Exploring your options for earning an MBA degree?
Maybe you’re stuck in a career rut. Or you’re going along just fine, but you want to fast-track your growth in the company. Or you’re aiming for something more ambitious, like becoming the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.
Whatever pushed you to consider an MBA degree, take the time to decide if it’s right for you. Yes, an MBA education is beneficial to one’s career in many ways, but it isn’t for everyone.
To make that all-important decision, be informed about different MBA programs and business schools that offer them.
Here’s everything you need to know about taking an MBA degree in the Philippines.
What is an MBA Course?
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is a graduate degree that provides students with in-depth theoretical and practical training to develop technical and leadership skills for key management roles.
This graduate business degree, typically taken by early-career and mid-career professionals, is more advanced than an associate or bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Usually completed in two years, MBA programs in the Philippines cover a range of business-related subjects, including finance, accounting, economics, marketing, operations, and strategy.
In some business schools, MBA students may either take a general track or specialize in a particular field such as entrepreneurship, strategic management, operations management, marketing management, or people management.
Requirements and Eligibility for MBA in the Philippines
Before you start looking for business schools and sending your application, check first if you qualify for an MBA program and have all the documents that your target university requires.
Keep reading to learn more about eligibility and document requirements for admission to an MBA school in the Philippines.
How do you qualify for an MBA degree?
1. You must be a graduate of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
Since an MBA is a master’s degree (meaning it’s on a higher level than a bachelor’s degree), you should have at least a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college.
MBA schools in the Philippines require a bachelor’s degree in any course related to business or management, such as business administration, business management, or accountancy.
Graduates of other fields—such as engineering, information technology, and even nursing—may still qualify for an MBA program.
However, they must take at least 15 to 18 units of relevant undergraduate business courses, also called pre-MBA courses or bridge courses. Required preparatory courses for non-business degree holders usually include management, accounting, business law, and marketing units.
2. You need at least two years’ work experience.
If you’re a fresh graduate, wait a little while and gain some work experience first before applying for an MBA program.
Top MBA schools in the Philippines such as the AIM, Ateneo, and UP, for instance, require at least two years of experience working in a company or running a business.
Special consideration may be given to prospective MBA students with shorter work history but with experience in community service, volunteer work, or any field where leadership skills are used.
This MBA requirement makes sense because exposure to the corporate world provides a realistic perspective of how businesses operate, helping students better understand the theories and practices on business management in their MBA classes.
3. You should pass a graduate admissions test (and interview, if there’s any).
Remember the college entrance tests you took when you were applying for an undergraduate degree? Before being admitted to an MBA program, you’ll also have to pass an admissions test to prove your readiness for graduate school.
You may take an exam administered by the business school itself. Alternatively, you can take any of the following exams and submit your test result to the university:
All these exams are accepted by leading business schools in the Philippines for admission to their MBA programs. To take a graduate admissions test, you’ll be required to register and pay a fee.
Foreign applicants (except for those from native English-speaking countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia) must also take and pass the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) to prove their English proficiency.
MBA schools require international applicants to hit a certain score for admission. For example, those who wish to be admitted to the UP MBA program must have TOEFL scores of at least 550 (paper-based exam) and 90 (online exam).
Lastly, you may have to pass an interview if the business school requires it. The Lyceum of the Philippines University, for instance, interviews each applicant to determine if he/she is a good fit for the MBA program.
What are the requirements for an MBA program?
In general, here are the documents that MBA applicants need to prepare and submit:
- Accomplished application form
- Latest Transcript of Records
- Recent 2 x 2 or passport-size ID photos
- Birth Certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
- Certificate of Employment (or Certificate of Business Registration for self-employed applicants)
- Curriculum vitae
- Recommendation/Referral letters from employer and professor/adviser
- Personal essay/statement
- Marriage Certificate (for married female applicants)
- Honorable Dismissal/Transfer Credentials (for transferees)
In addition to those document requirements, foreign applicants should also present their study permit or working visa issued by the Bureau of Immigration and a photocopy of their passport data page.
Also, be prepared to pay an application fee ranging from Php 600 to Php 1,000+. Higher rates may apply to foreign applicants.
