What Is Business School Really Like? Is Getting an M.B.A. Worth It / Hard / A Good Idea? (1994)

The Master in Business Administration or Master of Business Administration (MBA or M.B.A.), a master’s degree in business administration, attracts people from a wide range of academic disciplines. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0446517860/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0446517860&linkCode=as2&tag=tra0c7-20&linkId=3db97305cd60dfd93d007e6f835d0696

The MBA degree originated in the United States in the late 19th century as the country industrialized and companies sought scientific approaches to management. The core courses in an MBA program introduce the various areas of business such as accounting, finance, marketing, human resources and operations management; many programs include elective courses.

Accreditation bodies specifically for MBA programs ensure consistency and quality of education. Business schools in many countries offer programs tailored to full-time, part-time, executive, and distance learning students, with specialized concentrations.

In general, MBA programs are structured around core courses, typically taken at the start of the MBA, and elective courses allowing for a subject specialty or concentration; the degree culminates with coursework in Business Strategy. The core curriculum is essentially standard. A thesis, preceded by additional course work in research methodology, is usually required; some programs instead allow for a “Major Project”. In some programs, (part-time) students’ Major Projects will address a problem current in their organization; particularly in programs with an action learning orientation, these may be practically oriented.

Typically, in the program’s first part (first year), students will acquire the analytical tools necessary for academic training in the key management functions, as well as a working knowledge of these functions. In the second part (second year) students pursue a specialized curriculum. Full-time students generally seek an internship during the interim. Coursework in Business ethics may be included in the first or second part (or both), with a correspondingly different focus. The courses are, typically:
Analytical: accounting, economics, operations research, organizational behavior, statistics
Functional: financial management, human resource management, marketing management, operations management
Specialization: entrepreneurship, finance (including corporate finance and investment management), international business, management information systems, management science, marketing, operations management, organizational design, project management, real estate, risk management and strategy, among others.
The analytical courses may treat financial- and management accounting separately, and often focus on managerial economics as opposed to the more traditional introductory treatment. Sometimes business law and tax may be included. In many programs, applicants with appropriate background may be exempt from the analytical course-work.

For the functional courses, some programs specify further advanced coursework. Here, the first (sub-)course provides an overview, while the second revisits the subject in depth. Alternatively, the first addresses short-term, tactical problems, while the second addresses long-term, strategic problems (e.g. “Financial Management I” covers working capital management, while part II covers capital investment decisions). In these cases, the additional work is accommodated either via an extended first part, or offered in parallel to the specialization. Information systems / technology is often included as a functional course.

For the Business Strategy component – the degree “capstone” – the focus is on the long-term positioning and management of the entity as a whole, i.e. business administration proper, and the key functions are thus synthesized and / or integrated into an overall view. Corresponding training in business leadership may also be scheduled, while related participation in a business simulation or game is a common degree requirement. “Strategy” may be offered as a sequence of courses, beginning in the first part and culminating in the second, or as a single intensive course, offered during the second part. A specialization in “strategy” is not always offered; management consulting (or the like) is often offered instead, and substantially addresses the same issues.


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