What is a General MBA?

General MBA programs explore business concepts without focusing on one area of the field. Students learn about management, risk analysis, organizational dynamics, and ethics in relation to standard business operations. Learners develop general skills that can apply to a variety of professions. For example, pursuing an accounting concentration may limit employment options to accounting-related positions. A general MBA student, however, gains skills related to professions in areas including accounting, marketing, and organizational business.

This page explores the ideal traits of an MBA student, along with business curricula, careers, and resources.

Why Should You Get a General MBA Online?

A general MBA covers managerial, leadership, communication, and research concepts that graduates can apply in diverse careers. For example, graduates can become top executives at businesses who earn a median salary of $104,980 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, the BLS projects the profession to grow 8% from 2016-2026. Professionals with a general MBA can also become financial managers. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 19% from 2016-2026, and financial managers earn a median annual salary of $127,990.

MBA students also gain the skills they need to open businesses such as bakeries, auto repair shops, restaurants, interior design companies, farms, and craft stores. These individuals should already boast skills related to the specific product or service their business offers. For instance, floral designers should excel at making arrangements.

MBA programs help learners develop skills to tend to the entrepreneurial aspects of a business, such as budgets, marketing plans, bookkeeping, and business risks. Salary potential and growth expectations for business owners vary by field. Earning a general MBA online can help students gain technology skills related to business development. Many organizations use technology for product creation, data collection, and marketing.

Earning an MBA often leads to higher earning potential. According to World Education Services, business workers with a master's degree earn an average of $3.2 million over their lifetime. Bachelor's holders, however, earn an average of $2.5 million.

General MBA Curriculum

General studies MBA programs have different application requirements, graduation processes, credit requirements, and in-person components. Additionally, each program requires unique coursework that explores various business administration concepts. For example, one program may emphasize research processes, while another may focus on the impact of globalization. However, the courses below are common among general MBA programs.

Course Competencies Developed
Financial Management This class trains learners to make financial decisions by considering factors such as interest, budgets, investments, and risks. Courses may also address tools including spreadsheets and may cover methods for analyzing corporations and individual financial opportunities.
Marketing Management Students explore how to use the connection between companies and consumers to boost revenue. Other topics may include the cultural, environmental, and financial aspects of marketing, along with methods for choosing effective marketing strategies in different circumstances.
Organizational Leadership This course examines team dynamics and group communication, as well as methods for encouraging strong relationships and efficiency among group members. Classes may also address research strategies for determining organizational needs.

What Can You Do With a General MBA?

Earning a general MBA online can lead to managerial positions in various fields. Graduates often pursue careers in finance, marketing, public relations, and organizational wellbeing. An MBA holder can maintain financial records for a floral shop, develop a marketing plan for a restaurant chain, or open a new bookstore. Students should consider their career goals before choosing a program to ensure the curriculum prepares them for their intended profession.

Who Should Consider Getting a General MBA?

Ideal candidates for MBA programs boast strong analytical skills and enjoy solving complex problems. MBA students should understand group dynamics to encourage healthy and efficient organizations. Learners also need strong written and oral communication skills to deliver reports and give presentations; graduates apply these skills when interacting with companies for production, public relations, and marketing purposes.

The ideal MBA student holds a bachelor's in a related field. Undergraduate business programs provide foundational knowledge in management, financial, organizational, and research concepts. However, MBA programs may accept students with bachelor's degrees in other fields. Some departments prefer applicants with experience in management or entrepreneurship.

A general MBA prepares learners for managerial and leadership positions in business and other fields. Business administration graduates can work in healthcare, accounting, and sports management. Graduates often perform financial, marketing, and public relations tasks for various types of businesses. Graduates can also start their own businesses, and others work in government and nonprofit sectors. Instead of preparing students for a specific career, general MBA programs help learners develop communication, organizational, leadership and technology skills that apply to multiple fields.

