your undergraduate degree. This degree may have been in a field other than business. Now that you’re ready to return to school, how long will it take before you graduate?

If you apply all your time every week (full-time), then you will earn your MBA within two years. This means you’re taking the full number of credits that your university decrees to be full-time. If you are still working and taking your MBA classes part-time, then, you should be able to earn your degree within four years.

Potential Careers in Business Administration with a Master’s

  • Senior Financial Analyst:
    You need at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree will be more attractive to future employers. In general, your work will involve preparing detailed annual financial budgets and forecasts on a monthly basis. You’ll provide financial analysis support to different departments. You’ll assist with preparation of analysis schedules (weekly, monthly, and quarterly).
    Average annual salary: $79,000
  • Financial Controller:
    While you can hold a bachelor’s degree for this career, employers are more likely to hire those with MBAs or masters in financial accounting. You’ll oversee financial reporting, accounting, analysis, and preparation of financial statements, among other tasks.
    Average annual salary: $81,000
  • Chief Financial Officer:
    While a bachelor’s degree is all that is required, you may get more interest if you have an MBA. In your role, you develop internal control policies; procedures and guidelines for budgetary activities (administration, cash and credit management, and accounting); and provide leadership, helping to coordinate the business planning, accounting, budgeting and administrative efforts.
    Average annual salary: $130,000
  • Chief Operations Officer:
    In this position, a graduate degree (MBA) is strongly preferred. Professionals in this field have strong backgrounds in the management and business sectors with previous management or directing experience in a company. They’ll direct day-to-day operations, implement strategies established by the board of directors and CEO, and improve operating procedures to improve profits.
    Average annual salary: $141,000

Options to Advance

Returning to school again to earn your Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is one way you can advance in your career. Earning your DBA has the potential of setting you heads and shoulders above the rest of your MBA-credentialed peers.

This degree is highly respected and combines well with your experience and individual talents. This degree helps to refine your suitability in taking on higher-level tasks. In the end, this may mean a higher salary, but that point is not guaranteed. If your salary does increase, it is more likely to happen because of the increased level of your professional performance.

If you choose to stay at the MBA level, then you may also choose to specialize in one particular business field, be it healthcare management, business analytics, or starting out as an entrepreneur. Choose your options to match your goals.

Best Master's of Science in Business Administration (MBA) Programs

The majority of community colleges offer degrees in public administration, but not all degrees are created equal. Because this field requires a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions, you should verify two things before you enroll: all credits must be transferable to a four-year degree and the program must be fully accredited. Here's a look at five traditional colleges (on campus classes) that offer associate degrees in public administration:

  • Harvard University
    Boston, Massachusetts

    This university was founded in 1636, well before the birth of the United States. It is the oldest university in the U.S. Always keeping its devotion to excellence in education and research, Harvard has developed leaders in several disciplines.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration
  • Columbia University
    New York City, New York

    Columbia University is proud of its learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration
    • Executive MBA
  • Northwestern University
    Evanston, Illinois

    Northwestern University has 21,000 students, more than 3,000 full-time faculty members, three campuses, 2 schools and colleges, and more than 500 student organizations and clubs. Students are strongly encouraged to engage with the world, along with the university’s diverse community.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration
  • The University of Chicago
    Chicago, Illinois

    Located in the heart of Chicago, this university focuses on research within an urban area. Established in 1890, the University of Chicago has maintained this goal for its entire existence. Students are faculty are encouraged to inquire openly and freely on any topic.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration
    • Executive Master of Business Administration
  • Stanford University
    Stanford, California

    While Stanford doesn’t have the largest campus in the U.S., it is one of the more famous universities. With a faculty of a little more than 2,200 and a student body of 16,424, the experiences of students and faculty will be diverse and well-rounded.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration

Traditional Schools Offering a Masters in Business Administration (MBA)

  • University of Southern California
    Los Angeles, CA

    USC received a ranking of 17th from among more than 1,000 public and private universities. Only USC, Stanford, and Caltech ranked in the top 20. USC is a private research university, with its curricular offerings giving its students a wide range of opportunities for study and success.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration
    • Executive MBA (EMBA)
  • Purdue Global University
    Davenport, Iowa

    Purdue Global strives to offer the best, world-class education to its students. Faculty know that their students are working adults, so they tailor their classes to the needs of their students. Purdue Global University strives to offer an education using modern curricula and an innovative approach to teaching.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Online Master’s in Business Administration
  • Penn State World Campus
    University Park, Pennsylvania

    Penn State Worldwide has an accumulated 125 years of experience in distance education. Penn State worldwide was opened in 1998, which meant that Penn State students were (and are) able to earn their degrees completely online. You have more than 150 programs to choose from.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Master of Business Administration
  • Ohio University
    Athens, Ohio

    Ohio University was begun in 1786, when 11 men got together in a Boston tavern to discuss the development of a college north of the Ohio River. After Ohio became a state, the Ohio General Assembly passed an act to establish Ohio University.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Online Master of Business Administration
  • California State University Long Beach
    Long Beach, California

    This 300+ acre campus attracts only the best professors and students. An education from CSULB is one to be highly regarded and respected. The faculty work hard at creating educational opportunities for students and preparing them for their next stage in life.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Online Master of Business Administration


Business Degrees & Career Paths