Is an MBA Right for Someone Without a Business Degree?

Is an MBA Right for Someone Without a Business Degree?


If you stumbled upon the path of business and entrepreneurship after your bachelor’s degree and are left wondering if you can pursue an MBA programme without having a business background, stick with us. In the next few paragraphs, EDUopinions is going to explore if an MBA is right for someone without a business degree. So, is an MBA right for someone without a Business Degree?

MBA programme

The versatility of the MBA programme accommodates everyone

While all the MBA programmes have different qualifications, most of the business schools require a bachelor degree in business. Some other MBA colleges also demand around three to four years of work experience. When it comes to an MBA programme, there’s no single path that you must follow. MBA is one of the most versatile degrees where students from varied backgrounds come together. A Masters in Business Administration is for anyone who wants a career advancement in their industry and wants to be a manager or have a managerial role in a company. An MBA degree allows graduates to move into management, start their own business, change careers, or shift their career focus. An MBA can be a generalised one, but you can choose to focus on business fields such as finance, marketing, international business, and executive management.

As per a study by the Graduate Management Admission Council,  more than half of all MBA applicants in 2016 had non-business undergraduate degrees. This is the same council which administers the Graduate Management Assessment Test (GMAT), the most important exam for MBA admissions. This statistic brings hope to students who have pursued graduation from a non-business degree and want to pursue an MBA.

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What to look forward to in an MBA as a non-business student

This versatile professional degree focusses on practical scenarios rather than theoretical or research-based material. Which is why, you can look forward to internships while pursuing an MBA, as it provides real-world experience and helps you apply everything you have learnt during your course. The on-the-job training brings confidence to the student and helps them strengthen their resume.

MBA covers a huge range of general and inter-disciplinary courses which are often favourable to students without a business background. As these subjects include social sciences, psychology etc. In an MBA programme, you are taught how to manage people. In order to really teach that, these subjects of humanities really help. Hence, if you are from any of those backgrounds, you might even have an edge over the business degree holders!

Do I need to learn business studies?

In spite of the fact that most MBA applicants are not business majors, MBA students are usually required to know and possess foundational business skills. So basics about business and management are actually necessary, as the classes will jump straight into advanced business classes. Many programmes require students to take core classes in statistics, accounting, finance, and other fields before taking MBA classes.

Hence, it is advised to take some of these core classes before jumping into an MBA programme.

Prerequisites of applying to an MBA programme

  • Bachelor’s degree: As mentioned before, nearly all MBA programmes require a bachelor’s degree and the student is required to submit transcripts and certificates to support that.
  • MBA Core programmes: If you are not from a business background, then you may be required to take some prerequisite courses before enrolling. These core courses differ from MBA prep courses, which often focus on preparing for the GMAT. These courses focus on statistics, economics, finance, accounting, and data analysis.
  • Work experience: This is another important prerequisite that a lot of acclaimed MBA schools have. Many MBA programmes prefer students who have around 1-3 years of work experience. This work experience helps the student to learn real-life business scenarios, which ultimately help them in the MBA degree. The hands-on business experience provides students with relevant skills and abilities that are commonly learned outside of the classroom.
  • Minimum GPA: GPA requirements vary by programme, but on average, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA. This score enables admission specialists to determine a candidate’s likelihood of success.
  • Test Score: Most of the MBA programmes take admissions through GMAT, while some schools may also accept GRE. The GMAT tests students on skills such as business skills, including problem-solving, analytical writing, logic, and critical reasoning skills.
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Though an MBA programme is very versatile and can accommodate almost everyone with the right skillset and mindset, basic knowledge of the business is necessary. So, yes an MBA can be pursued even if you don’t have a business degree but business knowledge is recommended.

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Nikita is one of the main authors at EDUopinions, specialised in Higher Education and focused on business studies analysis. She is a digital nomad who works while travelling.

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