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10 Common Assignments in Online MBA Programs

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If you’ve just enrolled in an Online MBA program, but you haven’t had much experience with the distance learning format, you might be wondering if the assignments are any different from those of the on-campus program. While many assignments for distance learning programs are designed to fit the online format, of course, experts say these assignments can be just as (or even more) rigorous than those that take place on-campus. Students in online programs can expect to complete assignments that require them to respond in-depth to video lectures, participate in discussion boards, and work with groups on a range of business projects.  

In addition to responding to video lectures, discussion boards, and group projects, U.S. News & World Report lists the following types of assignments in online programs:

Case Studies and Real-World Scenarios

Exams and quizzes, formal research papers, virtual presentations and collaborations.

Students can reflect on experiential learning, internships, study abroad, personal experiences, and more. Students often update their blog throughout any given course, and in some cases, peers can respond. This is a great way to build relationships with other students in the program, even if you never meet face-to-face.

Students analyze presented issues and develop solutions. Sample case studies from Organizational Behavior and Economics and Finance courses at St. Bonaventure University Online include The Economic State of Samoa , Liberia’s Challenges to Economic Development , Will Sears Survive? , and A Video Recap of Liberia’s Challenged to Economic Development .

Discussion Boards

Supplement weekly coursework, and are a major part of most online classes. The professor poses a question and students respond to the instructor and each other. Responses must be thought provoking and help to expand the conversation.

Exams and quizzes are just as important in online programs as they are in on-campus programs. The difference is students taking an online exam may be monitored by a proctor via webcam (“companies such as ProctorU make this possible”) or by a computer. According to U.S. News, “automated services including ProctorTrack can keep track of what’s happening on an online student’s screen in case there are behaviors that may indicate cheating.”

The types of research and writing required to complete a formal research paper is important at the graduate level, and especially in MBA programs. While you won’t find many differences between FRPs in online and on-campus courses, online students should ensure that the program offers “remote access” to the “university’s library and its resources, which may include live chats with staff.”

Group Projects

Students around the world can work on projects virtually as a group by utilizing Google Docs, Skype, Zoom for videoconferencing, chat features in the online classroom, and any number of video chat apps. Group projects, which simulate real-life business situations or business plan development, require students to work as a team, with specific roles and responsibilities assigned to each member. Students must contribute equally to the project.

Journal assignments allow Online MBA students to communicate with their professors directly. Though topics are typically assigned, “journals often enable students to express ideas,” opinions, questions, and concerns about course material.

Video Lectures

In a recent U.S. News blog post, Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at SUNY Buffalo State, Bradley Fuster, explained that with video lectures, the professor provides a recorded lecture, article, or book chapter and requires students to answer questions. “Students generally complete the assignment at their own pace,” as long as “they meet the ultimate deadline.”

Students give live or recorded presentations to the professor and cohort. Students can present business plans, solutions to business problems, and interact with one another on projects and assignments. According to U.S. News, experts say, “virtual collaboration is a skill that's critical for conducting business in the 21st century.”

Wiki, a shortened form of the Hawaiian word for “quick,” is a website that can be edited by anyone with a computer, web browser, and an internet connection. Wikis use a quick and easy syntax to allow users to apply formatting to text and create links between pages. In online programs, students use wikis to answer research questions, edit shared documents, write task lists, and launch discussions. Wikis are particularly useful for group projects.

While these are not the only types of assignments students may encounter in an Online MBA program, they are among the most common. For more information about the types of assignments in any given Online MBA program, review the programs overview, curriculum, and catalog.

Considering an Online MBA? Use our interactive map to find information on schools and colleges offering Online MBA programs in your state and across the U.S.

Friedman, Jordan. “10 Types of Assignments in Online Degree Programs . ” U .S. News & World Report Education , U.S. News & World Report L.P., 31 Aug. 2017. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.

Friedman, Jordan. “What to Expect in a Top Online MBA Program . ” U.S. News & World Report Education , U.S. News & World Report L.P., 27 Jun. 2016. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.

Online MBA Assignment Showcase . School of Business - St. Bonaventure University Online. St. Bonaventure University, 2018. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.

What is a Wiki? WikiEducator.org, 2018.

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Five Questions About Getting an MBA

February 19, 2024

Earning a graduate degree may seem daunting, but it is definitely doable

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Grace Kilbourn

When I was first accepted as student in the part-time Professional MBA program  at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business , I felt elated and honored. I was fulfilling a longtime dream of continuing my education. However, I was also quite nervous. I didn’t know anyone going into the program and was unsure if I could handle graduate-level coursework. After the first few weeks of class, I found that I truly was in an environment that would allow me to grow and thrive. Here are five questions I had about the program going in—and five answers that all prospective students should hear:

How will I make friends in grad school?

As an undergraduate student, I made friends in my residence hall or through outside clubs and activities. In the MBA program, I made them through taking classes with the same cohort of individuals. Each of my classmates brings their own unique industry experience and innovative spirit to the program, and I appreciate the way we support one another. We spend time outside of class on group projects and fun bonding activities.

Is it hard to get good grades in grad school?

I thought that it would be challenging to get an A in any of my graduate school courses. I was genuinely worried that I might not pass some of them! However, I found that DU has a plethora of resources to support students. Professors openly offer to help students during office hours, the Writing Center will verify and edit citations for graduate level papers, and the library offers tutoring services. There are assigned tutors and teaching assistants for some of the finance and accounting courses.

How will I balance school with my job and my personal life?

Four hours of class twice a week seemed daunting at first. After a long, eight-hour workday, would I truly be excited to go to class? I found that the answer was yes. In fact, I wish many of my classes could last longer than two hours!

It is important to recognize that MBA students must make changes to their typical schedule; how significant those changes are vary from person to person. The length of time I spend studying and in class is about 21 hours a week—which was less of a burden than I had anticipated. Budgeting my class and study time has kept me on track to succeed academically. How I spend my remaining free time is up to me.

How flexible will my professors be in extenuating circumstances?

Generally, students in the PMBA program are allowed to miss two in-person classes per quarter, as long as they catch up by watching recordings. My professors have always understood if something personal comes up. They have offered extensions to students on assignments during especially busy weeks. When my dog was sick and had to go to the vet and my husband was doing military duty with his Air Force reserve unit, my economics teacher was compassionate and gave a small extension. When I had a dentist appointment and other obligations between my Monday and Wednesday classes, my accounting professor gave me an additional day to complete an assignment.

What is the quarter system? What does it mean for my studies?

The quarter system (which features four, approximately 10-week terms) is different than what many students have experienced before. I recognize that there is a learning curve due to the rapid pace of instruction; I was on the semester system during some of my undergraduate years. However, there are many positives to the quarter system. There is less time to forget material; students tend to study more efficiently; they are typically able to take more classes in a shorter period of time; and there are constant fresh starts and short breaks.

