The Master of Business Administration (MBA or M.B.A.) is a master’s degree in business administration (management). The MBA degree originated in the United States in the early 20th century when the country industrialized and companies sought scientific approaches to management.
The core courses in an MBA program cover various areas of business such as accounting, applied statistics, business communication, business ethics, business law, finance, managerial economics, management, marketing and operations in a manner most relevant to management analysis and strategy. Most programs also include elective courses and concentrations for further study in a particular area, for example accounting, finance, and marketing. MBA programs in the United States typically require completing about sixty credits, nearly twice the number of credits typically required for degrees that cover some of the same material such as the Master of Economics, Master of Finance, Master of Accountancy, Master of Science in Marketing and Master of Science in Management.
The MBA is a terminal degree and a professional degree. Accreditation bodies specifically for MBA programs ensure consistency and quality of education. Business schools in many countries offer programs tailored to full-time, part-time, executive (abridged coursework typically occurring on nights or weekends) and distance learning students, many with specialized concentrations.
Two-year (full-time) MBA programs normally take place over two academic years (i.e. approximately 18 months of term time). Accelerated MBA programs are a variation of the two-year programs. They involve a higher course load with more intense class and examination schedules and are usually condensed into one year. They usually have less down time during the program and between semesters. For example, there is no three to four-month summer break, and between semesters there might be seven to ten days off rather than three to five weeks vacation. Accelerated programs typically have a lower cost than full-time two-year programs.