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Pursuing an MBA

An MBA (Masters in Business Administration) degree is a “generalist” degree that teaches students how to be better managers: of people, finances, private firms, public institutions, and so on. Many economics majors will begin their careers in the corporate world and go back for their MBA after 5-10 years of experience to refine their managerial skills and prepare for bigger career challenges.

Most MBA programs require two years of full time study, though there are some variations. Some programs offer an accelerated MBA program, a joint MBA/JD law degree, or even night study for those who want to continue their full-time careers.

Prerequisites for MBA Programs

1. Real-world experience. While there are no hard and fast rules, the better MBA programs require that applicants have a minimum of 4-5 years of work experience. Most MBA programs are structured to allow students to learn from each other and their experiences, giving more regard to the students who’ve had challenging work experiences before pursuing the degree.

2. Good grades. As with all graduate programs, MBA programs are looking for students with high grades as undergraduates. Better programs are prefer candidates with GPAs above 3.0.

3. High GMAT scores. The standard entrance test for MBA programs is the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), which measures verbal, quantitative, and writing skills. It is scored on a scale from 200 to 800. Better MBA programs typically require GMAT scores above 500-600 for admission.

Picking the Right Program

School rankings are not necessarily consistent. Investigate what criteria the rankings use and choose a ranking mechanism that uses criteria that are important to you. Many MBA programs offer particular specialties which may match your interests well and can be a deciding factor. MBA programs are regional—pick a program in a geographic area where you’d like to ultimately live! Here are some websites to assist you in your research:

U.S. News and World Report
Business Week
Information from