What Do You Learn in an MBA Program? A Full Breakdown

Starting an MBA is a big step toward expanding your business expertise and career possibilities. Throughout your studies, you’ll work on refining your decision-making and problem-solving skills. With a mix of hands-on projects, case studies, and group discussions, you’ll gain practical experience and build valuable connections with classmates and industry professionals.

As you dive into the core aspects of an MBA program, you’ll deepen your understanding of key business principles while also building a strong network of peers and mentors. By the end, you’ll have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to excel in various leadership roles and contribute to innovation in today’s fast-paced business world. Keep reading to explore more about what an MBA entails.

What is an MBA?

An MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is a graduate-level program designed to equip individuals with essential skills for business management and leadership. It provides a comprehensive understanding of modern business complexities to prepare students for diverse career opportunities.

Most MBA programs focus on key areas such as strategic management, financial analysis, organizational behavior, marketing strategies, and entrepreneurship. These components form the foundation for students to tackle complex business challenges confidently. Learn more about the different types of business degrees.

6 Key Subjects Covered in an MBA

There are six key subjects that most MBA programs teach. Each one plays a crucial role in shaping students’ understanding of business dynamics and preparing them for real-world challenges. Here’s an in-depth review:

1) Core Business Disciplines

It’s essential to grasp the core business disciplines that lay the foundation for MBA education. These disciplines encompass a wide array of subjects vital for understanding modern organizations and industries. They include:

  • Accounting: Teaches financial reporting, analysis, and budgeting methods essential for understanding a company’s financial health and making informed business decisions.
  • Finance: Covers investment strategies, capital management, and risk assessment to equip students with the skills needed to manage finances effectively and maximize shareholder value.
  • Economics: Explores market dynamics, supply and demand, and macroeconomic policies to help students understand how economic factors influence business decisions and industry trends.
  • Marketing: Focuses on market research, consumer behavior, and branding strategies to develop effective marketing plans and drive sales growth.
  • Operations Management: Addresses process optimization, supply chain management, and quality control techniques to ensure efficient production and delivery of goods and services.
  • Organizational Behavior: Examines individual and group dynamics within organizations, leadership styles, and communication strategies to contribute to effective teamwork and leadership.
  • Strategic Management: Covers strategic planning, competitive analysis, and corporate governance to enable students to develop long-term business strategies and achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

2) Quantitative Analysis and Decision-Making

Quantitative analysis and decision-making courses in MBA programs cover the application of mathematical and statistical methods to solve business problems and make strategic decisions. In today’s data-driven world, quantitative analysis skills are highly sought after by employers across industries. 

This subject allows students to master statistical analysis, optimization techniques, and quantitative modeling. Therefore, MBA graduates can effectively interpret data, identify trends, and forecast outcomes to drive strategic decision-making within organizations. 

3) Leadership and Management

Leadership and management courses are fundamental components of MBA programs. Students learn about different leadership styles, communication strategies, and motivational techniques to inspire and empower teams. 

Management courses cover topics such as organizational behavior, strategic planning, and decision-making. By mastering leadership and management skills, MBA graduates can incite innovation, build high-performing teams, and lead strategic initiatives that propel their organizations forward.

leadership mba specialization

4) Ethics and Social Responsibility

Ethics and social responsibility courses in MBA programs explore the ethical dimensions of business decision-making and the role of businesses in society. In ethics courses, students examine ethical dilemmas in business, ethical theories and frameworks, and strategies for promoting ethical behavior within organizations. 

Social responsibility courses focus on the responsibilities of businesses to stakeholders, communities, and the environment. By grappling with ethical challenges and exploring the concept of corporate social responsibility, MBA graduates develop a strong ethical compass. This gives them a sense of social responsibility that guides their decision-making and behavior in their careers.

5) Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Entrepreneurship and innovation courses in MBA programs explore the processes of creating and growing new ventures. These courses are key because entrepreneurship and innovation are drivers of economic growth, industry disruption, and organizational competitiveness.

Students learn about opportunity identification, business model development, financing options, and risk management strategies for launching new ventures. Innovation courses cover topics such as creativity, design thinking, and innovation management to cultivate a culture of innovation within organizations. 

entrepreneurship mba specialization people using laptops around table

6) International Business

International business courses in MBA programs examine the opportunities and challenges of operating in global markets. These courses are essential because globalization has transformed the business landscape. This has created new opportunities for expansion and competition on a global scale.

