The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the best known graduate degrees, likely because it is a common credential among executives and other highly visible members in professional settings. It is also extremely popular; according to the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. post-secondary institutions granted more than 185,000 master’s degrees in business for the 2014-2015 school year, more than for any other discipline and nearly one-quarter of all master’s degrees conferred.
By yearly volume, the MBA surpassed the master’s degrees in education – long the most popular option for graduate students – at the start of this decade and so far it has held on to the top slot. But is it the right track for you as a student of business and management? There are alternatives to the MBA, most notably the Master of Science in Management (MSM). Let’s look at how the two degrees compare.
Compared to other degrees, the MBA usually takes a more specific, more quantitative outlook to managing an organization. Accordingly, students will tackle key subjects such as:
- How to do proper accounting when making decisions that affect the entire company.
- The intricacies of managerial finance, including the asset balances and expected company cash flows.
- How financing works in particular industries that might be the centerpiece of a concentration, such as transportation.
- Studying the key elements of strategic and tactical marketing with an eye on ROI metrics.
- Understanding managerial business operations and its effects on productivity.
MBA candidates will also likely dive into fields such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, corporate social responsibility and ethical decision-making. Overall, a good MBA program should provide a mix of technical and practical skills that prepares graduates for leadership roles in organizations of all kinds.
“MBAs are in widespread demand.”
Currently MBAs are in widespread demand. The Graduate Management Admission Council’s Year-End Poll of Employers found that 79 percent of respondents planned to hire MBA holders in 2017, compared to 68 percent in 2016. As executive-level positions, many of the jobs at these organizations are likely to pay well. When it comes to business degrees, the MBA covers it all; from practical course work to degree brand recognition to setting you apart in the workplace the MBA is the business degree of choice.
The typical MSM track usually casts a wider net – in terms of the topics it covers – than an MBA program. It is also a more common option in Europe than in North America, although it has gained traction in the latter in recent years. However, it is difficult to generalize too much about the MSM since, unlike the MBA, it is not always a credential that is self-explanatory to potential employers.
Similar to MS tracks in other disciplines, some MSM programs may have extensive coursework requirements related to theory, with in-depth readings replacing the case study model of many MBA programs. This orientation is meant in part to prepare students for academic careers.
MSMs may also cater to recent graduates more than experienced professionals. As such, their intent may be to provide a broad foundation rather than the highly specialized career development that is the aim of many MBA programs.
Earn an MBA in Transportation Leadership from GMercyU
The MBA with a concentration in Transportation Leadership at Gwynedd Mercy University is an excellent opportunity for any student with a bachelor’s degree and background in business coursework. The program is available completely online, in a format that allows courses to be taken one at a time in 7-week blocks. Its structure is particularly beneficial for students with other commitments such as full-time employment.
“I appreciate having the flexibility of attending classes while enrolled in an accelerated degree program, so that I can work full-time, manage a home and be involved in extracurricular activities,” explained GMercyU MBA student Judith Snow.
Find out more about how to get started on the main program page.