Top Business Schools in the Philippines
When studying an MBA degree, you’re investing a considerable amount of time and money. And so, your choice of business school matters. For recruiters and hiring managers, your graduate degree holds a higher value if you earn it from a top-tier business school.
Fortunately, some business schools in the Philippines are world-renowned for their excellent quality of instruction and global influence.
Here are the top MBA schools in the Philippines based on Eduniversal Business Schools Ranking 2019. Eduniversal is a Paris-based global rating agency that ranks the best business schools worldwide based on their international influence. Six local business schools made it to the latest Eduniversal ranking.
Also included in this list of the best MBA schools are universities and colleges designated as Centers of Excellence by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in Business Administration.
Note: The costs provided here refer only to the tuition fee and don’t include miscellaneous fees and other fees. Tuition rates may also change over the years.
1. Asian Institute of Management – Washington SyCip Graduate School of Business
MBA program duration: 12 months
Tuition fee: US$ 28,500 (approximately Php 1.44 million)
Known as the pioneer in management education in Asia, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) was built by the Harvard Business School as well as business and academic luminaries in the Philippines.
For over 50 years, the AIM’s W. SyCip Graduate School of Business has been the training ground for leaders and managers from not only the Philippines but also the United States, India, China, South Korea, and nearly 50 other countries.
The AIM currently holds the 18th spot in the Eduniversal Business Schools Ranking in the Far East Asia region, with a 4 Palmes of Excellence distinction (top business school with significant international influence).
The AIM’s flagship program, the Master in Business Administration (MBA), is a full-time degree program consisting of four terms that can be completed in a year. MBA students may choose any of these specializations: general management, finance, sustainable finance, fintech, business analytics, or digital marketing.
For a hands-on learning experience, MBA students are assigned to over 300 real-world business cases through working as consultants for the AIM’s partner companies and organizations. This trains students to use critical and innovative thinking in making decisions, strategies, and action plans.
Location: Asian Institute of Management, 123 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Contact number: (02) 8892-4011 ext. nos. 3005 (for Filipino applicants) / 1852 and 3001 (for foreign applicants)
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. De La Salle University – Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business
MBA program duration: Two years
Tuition fee: Php 3,816 per unit (Total: Php 137,376 for 36 units)
One of the big 4 universities in the Philippines, the De La Salle University (DLSU) is also considered one of the best business schools in the country, being a CHED Center of Excellence in Business Administration.
DLSU ranks 29th among the best business schools in Far East Asia, with Eduniversal recognizing it with 3 Palmes of Excellence (excellent business school with reinforcing international influence).
DLSU’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is a 36-unit management program that develops professionals for higher-level management positions. The business school allows working students to pursue an MBA on a partial academic load basis.
Location: Ground Floor, Faculty Center, De La Salle University, 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila
Contact number: (02) 524-4611 local 130
Email address: email@example.com
3. Ateneo de Manila University Graduate School of Business
MBA program duration: Two years and four months
- MBA Standard Program – Php 18,545 per course (Total: Php 352,355 for 19 courses)
- Middle Managers MBA Program – Php 30,581.05 per course (Total: Php 428,134.70 for 14 courses)
- Ateneo-Regis MBA Program – Php 24,610.65 – Php 31,781.75 per course, depending on the campus (Total: Php 344,549 – Php 444,944.50 for 14 courses)
The Ateneo de Manila University is a CHED Center of Excellence in Business Administration. Its Graduate School of Business has earned 3 Palmes of Excellence from Eduniversal, which means it’s an “excellent business school with reinforcing international influence.”
The institution makes high-quality MBA education accessible in the Philippines with its six campuses in Makati, Pampanga, Laguna, Cebu, and Iloilo.
The Ateneo Graduate School of Business offers three MBA programs, each catering to different kinds of professionals.
- MBA Standard – A non-thesis leadership and management development program for young professionals who have been working for at least two years and want to hone relevant skills for a higher-level management position. Offered on a part-time basis, this program consists of 52 units with classes held on weeknights or Saturdays.
- Middle Managers MBA – A non-thesis program for senior managers and supervisors who want to further develop their leadership and managerial skills for key senior and CEO roles in the future. MBA classes for middle managers are held one night per week from 6 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.
