An MBA program is designed as a predominantly generalist management study, covering all essential management functions. Limited specializations are permitted. The target groups of these programs are, among others, engineers, natural sciences and humanities, lawyers and medical professionals who wish to qualify for management positions or high public service positions. It is more rare for managers who have dealt with other areas in previous studies.

As a Master’s degree, an MBA in Europe is included in the Bologna process in the second stage of the study system. This means that the MBA usually requires a first degree (eg Bachelor) or a comparable qualification, a classification into the European Credit Transfer System, the MBA is to be completed with a master thesis, and the comparability is supported by a Diploma Supplement Must be documented. According to the Ministerial Conference on Ministers of Education of April 21, 2005, since the degree is a “Master” and has the right to doctorate, a total study performance of at least five years or at least 300 ECTS must be demonstrated. A large number of MBAs do not fulfill this requirement in terms of the new Bachelor’s degrees (usually only 180 ECTS) and are in a transitional phase as previous accreditations are valid for five years.

The 1997 MBA Guidelines (Guidelines) are of central importance for the understanding of MBA programs. They were developed by education experts and accreditation organizations from 19 European countries and the USA.

In Austria, MBA programs in the area of further education (university courses, courses for further education at Fachhochschulen, courses of university character) are located. Access to these extraordinary studies is not compulsory for a full academic degree; Usually only several years of professional practice or the positive completion of an entrance examination are required. Master degrees in continuing education are therefore not the same as Master’s degrees due to the completion of proper studies (master studies), even though their titles partly have the same wording. For example, no admission to a doctorate degree is associated with master degrees in further education (eg MBA, MAS, etc.).