Students learn about global market dynamics, cultural differences, regulatory environments, and strategies for entering and competing in international markets. By understanding the complexities of international business, MBA graduates can pursue opportunities on a global scale. They can also navigate cultural and regulatory challenges and contribute to the success of multinational organizations.

Choosing Your MBA Specialization

As you progress through your MBA studies, you’ll have the opportunity to customize your academic path to suit your career ambitions. Specializations provide a focused exploration of specific business areas, allowing you to develop expertise in your chosen field.

When considering specializations, align your choice with your professional goals and interests. Factors such as industry demand, personal strengths, and desired skill development should guide your decision-making process. Some of the most popular specializations include:

Entrepreneurship Specialization

The entrepreneurship specialization is tailored for individuals with a passion for innovation and a desire to embark on entrepreneurial ventures. This specialization equips students with a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge essential for said passion. 

Throughout the program, students delve into various aspects of entrepreneurship, including entrepreneurial thought and action, effective communication, and capitalizing on emerging opportunities. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning experiences and interdisciplinary electives, allowing students to tailor their studies to their specific interests and career goals.

Whether you aspire to start your own company or bring entrepreneurial skills to an established organization, this specialization provides the tools and guidance needed to succeed. With mentorship from successful entrepreneurs and a focus on goal setting and strategy development, students are prepared to navigate the challenges of business creation and growth confidently.

Marketing Specialization

The marketing specialization is designed for individuals with aspirations for dynamic marketing careers. It is focused on honing expertise in strategic planning, market research, branding, and digital marketing. Therefore, it primes graduates for roles in marketing management, brand management, product management, and digital marketing.

Students can further specialize through elective courses, exploring areas such as customer insights, strategic branding, sales, marketing research, or consulting. Engaging in experiential learning initiatives with local companies, students also gain hands-on exposure to real-world marketing challenges. This specialization equips graduates with the essential skills to drive company growth, stand out in competitive markets, and cultivate enduring customer loyalty.

mba marketing specialization man brainstorming on whiteboard

Finance Specialization

The finance specialization supports individuals seeking careers in finance, covering essential topics such as corporate finance, investment management, financial analysis, and risk management. Within the finance concentration, Crummer offers additional curriculum tracks to further specialize your studies: the Corporate Finance Track and the Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management Track. 

  • The Corporate Finance Track covers the complexities of corporate finance, including fundraising from public and private sources, evaluating investment opportunities across domestic and international markets, risk management techniques, and global cash flow management. This track prepares students for careers as corporate financial managers, financial analysts, or risk managers.
  • The Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management Track focuses on preparing students for careers in the investment profession as financial analysts or portfolio managers. Students learn to analyze securities, construct investment portfolios, and manage investment funds for mutual funds, brokerage firms, banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions.

If you are seeking other specializations, Crummer’s Early Advantage MBA has a total of 7. These include Business Analytics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Marketing, Operations & Technology Management, and SESE – Social Entrepreneurship Sustainable Enterprise.

accounting mba specialization calculator and tax returns

The Unique Teaching Methods Used in an MBA Program

MBA programs utilize various teaching methods including lectures, case studies, group discussions, simulations, and experiential learning projects. Lectures provide foundational theoretical knowledge, while case studies offer practical insights into real-world business challenges. Group discussions encourage collaborative learning, and simulations replicate business scenarios for hands-on practice. Experiential learning projects further reinforce practical skills development.

MBA education blends theoretical and practical learning. Lectures lay the groundwork, while case studies, simulations, and experiential projects facilitate real-world application. This integration ensures students acquire both theoretical understanding and practical skills essential for success in their careers.

As the world has shifted towards remote work, many MBA programs have embraced this change and offer a hybrid approach for students, teaching via Zoom classes and remote meetings. If this style of studying appeals to you, then an online MBA program may be worth considering.

Building an Extensive Professional Network through an MBA

MBA programs provide ample networking opportunities, connecting students with classmates, professors, and alumni. Collaborative projects and group discussions facilitate relationship-building, while professors offer mentorship and industry connections. Plus, alumni networks extend access to networking events and potentially even job offers.

These connections can help lead to numerous career path advancements. The diverse network built during an MBA program opens doors to collaborations, partnerships, and entrepreneurial ventures, enhancing career growth and unlocking new opportunities.

