MBAs are relatively unique amongst postgraduate qualifications. They aren’t simply Masters degrees in Business or Management (those exist too, but they’re different courses).
Instead of being focussed on understanding and contributing to academic theory, your MBA will challenge you to put that theory into practice. You’ll be judged as much on your success as a business professional as you will on your understanding of the principles behind business success.
How are MBAs taught?
MBA courses are highly vocational, with an emphasis on practical problem solving and developing leadership potential. This is reflected in their instruction methods.
Whereas a traditional taught Masters will follow an academic programme of group instruction and discussion, your MBA will probably feel much more ‘hands on’.
Expert training will still be an important part of the course. But this will often take the form of masterclass sessions with industry professionals. You’ll be encouraged to put theory into practice, rather than simply reflect on it.
How many credits is an MBA worth?
MBA courses are normally organised into modules, much the same as other Masters degrees. These are given a credit weighting, according to their scope and significance within the course as a whole.
The total credit value of an MBA is normally the same as that for a standard taught Masters degree. This reflects the academic value of an MBA and its place as a ‘second cycle’ postgraduate degree within most higher education systems.
- MBA in the UK is normally worth 180 CATS credits.
- In Europe (particularly within EHEA countries), an MBA is normally worth 90 ECTS credits.
You can read more about studying an MBA in Europe
in our guide.
How long is an MBA?
An MBA will usually be longer than other Masters programmes. Most full-time courses are up to two years long.
This allows time for placements, internships or other projects as well as more conventional taught units and assessments.
Part-time or Executive MBA (EMBA) courses will be longer. In contrast, some Accelerated MBA programmes only require a single year of very intensive study.
Do MBA courses include a dissertation?
Like other Masters programmes, an MBA will normally conclude with an extended independent project.
This will be equivalent to the dissertation included in an academic Masters programme. However, an MBA project will normally have a greater practical component. You’ll conduct work in the ‘real world’ rather than focussing on academic research.
This could involve working within a company associated with the programme, or completing a personal business project.
You will normally ‘write-up’ and reflect upon your project once complete, but your success in meeting actual business objectives will be a significant factor in determining your performance.