- Ateneo-Regis MBA – A non-thesis executive program developed by the Ateneo in partnership with Regis University in Denver, Colorado. This accelerated program is for executives and senior managers who have at least five years of work experience but limited time for pursuing an MBA degree because of their workplace responsibilities. The regular load is one course per trimester, with each term lasting for two months. Each course meets one night per week for four hours.
- Rockwell Campus – Ateneo Professional Schools, #20 Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City
- Salcedo Campus – Ateneo Professional Schools, 130 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
- Clark Campus – Berthaphil, Ground Floor, Unit 5, Clark Center 09, Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Clark Freeport, Zone, Pampanga
- Sta. Rosa Campus – 2nd Floor, Paseo 3A Building, Brgy. Don Jose, Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
- Cebu Campus – Ground Floor Cebu Holdings Center, Cardinal Rosales Avenue, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
- Ateneo de Iloilo – Pison Avenue, Mandurriao, Iloilo City
- Rockwell Campus – (02) 8899-7691 local 2206 or 2207
- Clark Campus – (045) 4990970 / 4990971 / (0998) 550-9910
- Sta. Rosa Campus – (049) 541-0415 / 541-2987
- Cebu Campus – (032) 231-9478 / 232-1665
- Iloilo Campus – (033) 396-6506 / (0995) 1017-978
- Rockwell Campus – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clark Campus – email@example.com
- Sta. Rosa Campus – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cebu Campus – email@example.com
- Iloilo Campus – firstname.lastname@example.org
4. University of the Philippines Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business
MBA program duration:
- Day program (full-time) – One year and eight months
- Evening program (part-time) – Two years and eight months
Tuition fee: Php 4,500 per unit (Total: Php 189,000 for 42 units)
Founded over 100 years ago, the UP Virata School of Business is the leader in management education in the Philippines.
Like the business schools of DLSU and Ateneo, the UP Virata School of Business is recognized by Eduniversal with 3 Palmes of Excellence for its “reinforcing international influence.”
UP’s MBA program is offered on a full-time (day program) or part-time (evening program) basis. This non-thesis program equips students with advanced management skills necessary for decision making in a highly competitive business environment. At the end of the program, students are required to take a comprehensive exam instead of submitting a thesis.
Location: University of the Philippines Bonifacio Global City, 32nd Street, BGC, Taguig City
Email address: email@example.com
5. University of Santo Tomas UST Graduate School
MBA program duration: Two years
- Php 2,181 per unit for Filipino students (Total: Php 98,145 for 45 units)
- Php 2,855 per unit for foreign students (Total: Php 128,475 for 45 units)
The UST Graduate School has earned 2 Palmes of Excellence from Eduniversal, with a distinction of being a “good business school with strong regional influence.”
UST’s Master in Business Administration program has a Level IV accredited status from the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA).
It’s the PACUCOA’s highest recognition of exemplary academic programs in the Philippines, with prestige and authority comparable to MBA programs in excellent foreign universities.
MBA students of UST can choose one management track to focus on: finance, human resources, production and operations, marketing, or strategy.
Location: Ground Floor, Thomas Aquinas Research Complex Building, University of Santo Tomas, España Boulevard, Manila
Contact number: (02) 731-5396
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. University of San Carlos School of Business and Economics
MBA program duration: Three years
Tuition fee: Php 19,500 – Php 35,000 per year (Total of Php 58,500 – Php 105,000 for three years)
Established in 1595, the University of San Carlos (USC) is the oldest existing educational institution in the Philippines.
The USC is one of the largest universities in Cebu and Visayas, with eight CHED Centers of Excellence, including one in Business Administration.
This Catholic university’s business school has 1 Palme of Excellence from Eduniversal for its “considerable local influence.” Its Master in Business Administration program is also Level III-accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), which means it meets the rganization’s standards of quality education.
Location: University of San Carlos Downtown Campus, P. del Rosario Street, Cebu City
Contact number: (032) 253-1000 / 255-8392
7. José Rizal University Graduate School
MBA program duration: Two years
Tuition fee: Php 36,000 – Php 66,000 per year
The José Rizal University (JRU) is a CHED Center of Excellence in Business Administration.
