If you’ve got your eye on a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, you’ve probably heard more than a few misconceptions about this esteemed graduate degree. Take a look at seven of the most commonly believed myths about MBAs:
1) You need an undergraduate degree in business to enroll in an MBA program.
False – MBA programs are open to individuals of all educational backgrounds. Almost every major is deemed acceptable. Although students receive a foundational business education in areas like accounting, finance, economics, statistics, and marketing, MBA programs also focus on helping students develop a diverse set of essential skills required to be competent and qualified professionals in almost any higher-level position.
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2) Only people who manage other people need MBAs.
Not True – An MBA is considered one of the most versatile degrees because it has so many applications and is accessible to people with varied backgrounds. In fact, a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education found that MBA students in the United States were the most diverse of all those in graduate programs, and each comes to an MBA program with unique goals and career aspirations. MBA concentrations such as entrepreneurship, finance, and marketing provide students with the communication, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills that prepare them to approach real-life business situations with practical knowledge. In a Fortune article titled, “Why the MBA has become the most popular master’s degree in the U.S.” Paul Danos, dean of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, states, “Businesses have grown enormously in complexity and scope, and more than ever, they need ethical, skilled, well-educated, creative leaders who are global in outlook.”
3) You should go straight into an MBA program as soon as you get your Bachelor’s degree.
Not Necessarily – Many programs prefer applicants who already have some professional work experience and are seeking to advance their professional careers.
4) Online MBA programs lack credibility.
Not So – Provided you earn your MBA from an accredited university. In a 2016 article for CNN Money, Katie Lobosco admits this wasn’t always the case as online programs often had a stigma attached. “But over the past decade, there’s been a drastic improvement as colleges began to tailor their programs to an online audience, aiming to recreate the interactive experience students get in the classroom.” Today, employers aren’t nearly as concerned with how you get your MBA as they are with the skills you learn.
5) Online MBA programs are easier than traditional, campus-based programs.
Wrong – Many students find that online degree programs are just as tough, if not tougher, than on-campus, classroom-based programs. Earning an online MBA requires vast amounts of self-discipline, self-motivation, perseverance, and sharp organizational skills. However, online degree programs do offer flexibility and the really good ones focus on the needs of the working adult.
6) Male students dominate MBA programs.
Not Anymore – A Forbes article on MBA students of 2017 showed that students are more diverse, international and feminine. Specifically, both Wharton and Northwestern Kellogg had 2015 incoming classes comprised of 43 percent women, the highest percentage ever recorded by top 10 US business schools. According to the article, “UC Berkeley Haas also welcomed 41 percent women in 2015, where only two years ago they made up one-third of the MBA class.”
7) The more expensive the program, the more prestigious the MBA.
Nope – In a piece for CBS’ MoneyWatch, Maggie Overfelt asserts that cheaper degrees are not necessarily worth less: “The important consideration is what you’re getting for the price.” Are you mostly paying for the high-powered school’s reputation? According to Overfelt, “As tuition prices skyrocket, the value of a degree — undergrad or graduate, online or residential — is under serious reconsideration. Unless you plan to leap from B-school directly to a Fortune 500 company or management-consulting firm, where you went to school may not matter as much as what you learned while you were there.”
Related: Types of MBA Degrees