How to choose an MBA

The ABCs of an MBA can be difficult to spell out, especially if you're trying to make nuanced decisions about which direction to follow. That's because there's no such thing as one MBA program: How about an alphabet soup that includes EMBA, PMBA and OMBA, along with other grad degree possibilities in finance?

"We recognize that prospective students have many options to further their education and appreciate the decision can be difficult," said Megan Hall, Assistant Director of Florida Atlantic University's College of Business Executive Programs. "That's why we believe it's important for a student to meet members of our staff and better understand the programs available."

And as MBA students learn in class, figures don't lie. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the MBA has become the most popular master's degree in the U.S. Back in 1970 and 1971, the business master's accounted for just 11% of all postgraduate degrees. As of 2012, MBAs made up more than 1 in 4, NCES figures show.

Yet it's about much more than learning to crunch numbers, as some things can't be measured and tracked on a spreadsheet.

"In our programs we treat our students like family and we're invested in their success as a student and as a person," Hall said.

Here's a look at the programs FAU offers, and how tomorrow's business leaders can learn more. Be sure to check for available student aid packages, as money should never be an obstacle to working in financial fields.

Choosing Your MBA

Executive MBA - EMBA

2015-10-10 How to Choose an MBA homepage pop-upWhat it is: The EMBA program is designed to prepare participating professionals to assume leadership roles so that they and their organizations can maximize their investments in executive education.

Features: Individual leadership profile and assessment; private executive coaching sessions; optional international business trip.

Time commitment: 23 months if taken without work interruption.

Did you know?: The EMBA Program at FAU was recently ranked among the best in the world by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Professional MBA - PMBA

What it is: Like the EMBA, the PMBA prepares working professionals for leadership roles. Many corporations nominate and sponsor fast-track employees for the PMBA program to ensure that they will have professionally credentialed managers for the future.

Features: Each class begins and progresses through the program as a group, sharing the same sequence of classes and educational experiences.

Time commitment: 23 months if taken without work interruption.

Did you know?: According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, 95% of PMBA graduates were employed as of 2013. That same year, the median annual starting salary for graduates of a full-time, two-year program was $90,000—with a bonus and additional compensation of $10,000.

Online MBA - OMBA

What it is: The ultimate in flexibility and high-tech savvy for grad students, the OMBA program is specially designed to allow participants to continue their professional responsibilities while earning a degree as full-time graduate students in a fully online environment.

Features: As the program is 100 percent online, it contains no domestic or international residency requirement.

Time commitment: 23 months, with the added flexibility of streaming class sessions live or at a later time of the student's choosing.

Did you know?: Ken Johnson, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at FAU's College of Business, said, "We're using lever technology to broadcast classes live, and offering those broadcasts again with a turnaround of 15 minutes. If you can watch Netflix or Hulu on a computer, you have access to education like never before."

MBA in Sport Management

What it is: This MBA prepares grads to assume careers in business of sport. The special assortment of sport management courses is only available to students in the program.

Features: Students participate in out-of-classroom practical experiences at local and regional sport and/or entertainment entities.

Time commitment: 23 months; on-campus students must be continually employed or involved with related internships throughout the program. Students enrolled online are encouraged but not required to do so.

Did you know?: FAU's MBA in Sport Management is ranked No. 5 in North America and No. 6 in the world by Sport Business International in 2015.

MBA in Hospitality Management

What it is: An MBA that combines required competencies in finance, accounting and marketing with managerial competencies and practices specific to the hospitality industry (a field that produces more millionaire entrepreneurs than any other business sector, according to the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association).

Features: Business training specific to hospitality fields that include restaurants and catering; cruise lines; theme parks; hotels and resorts; and more.

Time commitment: 23 months if taken without work interruption.

Did you know?: After attracting more than 97 million tourists in 2014, Florida is expected to pass the 100 million mark in 2015.