Want Help Deciding? MBA vs Specialised Masters

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Hi everyone

You may be thinking about applying for an MBA - but are you sure an MBA is always the better choice? Or could a specialised Masters make more sense in your particular situation?  

If you're having trouble deciding between an MBA or a Specialised Masters, feel free to post your thoughts and doubts here. 

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An MBA often is the first choice for students looking for a prestigious business qualification.  Yet in many cases, a specialised Masters can be more suitable.  MBA vs. Masters -  which is the better choice?  Here are 5 considerations to help you decide.

1. Level of Specialisation

An MBA is a general business qualification that covers different aspects of the business environment, including things such as: Leadership, Business Management, Marketing, Strategy, Accounting, Operations Management, Global Business, and Human Resource Management.  MBA graduates are often referred to as "generalists". Imagine generalist knowledge as being '10 miles broad and 1 mile deep'

A specialised Masters has a specific subject focus. It usually concentrates on one subject area that you want to specialise in. Imagine the type of knowledge as being "1 mile broad, 10 miles deep".    

2. Specialised MBAs

Specialised MBA programmes cover broad business and management subjects.  However, they will also include modules that will lead to the 'specialisation' stated in the course title, e.g. MBA for the Music & Creative Industries, MBA in Aviation Management, MBA for the Public Sector, MBA in Project Management.

There are many arguments for and against specialised MBA courses - you can read more about them in my post here:  http://www.mesh-ed.com/mba-vs-masters/

 3.  What Recruiters Want

Whether you have an MBA, a Specialised MBA or Specialised Masters, what employers care about most is your knowledge, skills and experience can benefit their business. They will look for ability to bring value to their business and to help them achieve concrete business aims.  When choosing the MBA or Specialised Masters course to apply for ask yourself how it will help you position yourself in the job market. 

4. What B-Schools Want

When deciding whether an MBA, specialised MBA or a Masters is the better option for you, you will also have to consider the entry requirements.  In the UK, most MBA programmes will ask for at least 3 years' work experience before you can start the programme.  Some MBA and Masters programmes have particularly high academic and English language entry grades.  However, one main difference between the entry requirements for MBA programme and those for other Masters courses is that many MBA courses do ask for GMAT.  Some Masters courses may, too, but this depends on the course and the university.

5.  What Are the Tuition Fees

The cost of your course is another important consideration when deciding whether an MBA or a specialised Masters course are the better option for you.   The tuition fees for some MBA programmes can be considerably higher than those of many Masters degrees.


Whether you decide to apply for an MBA, a specialised MBA or specialised Masters programme, there are convincing arguments for and advantages to all of them.

As this post shows, there are a number of key factors to consider, and which option might benefit you most will really depend on your own aims, circumstances and future plans.

Founder, www.mesh-ed.com
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