What does MBA stand for?

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. The MBA is an academic degree that can be earned after completing a broad business management program. The MBA program is for business professionals while other masters courses in business usually cover a wide range of business specialisms. MBA programs offer generally more flexible entry than other business programs.

The MBA is basically still a master’s academic program but it has turned more into a high-level qualification in the world of business. The MBA degree is often compared with other MA or MSc business degrees as there are quite some similarities in the programs but there are significant differences between these programs when it comes to eligibility, personal development, and focus.

Academic Masters courses such as Master of Science (MSC) and Master of Arts (MA) are postgraduate degrees that traditionally can be earned in a wide range of subject fields. You can find many different disciplines where you can study for a Masters degree. There is a broad range in business and management degrees and specialist degrees can be earned in all sorts of specialisms from entrepreneurship to brand management.

In case you would like to enhance your knowledge and skills in one specific field of business, going for a Master’s degree will probably be your best option. Master degrees are perfect for the professional at an early stage of his or her career path. The Master’s degree is also suited for graduates who wish to attain a higher level of qualification before entering the employment market.

MBA programs are broader and more focused on the development of leadership and management skills. MBA programs offer modules in core business issues, functions, and research and evaluate how all these practices and units work together in a strategic way. Master of Business Administration programs combine theoretical academic education and practical business cases and experience. The MBA degree is very popular with directors and senior managers for the purpose of academically recognizing business experience and solving complicated challenges.

Standard prerequisites for enrolling in an MBA program is that the applicant has sufficient strategic work experience. This is a major difference from other masters programs where students may sign up right away from college or university. Traditional Masters studies are building on the gained undergraduate skills level of skills and practical experience is not required. MBA programs, on the other hand, require applicants to carry sufficient experience and to engage in work-related business projects.

Students signing up for a Masters study are usually younger than MBA applicants as they often come straight from college whereas MBA students generally come with a lot of business experience at a high level and also tend to be older, usually 30 and up, which reflects senior management experience. One of the main advantages of studying for an MBA degree is that your peers will also be highly qualified and experienced business professionals which allows for valuable connections and networking opportunities. 

MBA programs are targeted at the working professional so delivery and study options are pretty flexible. Generally, distance learning, online, part-time, full-time, or blended solutions are widely offered whereas Masters programs usually are more rigid because they are attracting graduates looking for a full-time study option. Masters programs like MSc in Business Management are very popular and offered in a number of formats as well, but you may have a hard time finding flexible study options for more specialist MA or MSc courses. Read also this page about MBA in Sustainability.

Online study offers a popular and convenient option for many postgraduate students these days. This way of going for an MBA degree allows business professionals to keep their job while studying for their degree from home, from work, or in a part-time setting. Online studying for the MBA degree is now at a peak because you will receive the same rigorous level of education, teaching, and support as when you would take the courses on-campus.

Top US MBA Business Schools

Pennsylvania State University Smeal College of Business
210 Business Building, University Park, PA 16802, Phone: 814-863-0448 – 814-863-0474 (admissions)

Pennsylvania State University has had a great reputation for bringing together students and faculty from all over the world since 1855. The university is a public school and offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate academic degrees and executive education programs. This University’s MBA program is also listed as one of the cheapest among top-rated business programs.

Penn State’s college of business was established in 1953 and was named the Mary Jean and Frank P. Smeal College of Business in 1990. Smeal College of Business is accredited in business and accounting by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and has over 160 faculty members who instruct and perform academic exploration and research on numerous business subject areas. Smeal also includes a network system of industry-backed research facilities.

Master of Business Administration: Smeal College of Business’ University Park-based residential MBA program offers enrollees the opportunity to become specialized in a specific field of business. Areas of concentration are Finance, Marketing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Strategic Leadership, Supply Chain Management, and Sustainability and Social Innovation. The Penn State MBA program also includes several joint-degree academic programs together with some other academic centers at Penn State, for example, JD/MBA with the Dickinson School of Law, BS/MBA with the Eberly College of Science, and MD/MBA with the College of Medicine.

Executive Master of Business Administration: For the 21-month EMBA program, classes are delivered on alternate weekends in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, at the ACE Conference Center. Smeal’s EMBA program format is specially designed for fully employed business professionals with proven leadership skills and no less than eight years of relevant professional experience.

Online MBA: Smeal’s online MBA curriculum includes subject material from across functional areas, incorporating education in management, marketing, finance, accounting, and operations via online presented content and through two required residency sessions.

Penn State MBA
Smeal College of Business’ internationally high-ranked traditional (residential) MBA program starts every year in August and takes two academic years to complete on Penn State University’s campus in State College, Pennsylvania. In the beginning, the program focuses on the fundamentals of business, and later in the program students can personalize the Penn State MBA experience to line up with their specific professional ambitions. From the end of the first year, flexibility increases through summer internships, and all through the second year of the MBA program.

The Penn State MBA program allows students to connect with the best companies, and students will be equipped with the expertise and skills to lead and develop organizations and businesses. In 2005, the new Business Building on the school’s University Park campus was established and this facility is regarded as one of the best in the world. Smeal MBA graduates are known to secure top positions in the ever-changing international world of business. Read here more about how to prepare for the MBA admission interview.

Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program
The Penn State Executive MBA will take you to the next level in your professional career. According to Bloomberg Businessweek and the Wall Street Journal, the Smeal MBA is one of the best in the world. The program takes 21 months to complete and is offered on alternate weekends in the Philadelphia area and concentrates on the development of personalized leadership across the curriculum to allow students strengthen their skills and develop their knowledge. The first year of the Smeal Executive MBA centers on basic principles in the key areas of Financial Management, Principled Leadership, and Strategic Analysis. The second year of the EMBA program focuses on the development of the skills business leaders require functioning optimally in executive management.

Penn State World Campus Online MBA
Penn State’s Online MBA program continuously ranks among the best in the nation and is perfect for business professionals who don’t have the opportunity or time to leave their jobs for a longer period of time. The program caters to students who are aiming to obtain enhanced leadership skills and want to discover state-of-the-art business approaches to strengthen their personal careers and benefit the companies they work for. Smeal’s online MBA course load incorporates subject material from various functional areas such as Marketing, Finance, Accounting, and Operations via online classes and two required residency experiences. The online MBA program is made up of 19 weeks of web-based study and two one-week on-campus residencies.

The school offers several concentrations via its online program: Accounting, Finance, Leadership, Health Care Administration, Manufacturing and Technology Management, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Human Resources Management, General Management, and Management Information Systems. The online MBA program from Penn State University Smeal College of Business offers students the opportunity to add a highly respected MBA degree on their curriculum vitae, and the school awards graduates from the online program a diploma that states they earned the Penn State MBA degree, regardless whether they accomplished the program on campus or online. Duration: 24 months.

The MBA programs offered by Pennsylvania State University Smeal College of Business cannot be regarded as cheap MBA options, but are among the best MBA programs in the United States and the world.