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Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a graduate degree that prepares students for advancement in a variety of business settings, from entrepreneurship and small business to international corporations. Both business students and other professionals planning to move into management or leadership positions will benefit from taking an MBA. Core courses focus on finance, human resources, management, business law and ethics and, while some MBA programs are general in nature, others specialize in areas such as finance, hospitality, international business or aviation. Many schools offer part-time studies, online courses or distance learning. Graduates of MBA programs typically command higher salaries and move more quickly into management positions in all types of industries.
Executive MBA (EMBA) is a masters degree in business intended for experienced mid- and senior-level professionals. EMBA programs provide students with the specific knowledge and tools they need to advance their careers, whether in their current industry or another. EMBA students include everyone from engineers to entrepreneurs, and each brings a unique perspective to the classroom. EMBA programs usually allow students to continue working full time while they study, and some employers may even assist with tuition. EMBA courses provide a strong foundation in disciplines such as finance, marketing and accounting, while focusing on leadership training and specialized topics such as strategic thinking and globalization. EMBA programs are perfect for professionals who want to advance their education and career without taking significant time away from work, and EMBA graduates are highly sought after for executive-level positions.
Masters degree is a postgraduate degree that provides students with the next level of specialized knowledge in a particular academic discipline. Master degrees are available in nearly every academic discipline, from aeronautical engineering to zoology. In addition to traditional full-time studies, many master’s programs are offered part-time, online or as distance learning programs. Most master degrees are awarded as either a Master of Art (MA) or a Master of Science (MSc) but some institutions offer specialized degrees as well, such as Master of Engineering (MEng). Anyone interested in gaining additional expertise in their profession will benefit from taking a masters degree, as academic coursework can often help fill gaps in specialized knowledge that can take many years of workforce experience to gain. Students with master’s degrees often have an advantage as they progress in their careers, since the degree indicates a commitment to their chosen profession. A masters degree is also often a stepping-stone to additional studies at the doctoral level.
LLM is a Master of Laws degree recognized throughout the world. The degree usually takes about a year to complete and studies are focused in one area of law such as environmental law or international law. In most countries, students must already have a law degree to be eligible for an LLM program, as obtaining an LLM by itself does not qualify one to practice law. Law firms that specialize in certain areas or have an international client base often seek graduates of LLM programs because they already have the skills needed to practice law in a given environment.
PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is the highest degree awarded and indicates that a person has reached the top of their profession academically. A PhD can be obtained in just about any academic discipline and usually requires significant research and a dissertation on an original and highly specialized topic. Most PhD programs require at least some in-residence studies and can take several years. Many PhD students study full time, but part time, online and distance learning programs are increasingly available. Many international programs are now taught in English as well. Although traditionally graduates with PhDs have pursued academic or research careers, many are now highly sought after by businesses for their specialized knowledge, especially industries that rely heavily on engineering and technical skills.
Specialized courses are available for those interested in lifelong learning or wanting to expand their knowledge in a particular area without pursuing a degree. Courses include individual short courses on specialized topics and certificate programs that usually require only 2-4 courses to complete. Courses usually focus on practical application so students can put their knowledge to work immediately. Although many courses are taught in residence, others are also available online or via distance learning. Short courses taught in residence are normally compressed into a short period, typically 1-2 weeks, while online courses can often be completed at a student's own pace. Regardless of the delivery technique, these courses offer a quick way to learn about a new topic or to update rusty skills. As both students and employers benefit from short courses and certificates, many students may find their employers willing to help with tuition.
Universities, colleges, business schools and technical institutes are available all over the world for postgraduate studies in every academic discipline imaginable. Although most postgraduate programs are taught in the native language where an institution is located, many postgraduate programs are now offered in English and other popular languages making it easier for students to study abroad. Studying abroad allows students to select the best programs in their academic discipline, exposes them to new languages and cultures, and provides valuable experience for those seeking employment in multinational corporations.