General MBA Online


Updated September 27, 2023

Are you not sure which type of business degree to get? Read this guide to see if earning a general MBA online is right for you. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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General MBA programs explore business concepts without focusing on single areas of the field. Students can develop skills for many professions by exploring management, risk analysis, organizational dynamics, and ethics in relation to standard business operations.

For example, 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 various careers. For example, graduates can pursue roles as top executives, who earn a median annual salary of $98,980 as of 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, the BLS projects the profession to grow by 8% from 2020-2030.

Professionals with general MBAs can also pursue employment as financial managers. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase by 17% from 2020-2030. As of 2021, financial managers earn a median annual salary of $131,710.

MBA students can also gain the necessary skills to open businesses such as bakeries, auto repair shops, restaurants, and farms. These individuals should already possess skills related to the specific product or service their business offers. For instance, floral designers should excel at making arrangements.

MBA programs can help learners develop business skills relating to 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 tech skills related to business development. Many organizations use technology for product creation, data collection, and marketing.

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

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

General MBA Curriculum

General studies MBA programs apply different application requirements, graduation processes, credit requirements, and in-person components. Additionally, each program requires unique courses that explore various business administration concepts.

Common classes include:



Financial Management

This class trains learners to make financial decisions by considering factors such as interest, budgets, investments, and risks. Courses may also develop skills with spreadsheets and 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. Coursework 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.

Financial Managers

Median Salary (2021): $131,710

These managers make financial decisions for organizations by exploring options for company growth. They may look for ways to cut costs and maintain financial records. Additional responsibilities may include creating financial plans and objectives and building financial reports. An online MBA prepares learners to pursue this role with courses in company finances.

Market Research Analysts

Median Salary (2021): $63,920

These analysts research customers and market trends to identify items and services companies should sell. This process includes creating surveys, analyzing feedback with relevant software, and presenting information to company executives through written documents and visual aids. General MBA programs often cover data analysis and marketing concepts that relate to this position.

Management Analysts

Median Salary (2021): $93,000

Management analysts find resolutions to company problems. Responsibilities may include interviewing workers, handling finances, and observing employees during daily routines. These analysts may suggest managerial or system alterations to improve revenue and organizational efficiency. A general studies MBA equips students with the financial, managerial, and research skills management analysts need.

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 presentations.

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 can prepare learners to pursue 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 specific careers, general MBA programs help learners develop communication, organizational, leadership, and tech skills for multiple fields.

Online MBA Programs for You

Grow your career, leadership, and business acumen with an accredited online MBA program.

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 researching MBA programs should consider the following factors.

How does the program rank?

Program rankings reflect academic value and 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.

Is the school accredited?

MBA accreditation identifies business schools and programs that meet high academic standards. Accrediting bodies reevaluate institutions regularly to ensure that they meet accreditation guidelines. Many schools and employers require or prefer candidates from accredited programs. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs are the primary accrediting bodies for business schools and programs.

Will the program help you achieve your career goals?

Each MBA program includes unique coursework, field components, and projects to prepare students to pursue different careers. 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 like Payscale and the BLS before comparing 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. Researching in-person elements is key for learners who need to complete their degrees fully online due to restrictions related to location, budget, or schedule.

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 requirements. If the department's website does not specify course delivery methods, learners should contact the school for more information. Additionally, each prospective enrollee 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. Accelerated MBA programs can reduce costs by applying shorter degree timelines.

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

Job placement rates indicate the percentage of students who obtain employment after graduation. These rates may reflect acquisition 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. Schools often display these rates online.

Financing Your Online MBA Program

Financial aid can make paying for your general online MBA more affordable. Depending on your financial situation, you may qualify for multiple aid opportunities.

The government offers financial assistance, including federal loans and grants, for eligible students. Additionally, schools and organizations allow students to participate in work-study programs and receive grants and scholarships. Some employers also provide employees with tuition reimbursement benefits.

Degree-seekers can combine several types of aid to finance most or all of their education. For instance, they might combine a private loan with a federal grant and a school-funded scholarship.

Learn more about covering the costs of your MBA with financial assistance and scholarships.

Looking for an affordable MBA? Start here.

Financial Assistance for MBAs

Grants, loans, employer assistance, and work-study programs offer financial assistance to students. MBA degree-seekers can use one or multiple options to offset their tuition and other education-related expenses. To explore these financial aid options in detail, use our guide below.