If you’re considering a graduate level program, find a way to get connected to the school. Attend a class to get a feel for the environment , connect with a current graduate student to hear their experience , speak with the admissions team or fill out an inquiry form to learn more. You might surprise yourself!

Grace Kilbourn is a first-year student in the Daniels College of Business, enrolled in the part-time Professional MBA program.

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What is an MBA?

By  Michael Feder 

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This article has been vetted by University of Phoenix's editorial advisory committee.  Read more about our editorial process.

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Reviewed by Kathryn Uhles, MIS, MSP, Dean, College of Business and IT

In this article

What is an mba program.

  • Should you pursue an MBA?
  • How to pursue an MBA

Exploring specialized MBA programs

  • MBA at University of Phoenix

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is a graduate degree that emphasizes leadership, management and marketing skills across a range of business operations.  

Applicable to a wide range of business careers, an MBA is well known among graduate business degrees and can feel like a natural next step to those who already have a BS. As a highly recognized credential around the world, it can feel like a natural next step for business professionals looking to enhance their knowledge and career potential.

If you’re asking yourself, “Should I get an MBA?” read on to learn more about what you’ll learn in an MBA program, plus its costs, career alignment and more.

An MBA is a type of graduate degree in business. Business administration refers to managing the operations of a commercial enterprise.

As a master’s-level degree, an MBA program typically requires a bachelor’s degree for admission. However, every university has its own admissions requirements. Some universities require prospective students to take certain courses before enrolling if they have a non-business-related undergraduate degree. University of Phoenix does not necessarily require this, although prospective MBA students must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited university and meet a certain GPA threshold, among other factors.

MBA coursework typically covers areas like accounting, finance, marketing and operations, as well as “people skills” like leadership and communication. There are different types of MBA programs, such as online, flexible and competency-based (CB) MBAs. Unlike a traditional MBA, a competency-based degree is designed for professionals with a business degree and experience working in the field. This allows students to apply what they already know to earn their degree faster.

MBAs can also be earned with an accounting or HR certificate, giving graduates specialized knowledge in a critical business function. Unlike undergraduate degrees in business , which tend to focus on foundational knowledge, MBA programs emphasize more in-depth expertise.

Interested in a business career? Explore business degrees at University of Phoenix!

What is the difference between an MBA and a master's?

An MBA is a type of master’s degree. But unlike business-oriented master’s degrees that focus on a single subject, such as a master’s in management or finance, an MBA covers multiple areas of business for a comprehensive understanding of operations. Knowing what is in an MBA degree can help you decide if it’s right for you.

MBA coursework is designed to prepare students to manage business operations effectively and successfully by emphasizing strategic planning, marketing analysis, entrepreneurship and more. Students gain an overview of each function as well as how they work together to develop strategic leadership skills. 

What can you do with an MBA?

An MBA is often a stepping stone to managerial and leadership roles. It may even be required for executive-level jobs.

The job outlook for these kinds of positions is promising: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected more than 1 million openings in management occupations each year from 2022 through 2032. This can include positions such as business manager , general manager (GM), operations director and administrative director. Employers may prefer an MBA for some positions.

An MBA on a resumé may enhance career opportunities by showing proof of business expertise and an ability to handle critical business decisions and planning. Knowing what you can do with an MBA may help you decide if it’s the right degree for you. 

Should you pursue an MBA? 

Pursuing an MBA is a personal decision. If you want a leadership position in a business, an MBA can be a good investment. But it’s important to consider several factors first.

For example, MBA tuition can be significant, and you must decide if that investment in your education is worth it to you in terms of career goals and personal fulfillment. Earning an MBA enhances your practical and theoretical knowledge in the field of business and can be useful to various career paths. You’ll have to make time in your schedule to focus on coursework, however, even for a limited time while earning your degree, and this may be difficult if you also work a full-time job. This could impact time with family and other personal obligations.

Some people may decide they will benefit more from an MBA with a few years of work experience, while others may want to start a program right after earning a bachelor’s degree.

Consider the application process as well. Some programs require applicants to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and submit a personal essay and letters of recommendation. However, at University of Phoenix you don’t need the GMAT, GRE , recommendation letters or essays for the standard MBA program — just a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. See further requirements on the University of Phoenix admissions page . 

Is getting an MBA hard?

Many people have concerns and misconceptions about how hard it is to earn an MBA. Consider that the MBA is the most popular graduate degree in the United States. While coursework is designed to be challenging, it may not be as demanding as specialized degrees in science or engineering, for example. However, students do have to analyze and synthesize information, conduct research, write papers and collaborate on projects.

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns about earning an MBA is managing the time requirements. Students need to be able to meet deadlines for studying and assignments while also finding time for family and other responsibilities, such as work.

Here are some tips to help navigate this balancing act:

  • If you’re already a professional working in the business field, you can choose a self-led or flexible program, such as University of Phoenix’s Competency-Based MBA.
  • Block out time every week for studying and homework.
  • Talk to a partner or family members about how they could help, such as by taking on more household tasks.
  • See where you can temporarily cut back on social or volunteer commitments.

It’s important to take time to relax as well. Managing stress effectively is essential to quality learning and getting the most out of an MBA program.

How much does an MBA program cost?

An MBA program’s cost depends on a number of factors, such as the type of institution (private, public, online) and whether you have to pay out-of-state tuition fees.

At University of Phoenix, the 2023–2024 Cost of Attendance (COA) estimates that the tuition and fees for a master’s degree are $16, 128* for the academic year. This does not include costs like books, supplies and other course materials that may be needed. Review the master’s COA breakdown further on the UOPX website . If you’re interested in a master’s credit-based CB, the 2023–2024 COA tuition and fees are estimated to be $7,200. Review the master’s credit-based COA breakdown on the UOPX website

Students may be eligible for financial aid to help cover the cost of their program. In addition, some employers may have tuition reimbursement programs or be willing to pay full or partial tuition for employees they want to promote internally, although CB programs at UOPX are not eligible for employer tuition discounts or military tuition rates.

*The tuition component of the cost of attendance is based on a per-credit weighted average for the credential level across the entire University.

Estimated salary ranges

An MBA can help prepare you to pursue management and leadership positions. For example, according to BLS, the annual wage range for all management occupations, such as business manager, occupational manager and sales manager, was $50,290 to $220,500 as of May 2022 . Of course, salary ranges vary by occupation and other factors, such as location, experience and company, among others. 

In general, research shows that higher levels of education translate to higher pay . Workers with more education are also less likely to face unemployment.

Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.

