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A master’s of business administration (MBA) is a highly-respected and sought-after degree for students trying to advance in their careers. MBAs can open many doors in the future, partially because their difficulty proves the sheer tenacity of their graduates.

If you’re ready to earn an MBA degree, some programs can be completed in 14 to 16 months with rigorous work and practical training.1 But, if you still have some prerequisites to take care of, it could be longer. 

This guide outlines how to get an MBA at different stages of life. Whether you’re pursuing your undergraduate or already in the workforce, obtaining an MBA is possible—you simply need to know the steps to start your journey.

#1 Fulfill Basic Educational Requirements

What is a master’s of business administration? An MBA is a graduate degree. Hence, you generally need to complete your undergraduate to be accepted into an MBA program. 

If you’re already pursuing a degree, continue studying and putting in hard work—this is your foundation for reaching your master’s. Generally, universities don’t require you to obtain a bachelor’s in any specific subject to pursue an MBA. So, if you’re not registered in business school, that’s okay—you’re not disqualified.

In fact, most MBA students didn’t study a related field for their undergraduate degree. According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), more than half of MBA candidates come from disciplines such as:2

  • The Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Whatever field you’re currently studying or planning to pursue, rest assured that MBA opportunities will likely be available upon graduation. Do keep in mind, however, that entry prerequisites can vary by degree and school. While you don’t necessarily require a business degree to pursue an MBA, you may need:3

  • A solid overall cumulative GPA
  • An accredited degree, either regionally or nationally
  • Certain course prerequisites, depending on the nature of the program

Depending on where you plan to attend school, consider taking the Graduate Management Assessment Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Both of these exams are popular prerequisites for graduate school, and the GMAT is critical as a qualifier for many MBA programs.4,5

#2 Gain Life and Work Experience

The Harvard Business Review and Princeton Review note an ongoing problem amongst graduate school applicants. Many aren’t enrolling in MBAs because they believe their employment history isn’t important or relevant enough for acceptance.6,7

To clear the record, many MBA programs don’t require any work experience for acceptance. They may require recommendations, but these can come from professors, community leaders, and other professionals.8

That said, while it’s possible to enter your MBA right from your undergraduate, it’s not the status quo. Most candidates have several years of experience before entering a program. Whatever your next step is, consider pursuing your MBA in San Diego, America’s Finest City, at the California School of Management and Leadership (CSML) at Alliant International University. 

#3 Secure Funding 

Once accepted, students must secure the proper funds to pay for school and lifestyle expenses. Thankfully, there are ways to make graduate degrees more affordable. To reduce your financial burden as you study, consider:

  • Less intensive programs – The reduced in-person demands of part-time and executive-style MBA programs allow students to work as they pursue their degree. Some may even offer paid curricular practical training (CPT) as part of the program.9
  • Scholarships – $100 million in scholarship money goes unclaimed in America annually.10 Before reaching into your pocket or taking out a loan to pay for graduate school, seek these abundant grants and apply for as many as possible. Scholarships may be awarded based on economic status, area, and other factors, so be sure to search thoroughly for those applicable to you. 
  • Company sponsorship – Getting an MBA not only enriches your knowledge but may make your employer see you as a more valuable asset. Some companies may be willing to pay for part or all of their employees’ graduate degrees in exchange for sticking with them for a few years upon graduation.11

Take the Next Step Toward Your MBA with Alliant International University

Whether you’re just completing your undergraduate or have been in the workplace for decades, Alliant International University welcomes you to apply for our exciting, robust MBA program. 

The Alliant MBA track makes balancing your career and education simple by offering classes on weekday evenings—or as seldom as once a month in our executive program. Furthermore, your current work can count towards the programs’ necessary CPT hours. So, even if you have intensive workplace demands, you can fit your educational goals into your schedule. 

Our graduate programs in business are also accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The ACBSP ensures accredited schools align with their robust and rigorous educational standards. Thus, the Alliant’s MBA program can help adequately prepare MBA students for a future in a variety of fields. 

If you’re ready to move forward toward your educational goals, contact our admissions office to see how Alliant can be a fitting next step on your MBA journey.


Sources: 

  1. “Master’s Degree in Business Administration Overview.” Alliant International University. Accessed April 17, 2023. https://www.alliant.edu/business/business-administration/mba.
  2. “Enrolling the Incoming Class of 2021: Insights into the Diverse Journeys of Prospective Students Applying to Business Schools.” Graduate Management Admissions Council. Accessed April 17, 2023. https://www.gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/prospective-student-da…;
  3. “Graduate Admissions.” Alliant International University. Accessed April 16, 2023. https://www.alliant.edu/admissions/graduate.
  4. “GRE.” Educational Testing Service. Accessed April 18, 2023. https://www.ets.org/gre.html. 
  5. “About the GMAT™ Exam.” Graduate Management Admission Council. Accessed April 18, 2023. https://www.gmac.com/gmat-other-assessments/about-the-gmat-exam. 
  6. “10 Smart Mba Stats to Know before You Apply.” The Princeton Review. Accessed April 16, 2023. https://www.princetonreview.com/business-school-advice/mba-facts-and-st…
  7. “Thinking about an Mba? Here's How to Plan for It.” Harvard Business Review, October 11, 2021. https://hbr.org/2021/08/thinking-about-an-mba-heres-how-to-plan-for-it.
  8. “Graduate Admissions.” Alliant International University. Accessed April 16, 2023. https://www.alliant.edu/admissions/graduate.
  9.  “Master’s in Business Administration Evening and Weekday Track Overview.” Alliant International University. Accessed April 14, 2023. https://www.alliant.edu/business/business-administration/mba/evening-we….
  10. Perna, Mark C. “$100 Million in Scholarship Money Goes Unclaimed Every Year. Does It Have to?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, November 9, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/markcperna/2021/11/01/100-million-in-schol…;
  11.  “How to Pay for an MBA? Business School Financing Tips.” Sallie Mae. Accessed April 17, 2023. https://www.salliemae.com/student-loans/graduate-school-information/way…;

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