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MBA vs. Master’s in Management – The Similarities & Differences

Man presents on the topic of MBA vs Master's in Management.

Today, the top roles and some of the highest paying roles are managerial. Many professionals in executive positions have either a Master’s in Management or an MBA. Professionals interested in pursuing graduate-level education often debate the benefits of an MBA vs. a Master’s in Management. In this article, we will be examining the differences and similarities between these degree programs.

What Is a Master’s Degree in Management?

Professionals or students with no working experience can apply and study for a graduate degree. The foremost reason for acquiring a graduate degree is to qualify for senior positions. In this case, professionals earn a Master in Management to prepare them for managerial and leadership roles in their various sectors.

As a graduate-level degree program, a Master in Management prepares students for managerial career opportunities in business-related industries. The Master in Management program serves individuals who do not have a bachelor’s degree in management. Most programs for this degree cater to recent graduates or those with a year or two of work experience.

While professionals with different educational backgrounds can get a Master in Management, it is crucial to choose the right program. Most schools offer a degree with several specializations or concentration options. These concentrations are tailored to professionals in different sectors, while others allow business majors to specialize in specific areas.

As with some master’s programs, students can complete a Master in Management in one year. Most programs require 36-credit hours. There are full-time program plans and part-time plans for those with other commitments.

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Master of Management Program Coursework

A Master of Management program prepares graduates for senior roles and managerial positions in various sectors. The program teaches specific courses that are related to management. Many universities offer concentration options like Information Technology, Accounting and Finance, Marketing, International Business, and Leadership. These concentrations help students focus on specific areas that best support their careers. Some of the courses included in a Master of Management include:

  • Foundations of Management
  • Introduction to Accounting
  • Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship
  • Business Performance and Strategy
  • Trials in Global Business and Management
  • Organizational Psychology

Once completed, graduates of the program should be able to:

  • Organize internal resources for the flawless execution of projects
  • Develop project scopes and objectives
  • Utilize appropriate verification techniques to manage changes in a project schedule
  • Measure project performance using the correct systems
  • Develop a detailed management plan to track workflow and progress
  • Identify opportunities and risks in the global business environment

During the program, students learn all the skills they need to manage an organization successfully. Master of Management programs are detailed and cover innovation, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, organizational change, and human resources.

What is an MBA?

A Master of Business Administration has been around for a long time, so it’s no surprise that it’s the most popular professional degree. Most professionals who intend to advance their qualifications and careers opt for an MBA degree. Since they are so popular, they are almost readily available in most schools with various specialties.

MBA programs offer a generalist aspect of business education for professionals who want to scale up and access leadership roles. With the way MBA programs are structured and designed, they cover a broad range of business-related courses. These courses prepare students for advanced managerial and administrative roles in the workforce.

As with the Master of Management program, MBA degree programs also offer concentrations that cater to interests in other fields. Professionals in Healthcare, Information Technology, Sports, and Agriculture can all take MBA programs with concentrations tailored to them. Professionals with many years of working experience can opt for an executive MBA (EMBA) program rather than the regular MBA program. EMBA programs are more advanced and can take two and a half years to complete the full-time plan and four and a half years to meet the part-time schedule.

Candidates who wish to enroll in MBA programs are usually required to submit their GMAT or GRE scores. They also have to submit academic transcripts, letters of reference, and sometimes, an essay or statement of intent.

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MBA Program Coursework

All MBA programs, irrespective of the concentration, teach core business courses. These courses are accounting, economics, finance, leadership, marketing, and operations. Some institutions now add courses like Business Strategy, Business Ethics, and Business Communication to their core courses. MBA programs offer an extensive range of concentration options, allowing students to study specific business and management areas. Students enrolled in MBA programs learn fundamental concepts in different subjects.

Still, the program does not delve deeply into any particular subject. When enrolled in an MBA degree program, students can choose concentrations like Healthcare Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Business Economics and Public Policy, Multinational Management, and Business Analytics. Some of the courses offered in MBA programs include:

  • Macroeconomics for Managers
  • Statistics: Regression Analysis for Managers
  • Microeconomics: Advanced Microeconomics for Managers
  • Fundamentals of Teamwork and Leadership
  • Marketing: Marketing Management

After completing an MBA program, graduates should be able to:

  • Apply analytical concepts and marketing tools while making decisions
  • Use analytical concepts and marketing tools
  • Apply fundamental theories of microeconomics: supply, demand, consumer behavior, market price, and output, production, cost, simple competitive market equilibrium

MBA degree holders can take leadership positions in their workplaces. Today, most professionals in managerial positions are MBA graduates.