Its Master in Business Administration program is one of the top 10 MBA programs in the Philippines, according to the Fund Assistance to Private Education (FAPE) and Evaluation of Graduate Education in the Philippines (EGEP)
JRU’s MBA program has been awarded a Level II accreditation by the PACUCOA, recognizing its excellence in curriculum, research, faculty, and instruction, among other criteria.
JRU offers two types of MBA programs: a thesis program consisting of nine core courses and one elective and a non-thesis program consisting of nine core courses and three electives.
MBA students have four options for their specialization: entrepreneurship, retail management, supply management, or organizational development.
Location: José Rizal University Graduate School Office, Ground Floor, JRU Tower, 80 Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City
Contact number: (02) 8531-8031 local 11 or 77
Email address: email@example.com
8. Central Philippine University School of Graduate Studies
MBA program duration: Two years
Tuition fee: Php 1,020 per unit (Total: Php 39,780 for 39 units / Php 42,840 for 42 units)
The Central Philippine University (CPU) is a CHED Center of Excellence in Business Administration. Its Master in Business Administration program has a Level IV accreditation from the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges, and Universities Accrediting Agencies, Inc. (ACSCU-AAI).
The MBA program is offered in two tracks: a 39-unit thesis program and a 42-unit program specializing in tourism and hospitality management.
CPU’s graduate school provides research-based and outcome-based education integrated with Christian values to develop students’ problem-solving, research, and practical skills.
It takes pride in its strong partnerships with Asian institutions in China, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
Location: Central Philippine University, Lopez Jaena Street, Jaro, Iloilo City
Contact number: (033) 329-1971 to 329-1979 local 2140
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
9. Miriam College – College of Business, Entrepreneurship & Accountancy
MBA program duration: Two years
Tuition fee: Php 2,400 per unit (Total: Php 103,200 for 43 units)
Like the USC, Miriam College is a designated CHED Center of Excellence in Business Administration, with a PAASCU Level III-accredited Master in Business Administration program.
Miriam’s MBA program is a 43-unit, non-thesis program that prepares students for key positions in strategic management, human resource management, or innovation management.
It also offers a general track for those who want to learn multiple disciplines. This business school in Quezon City takes a modular, project-based approach to learning. MBA classes are held on weekends, which is ideal for working students.
Location: Miriam College, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City 1108
Contact number: (02) 8930-6272 local 8240 or 3435-9263
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
10. Lyceum of the Philippines University – Claro M. Recto Academy of Advanced Studies
MBA program duration: Two years
Tuition fee: Php 29,000 – Php 50,000 per year (Total: Php 58,000 – Php 100,000 for two years)
A CHED Center of Excellence in Business Administration, the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) offers two Master in Business Administration programs that develop modern managerial skills through both quantitative and qualitative studies.
One is a regular MBA program (thesis/non-thesis), and another program allows specialization in marketing management or people management.
LPU’s MBA classes are module-based, and each subject meets for five consecutive Saturdays.
Location: Jose P. Laurel Building, Lyceum of the Philippines University, 33 Muralla corner Real Streets, Intramuros, Manila
Contact number: (02) 8527-8251 to 56 local 105
Email address: email@example.com
11. University of Mindanao
MBA program duration: 2.5 years
Tuition fee: Php 19,500 – Php 28,000 per year (Total: Php 48,800 – Php 70,000 for 2.5 years)
Founded in 1946, the University of Mindanao is among the oldest and largest universities in the southern Philippines.
It’s awarded a Center of Excellence in Business Administration and autonomous status by CHED—meaning it’s considered a premier educational institution that meets CHED’s quality and excellence standards. Its graduate school is also the first in Mindanao to receive accreditation by any accrediting agency.
Location: Bolton Street, Davao City, Davao del Sur
Contact number: (082) 221 0190
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Advantages of Having an MBA in the Philippines
Attending a top business school in Metro Manila to earn an MBA degree can set you back an average of Php 100,000 up to a million pesos. But that’s only the financial cost.
