What is an MBA?

Ever asked yourself the question, What is an MBA? We investigate below.

What Does MBA Stand For?

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. It is a prestigious qualification allowing students to get an overview of key business practices. It is a qualification which is highly regarded by employers. Usually, they are studied once you have had a few years of professional experience rather than carrying straight on from an undergraduate programme. 

Before you agree to take this route of study you will need to recognise that a course like this is expensive and academically challenging. 

There are different types of MBA courses:

  • General MBA: This is an ideal course for anyone with 3 years of business experience behind them or if you are keen on fast tracking your career and getting jobs like a management role in finance industry or corporate strategy 
  • Executive (EMBA): This is usually studied on a part-time basis. This is appropriate to those already in a corporate management position and have ambitions about getting into the boardroom 
  • Specialist MBA: If you have experience of working in management and have ambitions of promotion then this type of MBA is ideal. 
  • Distance Learning MBA: This is suitable for students who cannot attend university full-time and if you need to manage your studies around personal or professional commitments 
  • MBA without Work Experience: If you have recently graduated or are changing your career and want to take your first steps into a career in management but do not have work experience then this type of MBA is ideal. 

It is important to read the course descriptions of the university before you apply to the course as the terms can mean different things in each university. 

What are the requirements to enter an MBA programme?

 You will generally need a 2:1 undergraduate degree, although sometimes a 2:2 is accepted. You may be able to get accepted if you have work experience and do not have a degree. 

Business schools will require you to have at least 3 years of relevant post graduation work experience. Executive MBAs will be required to have between 5 to 10 years’ experience. For general MBAs you will need to take an exam: a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

International students will need to demonstrate their proficiency in the English language by taking a test like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).     

Reason for studying an MBA

 The reasons for studying an MBA are plentiful:

  • It can lead to a promotion, higher salary or a career change
  • MBAs are respected globally, ideal for a candidate interested in working abroad as UK Business schools are very well regarded across the world
  • An MBA can help you to specialise in your current sector or a new industry you want to move into 
  • Majority of MBA students will be international. This gives you an opportunity to work and collaborate with students from diverse backgrounds 

How long does it take to study an MBA programme?

 UK universities have MBA courses that are full-time, part-time as well as distance/online learning. Students studying an MBA full-time take usually between 12-15 months to complete, starting in September.  Although some courses may take longer and some also start in January. Part-time study of MBAs is usually more popular as most MBA students are already in employment and want to work throughout the course. 

Most MBA courses consist of core and optional modules with a dissertation or work-based project. 

How much do MBA programmes cost?

Tuition costs for MBAs can vary by institution. Most tuition fees range between £15,000 and £40,000. You may find some either side of that range too. Here are some examples:

  • York St John University – £9,000
  • University of Central Lancashire – £13,700
  • University of Southampton – £26,500
  • University of Oxford – £63,000
  • London Business School – £87,900

Fees for home and international students are usually the same. However, non-EU students often pay higher. 


The strength of your application will be important in determining if you get a place at an MBA course. You must illustrate your reasons for your interest in the course, what you hope to gain as well as your career plans. 

Most applications are completed through the university’s website. You will need to provide details of your academic qualifications, professional experience and contact information from at least two referees (1 academic; 1 professional). 

As well as online applications you could be asked to write an essay and, if shortlisted, to attend an interview which can be individual or group sessions. It is important to check the application’s deadline and try to apply as early as possible as it will provide you with the best opportunity to access available funding.   







Get More Advice:

There are plenty of places where you can access more advice:

  • Alumni: can provide information on what it is like to study at a particular school and how their career benefitted
  • Career Services: They can help you to decide which course suits you and can help you with your application
  • Current Students: They can inform you about how much work is involved, recommend reading material and other resources 
  • Business Fairs: You can meet representatives from various universities and MBA employers at open days and events 
  • Tutors: You can find out more about course content, methods of assessment and how your career goals match up. 





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