A group of three MBA students point to a laptop in a library while laughing.

Everything you need to know about MBAs

Heard of the Master of Business Administration but want to learn more? Read on to discover the ins and outs of MBA programs, why they’re valuable, and the top schools both in Spain and abroad.

6 min read

The Master of Business Administration, or MBA for short, is a type of master’s degree focused on business management. The goal of this program is to help students to acquire the knowledge they need to work in or manage companies, or to become entrepreneurs. But there’s more to an MBA than meets the eye. These programs are an extremely effective way to broaden your professional horizons, make meaningful professional connections, and boost your salary prospects. 

Here, we’ll look at MBAs in detail and discuss what you can expect to achieve by earning one. We’ll also cover their average length, the job opportunities they bring, entry requirements, and what the best MBA programs are to kick-start your professional career. 

The origins of the MBA

The origins of the Master of Business Administration can be traced back to the early 20th century. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, companies began demanding more business management skills, leading universities to develop programs to satisfy this growing need. The Tuck School of Business, part of Dartmouth College, was the first school in the United States—and the world—to introduce an MBA, and they later arrived on European shores via the UK. 

Among the many reasons behind the MBA’s success is its focus on learning-by-doing. Through intense studies and training, students are confronted with a variety of situations they would likely face in a career in business, forcing them to hone their critical thinking, leadership, and communication skills. This method of bringing theory and practice together is well-suited to those hoping to excel in business. 

Studying? Bank for free!

Bank from anywhere, anytime. Open your free student bank account online in minutes.
Open a student bank account (new tab)
A hand holding a Rhubarb colored N26 card.

Why should I get an MBA?

If you’re wondering whether you should get an MBA, it’s a good idea to think about the future career you want, and how an MBA could help you achieve it. Whether you’re angling to start your own business or work for a large corporation, a good MBA program will teach you the ins and outs of running a company—from sales, accounting, statistics, and marketing to finance, logistics, and human resources.

On top of countless scholastic benefits, MBAs may also promise gains in salary and job opportunities for those who have them. A wide range of studies show that those with an MBA can expect pay increases of between 12% and 90% compared to their competitors. This percentage varies depending on where you study and the country you’re working in.

Types of MBAs

Because MBAs are graduate degrees, their duration and format can be easily adapted to students’ needs. Some programs are intensive and last only one year, while others allow you to work and study at the same time and last longer. Here’s a list of the main types of MBA programs:

  1. International MBA. The goal of this type of MBA is to prepare students for a career in international business. Since the teaching component and internships usually take place in different countries and are often in English, the selection criteria for this MBA are stricter than for others.
  2. EMBA or Executive MBA. This program was created for executives looking to extend their business training as they work. The program takes typical working hours into account, which means that classes are usually held on the weekends. EMBAs last two years on average and cover finance, accounting, and marketing in depth—specifically from a business management perspective.
  3. Specialist MBA. This type of Master’s degree offers you the chance to specialize in high-demand fields, such as one of the following:
    1. International Management. Ideal for students planning or aspiring to work abroad or in multinationals after graduating. You’ll gain vital skills in finance, strategy, and operations in an international context—and learn how to do business with people and organizations across the world.
    2. Entrepreneurship. If you’re looking to start a business, this MBA will give you the experience you need in management and business development, as well as tools for presenting your ideas and securing funding for your project.  
    3. IT Management. This specialized course puts MBA graduates at the cutting edge of UX, design, and information technologies. If you want to be involved in data management, this program is perfect for you.
    4. Management Consulting. One of the most demanded skills in the business world, this MBA gives business students the skills they need to enter a lucrative industry helping clients more successfully manage their companies. 
    5. Marketing. If advertising and marketing are your thing, you should consider this MBA. You’ll learn how to promote products and services, design and implement marketing campaigns, and how to communicate with clients. These skills can be applied to marketing and sales roles in B2C and B2B companies. 
  4. Online MBA. This type of Master’s degree is ideal for those who can’t make it to in-person classes because of commuting or scheduling issues. In Spain, especially, there are a wealth of options for online MBAs.

Admission criteria

Every university or business school has its own selection criteria. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree, you might have to pass an entrance exam like the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). You may need to submit a letter of recommendation. On top of those requirements, most MBA programs demand a strong academic record and/or proof of professional experience. You must also be proficient in the language the courses are taught in (usually English).

The top MBAs in Spain

When it comes to selecting the right university at which to pursue your MBA, there are a lot of factors to consider—including the quality ratio, the areas of specialization, the internships offered in the course, whether the MBA is in-person or not, and so on.

To help you decide, we’ve created a table with information on eight of Spain’s top business schools. You can also check out the ranking for the best Spanish MBAs in the *Eduniversal portal.

SchoolTypeCityLength (months) Price Internship
IESE Business School PostgraduateBarcelona15–17€89.950Optional
IE Business School PostgraduateMadrid11€72.200No
ESADE Business School PostgraduateBarcelona12–18€72.000Optional
Madrid Chamber of Commerce ExecutiveMadrid10€9.740Optional
EADA Business School ExecutiveBarcelona14€36.900No
Valencia Chamber of Commerce ExecutiveValencia10€7.980Optional
ESIC Business and Marketing School ExecutiveMany18€26.600No
EAE Business School PostgraduateMadrid12€28.500No

The world’s best MBAs

Every year, the Financial Times publishes a ranking of the world’s best MBAs. To build this list, they take into account factors like the price-quality ratio of every MBA, the average salary of graduates, how easy it is for alumni to find jobs, international mobility, the diversity in ethnic origin of both teachers and students, and the international scope of the master’s program. Below is the Financial Times’ latest list of the top MBAs.

  1. Insead(France/Singapore)
  2. London Business School (United Kingdom)
  3. The University of Chicago: Booth (United States)
  4. IESE Business School (Spain)
  5. Yale School of Management (United States)
  6. Northwestern University: Kellogg (United States)
  7. Ceibs (China)
  8. HEC Paris (France)
  9. Duke University: Fuqua (United States)
  10. Dartmouth College: Tuck (United States)

Pay in seconds, not days

With instant transfers your money will arrive immediately to any bank account in the SEPA area.
Try instant transfers

Your money at N26

No matter where you decide to study, make sure you bring along a hassle-free bank account that’s as mobile as you are. With our free N26 Standard account, you’ll be able to bank anytime, anywhere, right from your smartphone. And with bank account N26 Smart, N26 You, and N26 Metal, you’ll have access to Spaces sub-accounts, handpicked Perks, and much, much more. Plus, make purchases in any currency—and free withdrawals at any ATM in the world. No fees, no fuss! So why not start your MBA out right with N26? 

*On the Eduniversal portal you’ll find a section with detailed information on the best MBAs in Spain along with the latest rankings. If you’d like to see the list published by the Financial Times, you can find it here

Find similar stories

By N26

Love your bank

Related articles

These might also interest you
Students relaxing on a bed.

COVID-19 gives rise to a new generation of money-savvy students

Faced with a tough economic landscape, European students are finding new ways to manage their money. We explore how digital tools are enabling students to seize control of their finances.

Shirt and sunglasses for first job out of college.

How to get your first job out of college

Finally graduated and ready to enter the world of work? This guide is here to help you get started on the road to success.

best places to study abroad Image with small globe and dark blue background.

The 10 best places to study abroad—where to go to satisfy your wanderlust

Culture, courses, people and places: studying abroad comes with a host of benefits to help you grow as a person. Check out our online guide on 10 fantastic places to study around the world.