How to pursue an MBA 

The first step to pursuing an MBA is to have a bachelor’s degree. For those whose undergraduate degree is not in an area of business, it can be helpful to have at least a few years of work experience.

Research the types of MBA programs, their curricula and costs. Decide if you want to take an online or in-person program, study part or full time and whether you want a standard, accelerated or self-paced course of study.

Knowing how long it takes to get an MBA can help narrow your options, so compare credit requirements and average completion times for programs you research.

When you’ve decided on the programs you are interested in, look at the application and admission requirements. Some programs may require you to take the GMAT or GRE as a condition of admission.

Fill out the application, which may ask for your academic records, work history and reasons for pursuing an MBA. When you’ve gathered all the application materials, submit them as directed.

What is an MBA progrma like?

MBA programs provide a well-rounded business education that prepares students to tackle the challenges of business leadership. Their structure usually includes a core curriculum and electives. At UOPX, however, electives are not offered. MBA programs may also include optional specializations.

Core courses focus on fundamental business areas as well as topics like statistics, economics and quantitative analysis. If electives are provided in a specific program, they provide the option to explore areas of particular interest in more depth, such as international business, entrepreneurship or digital marketing.

Many classes in online master's business degrees offer hands-on learning by incorporating real-world business cases and projects into coursework. Coursework often culminates in a major project, which may be a written report, thesis or presentation. Although this may vary depending on the specific program.

Duration of MBA programs

Many prospective students ask, “How long does it take to get an MBA?” Depending on the type of Master of Business Administration program and the number of classes you take, an MBA usually takes about two years.

The MBA program at University of Phoenix can take as little as 16 months . Some students complete the degree faster by taking an accelerated program, doubling up on classes or being a full-time student.

The MBA-CB program can be completed in less than 12 months. The primary difference between the traditional program and the CB program is how the courses are scheduled. In the CB program, students take four courses at one time over 16 weeks, while in the traditional program, students take one 6-week course at a time.  

Dual degree programs offer a way to combine general business expertise with advanced studies in a specific area in less time than it would take to earn two master’s degrees separately. There are also competency-based programs.

Dual MHA/MBA degree program

A dual Master of Health Administration/Master of Business Administration program provides the comprehensive business administration education of an MBA with studies focused on the administrative and business aspects of the healthcare industry, such as the regulatory environment and the impact of economic and financial factors.

An MHA/MBA program can prepare students to work effectively as leaders of healthcare and health-related facilities and organizations.

Compentency-based MBA degrees

In a Master of Business Administration Competency-Based (CB ) degree program, students earn credit by demonstrating their ability in core skills rather than through traditional classes and homework. These programs are usually self-paced and emphasize practical ability.

Because students can gain credit for competencies they already have, competency-based MBAs are usually less expensive and take less time than traditional MBAs. Tuition for the University of Phoenix Competency-Based MBA is roughly estimated to be $11,000 and can be completed in 12 months.

MBA at University of Phoenix 

An MBA can be a smart investment in preparation for future opportunities. But it’s important to understand all that goes into pursuing an MBA, including the demands on your time and finances. Knowing what an MBA entails and how to find the best program are key to making an informed decision.

If you’re ready to take the next step, get started by learning more about your MBA options at University of Phoenix.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and its Writing Seminars program and winner of the Stephen A. Dixon Literary Prize, Michael Feder brings an eye for detail and a passion for research to every article he writes. His academic and professional background includes experience in marketing, content development, script writing and SEO. Today, he works as a multimedia specialist at University of Phoenix where he covers a variety of topics ranging from healthcare to IT. 

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What an MBA Degree Is and What You Need to Know

An MBA is ideal for people who want to gain business skills and accelerate their careers.

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Building a professional network is among the key benefits of attending an MBA program.

College students and young professionals often wonder whether attending a top graduate business school will set them up for career success.

An MBA degree is a popular stepping stone to C-suite jobs at large corporations and an asset for budding entrepreneurs. It's a credential that appears on the resumes of numerous Fortune 500 executives , including Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon, who earned his MBA at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, and CVS Health Corp. president and CEO Karen S. Lynch, an MBA alumna of Boston University's Questrom School of Business in Massachusetts.

But while many prominent business executives hold an MBA, the degree isn't a golden ticket to fame or fortune. Excelling in business requires initiative, creativity and effort, regardless of someone's academic pedigree, according to MBA experts.

"There's nothing about getting an MBA that doesn't require initiative from that point all the way through your career," says Elissa Sangster, CEO of the Forté Foundation, a nonprofit that encourages women to attend MBA programs and pursue ambitious career goals.

An MBA degree from a quality business school can help people break into certain highly competitive business sectors, such as Silicon Valley tech companies or the Wall Street finance industry , Sangster says. Prospective students who dream of working in major cities far from home can often benefit from earning their MBA at a nonlocal school, she adds.

"When you think about business school, there are so many great choices that are going to require you to pack up your apartment or your home and move across the country," Sangster says.

However, MBA hopefuls who have family commitments or want to stay at their current company may not want or need to attend a nationally renowned B-school if that means moving across the country, she acknowledges. Those who are more focused on gaining skills than adding cachet to their resume can benefit from attending a regional B-school.

For students who are intrigued by the possibility of earning an MBA degree but wonder whether it's a good fit, here's an outline of what they can expect to get out of an MBA program.

What 'MBA' Stands For

MBA is the common abbreviation for a Master of Business Administration degree, and recipients typically stop attending school after receiving it.

However, those who are interested in conducting business research may decide to pursue a doctorate in business or management. Such students can earn a Ph.D. or a Doctor of Business Administration degree, commonly known as a DBA.

The Cost of an MBA

Annual tuition and fees are far higher at some ranked, full-time MBA programs than others. The most expensive programs ranked by U.S. News charged yearly rates of $80,000 or more in the 2022-2023 school year, while the least costly programs were below $20,000. Three ranked programs – the Louisiana Tech University College of Business , the Earl G. Graves School of Business at Morgan State University in Maryland and the College of Business and Economics at North Carolina A&T University – charged less than $10,000 for in-state students.

Top business schools tend to have higher tuition and fees than schools further down the rankings. But this isn't always the case, and cost differences sometimes exist between B-schools that rank similarly. For example, Columbia Business School in New York charged $83,978 for tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 academic year, but the two schools it tied with for 11th place in the the overall U.S. News MBA rankings charged less. Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in North Carolina charged $74,737, while the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business charged $76,433 for out-of-state students and $67,424 for in-state students.

Sticker prices are typically lower at public schools than private schools, especially for in-state students. However, advertised MBA costs can be misleading, since many students receive merit scholarships or need-based financial aid.