Differences Between MBA vs. Master’s in Management

While the Master of Management and Master of Business Administration (MBA) can serve the same purpose, they are different in many ways.

Work Experience

Those who have graduated with their bachelor’s degree can enroll in a Master of Management program with little or no work experience. The program serves professionals in the early stages of their careers. On the other hand, most MBA programs require five years of working experience. The reason is that MBA programs look to teach those who already have existing knowledge of business. Having work experience means that these professionals are active in the industry and have a practical understanding of business concepts.

Accreditation and Regulation

Accreditations are essential for academic programs. Apart from regulating the programs, accreditation bodies also maintain the standard of education. MBA programs are offered all over the globe, but there are no specific accreditation bodies that regulate the program. There are many MBA accreditation bodies, but three bodies have the highest standards. These bodies include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the European Quality Improvement System (EQIS), and the Association of MBAs (AMBA). For the Master of Management program, specific bodies accredit programs depending on the country.

Teaching Style

Another difference between a Master of Management program and an MBA program lies in the teaching style. Like most master’s programs, the Master of Management programs use the traditional teaching style. On the other hand, MBA programs are slightly different as the curriculum and coursework incorporate case studies. These case studies help students practicalize their classroom lessons.

Depth of Study

MBA programs are known to provide a general outlook and knowledge. The program covers many concepts and gives students a broad idea of the fundamentals. A Master of Management program is more specific, and all lessons focus on management.

Career Prospects

Primarily, which program a professional picks should depend on their career prospects. Professionals who intend to pursue careers as general managers, managing directors, or CEOs should consider taking an MBA program. Those with plans to become head of departments are best suited for a Master of Management program.

Academic Requirement

Candidates applying for MBA programs must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. The candidates are also required to have 2-3 years of working experience.

You must also submit a resume, personal statement, two professional letters of recommendation, and proof of English proficiency. MBA programs also require GMAT/GRE scores. Students applying for a Master of Management program have similar requirements. Still, they are not required to have work experience and submit a professional recommendation. Some MBA schools can accept applicants without work experience, but those with work experience and internships garner priority.

Similarities Between Master of Management and Master of Business Administration

Despite the differences between MBA and Master of Management programs, they have some similarities. These two programs prepare professionals to advance their careers and assume managerial positions.

The coursework used in both programs is similar. Both programs teach skills such as:

  • Ethical decision-making
  • Strategic analysis and research
  • Risk management
  • Interpersonal and people management skills

Career Paths for Those With an MBA or a Master of Management Degree

After completing either an MBA or a Master of Management, graduates can solve problems and make decisions at the top levels of their workplaces.

Career Paths for MBA Graduates

While graduates of either program can perform the same jobs, some roles are better suited for professionals with an MBA degree. These include:

  • Investment Banker
  • IT Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Management Consultant
  • Management Analyst
  • Financial Advisor
  • Marketing Manager

Career Paths for Master of Management Graduates

The Master of Management program teaches primarily about management and allows the students to specialize in different management areas. These graduates qualify for roles such as:

  • Auditor
  • Business Development Manager
  • Compliance Officer
  • Project Manager
  • Risk Manager
  • Assurance Associate
  • Graduate Research Analyst

Factors of Choosing MBA vs. Master’s in Management

Post-graduate degree programs are expensive and time-consuming, so it’s essential to make the right choice. Before taking an MBA or a Master of Management program, you should consider different factors.

Location

Professionals should ask themselves about their environments when considering which degree to pursue. Good questions include:

  • What jobs are available in my location?
  • Which degree programs dominate in my area?
  • Which programs are readily available nearby or online?

Time Availability

A Master of Management can be earned in half the time it takes to complete an MBA. While taking graduate-level programs, some professionals have to stop working because of the time commitment. Some MBA business schools offer accelerated programs, some as short as ten months.

Specialization

Some professionals seek specific areas of management that interest them. With specializations, they can focus on particular topics and become accomplished. Professionals with a need for specialization should consider which program has the most relevant concentration options.

Master’s Degree in Management Careers

Auditor

An auditor reviews financial accounts and documents for organizations. Typically, an auditor analyzes spreadsheet data, examines financial control systems, revises financial records and reports, and gauges financial risks.

They work with the management to ensure that all records in the organization are correct. They also make sure that staff follow all the policies and regulations. Some auditors review accounts in external organizations. Auditors make an average of $58,602 per year.

