What is an MBA?

a visual representation of the professional growth connected with an MBA

If you’re thinking about entering the competitive business world, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualification is a fantastic option. These post-graduate qualifications can provide a wealth of knowledge and experience that can give you an edge when it comes to job applications and career progression.

In this guide, we explain exactly what an MBA is. From what it can teach you and how long it takes to complete, to how much it costs and what job opportunities it can open, carry on reading for all you need to know about this international qualification.

What is an MBA qualification?

The MBA is a globally-recognised degree. It not only helps you develop the skills needed for a career in business and management, it’s also useful if you wish to pursue a managerial career in the government, the public sector, or a private industry.

An MBA usually includes core subjects like accounting, marketing, operations and economics. It can also cover elective subjects that allow you to pursue your own personal or professional interests. Additionally, you might have to complete an internship at a company, and this can help increase your chances of securing a job after you finish the degree.

What does an MBA teach you?

Designed to prepare individuals for an outstanding career as a business leader, MBA programs cover a wide range of topics. Whether completed in one year or over a three year period, an MBA will provide you with the important skills and knowledge needed to thrive in business. With this in mind, the core curriculum of an MBA program usually includes the following:

  • Accounting
  • Analytics (Business Statistics)
  • Fundamentals of Leadership
  • Corporations and Markets
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Business Finance
  • Operations Management
  • Strategy
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Business and Politics
  • Project Management
  • Sustainability and Circularity in Business
  • Reputations, Presentations and Leadership
  • The Entrepreneurship Project

As touched on above, alongside core MBA modules, the ICI MBA program allows you to supplement your course with a selection of elective courses. This enables you to shape your qualification around your own interests and personal career goals. For example, if you are interested in a career in business consultancy, you may opt for elective modules in business strategy and communications. Or if big data is your thing, you may focus more on marketing analytics modules.

How many hours is an MBA?

Although the MBA program can be completed in as little as 12 months, on a part-time basis it can take between two and three years. On average, over three years you will be required to put in between 12 and 15 hours of study. Over two years, this will look more like 20-25 hours of study per week.

How much does an MBA cost?

Here at ICI, we offer a number of different payment plans if you are looking to enrol. Prospective students can make a one-off payment of £1,980 before starting their studies. Alternatively, you can opt for a weekly payment plan of £52 for 42 weeks. This equates to a total payment of £2,200.

Is an MBA worth it?

Absolutely! As long as you are prepared to put the work in, commit fully to your studies, and opt for a reputable course provider (such as ICI), an MBA can be an incredibly useful weapon in your arsenal. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to job hunting and salary expectations. Indeed, according to recent research conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 70% of MBA graduates believe they would not have been able to secure the current role without the qualification. On top of this, 82% of MBA graduates believe their earning power increased as a direct result of being able to put the qualification on their CV.

The chart below displays the average starting salary in a business administration role for those with no degree, a business diploma/degree, and a MBA qualification. This steady increase highlights how valuable an MBA could be for your career.

What can you do with an MBA?

There are many jobs that may require you to have an MBA, or having an MBA will be advantageous for, as the degree provides the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience needed to do the job well. These include:

Accounting – Accountant, budget analyst, benefits manager, and financial controller.
Finance – Financial adviser, financial services sales agent, investment banker, financial analyst, financial manager, and investment fund manager.
Global management – Operations manager, global business manager, sales manager, and management consultant.
Business operations – Business operations manager, supply chain manager, and management consultant.
Healthcare management – Specialist doctors and nurses, hospital administrator, medical and health services manager, and health informatics manager.
Human resources – Training and development manager, benefits manager, and human resources manager.
Marketing – Advertising/promotions manager, public relations manager, sales manager, and marketing manager.
Data analytics – Market researcher, data analyst, marketing analyst, and business analyst.
Non-profit management – Social and community service manager, non-profit director, and fundraising manager.
Information technology – IT director, chief technology officer, computer and information systems manager, information security analyst, and technology product manager.
Regulatory functions – Compliance officer.

Reasons you should get an MBA

There is a range of good reasons you should consider studying for an MBA. These include:

1. Gain new skills and knowledge about business
You’ll learn about how to manage a business, including:

  • Manufacturing, advertising, and selling products.
  • Keeping a company’s finances healthy.
  • Maintaining a company’s positive image.
  • Gathering and interpreting industry data.
  • Hiring the right people and motivating them.
  • Creating company hierarchies.

You’ll also learn about the latest trends in international business and how to apply new management techniques.

2. Access a large business network
An MBA allows you to interact with business people who have great management experience, be it a colleague or teaching staff. You could also meet potential employers during an internship. What’s more, you can gain access to the alumni network of your MBA degree, and your connections will be able to give you a great overview of the business world.

3. Increase your salary
With an MBA, you could earn more than what you’d expect to earn from completing only a regular Master’s degree in business.

4. Start your own company or be the boss
An MBA helps you obtain an understanding of business practices that’s required to start a new business or help an existing business grow. Once you learn how to run a business you can become an entrepreneur, or you could land a middle-level or top-level management position within a big company and work your way up over time to become the boss.

5. Open the door to varied career opportunities
Once you graduate with an MBA, there’ll be many career opportunities open to you. You can become one of the following:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • Senior manager.
  • An executive or in a leadership role.
  • Company Director.
  • Strategic Management Consultant.
  • Senior Government Leader.
  • Entrepreneur.

6. Experience new places and cultures
Since the MBA is an internationally-recognised degree, you can work for a company overseas after you graduate. So not only will you get to live in another country, you’ll also gain a new perspective on how business is handled there. This’ll broaden your business career prospects and cultural horizon.

7. Make a difference in the world
Some MBAs offer classes in areas like corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, and this can help you to transition into the non-profit or government sector. In turn, this allows you to make a positive difference in society.

Start your career in business administration today

You can start your business career by enrolling in ICI’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program today. In order to enrol, all that is required is a bachelor’s degree in any field and two years of relevant work experience. Our globally recognised qualification is provided completely online, meaning you can study anywhere in the world, at any time.

Online, career focused education that suits your lifestyle.

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Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.