What Soft Skills Do You Learn in an MBA?

In addition to teaching technical knowledge, MBA programs also focus on developing essential soft skills that are crucial for success in the workplace. Through a mix of classroom learning, group projects, and hands-on experiences, MBA students learn a variety of skills that are highly valued by employers.

These skills include effective time management, communication, networking, teamwork, and collaboration. They’re not just important for navigating the challenges of the business world, but also for building strong relationships and helping companies thrive. Here’s a review of these skills:

Time Management

MBA programs often have demanding schedules and numerous assignments. By juggling coursework, group projects, and extracurricular activities, students learn to prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and allocate resources efficiently. This skill is invaluable in the workplace, where professionals are often tasked with managing multiple projects simultaneously. 

Effective Communication and Networking

Through presentations, class discussions, and networking events, MBA students hone their communication skills. Essentially, they learn to articulate ideas clearly and persuasively. 

Additionally, collaborative projects and team-based activities provide opportunities to interact with diverse peers and build professional networks. Strong communication and networking abilities are essential in the business world. Both of these soft skills enable individuals to convey ideas effectively, build relationships, and advance their careers.

networking and communication in mba 4 women talking

Teamwork and Collaboration

MBA programs emphasize teamwork and collaboration through group projects, case studies, and experiential learning activities. Students work closely with peers from diverse backgrounds, learning to leverage each other’s strengths, resolve conflicts, and achieve common goals. This builds a collaborative mindset essential for success in today’s interconnected business environment.

Increasing Career Opportunities with an MBA

An MBA expands your career prospects, offering various paths for professional growth. It equips you with skills and connections that open doors to opportunities in different industries and roles.

With an MBA, you can advance in your current field, switch to a new industry, or even start your own business. The program deepens your business knowledge and hones critical skills like leadership and decision-making, which are valuable in today’s job market.

Industries like consulting, finance, technology, healthcare, and marketing are especially welcoming to MBA graduates. Emerging sectors such as sustainability and fintech also value the expertise MBA holders bring. With an MBA, you’re well-prepared for roles that drive business success and make a positive impact.

Analyzing the Value of an MBA

While pursuing an MBA demands a significant commitment of time and resources, the potential return on investment (ROI) makes it a worthwhile investment for many professionals. These include increased earning potential, expanded career opportunities, and enhanced leadership capabilities. Here’s a closer look: 

  •  Cost: This includes tuition fees, living expenses, and potential opportunity costs associated with taking time away from the workforce. However, research indicates that the long-term benefits often outweigh the initial investment. MBA graduates typically experience a significant increase in earning potential compared to those holding only undergraduate degrees.
  • Career Options: Earning an MBA opens doors to a wider range of career opportunities, allowing individuals to pursue roles in various industries and sectors. The advanced knowledge and skills acquired during the program, coupled with the prestigious credentials, make MBA graduates highly sought after by employers.
  • Intangible Benefits: An MBA also offers intangible benefits such as enhanced leadership capabilities and a broader professional network. Through coursework, group projects, and networking events, students develop essential leadership skills. These include strategic thinking, decision-making, and effective communication. Additionally, the connections made with classmates, professors, and alumni can provide valuable mentorship and career guidance.


Pursuing an MBA offers significant benefits, including increased earning potential, expanded career opportunities, and enhanced leadership skills. Despite the investment required, the long-term value of an MBA is evident in the diverse range of career paths it opens up.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, consider Crummer’s MBA programs. With specialized tracks, innovative teaching methods, and extensive networking opportunities, Crummer provides a comprehensive MBA experience personalized to your career aspirations. 


What does an MBA teach you?

An MBA teaches you about business management and leadership. You’ll learn skills like decision-making, problem-solving, and strategic thinking.

What do you learn in Business School?

In business school, you learn about various aspects of running a business, like finance, marketing, and operations. You also develop soft skills like teamwork and communication.

What will an MBA do for you?

An MBA can open up new career opportunities and help you advance in your current job. It gives you valuable skills and knowledge that are in demand in the business world.

Is an MBA worth it after 30?

Yes, an MBA can still be worth it after 30. It can help you switch careers, advance in your current job, or start your own business. As long as it aligns with your career goals, it can be a valuable investment. Consider the Crummer Flex MBA, designed to fit your life.