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What Does an MBA Teach You?

 |  7 Min Read

An advanced degree can be a powerful differentiator for job seekers and career advancers alike in today’s crowded marketplace. There are few graduate degrees as recognized and respected in the business world as the Master of Business Administration. There is no singular path of what to do with a general MBA. However, for professionals looking to advance their careers and become key organizational decision-makers, an MBA provides the knowledge and skills needed to lead others, drive change, and achieve positive business outcomes. But what does an MBA teach you? And more importantly, how does an MBA prepare you to become a business leader?

Getting Your MBA: What to Expect from Your MBA Experience

Though MBA programs vary in content and available concentrations, there are several common experiences between the Foundational coursework and the time it takes to balance work, home, and an MBA program. If you’re considering pursuing an MBA, read further to learn more about what is taught in MBA programs and general tips for balancing it all.

Typical MBA Curriculum: What Does an MBA Teach You?

The foundational element of any MBA program is its core curriculum. When answering the question of ‘what does an MBA teach you?‘ the core curriculum can be very telling. The courses offered can help you determine the quality of an MBA, what to expect with the course load, and what exactly is taught in MBA classes. This coursework provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the skills, strategies, and competencies needed to lead in business. Core courses typically make up more than half of the total credit hours. Our Lady of the Lake University’s online MBA, for example, is comprised of 36 credit hours — 21 of which consist of core courses. This foundational coursework exposes students to the following topics:

  • Management theory and the decision-making practices
  • Managerial control systems, including budgetary models and performance measurements
  • Marketing functions, operations, and strategies within the organizational structure
  • Information systems/ technology (IS/IT) for managerial decision-making
  • Supply chain and operations management
  • Major economic forces that affect business activity, and the tools necessary to evaluate them
  • Total enterprise objectives with societal values in a global economy

MBA Specialization Coursework

The remaining MBA coursework is dedicated to your chosen concentration. Specialization is the gateway to a specific skill set and knowledge base that you can leverage to reach new levels of success in your career path. Coursework will vary according to the MBA track chosen. For example, if you were to specialize in Healthcare Management, the topics studied would include the following:

  • The organization and management of healthcare delivery systems in the U.S.
  • The legal relationships among healthcare users, providers, public interest, and the public
  • Policy-making and legislative trends in healthcare
  • Healthcare finance (reimbursement strategies, managed care contracting, cost control, etc.)
  • Managed care product lines and competing alternative delivery systems

Managing Life, Work, and MBA Coursework

The hardest part about completing an MBA may not be the coursework but rather the pressure of maintaining a work/life/school balance. Maintaining control over this balance is key to your success in the program. Now is the time to prepare by learning how to navigate educational requirements for your MBA, what to expect inside the classroom, and how to account for personal commitments outside the classroom. These tips from graduates can help prepare you for the challenges you may face.

  • If you take more than one class at a time, balance the course load. Combine a course you realize will be challenging or demanding for you with one that is less so.
  • Designate a time each week that is free of school work to recharge. Schedule this “free time” into your calendar and consider it an unbreakable appointment.
  • Ask for help early if you start falling behind on coursework or feel overwhelmed. MBA faculty and advisors want you to succeed. They make themselves available to you for coaching and guidance along the way.
  • Consider an online MBA program to avoid the added stress and time of commuting to an on-campus program. Online MBA programs maximize your opportunity to earn a degree and maintain a work-life balance, learning whenever and wherever it’s most convenient to you.

Three Benefits of Earning a General MBA

Many prospective MBA students wonder about what to do with a general MBA. There are many advantages to obtaining a general Master of Business Administration versus one with a specialization. Many universities offer specializations, but that doesn’t detract from the advantages of a general MBA.

The online MBA program at Our Lady of the Lake University offers advanced leadership and management skills for business-savvy men and women looking to improve their work lives.

Here are three benefits of earning a general MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University:

Unlimited job opportunities

With a general MBA, you won’t be pigeonholed into one industry. The program provides a well-rounded, international look at business, which can be applied to a variety of professions.

The average American will hold 12 jobs during their lifetime, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 Obtaining a general MBA safeguards your future. Should you decide to change employers or enter a new field, your degree will still be relevant.

In addition, there’s a broader array of job opportunities for general MBA grads than for those with specialized degrees.

Career advancement opportunities

If you are already involved in the business world, you may be wondering, ‘what does an MBA degree teach you that you can’t learn on the job?‘ For those already in a business role, getting a general MBA unlocks career advancement possibilities. Many students get their MBA online while working full time in hopes of moving up the corporate ladder.

Some can advance at their current employer thanks to the degree, while others might be able to get another, better job. This is the best time in a decade to seek a new job, as 94 percent of employers planned to hire MBA graduates in 2021.4

The skills you get from a general MBA coupled with this job market can be the career boost many mid-career workers seek.

Increased earning potential

For the most part, students enroll in a general MBA program to boost their earning potential. Research indicates earning an MBA this year could yield a significant return on your investment: The average salary for MBA graduates in 2020 was $101,034.2

If you are one of those people weighing the pros and cons of returning to school while already juggling work and family life, that higher earning potential is often the main reason to get an MBA.3

The online MBA program at Our Lady of the Lake University can help you maximize your career options. You will learn leadership skills and team management techniques while cultivating an international business view that’s applicable in a wealth of business industries.

Download a Free MBA Guide

You can learn all about the MBA learning outcomes in this free guide, What Does an MBA Teach You? Download your copy to discover the skills you will learn while pursuing an MBA and how those skills translate to real-world excellence in business. Some of the key MBA outcomes you will read about in this free guide include:

  • How information-based and budget-related decisions are made
  • How executives manage human resources
  • How management and leadership are different

This free guide also explores some of the career paths you can pursue with an MBA and discusses the return on investment in terms of earning potential, job opportunities, and career growth. And finally, it examines how an MBA can help set you up for success if you’re an entrepreneur with start-up dreams.

When you’re ready to take the next step and start working towards an MBA, explore the online Master of Business Administration from Our Lady of the Lake University. Classes start three times each year, and there is no GRE/GMAT requirement to apply. Request more information or call 855-275-1082 to speak with an admissions advisor.


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. National Longitudinal Surveys.
  2. Hoppock, D.J. “What is the Average Salary for an MBA Graduate?” Investopedia (2021 May 18). Retrieved March 31, 2022, from
  3. CBS News. Now You Can Tell If Your Graduate Degree Will Pay Off.
  4. Survey Projects Demand for Business School Graduates to Rebound in Post-Pandemic Era. Graduate Management Admission Council (2021 June 30). Retrieved March 31, 2022, from

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