What is an MBA?

By Kevin Branigan - Last update

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A Masters in Business Administration is a postgraduate qualification which is highly sought after by working professionals. An MBA is a route to a promotion, higher salary, building your professional reputation and even managing your own business. Therefore it is popular and also has worldwide recognition.

Before you commit to doing an MBA, you should be aware of what it is you will study. It will take a lot of hard work as well as a significant financial commitment. This article will give you all the relevant information you need to make an informed decision.

MBA Curriculum

MBA are broad, which is why they attract so many. Students will study a vast range of fields within business. They will also expand their knowledge of practical leadership and management. The curriculum usually includes the following;

Accounting – You will learn how to read, interpret and create financial statements. If you choose to pursue more advanced classes, you will also learn to use this information to cut small business costs, manage business taxes, and value companies.

Economics – Economics is a separate field from business, but the two often combine. In economics classes, you will learn how goods and services are exchanged, and the impacts that these have in business.

Finance – You will learn how to manage investments successfully. This includes classes in securities analysis and investing, budgeting, cash flow management, and how to use quantitative measures to increase profits or assess the health of a company.

Marketing – Marketing teach you how to communicate with customers and influence their buying decisions. You will learn about advertising, internet marketing, global marketing, branding strategies, and marketing research.

Management – You will cover topics related to leadership, strategic vision, planning, and implementation of plans and strategies.

International Business – As we move towards a more global world, understanding the customs and methodologies for doing business in different countries is becoming increasingly important. MBA programs usually require students to take these classes so that they can succeed in a global business.

Business Law – MBAs give students a general overview of the law and the role it plays in business.

Most MBA programs have a number of standard classes that all students are required to take and in addition will be asked to choose specific modules that they wish to take on as elective subjects.

Types of MBA

It’s important to be aware that there are several types of MBA’s and it is imperative that you chose the right one that suits your level of experience and current life circumstances. The categories for an MBA are;

General MBA – This option suits individuals with limited business experience (up to three years) who want to fast-track their career and pursue a management role or enter the finance or corporate industry.

Executive MBA – Usually appeals to individuals in a senior corporate management role who would like to study on a part-time basis and have ambitions to enter the boardroom.

Specialist MBA – Perfect for individuals with some managerial experience and are looking to enter or gain promotion in a particular industry or sector.

Distance learning MBA – Also known as an online MBA, this is ideal if you can’t attend university full time and prefer to manage your studies around other commitments. You will receive support from tutors when you require it.

It is also important to note that these categories and descriptions may vary depending on what university you are planning on studying.

Cost and Accreditation

Course accreditation and rankings are important to business schools when trying to attract students, particularly international students. An MBA course accredited by the London-based Association of MBAs (AMBA), the US-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), means it has achieved a status known as triple accreditation. Just 59 business schools worldwide have been awarded triple-accredited. Both the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the Open University are among them.

Accreditation is a good indicator of a certain standard. However, if an MBA does not have triple-accreditation it does that it is not up to a particular standard. It is important to be aware it may affect the cost of the course. For example, The UCD Smurfit School MBA and executive MBA, with triple accreditation, both cost €29,500 each while an MBA in IBAT College Dublin will cost €4,000 per year for two years. All MBAs are different and, therefore it is up to you to find the one best suited to your needs.

MBA Entry Requirements

The main admission requirements for an MBA in a European business school are:

  • A university degree or equivalent professional qualification.
  • A minimum of three years’ professional experience (usually excluding summer placements, part-time or temporary work experience).
  • A valid score on the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Usually it requires a minimum score of between 500 – 600.
  • English language certificate (knowledge of additional second language is a plus)

Minimum score accepted for English exams are:
TOEFL – IBT: 89 – 94 / paper-based: 577 – 587
IELTS – 6.0 or 6.5
Cambridge Advanced – 142 to 210
Pearson Test – between 59 and 63

If you choose to pursue an MBA, you will be open to many new opportunities in your career as well as benefit from networking with students and faculty members.

Click here to read about Ireland’s top MBAs.

Kevin Branigan

Cost of an MBA in Ireland
The MBA Application Process


  1. […] in a career rut? The answer could be as simple as returning to education. Have you thought about a Masters in Business Administration? Not only would you be developing your professional took kit, but this postgraduate qualification […]

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