What is a Master of Business Administration or MBA?

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. An MBA is an internationally recognized graduate level degree usually pursued by professionals with some work experience. Gaining an MBA education further develops and cultivates business acumen essential for advancement into the C-suite of business. An MBA concentrates on key management areas that affect organizational performance: leadership, strategy, analytics, human resources, finance, marketing, operations, and information technology.

What is the value of an MBA?

Earning a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) can help business professionals to enhance their career opportunities, receive increased compensation, and job advancement opportunities. It also has great utility across industries: healthcare, government, not-for-profit, etc.

Why take MBA courses online?

Flexibility is one major advantage. Taking your MBA online offers a unique, customizable learning experience that is tailored to your lifestyle and time commitments. Athabasca University’s flexible, 24-hour, online format allows you to complete your coursework from home, work, or even while travelling. Because our students don’t reside in one physical location there is greater opportunity to connect with experienced managers and leaders from a vast array of differing industries all across Canada and around the world. Athabasca’s online MBA is built to enhance peer-learning and collaboration, there is ample opportunity for students to interact and participate in discussions and group work.

What is an Executive MBA or EMBA?

An Executive MBA (EMBA) is very similar in structure to an MBA – the big difference is that students bring more work experience to the classroom. Some EMBAs have become very short (14 to 18 months of part time study) and blur the lines between graduate level study and executive development. Athabasca’s MBA for Executives combines the full curriculum and learning of a full MBA with the richness of discussion that comes from having experienced managers and leaders as students. The degree Athabasca University awards is an MBA.

What’s the difference between an EMBA and an MBA?

There are a couple of differences between an MBA and an EMBA; students entering the EMBA usually have been in the workforce longer and commonly have greater experience in executive or leadership roles, most EMBAs take significantly less time to complete and the academic content is condensed. MBAs often rely heavily on analytics and case studies and are often focused on helping students develop skills to enter their first professional or early management role. Conversations in the classroom differ too. In an MBA, where students have limited experience, it’s “imagining what you might do.” In an EMBA it’s more frequently, “how have you done this? Do your experiences match the theory?”

What are the MBA requirements?

Athabasca’s MBA for executives has three routes of entry:

  • an undergraduate degree, plus three years of managerial experience (managerial experience must demonstrate progressive responsibility and should include managing people, projects, or budgets, or any combination of these), or
  • an accepted professional designation (i.e. CPA, CGA, PBA, etc.), plus five years of managerial experience, or
  • eight years of managerial experience.

There is also an accelerated path if you have:

  • an undergraduate degree in business that has been completed in the last 10 years,
  • a GPA of 3.0 or higher (for the last 60 credits taken), and
  • a minimum of three years of managerial experience.

What is a master’s degree?

A master’s degree is the first level of graduate study. To apply for a master’s degree, one must typically have an undergraduate degree (a bachelor’s degree) or another qualifying credential. A master’s degree can be obtained in a variety of fields such as; a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), or Master of Business Administration (MBA).

What is a graduate degree?

Graduate degrees are the next level in higher education and succeed a master’s degree. One must customarily have either a bachelor’s degree or an advanced diploma to attend graduate school. A graduate degree can be either a master’s degree or a doctorate degree, the highest level of academic degree.

Can an MBA be done part-time?

Many MBA programs can be taken part-time. The AU MBA program is designed to fit around your professional and personal life, and requires 20-25 hours of study/casework/group discussion per week. Because of the intensity of each course, only one 8-week course is taken at a time with a break between each course. Canada Revenue recognizes AU MBA students as full-time students for every month they are enrolled in a course.  

What types of courses do you take in an MBA?

The Athabasca University online MBA for Executives is broken up into two phases.

The first phase consists of six core courses that build on each other:

These six courses are then capped by a week-long comprehensive exam (completed online).


The second phase consists of four advanced core courses:

Also required are 18 elective credits that may be obtained in two ways:

  • Six, three-credit courses, or
  • Three, three-credit courses and a nine-credit applied project.

What MBA programs can you take online?

Athabasca University’s Faculty of Business has a general MBA and an MBA in Hockey Management:

Online MBA for Executives

Online MBA in Hockey Management

Athabasca University also has partnerships with leading Canadian professional organizations. Individuals with a CPA or SCMP designation receive special standing in the AU MBA and are able to complete the program in a reduced timeframe and cost. Individuals looking to earn both the MBA and either the CHE designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders or the SCMP designation from the Supply Chain Management Association, can earn a significant portion of those designations while completing the AU MBA.

Online MBA for Accountant

Online MBA for Health Leaders

Online MBA for Supply Chain Managers  

What is an MBA for Accountants?

At Athabasca University, we acknowledge your financial management background by providing transfer credit in course areas related to professional accounting. If you have the professional designation; Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified General Accountant (CGA), Chartered Accountant (CA), or Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), you may receive up to nine credits towards your MBA, allowing you to complete the program up to six months faster and with a significantly reduced tuition.