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MBA Focuses: The Hardest Majors

MBA Focuses: The Hardest Majors

We all know that earning a Masters of Business Administration is no small task.  Especially for those who are unable to attend a program full-time, an MBA will require at least 2 years of intensive, focused work.  With so many different degree options, cost considerations, and program structures, sometimes it can feel like an impossible task to complete an MBA.  To help in your decision making process, we’ve rounded up three of the hardest majors, or focuses, that reside within MBA degrees.  Let’s start with… 


Students seeking an MBA with a focus in Accounting will tell you that this concentration is not for the faint of heart.  Due to the complex nature of different accounting systems, this major is going to require more hours of studying per course than most.  The first year of an accounting program will likely be as rigorous as any other concentration; during the second year, however, is when advanced courses begin and the real work starts.  Between financial accounting, tax accounting, and auditing, there is a wide spectrum of knowledge that requires nuanced understanding in order to be competent in this field.  

Hardest Majors

Another thing to consider is that most students entering a program like accounting assume they need to have excellent math skills in order to succeed.  In fact, accounting is more closely related to the study of law than to math.  As with law studies, there are rules of accounting that need to be understood and followed.  Classifying different situations into different rulesets will rely more on analytical and logical reasoning than on mathematics experience.  Some difficult courses to be aware of include:

  • Advanced Financial Statement Analysis & Valuation
  • Corporate Finance Law and Business Planning
  • Taxation of Partnerships & S Corporations


Next up on our list of hardest majors in MBA programs is the finance focus.  Typically, students who concentrate on finance will enjoy a wide spectrum of career options.  Finance MBAs go on to become financial managers, financial examiners, financial analysts, and personal financial advisors.  Unfortunately, the salary and networking benefits of this focus area come with a cost (besides the tuition). It is an extremely challenging body of coursework!  Business leadership roles are not easy to come by, and the advanced courses are appropriately difficult. These challenges help prepare students for real corporate environments.  

There are also a wide array of topics to cover in a relatively short period of time. This means students seeking this degree will find themselves putting in extra hours to master the content quickly.  Some difficult courses to be aware of include:

  • Advanced Corporate Finance
  • Distressed Investing and Value Creation
  • Foundation Asset Pricing
Hardest Majors

Healthcare Management

One up-and-coming focus in MBA programs is Healthcare Management.  Healthcare has been a major political focus over the past ten years, and employers are increasingly seeking graduates with this degree. Not to mention, the average salary for Healthcare Management MBA holders is $80,000.  However, this degree path is not easy to complete.  In order to be competent in leadership positions, students will need to understand key topics in the healthcare financial industry. These include decision-making, marketing, and financial resource management.  

Hardest Majors

The healthcare industry is always changing. To keep up, students need to foster a sound knowledge base of healthcare regulations and the larger current healthcare environment.  As per usual, the most difficult coursework won’t come until year two of your program.  When you do get there, be sure to schedule your time around courses like:

  • Data-driven Decision Making
  • Accreditation Audit
  • Service Line Development

Which Major Should I Choose?

When determining which concentration you would like to focus on, it’s important to take everything into consideration.  Job opportunities and salary can be important statistics to factor into your decision making process. However, don’t forget that there is always an opportunity cost to everything we do.  If you’re sold on one of the majors above, keep in mind that it will be one of the hardest to complete!  However, as long as you are dedicated to your craft, nothing is out of reach.  

Still having trouble deciding what program and MBA track will be right for you?  Be sure to check out all of our resources here!