The traditional master of business administration (MBA) degree is a two-year, 50-60 credit program that is comprised of a first-year core curriculum and electives that are chosen to meet the requirements of a specialization.
Many MBA programs use a seven-week format in which students are immersed in half the semester’s courses for seven weeks and then take a new set of courses for another seven weeks. Often, these seven week periods are divided by a week spent in a business setting to apply classroom concepts to a real-world setting.
During the first year of an MBA program, students complete a core curriculum. Similar to undergraduate core business administration programs, classes generally include macro and microeconomics, marketing, financial and/or managerial accounting, decision-making, ethics, statistics, strategy, organizational behavior, leadership, and operations.
In the second year (or toward the end of the first, in some programs), MBA students begin taking electives that contribute toward a degree specialization. MBA candidates can choose from a variety of specialties, depending on what is offered at their school, that include corporate finance, entrepreneurial management, real estate, marketing research, investment management, global business, energy management, organizational behavior, and more.
Many schools offer joint MBA degree programs that pair the MBA with another degree, such as the juris doctorate (JD) for law students. Such a program blends a two-year MBA program with a three-year JD program into a compact four-year program. MBAs can be combined with a variety of degrees, including the doctor of medicine, master of communications, and master of health administration, as well as with Ph.D. programs.
While the two-year MBA program is referred to as the traditional program, some schools offer a one-year intensive program, as well as part-time programs for those with full-time work commitments. MBAs are increasingly available through online study, as well.