What Do You Learn in an MBA? A Guide for MBA Studies in 2020

Whether you have some work experience or not, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can help you develop the necessary skills to succeed in the business world.

While most MBAs have similar degree curriculums, the truth is each university can decide what to include (or not) in their study programme offer. Still, there are many similarities and common courses. In this article, we’ll look at what you learn during an MBA degree and how it can help in your future business career.

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What skills do you develop during an MBA?

Before we dive into the curriculum, let’s stop for a moment and look at the skills you’ll develop during an MBA. Obviously, most of them are business-related and focused on improving the work environment and the company’s efficiency. But you can also use them to improve your family connections, relations, and social interactions in general. Here are a few examples:

  • Analyse information, draw conclusions and solve problems
  • Evaluate risks and make decisions
  • Empathy and conflict resolution
  • Take the initiative and find innovative solutions to business problems
  • Leadership: manage employees/teams and inspire them to take action
  • Strategy and planning abilities

What classes do you take during an MBA?

Most general/regular MBA programmes are designed to teach students everything they need to know to run a business (or a department inside a business). That’s why they include a wide range of classes on subjects like:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Economics
  • Business Ethics
  • Strategy
  • Management

Some MBA degrees might include more subjects, others less; this depends on the focus of the programme and the educational approach.

MBA specialisations

General MBAs are usually the most popular, but they aren’t the only option. There are many MBA specialisations which focus on a certain aspect of Business Administration. The specialisation you choose will also influence what you learn.

For example, an MBA in Human Resource Management will focus more on Negotiation, Business Law, Organisational Behaviour, and similar classes. Here are other MBA specialisations you can choose from:

Learn more about MBA specialisations and careers.

Business students looking over charts

The case study method during MBAs

What is the case study method? It’s an educational approach that uses case studies based on real-world business problems. Students have to study all the cases, analyse the information and come up with solutions.

Each proposal is discussed during the MBA seminars. If you have a suggestion, you need to defend it against your fellow students. This way of learning – through active participation – engages the student and allows him/her to learn how to communicate properly, think clearly, and make decisions based on solid facts and arguments.

There is a well-thought structure, which means each case study approaches a new problem and assumes students have already learned something from the previous cases. Obviously, MBA students with work experience in the field have an advantage over regular students.

Both types of future MBA graduates might find it difficult to analyse a large number of case studies in a short time. This is where planning and prioritisation skills will help you out, but don’t expect things to be easy. You’ll have a lot of information to read and understand; afterwards, it will be your turn to come up with insights and practical suggestions.

Work experience vs MBA education

Due to the popularity of MBA degrees, companies are no longer impressed by any MBA graduate. You need to prove you can apply your skills in a real-life business environment and explain how you’ll be an asset for the company.

This is why MBA programmes that require students to have 2 or 3 years of work experience are a blessing in disguise. Even if you find MBAs without such a requirement, you shouldn’t necessarily apply.

You could first work for one year or take an internship; you’ll discover what’s it like to be part of the corporate world. Afterwards, you can apply for an MBA if you still believe it’s the ideal next step in your career.

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Popular destinations for an MBA degree abroad

If reading about what you’ll actually learn during an MBA has made things clearer for you, perhaps you can already start thinking about where you want to study. Here are some of the most popular countries for a Master of Business Administration:

If you want to enjoy the benefits of a degree offered by a university from another country without leaving the comfort of your home, you should check out online MBA degrees. You’ll be able to study when you want, where you want, without neglecting other personal (family, hobbies) or professional (work) responsibilities.

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