MBA degrees are now most common master's degree

A Masters of Business Administration degree can help give a worker in the finance field a valuable boost: it can get them out of a cubicle, and into an executive suite. Clearly, many people have started to realize this, as MBA degrees are now the most sought-after master's degree available.

A recent study, conducted by Vox and reported on by Boston.com, revealed supporting statistics. According to the report, MBA candidates made up more than 25 percent of students working towards their master's in a business program. In 2002, MBA students only made up 24.6 percent of all master's students. In 1981, the percentage was 19.1, and in 1971, only 11.2 percent of master's students were going for their MBAs. These numbers illustrate something that many graduates and hiring managers already know: an MBA is likely the most valuable degree one can obtain.

This has led to a massive uptick in the number of people working to obtain an MBA, according to the report. Since 1971, the number of people working towards any type of master's degree has increased by almost 400 percent. Additionally, the number of people that already hold an advanced degree has increased by 43 percent since 2002. If all these statistics tell us anything, it's that MBA degrees are no longer a luxury that only few obtain. They are now much more common—proving to be a much bigger factor than ever before in determining whether or not an applicant is considered for a finance position.

Prestigious universities are starting to offer new and innovative MBA programs
Here's more proof that MBAs are more popular – and thus more valuable on a resume nowadays: many prestigious universities are beginning to offer programs to earn the degree, or are bolstering their already-established MBA programs. For instance, Businessweek recently reported that Brown University will be offering an MBA program to students for the first time in its history during a coming semester. This shift at Brown, an Ivy League School, has sent ripples through the academic community and reinforces the emphasis on importance of an MBA degree. 

"[Brown's MBA program is] a very sensible attempt to leverage the talents and capacities that we already have," Karen Sibley, dean of the School of Professional Studies at Brown, explained to the news outlet. "[Our MBA program will] become valued and respected … We think it's going to help transform business leaders and have a powerful impact on how business leaders view the world."

As with many universities, the MBA program offered by Brown will delve into a very broad range of topics: According to the report, students can expect to study corporate strategy and supply-chain management as well as less expected topics such as "the shared history of slavery and capitalism."

"This is stuff that MBAs aren't hearing about in other places," Seth Rockman, an associate professor of history at the school, explained to the news outlet.

The actions taken by Brown prove that the MBA is constantly evolving, as well as growing in popularity. The article also noted that most of the other schools that make up the Ivy League—including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University—already offer MBA programs. 

"[An MBA degree] works for someone who has a truly international career," Dan Bauer, chief executive of MBA Exchange, told Businessweek. "You get two brands on the résumé, and potentially, access to two alumni networks."