MBAs have always been known as one of the fast-track methods to getting almost any job in the world, and quite necessarily so; in the overly competitive worlds of business and finance, many, if not most of the larger reputable institutions demand that their hires have at least an MBA, or any specialized type of MBA programs.

MBAs are also perhaps one of the most competitive fields of study in the world primarily thanks to the above reason, as well as the various benefits and advantages that the course can offer (more on that later!)

Factors to Decide on the Types of MBA programs

However, there are several known factors when it comes to choosing the perfect MBA:-

  1. The reputation of the institution. Would you want merely an MBA, or do you want an MBA from a reputable, tier 1 institution? Obviously, an MBA from Wharton or Harvard is more prestigious than, say, a relatively unknown institution in a small town.
  1. General vs. Specialised. Are you looking to specialise or have a general MBA degree? There are quite a few specialisations and each would bring different, unique opportunities with the different corporations and financial institutions around the world.
  1. How is your time commitment? Typically, MBAs are extremely time intensive courses that would more often than not drain most of anyone’s free time. Thankfully, there are also different kinds of MBA programs that can suit the needs of different students.
  1. Academic Requirements. The requirements to enter an MBA program. MBA programs typically require a ton of pre-requisites like the GMAT, work experience etc. etc. Again, more on that later!
  1. Last but not least, the tuition costs. Typically, MBA courses are expensive, and even more so in the upper tier prestigious schools. That money could be used for other purposes (especially if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who needs the startup capital)

Different Types of MBA programs & How Much They Cost

Reputation and prestige of the MBA institution 

This point is relatively straightforward: the better the institution, the better your chance at running for higher tier jobs and positions within a large conglomerate. This would also be a rather touchy point actually: there are some institutions that only consider MBA graduates from these ivy-league schools. Some are rather more… forgiving of your MBA origins – of course, it still has to be legitimate!.

The key point here would of course research. It is a pretty safe idea to base where your MBA can come from according to the companies you want to work for. If you do get a position in a more prestigious school that exceeds the companies’ requirements, why not go for it anyway right (tuition fees also have to be considered though).

Types of MBA programs: General MBA vs. Specialised one

In the world of MBAs, there are a HUGE number of specialisations, all of which will ultimately lead to a different career path. Again, some companies require your MBA to be specialised/skewed to a certain path, while others accept a general MBA.

The great thing about general MBAs is that the holder of said degree is flexible and mostly allows for cross-disciplinary fields without too much of revision or new content to learn about. But remember that a general MBA is basically in a ‘Jack of all trades, but master of none’ situation. Also do note that if you’re competing for a position that requires a specialised degree, you might lose out if you have a general MBA unless your self-marketing skills are excellent and stand out!

Also do keep in mind that while a specialised path allows for excellent opportunities in that field (particularly so if you’re an excellent student with real-world experience), it also quite severely limits the other paths you can take, which also translates to fewer opportunities for you in other fields, so it is all about what you want to do. Choose carefully!

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Time commitment

Let’s face it: working from 9 to 5 every day can be draining. It’s probably made worse in very fast-paced, stressful environments like in financial institutions like investment banks and in securing business contracts (graduates of BA degrees might find this rather familiar). On top of that, to advance your career, you’ll need to top that crazy workday schedule with studying for an MBA.

Say what?!

Different Types of MBA programs & How Much They Cost

Unfortunately, many large corporations require MBAs, so there is almost no way of running from that fact if you’re planning to advance yourself in the business world.

Thankfully, there are several different types of MBAs to choose from! (again, please keep in mind the type of MBA and specialisation. Sadly, not all MBAs are made equal.)

First, there’s the path of the full-time graduate studies. While one of the fastest ways to get an MBA (it requires about 2 years), it is quite intensive and requires you focus all your efforts on getting a better grade. An even more intense one would take only a year to complete, but the intensity is even crazier than the 2-year course. If you’re planning to do a full-time MBA, you should also consider if you have the necessary funds to support yourself as you’ll not have any income in the meantime.

A less intense course would be a part-time MBA course. However, the only downside to this is that it takes 3-4 years, which could hamper potential opportunities that could have passed by during the course of your study, as well as potentially higher costs.

The next one would be the executive MBAs or the EMBA. These are for the students who are busy, working professionals looking to advance their careers. Typically they are for people who have already extensive business knowledge and are further looking to enhance their effectiveness in the field.

Last but not least, the online MBA. This is great for students who are interested in a general, cheaper option of MBA to enhance their skills (most notably, entrepreneurs). However, if you’re looking for an edge in the corporate business world, most of the time corporations won’t accept an online MBA as an accepted form of accreditation (There might be exceptions though).

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Academic requirements

This is probably a no-brainer: the better your grades, the better schools you’re probably able to get in. Of course, it would definitely help if you have some form of volunteer work and other non-academic achievements to aid in boosting your already formidable GPA/grades.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva



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