A master's degree in business administration opens doors to numerous occupations including accounting, health care or other business administration, marketing, IRS services, risk management, investment banking, human services and research analysis, as well as supplying an effective base to open your own business. The specific requirements for an MBA differ by institution -- some require a thesis and others do not, while some let students choose.

Thesis

The thesis is a research paper that may stem from a student project. The thesis typically takes several semesters to complete and takes the place of a minimum of six credits of coursework, often spread over a one-year period. Since the thesis usually represents a culmination of a student's experience, most schools require preliminary classes in business and research methods. Students generally work closely with an adviser or committee to select a topic and work toward the final paper.

Purpose

Writing a thesis allows MBA students to research a particular concept or element within the industry and present that information in a published form. The procedure helps students gain experience in research, methodology, synthesis, evaluation and communication. The finished piece also illustrates these skills to potential employers after graduation. Rather than regurgitating known concepts, the MBA thesis is meant to shed new light on concepts or methods, perhaps suggesting different business models or implications of current aspects of the field.

Topics

Choosing a topic for the thesis helps make it relevant to your course of study and your future career. The most appropriate topics have a base in current research to build upon but has not already been covered in depth, have significance in business, are narrow enough to complete within the program's timeframe and connect with multiple areas within the business field. Possible topics include how privatization applies to a particular industry, how a corporation could improve marketing, the consequences of current strategies on an organization and what a corporation might do to go green.

Alternatives

Schools without thesis requirements or that allow students to choose a thesis or non-thesis degree path may offer other coursework in business or other approved graduate-level electives in place of the paper. Some schools allow MBA candidates to write papers strictly from research or choose a non-thesis project. With such options, students may create business-oriented research projects such as feasibility studies or solutions to organizational problems and observe the results without necessarily compiling a paper.