According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average starting salary for a graduate business student is $20,000 a year higher than their undergraduate counterparts. When most people think of an advanced business degree, an MBA tends to be what comes to mind. Associated with marketing moguls and CEOs alike, the MBA is a household name for those in the business world. However, as the number of professionals with advanced education continues to increase, specialized masters and Masters of Science (MSc) have continued to grow in popularity.
So how do you know which degree is right for you? Let’s dive in.
What’s the Difference Between a MBA and a MSc?
Before addressing the question “Is a MBA better than a MSc?,” we must first establish what each one is and how they differ.
What is an MBA?
A MBA, short for “Master in Business Administration,” is one of the most popular graduate management programs around the world.
The concept is a relatively new one in the field of academia; while The Wharton School in Pennsylvania founded a business school as early as 1881, it wasn’t until 1908 that Harvard Business School offered their first MBA. Throughout the decades, the MBA has become synonymous with corporate success, with schools around the world adopting the American degree programme in order to stay competitive in an increasingly multinational market.
Today, over 100,000 students graduate each year with an MBA degree.
An MBA can be completed in as little as 12 months, although it usually lasts around two years. They are offered in both full-time and part-time formats, and are directed towards mid- to high-level business managers and executives.
The average MBA student is 36 years old and has a whopping 11 years of prior experience in the business world, although many programmes have lower minimum experience requirements to be considered for admittance into their programmes.
A current MBA degree offers a series of advanced courses in general topic such as:
- Communication strategies
- Business Ethics
- Data Analysis
The MBA is a general degree, meaning it seeks to cover a broad range of topics designed to give you all the skills needed to potentially manage or run a business. However, there are business schools who offer specializations within their MBA programmes in topics such as Entrepreneurship, Healthcare, and Human Resource Management.
What is a MSc?
MSc, on the other hand, stands for Master of Science, and this overarching degree is one of the two core prongs of tertiary education (the other being an MA, or Master of Arts.)
The MSc includes essentially all graduate degrees based in hard sciences and mathematics, with hundreds of courses to choose from, including studies in finance, economics, and business.
Depending on their study programme, MSc students can be accepted both with some work experience or recently out of college. All students enrolled in MSc programmes, however, are usually required to have strong fundamentals in math and science. Regardless of the degree, these subjects are used throughout the coursework, either as part of your major or within general education classes.
MSc courses tend to favor hard logic and theory and practice over their MA counterparts, although the specific offerings of an MSc degree varies greatly by department and by school.
Most programmes last between 1-2 years full time, and depending on the university and degree, they often offer part-time options (although in this case the length of the programme usually doubles). Many universities and school also offer online degrees in some majors, such as EDHEC which offers an Online MSc in International Business Management, and Data Management & Business Analytics. Classes can be both intimate or large in size, usually starting larger in general courses and becoming more individual within advanced courses.
MSc degrees based specifically in business or management can include:
- Global Finance
- International Relations
- Professional Accounting
- Data Analysis
- Communications Management
The MSc as a degree covers a huge range of degree topics, although their specific degree programmes tend to be more specific than their MBA counterparts. One is not better than the other; rather, they are two separate types of degrees with differing qualifications, coursework, and goals.