Non-monetary costs are involved as well, like enduring sleepless nights and sacrificing weekend plans with family and friends. Not to mention the strict admission requirements you have to meet to enter an MBA school.
Given its expensive and demanding nature, an MBA program can be off-putting and discouraging for some.
Now you ask—is an MBA worth your money, time, and effort?
Taking an MBA can be the best investment you’ll ever make. That is, if you consider the following benefits of an MBA degree.
1. Higher Earning Potential
The most important and practical advantage of an MBA degree is the higher salary compared to bachelor’s and even other master’s degrees.
According to a report by Emolument, a crowdsourced pay data platform, MBA is the second highest-paying degree in the Philippines, next to Masters in Management. MBA graduates earn an average annual salary of Php 3.25 million (around Php 270,000+ monthly).
The MBA salary estimate of PayScale, a compensation comparison website, is more conservative at an average of Php 719,000 per year (around Php 60,000 monthly).
Still, it’s a higher amount compared to the salaries of other degree holders. It’s about twice as much as the salary of those with a regular college degree.
Research has shown that it takes two to four years to recover the investment made with an MBA education. Not bad for an ROI, considering that the benefits of an MBA can last through your entire career.
2. Faster Career Advancement
Aside from the financial perks, another motivation that pushes professionals to pursue an MBA degree is giving their career a boost. With an MBA degree, you’re raising your chance of securing a top-level management position.
In short, it’s easier and quicker to get promoted with an MBA attached to your name.
Why is that so? An MBA program equips students with the necessary skills to succeed in a particular field. It provides more in-depth knowledge of business and management than a bachelor’s degree in business administration. As a result, MBA graduates become experts in their specific fields.
3. Easier to Change Careers
Planning to break into a new industry for enhancing your career? Taking an MBA is a sensible first step.
Having an MBA degree opens up plenty of career opportunities across a wide range of industries—something that most professionals with a different educational background may not qualify for.
Studying an MBA degree is not just for those who want to succeed in the business sector.
It’s also for professionals aiming to advance their career in other industries such as financial institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. This is because the technical and soft skills gained from an MBA program are useful in any leadership position across all industries.
Here are just a few career options available to MBA graduates in the Philippines:
- Operations manager
- HR manager
- Business development head or analyst
- Management analyst or consultant
- Business strategist
- Business professor
- Marketing head
- Sales manager
4. Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur
Not all MBA students aspire to climb the corporate ladder. Some aim to become their own boss.
If you prefer to start your own company (rather than staying an employee forever), an MBA education can help you develop the necessary skills for launching and growing a business.
Among the must-have entrepreneurial skills you can gain from an MBA school are related to leadership, people management, marketing, product development, crisis management, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Some may argue that a formal education, much less an MBA degree, is not really needed to run a successful business. While that may be true in a few cases, MBA graduates still have the edge over their non-MBA counterparts.
Nine in every 10 startups fail because of mistakes ranging from lack of market need to failure to pivot. The knowledge and skills students learn from studying an MBA help them avoid, or at least minimize, the common mistakes that startups make.
Particularly, case studies in MBA programs teach students to identify and solve real-life problems based on actual experiences of businesses.
5. Strong Professional Network
MBA students have great opportunities to connect with influential people—like classmates who are professionals within and outside the industry, or professors with on-field management experience.
This widens your professional network, which can help you achieve your career goals in one way or another after grad school.
Interacting with people you meet in graduate school also gives a fresh perspective on life, as you exchange new ideas and explore strategies and solutions to various problems in your case studies.
The lessons you pick up along the way will be invaluable to whatever career path you take after your MBA education.
6. Sense of Pride and Personal Achievement
An MBA degree not only boosts one’s resume but also earns respect from colleagues, friends, and family.
The hard work and perseverance MBA students put into their graduate studies cannot be underestimated—and so, they deserve the prestige that comes with their degree.
Internally, there’s a sense of pride and fulfillment in earning a master’s degree, especially if it’s an MBA.
It’s only natural to feel you’ve accomplished something great, considering that it takes tons of guts, patience, and determination to overcome the difficulties of earning an MBA education.
This increases your confidence in many aspects of managing a business, from creating strategies to making tough decisions and taking risks.