ip target image
You are currently browsing our site with content tailored to students in your country
The basics
THE UK: Subject Guides

MBA: Is it for you?

share image

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualification is undoubtedly one of the most coveted degrees. It’s definitely a path worth considering as an international student, especially if you’re aiming to make your mark in business and undertake a management role.


In a highly competitive environment having an MBA can be an extremely important asset and, in some cases, even a pre-requisite for certain positions. An MBA is the ideal programme for both those already working in business or those who aspire to do so. It is an appropriate course of study if you’re working in or have studied various disciplines, ranging from marketing to finance and HR to accounting. One of the particular benefits of an MBA programme is the manner in which it can foster relationships between students/ young professionals and global companies.  We take a look at some of the key elements of an MBA programme and provide some tips in deciding if the programme is for you.

Course Structure 

The majority of MBA programmes are structured over 12 to 24 months, but this does vary depending on the institution.  Each degree will likely have slightly different ways in which the content of the course is delivered, however you can expect project work, elective subjects, work exchanges, field trips and internships. For example, the MBA programme at Birmingham City University is geared towards developing skills that aid students in becoming more employable.  Some of the areas of focus include entrepreneurship, strategy and project management.  An MBA degree is known to be quite demanding and so time management allied with careful planning is essential.


MBA programmes vary greatly in terms of tuition fees, with some institutions charging a yearly rate while others opt for an overall cost of programme structure. Fees may also vary depending on your country of origin and any additional costs over and above the tuition fees that you may need to cover. It is critical that you check with the requisite institution in order to ascertain the cost of studying and any scholarships/ financial assistance that may be available.



Naturally you want to ensure the quality of the course that you are pursuing. This is paramount for both future employment prospects and your own personal investment. The accreditation of an MBA programme goes a long way to standardising and ensuring the authenticity of the degree. In the UK the Association of MBAs (AMBA) is the body responsible for monitoring and rubber stamping the quality of programmes. In certain cases, institutions in the UK may be AMBA accredited and also endorsed by international bodies. Make sure to verify that the programme you’re interested in has the relevant accreditation and is provided by a legitimate institution with a proven track record.  The UK has a number of excellent and highly rated business schools offering MBA programmes.


Entry Requirements 

In order to qualify for entry into an MBA programme there a few pre-requisites you’ll likely need to possess. The first is a good to excellent Honour’s degree from a reputable institution. Your undergraduate qualification does not necessarily have to be in a business, management or finance related field, but in some cases, you may be required to provide motivation for your desire to pursue an MBA.  The second factor which counts in your favour is being able to demonstrate at least three years’ experience in a professional business environment. This can include project work and management experience. You may be able to gain entry into an MBA programme without a degree, but it’s important to remember that an institution usually requires significant evidence of your abilities and/or experience that testify as to your ability to cope with the rigours of the programme.

If you are an international student, English language proficiency is a must have. You’ll need to possess an IELTS score of 6.0 to 6.5 or above, with no scores below 5.5 in any bands, or a minimum TOEFL score of 580. Many institutions do accept evidence of English language proficiency from other accredited bodies around the world and in some cases even offer pre-sessional or foundation English programmes prior to enrolment. Make sure that you double-check the language requirements for the institution/s you wish to apply to and if you possess an English proficiency qualification, that it is recognised as such.


Pros and Cons of an MBA

Making a decision about what course of study is best for you isn’t always easy and given that we’ve established that an MBA is no walk in the park, here are a few pros and cons to aid your decision-making process.


  • With an MBA you’ll gain a deeper and more comprehensive subject knowledge.
  • An MBA can increase your employability and allow you to compete in a challenging market.
  • Many of the skills and knowledge you gain in an MBA can be transferred into a wide variety of settings.
  • With an MBA you’ll have the unique opportunity to network with a wide variety of people and organisations. These may become professional contacts in the future and even lead to employment opportunities.
  • An MBA gives you a great base from which to launch your own entrepreneurial endeavour, you’ll have many of the skills needed to do so.


  • An MBA can be a significant financial investment and it is never a guarantee when it comes to getting a high-paying job.
  • MBA courses require a significant commitment, meaning that you won’t have much free time.
  • MBA programmes are not necessarily as flexible as other qualifications.
  • Adapting to an academic environment from a professional business background can be challenging.
  • MBA programmes can often, as part of your assessment, require you to work in groups on projects or within organisations you may not be familiar with.  


An MBA isn’t the only masters level business degree and programme that you can pursue. Examples include an MSc qualification in various business focused subjects.  You can also take a look at other options in the UK by using our subject search service.


One of the most important parts of the decision-making process as to whether an MBA is for you, is ensuring that you are well-informed. This can involve speaking to people who have studied the qualification, reading reviews, attending career fairs, speaking to career advisors, chatting to counsellors, and critically, speaking to institutions. There is also loads of information available online that can aid your deliberations.  Once you’ve done your research, you’ll be in a prime position to make an application and begin what could be an exceptionally rewarding undertaking.


Study in the UK


'Study in the UK' eBook

Enjoy what you’ve read? We’ve condensed the above popular topics about studying in the UK into one handy digital book.

Get your eBook
Want to check which program suits you the best?
Find out with our new "Course Matcher" tool!

Must read

article Img

TESOL & Applied Linguistics at London Metropolitan University (UK)

Teaching others to speak the English language is a noble vocation in life which requires great patience – you can really make a difference and help people improve the quality of their lives. But it takes a very special person to fill this role, and passing a TESOL course (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a requirement to qualify. In fact, international graduates of TESOL courses can make for excellent teachers of the English language. They

article Img

Most popular undergraduate & postgraduate courses in the UK

If you need the inspiration to help you choose a course at a university in the UK, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we take a look at the ten most popular undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the UK to help inform your research. The courses selected represent the most searched for and popular options on our site in the last year. This has also been in combination with international university league tables. Before we jump into the course and