MBA in the USA: What Do Programs Offer?
It’s no secret that the United States is home to some of the world’s most prestigious B-schools. Let’s take a look at what MBAs in the USA have to offer.
The United States is an economic powerhouse, claiming title to the world’s largest economy. It is also the birthplace of 126 of the Fortune Global 500 Companies and hosts over 1000 business schools. Whether you are an international or domestic student looking to advance your management career, you may wonder what sets US universities apart.
To understand this degree’s unique connection to the USA, we need to look back to 1908, when Harvard launched the first MBA program as a response to US companies’ requests for an educated managerial class that could keep pace with the country’s rapid industrialization. The role of an MBA degree has only expanded since then, following the ever-changing world of business. So what exactly do US MBA programs have to offer?
MBA programs in the USA differ from their global counterparts in that they emphasize a practical approach to management. The main goals of this experiential learning model are to promote quantitative reasoning— the ability to quickly and accurately interpret large quantities of data— alongside the leadership skills needed to efficiently manage large organizations. Most MBA programs rely heavily on case studies to foster these competencies in students.
The case study model, first introduced by Harvard, involves analysis of the real-world successes and failures of modern and contemporary businesses, alongside detailed class discussions, in order to develop students' abilities to make difficult administrative decisions. To this day, Harvard students will read nearly 500 case studies during the course of their studies. Check out this Business Insider list of famous MBA case studies to get a feel for some of the most common examples of this mode of learning.
As businesses have changed, MBA programs have too. Though the General Management track remains in-demand, dozens of other concentrations have sprung up over the years. When choosing one, it is important to consult current market research, as specializations with high pay and high demand will have projected growth and high job satisfaction, whereas other concentrations may see negative growth as positions are outsourced or replaced by AI. MBA students who enter with clearly defined career goals may have greater success in developing their specializations. If you’re not sure which track to take, check out this list of the top MBA concentrations of 2022 based on long-term growth, salary, and overall job satisfaction.
Despite differences in specializations, most MBA programs will provide a similar core curriculum. According to US News, the most common MBA core classes cover accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, economics, management, and business ethics. These competencies provide all MBA students with a broad business education, which can later be expanded through electives, internships, and custom-tailored concentrations. To learn more about the MBA curriculum, take a look at our blog post, What Do You Learn in an MBA Program?
It’s well known that major US companies actively recruit from business schools. Programs often have close connections to companies that are headquartered nearby, providing internships and mentor programs that can turn into jobs upon graduation. Following data provided to US News by 134 MBA programs, 84.6% of graduates were employed within three months of earning their degrees. Of the 131 schools that reported income, the average annual salary plus bonuses for 2021 MBA graduates was $105,684.
Seattle-based companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks frequently recruit graduates from the nearby Foster School of Business. The Stanford Graduate School of Business has close ties to Silicon Valley: 37% percent of 2021 Stanford graduates are working as full-time entrepreneurs in the technology field. Walmart maintains close connections with the Walton MBA Program, offering internships in the Northwest Arkansas area. You can check out the statistics of other feeder MBA programs here. If you’re interested in working with certain companies, it pays to research corporate internship opportunities, as an MBA program can be the perfect way to get your foot in the door.
Between a pragmatic approach to learning, flexible curriculum, and high levels of recruitment, US MBA programs have a lot to offer. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, post-graduation employment rates and salaries remain high. If you’re interested in learning more about MBA degrees, check out some of Crimson’s free resources. You can also schedule a conversation with one of our advisors to help you prepare your applications and select the perfect b-schools for your needs.