Online MBA Programs Without Bachelors

Aside from the prestigious University of ChicagoFind out other Universities that consider Online MBA candidates without a bachelor degree; and how to apply.

An MBA is a challenging yet extremely rewarding postgraduate programme. However, many people still believe that an MBA is only open to those who already hold a degree. This isn’t the case though! 

Can I Get an MBA Without a Business Degree?

Many people without business backgrounds pursue an MBA in order to advance their careers or move into management. In 2017, more than half of all MBA applicants had non-business undergraduate degrees.

This estimate comes from the Graduate Management Admission Council, which designs and administers the Graduate Management Assessment Test (GMAT), the most important exam for MBA admissions.

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As a professional degree, the program focuses on practical, real-world knowledge rather than theoretical or research-based material.

Many MBA programs, include an internship or practicum as part of their graduation requirements. The degree strengthens a graduate’s resume and provides on-the-job training.

Unlike an academic graduate degree, which emphasizes research and knowledge in a specialized field, the MBA covers a broad range of general business subjects. The degree’s interdisciplinary approach caters to students with diverse undergraduate majors, including degrees in engineering, the social sciences, the hard sciences, and the humanities.

In many ways, MBA programs prioritize working professionals. Many MBA programs require a minimum amount of work experience, and the degree allows current professionals to build management skills in order to advance their careers.

However, in spite of the fact that most MBA applicants are not business majors, incoming MBA students typically possess foundational business skills. MBA coursework emphasizes business and management, and students generally waste little time learning basic knowledge, focusing instead on advanced business classes.

Many programs require students to take core classes in statistics, accounting, finance, and other fields before taking MBA classes. Without these basic business skills, students struggle to develop managerial abilities. Prospective MBA students without a bachelor’s degree in business need to familiarize themselves with basic business knowledge.

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Diversity in MBA Programs

Business schools try to enroll a diverse cohort of incoming MBA students. Because students come from a variety of undergraduate and professional backgrounds, the MBA admissions process prioritizes student diversity that engenders growth threw a variety of perspectives.
These programs emphasize practical skills, and diversity in the student body improves learning outcomes.

Students with different backgrounds and outlooks learn from each others’ strengths, working together toward a common goal. Additionally, MBA programs emphasize management skills, and a diverse cohort more closely replicates real-world management situations.

Prospective students also bring a range of professional experiences that contributes to the diversity of ideas, plans, strategies, and business ventures in a program. This work-experience diversity strengthens an MBA program’s primary goal of conferring business and management skills.

As long as non-business majors meet the program’s course prerequisites and understand the basic concepts behind business, they can excel in an MBA program.

Why is an MBA Advantageous for Non-Business Majors?

Students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than business enjoy a number of benefits from pursuing an MBA degree. Many companies prefer to hire non-business majors who earn advanced degrees in business, including in specialized fields like medical research, technology, and recruitment.

Some industries seek employees who specialize in business and in another field. Pursuing an MBA prepares graduates for a career change to business or for career advancement within their current industry.

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An MBA provides corporate-level business management training, which allows graduates to pursue upper management positions, analyst jobs, or positions as directors or program managers. MBA programs emphasize management skills, such as understanding corporate organization.

Coursework builds skills like evaluating business decisions, managing people, and managing financial resources. MBA students receive training in management, delegation, and task completion, which are critical to many industries.

Doing a Masters without a Bachelor degree

Postgraduate study usually requires a Bachelor degree as a prerequisite – but if you haven’t completed an undergraduate degree, earning a Masters qualification isn’t out of the question.

Here’s how to get your Masters without a previous undergraduate degree.

1. Leverage your professional experience

You can use your professional experience to do an online Masters degree without having completed a Bachelor degree.

If you have five years experience in a relevant field or other qualifications that are equivalent to a Bachelor degree, you could be eligible to study at a postgraduate level without an undergraduate degree. And, if you have extensive professional experience (seven years and over), you could receive credit or ‘Advanced Standing’ towards achieving your postgraduate qualification.

2. Start with a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma

If you’re considering starting a Bachelor degree as a pathway into postgraduate study, you should also consider enrolling into a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma, and then progress into a Masters degree.

3. Transfer your knowledge to another field

If you have an undergraduate degree, you can still pursue postgraduate study in another field. For example, you can study a Master of Business Administration or a Graduate Diploma in Accounting without a relevant undergraduate business or accounting qualification.

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At Southern Cross University Online, they encourage you to build on transferrable skills in order to further your career potential. Depending on your level of workplace experience, and the discipline of your undergraduate study, you could be eligible to enrol into one of their postgraduate courses;

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Engineering Management
  • Master of Information Technology Management
  • Master of Business Law
  • Master of Laws (Business Law)
  • Master of Project Management

Tips On How To Study MBA Without a Business Degree

How it works

Although entry requirements vary from institution to institution, many universities state that they require MBA students to hold a Bachelors degree.

Ideally, MBA programme leaders are looking for candidates who have an academic background as well as practical business experience. You are usually required to have an Upper Second Class Bachelors degree and a minimum of three years’ managerial experience (the latter is what differentiates the MBA from other business qualifications). The purpose is to bring together business professionals so they can learn in a holistic way, sharing their ideas and experiences.

However, under certain circumstances, universities will also admit candidates who don’t hold an undergraduate degree. As personal experience is a defining factor of the MBA, many institutions will consider candidates who don’t have an undergraduate degree but do have significant business experience.

This is often called an ‘open entry’ or ‘work experience’ route. The specific requirements for this route, again, will vary depending on the institution but universities often request five years’ senior or managerial work experience.

Consider Online Learning

The flexibility offered by online, part-time learning appeals to working professionals and the MBA is one of the most popular courses to study online. Online providers have a greater focus on work experience and are often more willing to consider candidates that don’t have previous academic qualifications.

How to apply

If you are interested in studying an MBA but have never been to university before you should seek advice from the institution you’re interested in studying with. Each business school has a different set of admissions criteria and these should be published on the university’s website. Don’t be deterred if you don’t meet the entry requirements for one university – shop around and speak to a few institutions. Entry requirements can vary dramatically as business schools give different weight to different criteria (e.g. work experience vs education).

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MBA applications are made directly to the university of your choice. You should speak to the university before making an application as its Admissions Team will be able to tell you if you have the required level of experience. You will need to provide evidence of your work experience and you could be asked to supply references or undertake an interview or entry test.

Universities That Consider Students Without a Business Degree

  • The Open University India
  • Durham University Online Business School
  • Edinburgh Business School Online MBA
  • University of Chicago Online Business School
  • Southern Cross University Online Programs Australia
  • York MBA- St John University

You can communicate with the school directly to know what each school require in place of a degree, and also feel free to check for other universities that offer the same services incase you are not satisfied with the above institutions.


  1. Hi admin, thanks for sharing this helpful piece on Online MBA Programs without bachelors.
    I want to know how I can easily do it here from Africa. Thanks.

    1. Chidindu, we are happy that this article was useful to you. Please type the name of any of the institutions above in your browser and the official website will appear; on reaching their website, fill and submit an enquiry form and they will get back to you, thank you!

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