What Will I Learn in an Online MBA?


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When starting to research Online MBA Programs, students might wonder what their curriculum will look like. What will the topics include? What will the applications be? How will this degree benefit their future career? To help answer some of these questions, let dive in to what students will learn in an Online MBA.

When working towards an Online MBA, there is a core curriculum included within all programs. This business core covers the essential skills needed to level up your business education and make sure all business students understand the same framework and vocabulary amid all main tenets of business management. After the general foundation, students can choose specializations or a general curriculum. Both options can open doors to a whole new world of finance, management, and business career opportunities.

Online MBA Specializations

There are a myriad of MBA specializations, otherwise called concentrations, that put a specific focus on a field of study so that students will be prepared for their chosen career path. When students choose to enroll in a specialized online MBA, it will focus what they will learn in an Online MBA. They will deep dive into industry-specific knowledge for a particular field.

mba student

Many MBA specializations explore core subjects common in MBA curriculum, such as finance, accounting, and business operations. Others focus on industry-specific electives and learning opportunities such as the energy industry, hospitality and tourism, and cybersecurity.

When choosing whether to pursue a general or specialized MBA, you have to consider your long-term goals and plans. If you choose a general MBA, you will learn the basics of all the specialties and the skills used across all fields. This option often allows more flexibility because of the broad coverage of information. However, if you wanted to become CFO of a Fortune 500 company, for example, then you might choose a Finance specialization. For those already in the workforce, you will likely choose to specialize in that same field. This way, you have the degree qualifications to advance and take the next step.

Before you apply, research and consider which path you want to take. Assess if there is one specialization that you have more inclination or talent for one over the other. A few of the common specializations to choose from include:

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Strategy
  • Operational Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management Consulting
  • Information Systems/Technology
  • Human Resources 
  • Supply Chain Management
  • International Management

General MBA

The value and significance of an MBA degree itself opens up a world of possibilities. An OMBA can be a worthwhile investment, whether you choose a general or specialty degree. General Management is a good choice if you aren’t sure which field you want to work in after receiving your MBA. It will give you a taste of everything. You will be introduced to all major disciplines, and many programs have the option of studying abroad as an elective. This experience will allow you to meet with successful business leaders and become familiar with cultural differences.

The coursework involved is, of course, more diverse than if you narrowed it down into a specialized field. You can more easily shift between career fields after obtaining your degree, as you will be familiar with them all. The core coursework can vary from program to program, but commonly, it will look the same.

Example of General Management Curriculum

  • Quantitative Business Analysis
  • Accounting Concepts
  • Leadership and Teams
  • Business Economics for the World Market
  • Marketing Management
  • Financial Principles and Practice
  • Marketing Strategy and Planning
  • Ethical, Legal, and Regulatory Issues
  • MBA Capstone

Many general MBA Programs also give students a choice of elective to finish out their degree. There are hundreds of possible electives for you to choose from in order to earn the necessary credits. During an Online MBA, you will be introduced to a diverse range of subjects. Along with earning the credits you need, these electives allow you to explore some of the more specialized fields, and they give you a better idea of your options. A few of the electives that are available are:

  • Business Intelligence
  • Business Data Visualization
  • Project Management
  • Information Technology Management
  • Corporate Risk Management
  • Private Equity and Venture Capital
  • Behavioral Finance
  • Search Engine Marketing and Optimization
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Strategic Selling for Business Customers
  • Digital Marketing
  • Real Estate Finance and Investments

General Management in itself is a valid career path to explore. After you’ve completed your General MBA, you’ll be prepared to oversee multiple departments or locations. You would be capable of creating policies and managing the day-to-day operations. As a General Manager, you would have subordinate supervisors and team members who would report to you. Whether GM or Specialized, you can see how the curriculum and skills you’ve learned benefit you in your career – whichever field you choose to enter. 


Another major aspect of what students will learn in an Online MBA is leadership skills. Whether you decide to pursue a general degree or a specialty, your curriculum course will generally include five key areas of leadership. An Online MBA is geared toward educating people to be leaders, to be in charge of a diverse team, and to move a company towards success. While an MBA doesn’t guarantee you will manage others, in most cases, you will work with a team. The combination of leadership and academic concepts is what uniquely prepares MBA students for the business world.

business meeting

Five Key Areas of Leadership

  • Leadership skills to motivate team members to collaborate well
  • Entrepreneurial skills to create goals, study the market, and follow-through
  • Interpersonal skills to work well with others
  • Strategic thinking to understand what steps to take towards success for companies
  • Communication skills to listen to and convey relevant information to the team.

Action Steps

If reading through what students learn in an Online MBA gets you excited, it is start to put some plans in action to see if this degree is in your future. Get out a pen and paper and get started.

  • Assess your long and short-term career goals. 
  • Choose your career field.
  • Determine which specialty is right for you.
  • Research program and enrollment requirements.
  • Research funding.

Choosing to pursue your Online MBA is a big decision and one that needs careful consideration. You should have an end goal in mind beyond getting the degree. Know what it is you are building toward with your MBA. By doing the proper research and understanding what is in store for you, you’ll be confident and prepared to take on the challenge.

Related Resources:

Guide to an Economics Online MBA
Top Online MBA Programs

Find Your MBA

Get matched with top online MBA programs now!