Partial and full-ride MBA scholarships exist, but they are competitive. Some MBA scholarships are reserved for specific populations of applicants such as women, students of color, active-duty military personnel and military veterans . But there are also scholarships open to any applicant, regardless of background or profession.

The Average MBA Salary and Bonus

Starting salaries and signing bonuses vary greatly among MBA graduates, with alumni of highly ranked B-schools in the 2023-2024 U.S. News Best Business Schools rankings earning notably more than their peers who graduated from lower-ranked schools.

Among the 10 ranked B-schools where the average salary and bonus were highest, the overall average compensation was $193,159, up nearly $20,000 from the previous year among the top 10 programs. At the 10 ranked B-schools where the average salary and bonus were lowest, the overall average compensation was $53,511, down more than $2,000 from the previous year among bottom 10 programs.

How Long It Takes to Get an MBA

A full-time MBA program typically lasts two years, though many accelerated full-time MBA programs take a single year. This fast-paced type of MBA is common, especially at non-U.S. business schools .

Part-time and executive MBA programs vary in length, depending on how many credits a student enrolls in each academic semester or quarter. Executive and part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals who are attending school while maintaining a full-time job.

MBA Admission Requirements

MBA applications typically include standardized test scores, resumes , academic transcripts, essays and recommendation letters .

Many B-schools will accept either GMAT or GRE test scores. However, there are some test-optional MBA programs where applicants do not need to submit business school entrance exam scores. Additionally, some B-schools that ordinarily require test scores will waive that requirement for applicants who qualify based on impressive work experience or a solid college GPA.

B-schools occasionally invite applicants to interviews and sometimes require applicants to submit video essays. And most programs prefer MBA applicants who have significant work experience, though some programs are designed for recent college graduates.

MBA admissions officers generally like to see evidence of career progression in an MBA application, meaning that the applicant gradually took on more professional responsibility. It's also helpful if applicants have success stories about how they were able to contribute to their current company, past employers, college campus or local community, experts say.

Types of MBA Degrees

There are multiple types of MBA programs to choose from, including full-time, part-time and executive MBA programs. Each type is appropriate for a different kind of student, says Rebecca Horan, a former admissions officer for the executive MBA program at NYU's Stern School of Business .

A full-time MBA program is an all-consuming educational experience that allows students to reset their career trajectories, Horan says. "You can use it to accelerate your career and you can also use it to do a career switch, because it is such an intensive, all-in program."

That said, a part-time program may be a better fit for someone satisfied with his or her career path but who wants to move up at work, especially if the company is willing to subsidize the cost of the program, Horan says. People who are happy with their current jobs may not want to leave to pursue a full-time MBA program, she says.

Executive MBA programs, Horan adds, are designed for seasoned businesspeople who want to leap to the next level in their career and increase their leadership skills.

One-year, full-time MBA programs typically cost less than two-year programs, but the speed of these programs means that students must carry a heavy academic workload.

MBA Concentrations and Specializations

MBA programs generally offer a range of concentrations or specializations that allow students to acquire expertise in a specific aspect of business, such as finance or technology.

MBA hopefuls should decide which topic to specialize in based on what skills would help them improve their work performance and which specialties are most likely to increase their job opportunities, experts say. MBA graduates with in-demand specializations are generally paid higher wages than their peers.

How to Prepare for an MBA

It's important for aspiring students to figure out their general career goals before pursuing an MBA program so they can capitalize on their program's on-campus recruitment opportunities, Horan says. MBA recruiters often visit business school campuses shortly after MBA programs start.

According to Sangster, college students who know they are interested in business school should take the GMAT or GRE as soon as possible. MBA hopefuls are likely to perform best on standardized tests while they are still students, as opposed to after they have spent years in the workforce, she says.

MBA hopefuls should be aware that the GMAT structure is changing beginning in late 2023. The test will be about an hour shorter, the analytical writing section will be removed and the questions will focus more heavily on business principles and skills.

What You Learn in an MBA Program

MBA programs help students develop the skills required to excel as business executives, such as the ability to quickly and accurately analyze large amounts of information. MBA programs also teach students how to inspire and motivate people and command respect, skills that are vital for those who want to tackle ambitious business projects that require teamwork, MBA faculty say.

"An MBA degree is designed to teach everything needed to run your own business," Michael Provitera, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Barry University in Florida who has an MBA and a DBA, wrote in an email. "However, the program caters to managers that want to become leaders and students aspiring to climb the corporate ladder."

Phyllis Zimbler Miller, who received her MBA in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, says she has greatly benefited from the lessons she learned in MBA courses decades ago.

"Every day of my life since then I have used my graduate business education, which provides an effective mindset and framework for looking at situations and acting on these situations – both professional and personal – that is not provided in most undergraduate education," Zimbler Miller, a screenwriter, author, playwright and podcaster, wrote in an email.

What Classes Are Included in an MBA

An MBA typically includes courses in accounting, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, economics, management and business ethics.

The breadth of the MBA curriculum is something that James Reeves, a senior manager and sustainability strategy lead for the American Honda Motor Company, says he appreciated about his MBA experience at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business . The MBA program Reeves completed in 2013 offered him exposure to multiple aspects of business and didn't pigeonhole him into a specific career track, he says.

The variety of courses was a selling point for him, Reeves says, though someone who wants to become a subject matter expert may be frustrated by the fact that an MBA covers so much material. His MBA provided a big-picture understanding of business and is useful as he consults with the C-suite and members of boards of directors, he adds.

"Now, because of my education, I'm easily able to speak their language, present data to them in the way they're used to receiving information, and get my point across in a way that creates advocates for my point of view," Reeves wrote in an email.

According to Horan, a top-notch MBA program not only offers theoretical lessons in how business works, but also experiential learning opportunities where students do meaningful business projects for actual companies.

Horan, a brand strategist who earned her MBA at NYU, says that during her MBA program she worked on a marketing campaign for a chocolate company that needed to increase sales during the slow summer months. Such projects help MBA students gain real-world skills, she says.

When to Combine an MBA With Another Grad Degree

Before pursuing an MBA and another degree in a dual-degree or joint-degree program, prospective students should think seriously about whether they need two graduate degrees. Earning two degrees at once is psychologically and financially taxing, so it's not right for everybody, B-school alumni say.

However, it could be a good choice for people who have a serious plan about how they would use both degrees. For example, someone who wants to run a hospital may wish to combine an MBA with a degree in a health-care field, while a person who intends to run an arts organization might decide to pair an MBA with a Master of Fine Arts, or MFA , credential.

"Don't fall in love with the idea that you want to get into that type of program for vanity reasons, meaning that you want that J.D.-MBA because it would look really good on your resume," Reeves says.

