Pursuing an MBA can provide invaluable skills, networks, and opportunities for personal and professional growth regardless of your bachelor’s degree major.
Whether you’ve studied engineering, liberal arts, social sciences, or any other discipline during your undergraduate studies, an MBA opens doors to diverse career paths.
Yes, pursuing an MBA without an undergraduate degree in business is possible. MBA programs accept students from diverse academic backgrounds, allowing non-business degree holders to bring unique perspectives to the business world.
Did You Know: In the May 2022 GMAC report, it was found that nearly half of the students admitted to international business schools didn’t have a background in business.
Students with STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) backgrounds offer a quantitative and analytical perspective, enabling them to approach management challenges and subject areas with a more technical lens.
On the other hand, liberal arts or humanities majors bring valuable soft skills such as communication and creative thinking, which can introduce fresh solutions to existing problems in the business world.
Admission committees assess you based on various factors, including work experience, academic performance, standardized test scores (such as the GMAT or GRE), recommendation letters, and personal statements—and not solely on your bachelor’s major.
If you have a non-business undergraduate degree and are interested in pursuing an MBA, there are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of being admitted:
Gain Relevant Work Experience:
Build a strong professional background by working in a field related to your career goals. Highlight your achievements and any business-related responsibilities in your application.
Highlight Transferable Skills:
Put the spotlight on the skills you have gained through your undergraduate studies and work experience that can be directly applied to business studies. These may include your proficiency in analysis, problem-solving, leadership, and effective communication.
Network and Seek Recommendations:
Connect with professionals in your industry and seek recommendations from individuals who can attest to your potential to succeed in an MBA program. Strong recommendations can reinforce your fitness for business studies, regardless of your undergraduate degree.
Prepare for Standardized Tests:
Standardized tests, such as the GMAT or GRE, are often–though not always–required for MBA admissions. Dedicate time to study and prepare for these exams to demonstrate your aptitude for graduate-level business studies. Even if they aren’t required, you can submit your scores if they are strong as part of your application.
We’ll explore some of the most impactful undergraduate majors for aspiring MBA candidates such as yourself and examine how specific fields of study can enhance your chances of admission and success in the MBA program.
Studying business as a major can positively impact getting admitted to an MBA program by instilling foundational knowledge and a competitive academic edge.
MBA programs heavily rely on case studies to simulate real-world business scenarios. Solving business cases from your undergraduate studies can make you more comfortable with the business curriculum and push your performance.
Studying business as an undergraduate can enable you to establish connections early on, allowing you to leverage these networks for mentorship, internships, and job opportunities during and after your MBA.
Suppose you choose to pursue MBA specializations later, such as finance, marketing, or entrepreneurship. In that case, your prior business coursework can serve as a strong foundation for advanced courses and enhance your understanding of specialized subjects.
Some common degree programs in business:
- Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics
- Bachelor of Science in General Business
- Bachelor of Arts in Business
Studying economics as a major helps you develop a strong understanding of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics. MBA programs highly value these skills, especially in courses that require data analysis, financial modeling, and decision-making.
With economics as a background, you become well-versed in the quantitative sections of the GMAT or GRE, which are crucial components in preparing for your MBA admissions.
Also, you gain insights into market behavior, supply and demand, pricing strategies, and competition. This knowledge can provide a solid foundation for marketing, strategy, and entrepreneurship courses within an MBA program.
Some common degree programs in economics:
- Bachelor of Science in Economics
- Bachelor of Arts in Economics
- Bachelor in Global Studies
Humanities and Social Sciences
Studying humanities and social sciences helps you develop strong communication and interpersonal skills through extensive reading, research, and writing. These skills are essential for teamwork and networking in an MBA program and future managerial roles.
This major trains you to think critically, simplify complex information, and propose creative solutions. These skills are highly valuable in MBA coursework, case studies, and strategic decision-making.
Studying humanities and social sciences fosters an understanding of ethical considerations and societal impact. This perspective can help you make informed decisions and navigate ethical dilemmas in the business world.
Some common degree programs in humanities and social sciences:
- Bachelor of Science in Social and Economic Development Policy
- Bachelor of Arts in Behavior Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Economic and Social Sciences
As technology continues to shape and disrupt various industries, a strong computer science foundation can be advantageous. It enables you to understand emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and blockchain, which are increasingly relevant in business environments.
Admissions committees are aware of the growing importance of technology-driven innovation and digital transformation across industries. Your computer science background demonstrates your understanding of technology and its potential application and impact on business, making you a valuable candidate for an MBA program.
Your experience in a technical role can demonstrate your ability to work in a fast-paced, technology-driven environment.
Some common degree programs in computer science:
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
- Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science
A marketing major exposes you to key concepts and principles of business, such as market research, consumer behavior, branding, and marketing strategy.
Your marketing major can showcase your ability to analyze markets, identify opportunities, and develop effective marketing strategies, which are transferable skills applicable to broader business strategies.
Marketing projects often involve cross-functional collaboration and teamwork. By working on group projects and engaging in marketing initiatives, you can develop skills in collaboration, negotiation, and problem-solving—qualities highly sought after in MBA candidates.
Some common degree programs in marketing:
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing
- Bachelor of Marketing
According to GMAC’s report, 49% of non-business undergrad majors sought out tech companies for jobs. Your engineering background can showcase your quantitative aptitude, logical reasoning, and ability to approach challenges systematically.
Understanding engineering principles and emerging technologies can equip you to identify technological opportunities, assess feasibility, and contribute to developing innovative solutions.
Engineers often work on projects involving multiple stakeholders, tight deadlines, and complex requirements. This project management experience can benefit MBA programs emphasizing teamwork and execution.
Some common degree programs in engineering:
- Engineering Dual Degree Program
- Bachelor of Engineering Technology
- B.S. in Engineering
Ultimately, the decision to pursue an MBA should be driven by a passion for personal and professional growth and a desire to cultivate a diverse skill set that can thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape.
Regardless of the industry or subject one loves, an MBA can be a powerful catalyst for success and open doors to new opportunities and exciting career paths.
Even if you don’t have a business degree, you likely possess transferable skills that can be valuable in an MBA program. Highlighting leadership, communication, problem-solving, analytical thinking, and teamwork skills in your application essays, interviews, and resume can demonstrate your ability to succeed in a business environment.
Yes, specific courses within a business degree can provide a strong foundation for an MBA. Core courses in accounting, finance, marketing, management, and operations can equip you with essential business knowledge and skills.
Yes, an undergraduate degree in a technical field can provide unique advantages for an MBA. Technical backgrounds often foster analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a systematic approach to decision-making.