I get this question often: What is the difference between an MBA and an MS Degree? Should I go for a Master of Science or MBA (Master of Business Administration)? And that’s why I’m writing this article to clear the confusion. If you’re here for the same purpose, read on
Getting your masters degree requires an investment of your time and a large amount of change you must need, to actually find the answer to your question: Master of Science or MBA which one you should pursue?
MBA vs. MS
If you have already narrowed your options, before reading this article, the study of business, doesn’t mean an MBA is the only way to go. It may seem right to pursue a master’s degree in the relevant subjects such as marketing, accounting, finance, or international business.
On the other hand, it is possible to fine-tune an MBA to your interests by selecting an area to focus or picking a concentration. A concentration typically contains about three courses directly related to the chosen subject.
In many ways, the question of your MBA degree vs a MS comes down to a question of breadth versus depth. Do you want to to see the real picture or just take off with a specialization?
Do you want to manage different types of people in an organization and other areas of the business, or become an expert in a particular subject? With a consideration of thought about your individual interests, your business needs, along with your current program, you can make the right decision.
Master of Science in Business
While an MBA concentration may consist of a couple of classes, an MS will dig deep right into a subject. Expect rigorous course materials that could be more theoretical or based on math than the more general program.
Marketing is a useful subject. At any high level, the subject may seem simple: finding a way to sell products or services or simply another word for advertising. I would say take back your thought, though, and you’ll find an extremely complex discipline that uses aspects of mathematical, sociology, statistics, product design, distribution, and many more.
If you are really clear on the subject to dive into, then an MS will give you the opportunity to explore it with great depth.
Furthermore, since an MS is more of a specialized degree than an MBA, MS business programs may be smaller and may offer less flexibility in the courses and schedules options.
Many MS degree programs are designed to prepare students for a certification or specific tests, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam for those studying finance. By comparison, an MBA covers the relevant knowledge and the required skills needed in the business world, but won’t necessarily focus on the way it works for certification exams.
MBA – Master of Business Administration
Chances are, you are probably familiar with this degree program, and that applies to everyone else thinking about graduate school. An MBA degree is a universally recognized degree, so that you can easily expect it highlight in your resume once you are done with the program and it does not tell who will need it later. As I mentioned earlier, an MBA is an extensive program: you can expect courses in different subjects such as finance, organizational behavior, leadership, technology, and management.
If you’re looking for the flexibility of career or management training, a degree in business is the way to go. Through series of lessons, case studies, and to a diversified students from around the world, you can be exposed to a whole range of subjects and industry opportunities.
You could also start your degree with the career in your mind, and finish the semester with a whole list of other available options. Therefore, if you are not absolutely sure of the subject, or that you are already advanced in training in your existing job, an MBA can be a safer option.
The flexibility associated with an MBA will probably extend to how we earn the degree itself. Because an MBA degree appeals to a greater number of people than MS degrees, most of the universities should be able to offer a wider range of academic options, including: a two year program, part-time in the evening, or programs for the weekend, and executive programs.
You may also be able to pursue all or part of your degree through online degree programs. The online degree options are available for MS degrees, but to a far lesser extent.
So, which of the Masters programs: MBA or MS is right for you?
Since you now have a better understanding of the difference between an MS and MBA, how can you choose which one is right for you? Well, the best action you can take is to talk to people. I mean a lot of people who have received any of these masters degree.
Start by going to see the Department of degrees offices that will interest you. Faculty and professors usually give us the sense of the curriculum and likely know the place the student will go after graduation.
Remember that every degree you’re considering holds different needs. While MBA application requires a GMAT score, an MS may require the GRE and the TOEFL. In addition, because of its more rigorous curriculum, the MS option may require the most specific experience, including prerequisite courses or, possibly, a specific degree.
For example, an MS in operations research at a U.S University like Northeastern University strictly requires undergraduates are already employed in science, mathematics or engineering.
It’s also important to talk with those who are already employed in your industry. Most of them are in the best position to introduce you to the relative merit once you graduate. Ask them about the degrees they and peers hold, and ask if an MS or a MBA is preferred. Both degrees are great, but consider the starting salary and job descriptions you could earn when you graduate from school and keep in mind it won’t necessarily function the same way.
Also, among the best ways to decide is not to decide at all. Many universities offer a joint degree, such as an MBA / MS in finance. Your program will take a little longer, but you have the benefit for the breadth of the MBA and the depth of MS.
Generally, whichever route you go, try not to pursue the two degrees at the same time. Whether you’re thinking about MBA or MS that could end up with your name on it, it shouldn’t be a problem finding yourself well-positioned for success. Good luck on deciding. Do you have anything else to add to this article? You can make of the comments section below.
Gradschools contributed to this article