People contemplating a J.D.-MBA should know that business executives and business lawyers tend to have different mindsets, Sangster says. Corporate leaders typically are willing to take bold risks if those opportunities could result in hefty profits, she explains. Meanwhile, corporate attorneys usually strive to minimize risks, since their job is to recognize the potential for legal harm and mitigate the possibility of penalties.

For that reason, it can be hard to combine those two disciplines, she says.

Is an MBA Worth It?

"An MBA degree is not a password into a secret society," Reeves says. "Success doesn't just find you because of your degree. You will still work just as hard as you did before the degree and I might even say you have to work harder because you're working on more complex, higher-stakes assignments."

The greatest benefit of an MBA degree is the relationships students forge with their classmates and faculty, says Nirav Mehta, senior associate director for MBA admissions at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business .

"The MBA degree's real value comes from membership in a lifelong learning community and access to the alumni network," Mehta wrote in an email. "The overall network serves (as) an active source of personal and professional support. The connections that one makes through the MBA program can be life-changing, and these relationships help to facilitate career transitions long after graduation."

Searching for a business school? Get our complete rankings of Best Business Schools.

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Should You Get an MBA Degree?

  • Is an MBA Worth It? How to Decide
  • MBA Deadlines: When to Apply to B-School
  • Find B-Schools That Lead to Good Jobs
  • 7 Hot Jobs for MBA Graduates

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Grad Coach

How To Write A High-Impact Executive Summary

By Derek Jansen | January 2018

exec summary is your first impression

In this post, I’ll deconstruct the often-misunderstood executive summary and show you how to develop a high-impact executive summary for your assignment, research report or even your dissertation or thesis.

So, what is an executive summary?

An executive summary (sometimes called an abstract ) is quite simply a summary of summaries. In other words, an executive summary provides a concise summary of each of your assignment or report chapters/sections . More specifically, it should communicate the key points/insights/findings/suggestions from the following chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Recommendations
  • Implementation (if applicable)
  • Reflection (if applicable)

I’ll discuss which key points from each section need to be addressed a bit later. On a separate note – if you’re writing an executive summary for a dissertation or thesis, all of the concepts described in this post will still apply to you, however, you’ll include an additional paragraph about your methodology, and you’ll likely spend more word count discussing your analysis findings.

The 4 Important Attributes Of An Exec Summary

Before I discuss what goes into the executive summary, let’s quickly look at 4 attributes that make for a strong executive summary:

#1 – It should be able to stand alone.

The executive summary should be able to stand independently as an informative document . In other words, the reader should be able to grasp your broad argument without having to read the full document. Further reading should be purely for attaining more detail. Simply put, the executive summary should be a “Mini-Me” of the assignment.

This independence means that anything you write in the executive summary will need to be re-stated in the body of your assignment. A common mistake that students make is to introduce key points in the executive summary and then not discuss them again in the document – accordingly, the marker must view the main document as missing these key points. Simply put – make sure you discuss key points in both the executive summary and the main body . It will feel repetitive at times – this is normal.

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#2 – It should be written for the intelligent layman.

When crafting your executive summary, its useful to keep the intelligent layman front of mind. What I mean by this is that you should write your summary assuming that your reader (i.e. the marker) will be intelligent but won’t be familiar with your topic and/or industry. This means that you should explain any technical concepts, avoid jargon and explain acronyms before using them.

#3 – It should be concise.

Typically, your executive summary should be a one-pager (one and a half pages at worst). To summarise a 3000 – 5000-word document into one page is no easy task, so you’ll need to:

  • Present only the most important information (key insights, recommendations, etc).
  • Write concisely – i.e. with brevity and completeness.

To the first point, I’ll explain what the “most important” information is for each chapter shortly. To the second point (writing concisely), there are various ways to do this, including:

  • Using simple, straightforward language.
  • Using the active voice.
  • Removing bloaty adverbs and adjectives.
  • Reducing prepositional phrases.
  • Avoiding noun strings.

Does this sound like gibberish to you? Don’t worry! The Writing Center at the University of Wisconson-Madison provides a practical guide to writing more concisely, which you can download here.

On a related note, you typically would not include headings, citations or bulleted/numbered lists in your executive summary. These visual components tend to use a lot of space, which comes at a premium, as you know.

#4 – It should be written last.

Given that your executive summary is a summary of summaries, it needs to be written last , only once you’ve identified all your key insights, recommendations and so on. This probably sounds obvious, but many students start writing the summary first (potentially because of its position in the document) and then end up re-writing it multiple times, or they don’t rewrite it and consequently end up with an executive summary which is misaligned with the main document.

Simply put, you should leave this section until everything else is completed. Once your core body content is completed, you should read through the entire document again and create a bullet-point list of all the key points . From this list, you should then craft your executive summary . The approach will also help you identify gaps, contradictions and misalignments in your main document.

Dissertation Coaching

So, what goes into an executive summary?

Right, let’s get into the meat of it and consider what exactly should go into your executive summary. As I’ve mentioned, you need to present only the absolutely key point points from each of your chapters, but what does this mean exactly?

Each chapter will typically take the form of 1 paragraph (with no headings) in your executive summary. So, 5 chapters means 5 paragraphs. Naturally, some will be longer than others (let this be informed by the mark allocation), but assuming one page contains 500 words, you’re aiming for roughly 100 words per paragraph (assuming a 5-paragraph structure). See why conciseness is key!

Now, let’s look at what the key points are for each chapter in the case of a typical MBA assignment or report. In the case of a dissertation or thesis, the paragraph structure would still mimic the chapter structure – you’d just have more chapters, and therefore, more paragraphs.

Paragraph 1: Introduction

This paragraph should cover the following points:

  • A very brief explanation of the business (what does it do, for whom and where?).
  • Clear identification and explanation of the problem or opportunity that will be the focus of the assignment/report.
  • A clear statement of the purpose of the assignment (i.e. what research questions will you seek to answer?).
  • Brief mention of what data sources were utilised (i.e. secondary research) and any fieldwork undertaken (i.e. primary research ).

In other words, your first paragraph should introduce the business, the problem/opportunity to be addressed, why it’s important, and how you approached your analysis. This paragraph should make it clear to the reader what the assignment is all about at a broad level. Here’s a practical example:

This assignment focuses on ABC Ltd, a XXX business based in XXX, which provides XXX to XXX customers. To date, the firm has relied almost exclusively on XXX marketing channel. Consequently, ABC Ltd has little understanding of consumer segments, wants, and needs. This marketing channel is now under regulatory threat due to XXX.  The core challenge, therefore, is that whilst ABC Ltd seeks to grow its market share, it has little understanding of its market characteristics or competitive set, and its sole marketing channel under regulatory threat. Accordingly, the objective of this assignment is XXX. The assignment draws on survey, interview, and industry data.

