Master of Business AdministrationA Master of Business Administration degree is for those pursuing careers in the management of various areas of business, such as accounting, finance, human resources, and marketing. Curriculum in this major focuses on the theories and applications of business management.

Depending on the format and intensity of the program, a Master of Business Administration degree may take 1 to 3 years to complete, and may be pursued full-time, part-time, as well as online. Students in this field take general business courses in the first year of study and then typically choose to pursue a more specialized field in their second year.

Individuals who earn a Master of Business Administration degree are qualified for management positions across a wide range of disciplines and are considered to have an advanced understanding of today’s global business environment. Those with undergraduate degrees in business or those looking to advance to management in their current field may be interested in a Master of Business Administration degree. Because business administration positions typically require oversight of employees, candidates for this degree should be comfortable working with and managing others in a team environment.

How To Find The Top Master of Business Administration Programs

To find the best Master of Business Administration degrees, check the U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 list of the top universities in the nation. Of the universities on the list, search each school’s homepage for specific information and curriculum offered.

In North America, Harvard University holds the number one ranking. Harvard graduate students in business get a hands-on education, participating in field study groups and immersion programs overseas. Stanford University’s Master of Business Administration program ranks second in North America, providing specialized training in leadership. Stanford gives students the opportunity to practice tough management positions in filmed simulations, which they can use to critique their tactics before ever entering an office.

For those searching for the best online Master of Business Administration programs, U.S. News and World Report lists the University of North Carolina, Pennsylvania State University, and Indiana University as the top ranking business degrees online, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). These universities offer online programs parallel to their traditional, high ranking business degrees, and many classes are taught by the same professors as their on-campus counterparts.

Careers and Salaries For Individuals With Master of Business Administration Degrees

Graduates of Master of Business Administration programs typically find work in the business field, ranging from positions in large corporations to smaller, non-profit organizations, or sometimes in consulting firms or entrepreneurship positions. Master of Business Administration careers include job titles such as Financial Manager, Chief Executive Officer, Human Resources Manager, Business Manager, Corporate Recruiter, and Financial Analyst.

Master of Business Administration salaries range from about $40,000 to over $200,00 annually, depending on the school attended, classification and job title after graduation. Salaries are higher for Master of Business Administration degree holders who hold jobs as Chief Financial Officer and Financial Controller when compared to Human Resources Manager or Financial Analyst. Graduates from online programs typically earn starting salaries comparable to traditional format graduates, although individuals who attend online programs are often further along in their careers and already employed at the time of enrollment.

A Master of Business Administration degree leads to an increase in job opportunities and an increase in earning potential over the course of one’s career. For those with an interest in business and a talent for communicating with and managing people, a Master of Business Administration is likely a worthwhile investment, especially for those planning to attend top-tier schools.