TheBestSchools’ MBA Guide

| Genevieve Carlton

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Find answers to all of your MBA questions here — including the latest news, ways to find the best program, and available specializations.

Enrolling in a master of business administration (MBA) program is a big decision. TheBestSchools.org has helped many MBA students make informed choices when applying for school, receiving admission, graduating, and launching a professional career.

Below, we've curated some of our latest and best advice to help you find the right MBA program for you.

Best MBA Degree Programs Overall

A top-ranked MBA degree can mean more job opportunities or even a higher starting salary. But how can you find the best MBA program for you? The following rankings list the best online programs, including executive MBA programs, to help you find your ideal match.

Best MBA Programs by Specialization

Most MBA students choose a specialization or two to help focus their studies. But what are the top MBA programs in specialties like accounting, finance, project management, and entrepreneurship? Our rankings have some answers.

MBA Degree Overview

Are you still at square one, asking yourself questions like: What's an MBA degree? What are the differences between part-time, accelerated, and executive MBA programs? The following resources can walk you through the many MBA options.

Careers for MBA Graduates

What kinds of careers can MBA graduates pursue? These resources explore top management careers and the best jobs for MBA graduates. Check out the following articles to learn more about your earning potential.

Getting Into an MBA Program

The top business schools have competitive acceptance rates. How can you increase your chances of getting into an MBA program? The following resources offer tips and strategies for improving your application.

Paying for an MBA Degree

The top MBA programs cost over $100,000 per year, but most enrollees pay much less thanks to MBA scholarships and other financial help. Check out these resources for more information about getting an MBA on an affordable budget.

Helpful Guides and Resources for MBA Students

How should you choose an MBA program? When should you get an MBA? Which specialization should you pick? Check out these guides and resources to find the answers to these questions and focus your MBA search.

Latest News for MBA Students

The business world is constantly changing and evolving. Visit these pages to check out the latest news, learn more about top business programs, and discover how you can use an MBA to push for change in the world.

Advice From an MBA Graduate

How can you thrive in an MBA program? Here, an MBA graduate shares expert advice on how to make the most of your time in business school and put your degree to work.

At what point in your career did you get your MBA, and why then?

After graduating from MIT with a degree in chemical engineering, I began work almost immediately as an analyst. While working as a consultant, it became clear that I wanted to start my own business, and I felt that an MBA would provide me with a wealth of knowledge and connections to get me off to a good start. I continued to work while I was in school.

What do you do for your career now?

I am currently the co-founder of Fig Tech and CEO of Fig Loans, which my buddy John Li and I started as a response to learning about the exploitative nature of payday loans. We knew there had to be a better way, and we have been able to make it happen with the support of United Way THRIVE in Houston.

What advice do you have for someone considering pursuing an MBA?

An MBA is by no means a guaranteed path to business success. There are plenty of ingenious entrepreneurs who have created viable businesses without an MBA. What an MBA does is give you connections and boost your resume, which can be helpful when trying to secure funding or meet investors. What really matters, though, is tenacity, organization, and common sense.

What was the hardest part of getting your MBA?

Balancing a job and school is always a challenge, but it can be done with meticulous scheduling and a compassionate employer. Discuss your plans to return to school with your employer, and you may be surprised how flexible and supportive they are!

What was the best part of getting your MBA?

It sounds cliche, but the people you meet during your MBA will become some of your closest friends and most important connections when you enter "the real world." I am in business with one of my best friends, and many of my peers have gone into business together, too, or helped each other find opportunities. Your peers will be your greatest resource!

What was the best piece of advice that got you through your MBA program?

My advisor told me to cultivate work/life balance as soon as possible. I know that it feels like school is an intense period where you should sacrifice everything in the short term, but you should really find balance as soon as you can.

For me, it was and has continued to be going to the gym. It clears my head [and] keeps me alert, and it was what kept me sane through my degree. If you are as successful in business as you hope to be, you will likely be as busy as you were in school, if not more, so finding self-care strategies is crucial for sustaining your career.

What do you think has been the biggest advantage to your career from completing your MBA?

Academic privilege is a very real thing in our current society, and until that changes, I think that having an MBA — especially from a top school — will put you ahead of the pack for most opportunities. The professional network you make during school is difficult to replicate outside of that setting, so the degree may be worthwhile just for the people you meet!

Jeff Zhou is the co-founder and CEO of Fig Loans, a lender offering socially responsible financial products for the underbanked. Mr. Zhou was featured as a New York Times visionary in 2018 for his work with Fig Loans, providing alternative options for people who use payday loans. Mr. Zhou received his MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

MBA Accreditation - A Quick Guide

MBA students should always choose accredited programs — but what is MBA accreditation? What's the difference between regional and programmatic accreditation? Our MBA accreditation guide has the answers.

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University. After earning her doctorate in early modern European history, Carlton worked as an assistant professor of history at the University of Louisville, where she developed new courses on the history of science, Renaissance Italy, and the witch trials. Carlton has published five peer-reviewed articles in top presses and a monograph with the University of Chicago Press. She also earned tenure with a unanimous vote before relocating to Seattle. Learn more about Carlton's work at genevievecarlton.com.

Common Questions About MBAs

true What Does MBA Mean?

MBA stands for master of business administration. An MBA offers graduate-level training in business topics, like strategic management, corporate leadership, and analytical decision-making. Graduates can pursue supervisory and executive roles.

true What Is an MBA? Is It a Major?

An MBA is a graduate-level degree in business that builds strong analytical and decision-making skills. MBA stands for master of business administration.

true Who Can Study for an MBA?

Anybody with a bachelor's degree can apply for an MBA program. Business schools typically require applicants to have some undergraduate coursework in business. MBA applicants often need to provide GMAT scores, and they typically need work experience, too.

true Is Getting an MBA Worth It?

Yes, earning an MBA pays off for many students — especially those pursuing executive-level positions. In 2020, the average MBA salary for new graduates was about $101,000 per year.

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