Paragraph 2: Analysis and findings

In this paragraph, you should discuss the following:

  • What exactly did you analyse? For example, you might have analysed the macro context (i.e. PESTLE analysis), followed by the meso (i.e. competitor or industry analysis) and then the micro (i.e. internal organisational analysis).
  • What were your key findings in relation to the purpose of the assignment? For example, you may have identified 4 potential causes of a problem and would then state them.

In other words, your second paragraph should concisely explain what you analysed and what your main findings were . An example of this:

Segmentation analysis, consisting of macro, industry and firm-level analyses, revealed a strong segmentation variable in the form of XXX, with distinct needs in each segment. Macro analysis revealed XXX, while industry and firm-level analyses suggested XXX. Subsequently, three potential target segments were established, namely XXX, XXX and XXX.  These were then evaluated using the Directional Policy Matrix, and the results indicated XXX.

From a presentation perspective, you might structure this section as:

  • Analysis 1, findings from analysis 1.
  • Analysis 2, findings from analysis 2.
  • Analysis 3, findings from analysis 3.

Importantly, you should only discuss the findings that are directly linked to the research questions (i.e. the purpose of the assignment) – don’t digress into interesting but less relevant findings. Given that the analysis chapter typically counts for a large proportion of marks, you could viably write 2-3 paragraphs for this. Be guided by the mark allocation.

Lastly, you should ensure that the findings you present here align well with the recommendations you’ll make in the next paragraph. Think about what your recommendations are, and, if necessary, reverse engineer this paragraph to create a strong link and logical flow from analysis to recommendations.

exec summary components

Paragraph 3: Recommendations

With the key findings from your analysis presented in the preceding paragraph, you should now discuss the following:

  • What are your key recommendations?
  • How do these solve the problems you found in your analysis?
  • Were there any further conclusions?

Simply put, this paragraph (or two) should present the main recommendations and justify their use (i.e. explain how they resolve the key issue). As mentioned before, it’s critically important that your recommendations tightly align with (and resolve) the key issues that you identified in the analysis. An example:

Based on the Directional Policy Matrix analysis, it is recommended that the firm target XXX segment, because of XXX. On this basis, a positioning of XXX is proposed, as this aligns with the segment’s key needs. Furthermore, a provisional high-level marketing mix is proposed. The key aspects of the marketing mix include XXX, XXX and XXX, as these align with the firm’s positioning of XXX. By adopting these recommendations, the key issue of XXX will be resolved.

Also, note that (typically) the tone changes from past to present tense when you get to the recommendations section.

Paragraph 4: Implementation

If your assignment brief requires an implementation/project plan-type section, this paragraph will typically include the following points:

  • Time requirements (how long will it take?)
  • People requirements (what skills are needed and where do you find them?)
  • Money requirements (what budget is required?)
  • How will the project or change be managed? (i.e. project management plan)
  • What risks exist and how will these be managed?

Depending on what level of detail is required by your assignment brief, you may need to present more, less or other details in this section. As always, be guided by the assignment brief.

A practical example:

A high-level implementation plan is proposed, including a stakeholder analysis, project plan and business case. Resource requirements are presented, detailing XXX, XXX and XXX requirements. A risk analysis is presented, revealing key risks including XXX, XXX and XXX. Risk management solutions are proposed, including XXX and XXX.  

mba assignment plan

Paragraph 5: Reflection

As with the implementation chapter, the need for a reflection chapter/section will vary between assignments and universities. If your assignment has this requirement, it’s typically good to cover the following points:

  • What were your key learnings? What were your ah-ha moments?
  • What has changed in the real world as a consequence of these learnings? I.e. how has your actual behaviour and approach to “X” changed, if any?
  • What are the benefits and/or disadvantages of this change, if any?

This section is very personal, and so each person’s reflections will be different. Don’t take the above points as gospel.

Time to test it out.

Once you’ve written up your executive summary and feel confident that it’s in good shape, it’s time to test it out on an unsuspecting intelligent layman. This is a critically important step, since you, as the writer, are simply too close to the work to judge whether it all makes sense to a first-time reader. In fact, you are the least suitable person on the planet!

So, find someone who is not familiar with your assignment topic (and ideally, not familiar with your industry), and ask them to have a read through your executive summary. Friends and family will usually tell you its great, regardless of the quality, so you need to test them on their understanding. Do this by asking them to give the details back to you in their own words. Poke and prod – can they tell you what the key issues and recommendations were (in their own words!). You’ll quickly spot the gaps this way, and be able to flesh out any weak areas.

  Wrapping up.

In this post, I’ve discussed how to write the all too often undercooked executive summary. I’ve discussed some important attributes of a strong executive summary, as well as the contents that typically go into it. To recap on the key points:

The key attributes of a high-impact executive summary:

  • It should be able to stand alone.
  • It should be written for the intelligent layman.
  • It should be concise.
  • It should be written last.

The key contents of a high-impact executive summary:

Each paragraph should cover a chapter from the document. For example, In the case of a typical assignment, it would be something like:

  • Summary of the introduction chapter.
  • Summary of the analysis chapter.
  • Summary of the recommendations and/or conclusions chapter.
  • Depending – summary of the implementation and reflection.

Lastly, don’t forget to test out your executive summary on an unsuspecting layman or two. This is probably the most important step of them all!

If you have any questions or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch here or leave a comment below.

You Might Also Like:

Quantitative results chapter in a dissertation

Thanks so much for your methodical process and explanation of Executive Summary. It is exactly what I was researching for.

Regards Saane

Derek Jansen

It’s a pleasure!

kemba franklyn

This was really helpful with how to structure my assignment.

Peter Neba

Thank you so much for the step by step process. It’s so helpful for beginners like me.

Anna H. Smith

Great! This post is very informative and gives clear guidance on to write an executive summary. Thanks very much for sharing this information, it’s very helpful.

Derek Jansen

Thanks for the feedback, Anna. Best of luck with your writing 🙂

Sheldon

Thank you for the great article, really helped explain what was needed.

Sandy

Great insight and tips . Thanks

Ruhi

Thank you so much for sharing this. It was exactly what I was looking for.

Thank you for your help

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How to Write a Good MBA Assignment?

How To Write A Good Mba Assignment

Master of Business Administration, MBA is one of the most popular postgraduate degrees in most countries all over the world. The two-year program is a way to plenty of openings for work in the corporate world. The Master of Business Administration is a universally recognized degree intended to build up the abilities needed for the career of students in business and the management side. The value and estimation of the MBA, in any case, isn’t limited carefully to the business world. An MBA can likewise be valuable for those seeking an administrative career in the public sector, government sector, corporate industry, and different areas.

