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MBA Programs in Chicago

The third most populous U.S. city, Chicago is home to over 2.7 million residents. An international center for industry, commerce, technology, telecommunications, and transportation, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network in 2012. Business graduates in Chicago can therefore explore a number of employment opportunities keeping in view that the city is a business and industrial hub. Pursuing MBA programs in Chicago can particularly be useful since these programs may prepare students to assume leadership and administrative roles in almost all industries. MBA graduates may work in almost all industries that require professionals with leadership, communication, problem solving as well as managerial skills.

MBA programs in Chicago

Business schools in Chicago offer a range of options for students who want to pursue an MBA degree. MBA students get an opportunity to study all aspects of business and management, which enables them to acquire advanced skills essential to take up leadership positions in the business world. Ranging from full-time MBA programs to online MBA degrees, students can choose from a number of MBA tracks and earn critical business knowledge and skills. The wide range of program options allows students from all walks of life as well as international students to participate in MBA education and acquire advanced management and business skills that may possibly open a variety of career paths for them.

Full-time MBA programs

These programs generally require 2 years to complete while evening MBA programs may feature flexible curriculum, allowing students to build their knowledge and skills without interrupting their careers. Students that can easily attend classes at regular hours may enroll in this program and explore various areas of management and business principles.

Weekend MBA programs

Weekend MBA programs are also available at some Chicago business schools. These programs can be suitable for those who can attend classes only during the weekends due to personal or professional commitments.

Executive MBA programs

Experienced business professionals who wish to further their knowledge for career advancement can pursue the executive MBA option. The program enables students to build on the practical experience they have gained over the years and allows them to acquire advanced skills in business that may possibly help them advance their career.

Online MBA programs

Some Chicago business schools also offer the online learning option that allows students from across the globe to pursue an MBA program. Using a number of tools and technologies, online MBA students can participate in the classes and get in touch with the instructors using various tools such as webinars, chat forums, video conferencing, online libraries and online databases. Just like other MBA programs, students in the online MBA programs can choose an area of specialization, in addition to core curriculum, focusing on business, management, research and other areas. Though online learning provides students with much flexibility, these programs can be useful for those who are self-disciplined and self-motivated.

Program coursework and areas of specialization

As mentioned above, in addition to covering core courses, MBA students also choose an area of specialization such as marketing, finance, accounting, real estate, etc. Some of the courses of study include human resources management, financial management, marketing management, business ethics, managerial economics, organizational behavior and project management. Students may also explore areas such as project management, entrepreneurship, negotiations and mediation, global logistics, international marketing and cross-cultural aspects of international management.

Eligibility and requirements

Applicants who wish to apply for an MBA degree need to complete an application and send it with official transcripts of all academic work completed at the baccalaureate/undergraduate level and beyond and submit letters of recommendation. Besides, all applicants are required to submit GMAT scores. A statement of purpose and a resume are also important documents for admissions. Applicants may also have to appear for an interview. Non-native English speakers are required to submit TOEFL scores as well.

Career outlook

MBA graduates may possibly find opportunities in numerous industries or choose to set up their own business. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), top executives of large corporations generally hold an MBA degree. Financial managers, as well as some senior level human resources managers, also hold the degree.

Business professionals such as finance managers, business analysts and human resources managers generally work in industries such as:

  • Finance and insurance
  • Healthcare and social assistance
  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Manufacturing

According to the BLS, top executives work in almost every industry. Both large and small businesses hire MBA graduates. Many business analysts are self-employed, while others work for management, scientific, and technical consulting services, federal, state and local governments, insurance carriers and management of companies and enterprises.

The state of Illinois, had approximately 27,870 financial managers and 5,070 human resources managers in 2012 (O*NET OnLine). Business analysts held about 31,220 positions while the state had about 27,250 chief executives, as per the data published by O*NET OnLine. Demand for all these business professionals is likely to grow in the coming years (2012 – 2022).


According to O*NET OnLine, the median annual income of chief executives in Illinois (2013) was $150,700 and business consultants earned less than these professionals with a median income of $84,700, a year. Human resources managers earned $90,100, a year, and the median annual pay for finance managers in the state was $111,700 in 2013 (O*NET OnLine). Factors such as job location, experience, type of work and skills may determine the exact income of these business professionals.

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