Compliance Officer

These professionals play an essential regulatory role in corporate settings. Primarily, compliance officers ensure the following of all regulations and that the organization complies with the law. They monitor how an organization is managed and ensure adherence to regulations.

While performing their jobs, they have to carry out compliance risk assessments, train the staff, and inform them of updates in compliance laws. They serve as a link between departments and the government. In a year, they make an average of $71,251.

Risk Manager

As a risk manager, your job entails managing the risk in a work facility, including the employees, customers, assets, and the interests of investors and stakeholders. Risk managers can work on regulatory and operational risks, environmental risks, financial risks, information and security risks, market and credit risks, and corporate risks.

They evaluate present risk and the previous handling of risks by comparing estimated risks with criteria established by the organization. These established criteria are costs, legal requirements, and environmental factors. Risk managers also implement health and safety measures, purchase insurance, and make business continuity plans to limit organizational risks. These professionals earn an average income of $89,966.

Project Manager

While project managers are mainly known to oversee projects, their job description exceeds that. Project managers can work in construction companies or IT firms, ensuring that the projects are up to standard.

While they are not required to perform hands-on tasks, they must understand the duties. They are responsible for developing user manuals, training materials, and other documents as needed to facilitate a successful project. While managing projects, they analyze and prepare status reports and summarize relevant information. On average, they make about $75,897 annually.

Assurance Associate

Depending on the organization structure, assurance associates work directly with managers, senior associates, and partners to carry out audit procedures on cash, receivables, inventory, fixed assets, payrolls, and expense analysis. They research audit issues, translate financial documents, and review transaction cycles.

While performing their duties, assurance associates use electronic databases, review-tracking financial information, and other audit-related software. They also make use of the Quality Management System (QMS). In a year, they earn an average salary of $55,748.

Master of Business Administration Degree Careers

Financial Advisor

Financial advisors offer advice to organizations from their vast knowledge of money management, savings, investments, and other money-related matters. Their job involves researching the marketplace for the best products and services available. They then ensure that their clients know the outcomes. Financial advisors specialize in mortgages, investments, pensions, or private clients. According to Payscale.com, financial advisors earn an average of $60,988 per year.

Investment Banker

Investment bankers research market trends and raise capital for business organizations while selling equity and issuing debt. They are tasked with developing and implementing financial models, supervising private equity settlements, and supporting clients.

Investment bankers are also involved in the legal aspect of finance because they prepare legal and financial documents. While professionals with an undergraduate degree and an MBA degree can become investment bankers, it is vital to have some experience in the sector.

Job seekers aspiring for this role should have analytical skills and an understanding of deal structuring, regulations, and closing principles. Investment bankers make up to $101,099.

IT Manager

An IT manager is a technical professional responsible for ensuring that the staff is equipped with adequate technology devices and services to perform their jobs. Like most managers, IT managers recruit and train staff. They also create, implement and organize systems, policies, and procedures. Since IT managers are involved in auditing systems and assessing their results, they must have analytical skills.

Their other duties include preserving assets, information security, control structures, handling the annual budget, and ensuring cost-effectiveness in their department or unit. In a year, they make an average salary of $89,063.

Operations Manager

An operations manager oversees the workflow in a work facility and ensures all the activities run smoothly. They are responsible for ensuring that the products or services meet the client’s standards. These professionals ensure that operations are cost-effective and the staff follows the best practices. Operations managers are expected to develop strategic and operational objectives, examine financial data, and effectively manage the organization’s budget. They earn an average of $78,861 annually.

Management Consultant

Management consultants consult with companies to solve management-related issues and improve growth. When consulted, these professionals analyze the company’s structure, examine its strategies, and identify the management issue. After assessing the matter, they form hypotheses and then provide expert advice and solutions to the problem. Sometimes, they implement their recommended solutions and organize training sessions for the client’s staff. Management consultants can work in human resources, financial and management controls, information technology, supply chain management, marketing, and consultancy firms.

According to Payscale.com, management consultants make an average of $90,062 per year.

MBA vs. Master’s in Management, Which is Best for You?

We have discussed everything about getting a MBA vs. a Master’s in Management degree. If you followed this article, you know that both degree programs can prepare professionals for advanced managerial roles. They only have some differences between them. As we have said, a Master in Management is more in-depth, specialized, and detailed. On the other hand, an MBA program is generalist and broad. No degree surpasses the other, and the choice depends on the individual.

You can visit our educational resource center to get more insight about the best online MBA programs, the online Master of Leadership programs, and tips to make the most out of your career.

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