How to choose your MBA?

How to choose your MBA?

Did you know that there are over 50 MBA products available in the UAE alone? How do you know which one is right for you?

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Published: Sun 22 Dec 2013, 8:16 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:52 AM

Planning higher studies? Want to know which career will suit you the most? Here are some answers. and, a career platform that offers information about a wide range of professional courses as well as job vacancies, are bringing to you a series of articles on everything you need to know about getting the right education and finding the right job.

We begin with the popular MBA.


Did you know that there are over 50 MBA products available in the UAE alone? How do you know which one is right for you?

There’s a lot to digest. The UAE Course Guide is a great starting point as it introduces you to some of the choices available, makes clear what sort of costs, institutions, accreditations are available, and may enable you to select 3 or 4 for deeper investigation. At that point you can select to ‘visit website’ and do your own reading or ‘get more info’ and get a representative from the university to call you directly and answer your questions. Let them do the hard work! Be specific about your questions and prioritize the features that are most important to you.

Careers and salaries

According to, a salary for someone with an MBA in the UAE ranges from an average of 22,257 AED to 353,971 AED per month. The amount you earn would also be dependent on the industry you are working in, your position, the number of years’ experience you have and your performance to date. However, without a doubt an MBA will give you a significant career boost and prepare you well for the senior positions.


You should seek an MBA that is accredited and recognized internationally. Some MBAs carry a UAE accreditation and some carry international accreditation, some even have both! All of these accreditations are valid, but some government entities in the UAE, especially Abu Dhabi may not recognize your MBA if you have studied for it here in the UAE and it is not UAE accredited, which could make getting a job with the Abu Dhabi government a little tricky. However, we are of the understanding that this is not the case for online degrees studied with an overseas University directly. As well as the individual Universities own accreditation, there are 3 other three major international accrediting bodies you should look out for, which would indicate the MBA has sound value all over the world.

  • AMBA (Association of MBAs)
  • EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System)
  • AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business)


The cost of an MBA in the UAE can vary considerably. The costs vary from 12,000 AED (Online-1 year) to 365,000 AED and in general the higher the proven quality (promotion, salary increase), reputation and international recognition of a MBA the more it will cost. However, there is also a simple case of supply and demand; Dubai and Abu Dhabi have much higher demand than Sharjah or RAK for instance, so in general these less popular options would offer a less costly option, if you can attend the classes easily, this would be a good option for those with a lower budget.


If an MBA takes less than 1 year, you should be concerned. A qualification of this rigor should take a minimum of 1 year on a full-time basis. Many take 2 complete years to finish, or up to 5 years on a part-time basis. However, they are often modular, so if you have time to do more modules per term then it would take you less time to complete.

There are some ‘mini MBA’ courses on the market, which are not full MBAs, but rather an introduction to the key elements of an MBA and would serve as a multi-faceted training course as opposed to a full MBA qualification. These may be suitable for those with less time and a lower budget, but are not a substitute for the real thing.

Study method and examination

In general you will complete a module and be examined on each module, either by coursework or a more traditional examination under test conditions. Usually there is a mixture of examination methods to test different skills and some coursework projects may be essays, reports, case studies or presentations.

It is a good idea to establish how you will be examined, as you may feel more comfortable in a traditional examination. This is a personal preference, but something worth considering to ensure you succeed.

Specialization and modules

MBA’s have moved from the standard MBA into specializations such as having a focus on HR, Finance, Marketing etc. If you are working in one of these fields and believe you will always stay in this field then it would be very wise to choose a specialized MBA. You will focus very deeply on this one area and touch more lightly on other business elements. However, if you would like to gain skills, knowledge and experience across all elements of the business, or if your intention is to start your own business, then a more general MBA would be better for you. However, you will have to be prepared to embark on subject areas that may be very alien or unsettling for you – such as accounting and finance, which is a common hurdle for many taking a general MBA.

Rankings and League Tables

Having worked in several Universities for many years, I’m going to let you into a little secret. League Tables are an absolute minefield and should be approached with caution and this is why:

  • Every league table uses different criteria; some focus on academia, others on student feedback, and others how environmentally friendly the university is. The list is endless – what is really important to you? Look at the detail.
  • The league tables are based on information provided a year in advance, a lot can change in that time and may not reflect the University now
  • Very few UAE based institutions choose to feature in the better-known and more reliable international league tables and those more local version have very questionable sources and should not be valued

The advice would be to not let these complicate your decision. If you are happy with your choice based on the other comparable criteria, league tables will only serve to confuse you and give you doubts. There is no substitute for good research and gut-feelings.

Word of Mouth

One of the best ways to get a really good idea about how good an MBA is or how well it will suit you is to question people who’ve already done one and ask them to share their experiences based on what is important to you.

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