Online MBA Programs

How to Choose an Online MBA Program

Students should choose an MBA program that fits their schedule and budget. Learners should also ensure that the program aligns with their professional goals; students may look for a curriculum that includes coursework, field experiences, seminars, and capstone projects relevant to their intended profession. Students researching MBA programs should consider the following factors.

  • How does the program rank?

    Program rankings reflect academic value and are based on factors such as accreditation, faculty expertise, program structure, and available technology. Earning an MBA with no concentration at a high-ranking school can help students gain advanced field knowledge and can lead to more employment opportunities for graduates. Many schools list positive rankings on their websites. Prospective students can also review the U.S. News & World Report's rankings for categories such as regional colleges, top public schools, best colleges for veterans, national universities, and best value schools.

  • Will the program help you achieve your career goals?

    Each MBA program requires unique courses, field components, and projects that prepare students for different careers. Learners should consider these elements when choosing a program. For example, an aspiring financial manager would benefit from a program that includes multiple financial courses, while a future business owner would need diverse coursework that prepares them to address financial, organizational, and marketing needs. Students can review career descriptions through sources such as PayScale and the BLS. Learners should then compare the responsibilities of their intended profession to each program's course requirements.

  • Are there any in-person components?

    Programs may include in-person components such as labs, practicums, and internships. Some companies require or prefer job candidates to have experience in the field. However, some learners may need to complete their degree fully online, due to restrictions related to location, budget, or scheduling. Learners should review program descriptions to ensure they can complete any required in-person elements. Prospective students can also contact program coordinators for more detailed information about in-person components.

  • Does the program fit my scheduling and budget needs?

    Some programs require in-person components or synchronous participation in online courses. Students who need maximum scheduling flexibility should look for programs without these components. If the department's website does not specify course delivery methods, learners should contact the school for more information. Additionally, learners should choose a program that fits their budget. Private schools typically charge higher tuition rates than public institutions. However, students should review each school's tuition, fees, and financial aid options before selecting a program.

  • What is the job placement rate for the school or program?

    Job placement rates indicate the percentage of students who obtain a position after graduation. These rates may reflect employment within a certain time period, such as six months or a year, and may include graduates in all careers or only those who secure field-specific employment.

    Schools may also include several graduate programs in job placement rates. Prospective students should consider these elements when interpreting job placement rates. For example, an MBA program with a 75% placement rate for field positions may have a higher employment percentage for graduates in business administration than a program with an 85% job placement rate that includes careers in all fields. Often, schools display these rates online.

Resources for MBA Students

General MBA Scholarships

Expenses for students pursuing a general MBA online typically include tuition, textbooks, and fees. To offset these expenses, learners can apply for scholarships from schools and private organizations. Learners can earn these funds based on academic merit, athletic ability, ethnicity, financial need, and college major. MBA degree seekers may qualify for the following opportunities.

Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship $10,000

Who Can Apply: Part-time students in economics, business administration, finance, accounting, and public administration graduate programs can apply for this award. Applicants must be pursuing a government-related degree, have experience working with government facilities, and submit a recommendation letter.

Government Finance Professional Development Scholarship

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program Varies

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports students with a major or minor in business administration, criminal justice, finance, or accounting who intend to work in fraud assessment. Graduate students must take at least six credits per semester and must provide two recommendation letters.

Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be women in programs related to business management and must demonstrate a history of academic excellence and potential in the field. Applicants must submit a statement of goals, proof of enrollment, and a recommendation letter.

Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship

Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Graduate business administration students with at least a 3.25 GPA can apply for this award. Candidates must attend an accredited institution full time. Previous winners can apply for additional funding.

Mary Elizabeth Lockwood Beneventi MBA Scholarship

Military MBA Scholarship N/A

Who Can Apply: Applicants should have military experience and intend to enroll in a business program at a participating college or university. Students must not have earned a full scholarship from another source. Candidates must provide transcripts verifying their undergraduate degree and must submit two recommendation letters.

Military MBA Scholarship

Other Online MBA Programs That May Interest You

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