An MBA degree can offer both a broad and narrow education. Students enrolled in MBA programs learn not only the fundamentals of running and managing a business, but are also often encouraged to choose a specialization based on their career goals and interests.
These degree programs are known for offering a fairly well-rounded education in the world of business, which can be applicable to a number of career paths for students with all kinds of backgrounds.
This flexibility is one of the many reasons why MBAs are usually the most popular graduate degree year after year.
General Topics in MBA programs
Unlike other graduate degrees that will generally do a deep dive into a single study, an MBA comprises mainly a general business education with the availability of deeper studies into specific areas.
A large portion of the coursework involved in earning an online MBA will be general business management skills and knowledge. The core classes–or “gen eds”–from most programs will cover various facets of running and managing a business to provide students with a broad base of general business knowledge.
Some of the topics that are generally included in the general MBA course requirements include:
- Business finance
- Marketing (analysis, development, etc)
- Leadership and management
- Business strategy
- Operations management
- Analysis and decision making
- Human resources
Most of these topics consist of 1 or 2 courses that cover the topic at a high level but do not cover the advanced mechanics or theory involved in the subject.
Specific Courses in MBA Programs
In addition to covering general topics, there are a number of courses within each area of study that focus on various aspects of the topic.
Some examples of course names and descriptions:
- Strategic Financial Decisions
Advanced capital project analysis; evaluating levered investments; application of option valuation principles to strategic decisions. (via PSU World Campus MBA)
- Professional Selling Skills and Practices (via Ball State University Online MBA)
- New Product Design and Development (via Capella Online MBA in Marketing)
- Marketing Management and Administrative Policy (via Washington State University MBA)
Marketing management and administrative policies as they relate to concepts, strategies, and decision making.
As a student in most online MBA programs, you’ll need to take a core of approximately 8-12 classes, which all students will take. After that, you’ll generally have a choice of electives, which can either be chosen at your discretion, or tie directly into a specialization that you may choose.
Specializations for Your MBA
Most MBA graduates choose to pursue a specialization that more accurately reflects their ultimate career goals or interests.
The available specializations will vary from program to program, but these have become increasingly focused to included data-intensive studies, technology, and other evolving changes in the business marketplace.
A brief survey of some available online MBA programs found a wide variety of available specializations, including:
- Corporate finance
- Global supply chain management
- Investment management
- Management consulting
- Business analytics
- Strategic management
Before choosing an online MBA program, it’s important for students to identify which (if any) of the available specializations align more closely with their anticipated career trajectory after graduation.