Most of the MBA programs incorporate a “core” educational plan of subjects, for example, accounting, marketing, operations, and economics, just as elective courses that permit seekers to follow their very own interests. A few administrative schools necessitate that MBA up-and-comers complete an entry-level position at an organization or an established firm, which can prompt solid openings for work after the program.

Quality of business schools requires candidates that have a couple of periods of work experience insight before beginning an MBA program. Candidates are additionally approached to submit the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Common Admission Test (CAT), academic records, letters of reference, and an essay or mission statement that reflects why they need to seek an MBA.

The MBA is, as of now the most famous professional degree program in the world. Today in the world there are 2,500+ MBA programs offered, but most of them are in English. First introduced at colleges in the United States around the turn of the twentieth century, MBA programs have developed to stay aware of the requests of the times.

Table of Contents

MBA Assignments

In MBA, Assignments are the basic and most important step in the course to get a degree on hand and for most of the students joining top MBA Colleges across the globe, writing an assignment is still an art of hot coffee and they are strange to it. However, being an MBA student, they have to write a few MBA tasks, project papers, and a thesis as a curriculum of their course program. Subsequently, as an MBA student or even an MBA aspirant who is seeking to join the corporate world soon, learning the art of writing extraordinary assignments is vital, which sometimes needs an  MBA Assignment help .

All things considered, on the off chance that you are going to join an MBA school, you scorn your teachers for doling out so numerous assignments and doing that work expects you to compose pages after pages of reports, information, and analysis.

What does a typical MBA Assignment look like?

The assignments are an integral part of the learning experience at any Business School. The purpose of giving assignments to MBA students is to provide them with the following:

  • Off-work experiences with theories
  • Relatable exposure to the operating procedures
  • Technical and Commercial Experiences from real-life work problems

The Business School typically provides you with resources and feedback on your assignments to further improve your problem-solving capacity. The assignments are usually weighted places in the distribution of marks, allocating a certain percentage for each assignment itself indicates their criticality.

You can also build your session plans to summarize the type of assignments you want to or are accustomed to undertaking for each subject as per their submission dates.

Types of MBA Assignments

You can typically classify an MBA assignment into two different bases, such as the following:

  • Individual Assignments:  Assignments to be done by a single individual completely on his/her own.
  • Group Assignments:  Assignments to be accomplished by a group of individuals, with each person assigned an aspect of the holistic task.

These session plans classification is dependent upon the number of individuals involved in the assignment completion.

You can also classify your Assignments based on their place of completion, such as the following:

  • Take-Home Assignments : Here, students are tasked with an assignment which he or she can write at home and submit at a set date and time
  • In-Class Assignments:  Here, the student must familiarize himself with the basic information required to solve the problem or task at hand, and he or she is expected to be ready for the assignment in the class

Both these classifications can be either individual or group, with details specified in the assignment.

Procedure for Submitting Assignments

Firstly, we must learn how to commence the task of doing an assignment. Every  MBA Assignment , with little  help , must be written and presented within the prescribed guidelines of the institution. The guidelines must be followed for all aspects of the assignment.

We refer to the outcome of such work academic practices as Academic Rigour, which involves the following progressive steps:

Preparatory Stage:

  • Understanding the problem at hand. Analyzing what is being asked for. Then, appropriate the problem at hand for resolution.
  • Humans involved in the problem
  • Documented Sources like
  • Annual Reports
  • Previous year’s surveys
  • Findings and more
  • Review the relevant literature to the understudied problem and analyze the complied data

Writing Stage:

As an MBA student, your writing is expected to be purely academic, so the following etiquette is expected from you:

  • Proper Introduction
  • Body of the Presentation
  • Conclusions or Summary
  • List of Academic References
  • A proper Logical flow in assignment writing
  • Tables, Figures, and Illustrations, whenever necessary
  • In-text references
  • A final touch to the document (You must not have exceeded more than 10% of the word count in the assignment as per the prescribed limits)
  • Quality Paper
  • Margins (Left 1.2” and Top, Bottom & Right 1.0”)
  • A4 size white papers or whatever preferred
  • Proper Font Style, Size, and Indentation
  • Assignment Heading
  • Text Length
  • Line Spacing, maybe 1.5 spaces
  • Paragraph spacing (before and after each paragraph)

How to write good-quality MBA Assignments?

The basic reason that an MBA course focuses on a great number of assignments is to exhibit different spaces and to assist students with learning the fundamentals of writing abilities while exploring the number of enormous lumps of data, corporate approaches, and analytical data. Ensure that you write assignments well since they will influence your academic grades adding to the last CGPA. In any case, you can always seek a little  help for MBA assignments  from your colleagues.

An additional bit of advantage of the MBA assignments is that they will make you more proficient about a specific subject and subsequently, you will gradually and consistently get familiar with the specialty of articulating your musings into the right words. If not, at that point a low quality of assignments will prompt helpless scores bringing low placements.

Build your Theme

Theme Building is the most important and crucial step that will assist you to write excellently. If you are done with the specified and confident theme assignment, at that point half of the work is finished. There are a wide range of subjects and be confident that you rely upon the topic to the extreme extent of the point. Seek any  help , if you need, in completing your  MBA assignment .

Preparation & Researching

A total assignment meets the desires for the expectations. This data will add value to your MBA assignment, where required. To begin with, identify the objectives of the assignment and use them to characterize the extent of the exercise. A well-rehearsed preparation is needed before composing an MBA task. As a first move, you need to build up the comprehension of the theme on which you have been assigned the work.

Writing an MBA Assignment

Once you are done with enough Research and Preparation of the theme then start writing.  Collecting the relevant information and compiling it before writing is the first step. Add the relevant data where is necessary to satisfy and meet the goals of the assignment. Remember to give the reference appropriately. Provide an amazing & impressive start and end since this is the place where you can grab the eye of the reader. Seek the desired  help  to finish your  MBA assignment .

Provide enough examples to prove your point

It is said that one should “show others how it’s done not pronouncement” and it is a very much proven truth. At the point when you notice a hypothesis or a law, it would not act naturally represented except if you uphold it with a real-life example. MBA is a professional course that is better owned whenever given real-life models at every possible opportunity. Always remember the BOPP model of presenting.

Make the First Draft & Proofread

Prepare the first draft and make sure all your points are covered, check the structure, Proofread the written, checking formatting guidelines. Also, ensure that you have no instances of plagiarism or there are no grammatical errors and Make it presentable, ready to submit.

Proofread read and read multiple times

It is your obligation to make your MBA assignment paper 100% free from mistakes before submission. You need to edit a lot your whole paper on various aspects to make it liberated from any linguistic, spelling, accentuation, sentence development, jargon, or some other slip-ups. The existence of these mistakes may affect your assignment grades.