  • Grants: Students do not need to repay funding from grants. This assistance may come from the government, individuals, or organizations. Recipients can apply them toward tuition, housing costs, and books.
  • Federal Loans: Learners can receive government-backed loans that offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment options than private loans. Students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility.
  • Private Loans: Banks and financial institutions lend private loans to students. Learners who do not qualify for federal loans based on their financial status can seek private loans instead.
  • Work-Study: Work-study programs provide part-time employment for students to earn money toward their education while completing degrees. Jobs may be on-campus or off-campus.
  • Employer Assistance: Some companies provide tuition assistance to their employees to pursue higher education. According to the IRS, individuals can exclude up to $5,250 of employer assistance benefits from their income for tax purposes annually.

Scholarships for MBAs

Scholarships provide funds to students to assist them in paying for college. Schools, organizations, and companies offer scholarships. These sponsorships can bring awareness to an organization's cause, benefiting the organization and the recipient.

Similar to grants, students do not have to repay scholarships. As such, scholarships can offer an excellent way to reduce tuition costs or pay for additional costs associated with college.

The amount a student can receive from scholarships varies but typically covers $1,000-$10,000. High-value scholarships generally require significant time and effort from students to apply. Similarly, scholarship funds offering fewer awards increase competition between applicants and may have more eligibility requirements.

Institutions offering scholarships usually require each candidate to complete an application. Some may also ask applicants to write essays or meet additional eligibility guidelines, such as participating in a sport or activity in high school.

Scholarship recipients can renew some scholarships, allowing them to receive the award for more than one term or year. However, students must continue to meet eligibility rules to receive their awards.

Tips for Finding and Applying for MBA Scholarships

Knowing how to find and apply for scholarships can be helpful for students who need financial assistance for their MBAs. Consider the following tips:

  • Finding MBA Scholarships:
  • Where to Find Scholarships: Websites make it easy to find the right scholarships for your needs. Use databases like CareerOneStop, your state's higher education department, and CollegeBoard. Fastweb and also offer easy scholarship searches.
  • Finding the Right Scholarships:Some scholarships target particular groups of people. Examples include students with specific religious or ethnic backgrounds, along with applicants involved in sports or hobbies. When searching scholarship sites, look for scholarships tailored to your interests, achievements, and culture.
  • Finding Lesser-Known Scholarships: Scholarship databases typically host information for large, well-known awards. Find lesser-known scholarships, like localized scholarships or funds from small businesses, through libraries, your parents' employers, or professional or cultural organizations.
  • Considering Scholarship Amounts: Although high-value scholarships are intriguing, they are often very competitive. Try not to discount scholarships of $1,000 or less. Several smaller scholarships can add up to substantial financial help.
  • Your MBA Scholarship Application:
  • Typical Scholarship Requirements: Many MBA scholarships require you to list your extracurricular activities, work and volunteer experiences, and a personal statement. You may also need letters of recommendation and an essay. Read each scholarship's requirements carefully to ensure that you meet all criteria.
  • Noting Deadlines: Use a calendar or planner to jot down application deadlines and award dates for each scholarship.
  • Making Applications Stand Out: Top scholarship candidates make an impression on reviewers with solid essays and resumes. Clearly explain your goals and why you deserve the scholarship to make your application personal and memorable.
  • Whitelist Scholarship Emails: It can be easy to miss emails from an organization about a scholarship in a cluttered inbox. Emails from unknown addresses could also end up in spam folders. Adjust your email settings to whitelist addresses from organizations. Alternatively, consider registering a new email address specifically for communicating about scholarships.

Common Questions about Online Business Management Degrees

How long does it take to study business management?

An MBA online in general business management typically takes two years to complete. However, some schools offer accelerated programs and flexible part-time study, which deliver shorter or longer completion times.

Is business management a good career?

Professionals with business management skills can work in various industries with diverse career opportunities. As a business management professional, you can pursue high-salary careers, like financial examiner and management analyst.

What degree is best for business management?

Students can pursue some management careers after earning bachelor's degrees in business management. However, an in-person or online MBA can help enrollees develop more advanced skills that many employers prefer. For example, computer and information systems professionals could reach the management level with an MBA rather than gaining experience in lower-level positions first.

What jobs can I get with an MBA?

An MBA can pave the way for several in-demand and high-paying jobs. According to Indeed, several MBA careers, including chief financial officer, senior operations manager, and IT director, pay over $100,000 a year, on average. Additionally, the BLS notes that employers of many fast-growing careers, like human resources managers and medical and health services managers, may prefer MBA graduates.

Featured Image: marchmeena29 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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