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Degrees Explained: Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Indra Nooyi, former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, speaks during the Women in the World Summit on April 12, 2019 in New York. Source: Don Emmert/AFP

In 2020, a year where a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic disrupted many and various industries, 92% of companies said they still want to hire MBA graduates. Their rationale is clear. History is filled with holders of these enduring degree turning the fortunes of their companies around or shattering glass ceilings. Melinda Gates — ranked Forbes’ sixth most powerful woman in the world — and Indra Nooyi from India — one of the first female CEOs of PepsiCo — are just two examples from this very long list. 

If you plan to join this illustrious bunch, here are the key points you should know about applying in 2021: 

Entry requirements

This varies from place to place, so always make sure you research beforehand. In the US, you’ll typically need a four-year bachelor’s degree, along with work experience, personal statement, proof of English proficiency and a GMAT score of over 600. 

Alternatively, in Europe, a minimum of three years of full-time work experience is needed. Alongside a bachelor’s degree, international work or study experience and English exams that include the TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Advanced and the Pearson Test are common requirements

Format

MBA programmes are increasingly flexible today. Location options include campus-based, online and hybrid (a combination of the first two). You can choose to study full-time, part-time or take accelerated programmes.  

Data from Bloomberg Businessweek found graduates get an 80% salary bump after graduating. Source: Theo Rouby/AFP

Coursework

The majority of highly-ranked business schools focus their foundational coursework in the following six areas: finance; marketing; accounting; leadership and teamwork; economic statistics and operations; and accountability and ethics. 

Expected salaries

Data from Bloomberg Businessweek found graduates get an 80% salary bump after graduating. A projection by the National Association of Colleges and Employers predict the average salary for a fresh graduate in 2021 will start at US$87,966 — 11.3% higher than the average for 2020.

In Europe, graduates from leading business schools in 2020 recorded salaries that range from US$104,737 (Edhec Business School, France) to US$181,277( INSEAD). 

MBA

The MBA will likely advance any role you currently hold — and then some. Source: Yasin Akgul/AFP

Jobs

The MBA will likely advance any role you currently hold — and then some. With an MBA, you can seek roles such as financial advisor, management analyst, investment banker, marketing manager and business consultant — given you took the specific concentrations for them in B-School.

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