MS Degrees vs. MBA Degrees

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MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. The MBA degree is internationally recognized and easily among the most well-known professional degrees in the world. Although programs vary from school to school, students can who go for the MBA can expect to get a broad multidisciplinary business education.

MS stands for Master of Science. An MS degree program is an alternative to the MBA program and is designed to educate students in a particular area of business. For example, students can earn an MS in accounting, marketing, finance, human resources, entrepreneurship, management, or management information systems. MS programs combine science and business, which can be beneficial in the modern, tech-heavy business world. 


Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of specialized master's degree programs at business schools, colleges, and universities across the country. According to survey results from the Graduate Management Admission Council, there has also been an increase in the number of business school students interested in specialized master's degrees.

Career Goals 

When considering which program to choose, it is important to consider your future career path. Both the MS degree and the MBA are advanced degrees, and the superiority of one over the other depends solely on your career goals and how you plan to utilize your degree.

MS degrees are very specialized and will give you excellent preparation in a specific area. This can be helpful if you plan to work in an area like accounting where you need in-depth knowledge of accounting laws and procedures. An MBA program typically provides a more general business education than an MS, which can be helpful for students who want to work in management or think that they may change fields or industries in the future. In short, MS programs offer depth, while MBA programs offer breadth. 


Academically, both programs are usually similar in difficulty. At some schools, students in MS classes may be more academically inclined because they are there for different reasons than MBA students. This is because some of the people who attend MBA classes are in it for the money, the career, and the title. Whereas MS students are often enrolled in classes for other reasons - most of them academic in nature. MS classes also tend to focus more on traditional coursework. Although MBA programs require plenty of traditional class time, students also get educated through work-related projects and internships.

School Choice

Because not all schools offer an MBA and not all schools offer an MS in business, you will need to decide which is more important: your program of choice or your school of choice. If you're lucky, you can have it both ways. 


MS programs are competitive, but MBA admissions are notoriously tough. Admissions requirements for MBA programs are often harder for some students to meet. For example, most MBA programs require three to five years of work experience prior to application. MS degree programs, on the other hand, are tailored for people who have less full-time work experience. Students who want to enroll in an MBA program must also take the GMAT or the GRE. Some MS programs waive this requirement.


One final thing to consider is that MS programs are not subject to rankings like MBA programs are. Therefore, the prestige that is carried with MS programs is much less discriminating.

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Your Citation
Schweitzer, Karen. "MS Degrees vs. MBA Degrees." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Schweitzer, Karen. (2023, April 5). MS Degrees vs. MBA Degrees. Retrieved from Schweitzer, Karen. "MS Degrees vs. MBA Degrees." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).