Masters in Management versus MBA – PaGaLGuY

The world is changing, and so are educational systems around the world. In this fast-paced world, students and professionals do not have the time, energy or financial backing to invest in a time-consuming process.

Hence, newer options are bearing fruit. Similarly, business executive aspirants have newer options, breaking away from conventional courses such as Masters in Business Administration (MBA) into courses like Masters in Management.

With more options, comes more confusion. The debate between which is better has thus risen and this article attempts to clear it out. 

Masters in Management course against Masters in Business Administration 

There are several factors that give the Masters in Management course of MiM its distinctive features from MBA. For instance:

    1. Length of the course: As mentioned earlier, this stems from the fact that MBAs can be time-consuming and more students are dissatisfied with the level of commitment it requires. MiM usually has a duration of a single year for students hoping to increase their business knowledge. Whereas, MBA courses are completed in two years.
  • Specialisation: MBA is a blanket degree in management. It is a generalised business management degree that provides the same education and qualification for all students who have enrolled in the course. MiM, on the other hand, offers a range of specialisations such as supply chain management, among others. This helps aspirants looking to increase their business knowledge with a specific skill-set of their choice. 

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business offers 2  types of MiM: Master of Management Studies which is a general management degree that is held in the North Carolina campus and global campus where students can choose to split their term between North Carolina and China, and Master of Quantitative Management which offers a specialisation in business or health analytics. 

The choice would be between receiving a specialised exposure to a field or particular area of study, as would be while undertaking MiM, and the other would be opting for a generalised, more in-depth exposure to “general management, (meaning) your ability to communicate and influence audiences (and) your ability to lead those audiences,” says Russ Morgan senior associate dean at Fuqua School of Business.

He mentions that students opting for specialised courses like these should consider how precise their goals are. 

  • Experience: Generally, people opting for an MBA degree usually have had sufficient experiences in the industry before setting foot in obtaining this degree. The situation is quite different for MiM aspirants, that is, it is targeted for college graduates who are eager to launch right into business careers. The only exception is M.S. in Management for Experienced Leaders or MSx program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business which is aimed for individuals who want a degree in the middle of their career. 

“We see the one-year program format and other features of the MSx program as more appropriate to more mature leaders that are farther along in their career,” says Mike Hochleutner, Director of Stanford’s MSx program.

“The opportunity cost of taking time off when someone is 12 to 15 years into their career is often quite a bit higher than it is for someone who’s looking at traditional MBA education, and they also want to be surrounded by people who have commensurate work experience to their own.”

  • Academical Backgrounds: Generally, admission into an MBA program in the US requires a professional background in the industry. The preference lies there and with an academical background in business and commerce but they are also quite open to individuals without any background in the subject. MiM, on the other hand, does not require any such background and are quite open to individuals with social sciences and humanities backgrounds as well. 

Stephen Taylor, associate dean of graduate programs at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said that individuals with no background as such in business benefit the most from programs like MiM.

This enables them to have a differing background with an added qualification in a general management degree. MiM helps revolutionise the career outlook for people with no experience, amplifying their creativity and strengthening their vision, explained Taylor.

  • Hiring Outcomes: MBA graduates are generally hired for more senior-level positions in corporate companies than masters degree holders. This, however, does not stem from academical insufficiency but more from the point of view of work or professional experience. MBA holders mostly have more of this than MiM holders. 

According to von Rickenbach, MBA graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and co-founder of Helix Sleep, MBA graduates should be best suited for managerial positions right off graduation.

The skill-set and knowledge that are taught in these schools need to be able to mould them with abilities to manage people, a team, and a department, right off the bat.

He says that MiM holders are less inclined towards hiring more similar degree holders for leadership roles than that of traditional MBA holders.

This is purely from a lack of enough experience because generally MiM graduates are just starting off in their careers, they have no background in the professional field and they are fully imbibed with business fundamentals that they can put to use in the earlier stages of their career.

Starting with an individual contributor role, they will probably have to slowly work up their ladder to a managerial role as they grow more experiences, he explains. 

  • Value: According to von Rickenbach, MBA degrees hold more value in a Curriculum Vitae than that of MiM, in today’s times. These are of high value, money and time, and should be taken into consideration. “When you’re considering a full-time, two-year MBA program, one thing that people may not fully weigh appropriately is that there’s a very high opportunity cost to those two years,” he says. Explaining, he says, that when choosing to pursue an MBA degree, it is often at a crucial time in a career. That is, they have earned sufficient experience, invested enough energy and time into being able to come to sufficient earning capacity. Choosing to pursue an MBA degree, would require them to break away from their earning capacity for the duration. Typically, the return to this investment is great, but it also means choosing to lose two years of earning potential. Therefore, a program that provides a similar skill-set and education within a shorter period of time might be more appealing.
  • Increased in-depth knowledge: MBA programs are held for a longer period of time. This brings students to a lot more exposure academically and provides the ability for in-depth knowledge of the subject, unlike MiM programs. Gareth Howells, Executive Director of London Business School’s MBA program, Master in Finance program and early-career master’s programs, says that a two-year management degree has a lot more of knowledge and in-depth exposure that might not be plausible to cram up in a shorter period of time. 


Mike Hochleutner, who is also an MBA graduate from Stanford, is of the opinion that aspirants need to look into the potential growth in their career the course is going to bring and if the curriculum and academic structure align with their interests and career choices before making a decision. Hyper-focus on the type of degree may be a big mistake. 

Hochleutner observes that in the last two decades, the value of degree classifications have definitely dropped. Many do get a little obsessed with the degree or title that accompanies their name, but four years after graduation it ceases to matter.

The relevance, then, becomes the skills that have been learnt, the contact or network that has been built and can you continue to engage in your ongoing professional development?”

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Source-US News.