Submit On-Time

There are consistently distinct periods and deadlines for composing MBA subjects in every single specialization. In this way, you need to complete the entire assignment writing work within the deadline times. Fix a distinct time slot every day that you can dedicate just for your assignment writing purpose and complete.

Need  online assignment helpers service ?  Chat with our All Assignment Support Experts on Live chat. We are here to Help.

1 thought on “How to Write a Good MBA Assignment?”

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Great Blog I Loved it and Enjoy as well While Reading .

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550+ Business Plan Examples to Launch Your Business

550+ Free Sample Business Plans

Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 550 industry-specific business plan examples for inspiration. Go even further with LivePlan , which harnesses AI-assisted writing features and SBA-approved plan examples to get you funded.

Find your business plan example

Accounting, Insurance & Compliance

Accounting, Insurance & Compliance Business Plans

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Children & Pets

Children & Pets Business Plans

  • Children's Education & Recreation
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Cleaning, Repairs & Maintenance

Cleaning, Repairs & Maintenance Business Plans

  • Auto Detail & Repair
  • Cleaning Products
  • View All 39

Clothing & Fashion Brand

Clothing & Fashion Brand Business Plans

  • Clothing & Fashion Design
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Construction, Architecture & Engineering

Construction, Architecture & Engineering Business Plans

  • Architecture
  • Construction
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Consulting, Advertising & Marketing

Consulting, Advertising & Marketing Business Plans

  • Advertising
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Education

Education Business Plans

  • Education Consulting
  • Education Products

Business plan template: There's an easier way to get your business plan done.

Entertainment & Recreation

Entertainment & Recreation Business Plans

  • Entertainment
  • Film & Television
  • View All 60

Events

Events Business Plans

  • Event Planning
  • View All 17

Farm & Agriculture

Farm & Agriculture Business Plans

  • Agri-tourism
  • Agriculture Consulting
  • View All 16

Finance & Investing

Finance & Investing Business Plans

  • Financial Planning
  • View All 10

Fine Art & Crafts

Fine Art & Crafts Business Plans

Fitness & Beauty

Fitness & Beauty Business Plans

  • Salon & Spa
  • View All 35

Food and Beverage

Food and Beverage Business Plans

  • Bar & Brewery
  • View All 77

Hotel & Lodging

Hotel & Lodging Business Plans

  • Bed and Breakfast

Finish your plan faster with step-by-step guidance, financial wizards, and a proven format.

IT, Staffing & Customer Service

IT, Staffing & Customer Service Business Plans

  • Administrative Services
  • Customer Service
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Manufacturing & Wholesale

Manufacturing & Wholesale Business Plans

  • Cleaning & Cosmetics Manufacturing
  • View All 68

Medical & Health

Medical & Health Business Plans

  • Dental Practice
  • Health Administration
  • View All 41

Nonprofit

Nonprofit Business Plans

  • Co-op Nonprofit
  • Food & Housing Nonprofit
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Real Estate & Rentals

Real Estate & Rentals Business Plans

  • Equipment Rental

Retail & Ecommerce

Retail & Ecommerce Business Plans

  • Car Dealership
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Technology

Technology Business Plans

  • Apps & Software
  • Communication Technology

Transportation, Travel & Logistics

Transportation, Travel & Logistics Business Plans

  • Airline, Taxi & Shuttle
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View all sample business plans

Example business plan format

Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.

Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).

Products & services

The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and any traction that proves that it truly meets the need you identified.

This is your chance to explain why you're in business and that people care about what you offer. It needs to go beyond a simple product or service description and get to the heart of why your business works and benefits your customers.

Market analysis

Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.

Competition

Part of defining your opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage may be. To do this effectively you need to get to know your competitors just as well as your target customers. Every business will have competition, if you don't then you're either in a very young industry or there's a good reason no one is pursuing this specific venture.

To succeed, you want to be sure you know who your competitors are, how they operate, necessary financial benchmarks, and how you're business will be positioned. Start by identifying who your competitors are or will be during your market research. Then leverage competitive analysis tools like the competitive matrix and positioning map to solidify where your business stands in relation to the competition.

Marketing & sales

The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.

The operations section covers the day-to-day workflows for your business to deliver your product or service. What's included here fully depends on the type of business. Typically you can expect to add details on your business location, sourcing and fulfillment, use of technology, and any partnerships or agreements that are in place.

Milestones & metrics

The milestones section is where you lay out strategic milestones to reach your business goals.

A good milestone clearly lays out the parameters of the task at hand and sets expectations for its execution. You'll want to include a description of the task, a proposed due date, who is responsible, and eventually a budget that's attached. You don't need extensive project planning in this section, just key milestones that you want to hit and when you plan to hit them.

You should also discuss key metrics, which are the numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common data points worth tracking include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, profit, etc.

Company & team

Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure and history if you're already up and running.

Financial projections

Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.

Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.

The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or out-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or in any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.

By starting with a one-page plan , you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.

Growth planning

Growth planning is more than a specific type of business plan. It's a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, forecast, review, and refine based on your performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27 minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a more detailed plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of growth planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the growth planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.

It's faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

Download a free sample business plan template

Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2024.

This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.

How to use an example business plan to help you write your own

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How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.

Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company

You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.

For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.

Use a business plan example as a guide

Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.

One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.

You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.

If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, our business planning guide is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template , or get started right away with LivePlan .

Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document

Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.

Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool

Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.

If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.

Prepare to pitch your business

If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.

Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily, just like you can leverage an example business plan template to write your plan, we also have a gallery of over 50 pitch decks for you to reference.

With this gallery, you have the option to view specific industry pitches or get inspired by real-world pitch deck examples. Or for a modern pitch solution that helps you create a business plan and pitch deck side-by-side, you may want to check out LivePlan . It will help you build everything needed for outside investment and to better manage your business.

Get LivePlan in your classroom

Are you an educator looking for real-world business plan examples for your students? With LivePlan, you give your students access to industry-best business plans and help them set goals and track metrics with spreadsheet-free financial forecasts. All of this within a single tool that includes additional instructional resources that work seamlessly alongside your current classroom setup.

With LivePlan, it's not just a classroom project. It's your students planning for their futures. Click here to learn more about business planning for students .

Ready to get started?

Now that you know how to use an example business plan to help you write a plan for your business, it's time to find the right one.

Use the search bar below to get started and find the right match for your business idea.

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  1. 10 Common Assignments in Online MBA Programs

    Considering an Online MBA? Use our interactive map to find information on schools and colleges offering Online MBA programs in your state and across the U.S. Sources. Friedman, Jordan. "10 Types of Assignments in Online Degree Programs." U.S. News & World Report Education, U.S. News & World Report L.P., 31 Aug. 2017. Web. 23 Aug. 2018.

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