What do you study in business school?

Grad School Admissions

Students taking the GRE aren't just applying to grad school--many of them are applying to business school or business graduate programs, too! I feel that many students opting to the take the GRE insted of the GMAT are overlooked when it comes to b-school advice; to that end, I'll be putting up occasional MBA and b-school related admissions advice here on the PowerScore GRE and Grad School Admissions Blog. Enjoy! And, as always, if you have grad school questions we can help answer, send us an email!


The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree conveyed by U.S. business schools is typically obtained after two years of study (there are some one-year MBA programs currently being pioneered, but they are few and far between; the two-year traditional MBA is still the dominant format). The primary focus of your studies in a two-year traditional MBA program is likely to vary slightly depending on what your overall focus is (for example: marketing, finance, management, entrepreneurship, or “green” business). However, most business schools will have core first-year courses that will focus around the same topics:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Finance and financial reporting
  • Trade and investments
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Management and organizational business structure
  • Leadership
  • Business strategy and entrepreneurship
  • Business and government

Typically, students will follow a structured, required classroom schedule during the first, foundational year, and then spend the second year taking courses that delve deeper into their choice of specialization and, in some cases, also take hands-on courses that allow them to start putting their newly-acquired knowledge to work in a real business setting.

Many business schools also have internships and externships in a variety of business-related available for their students.

To view some examples of first-year curricula, click here to view the required first-year courses for Harvard Business School students, click here to view the required first-year courses for students at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and click here to view required courses by students at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

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