MBA vs Masters in Management
The Comprehensive Guide
Curious to know the differences between the MBA and the Masters in Management (MiM)?
Want to understand which one among the two would be a better fit for you?
Check out our detailed report on the 11 major differences between the two and improve your understanding of the MBA vs Masters in Management phenomenon.
MBA vs Masters in Management
The Comprehensive Guide
The "What is the Masters in Management( MiM)" question can be clearly put into context by comparing it with the MBA.
Over the years as the Masters in Management has been gaining prominence, it has often been confused with a type of an MBA.
But on closer scrutiny, we can see that there are a number of differences between the MBA & the MiM, which clearly separate the two.
The MBA vs Masters in Management infographic should have given you a clear picture of how the two degrees differ, we will now attempt to dig a bit deeper into each topic:
MBA vs MiM: Who is it for?
The Target Audience ( Seasoned professionals vs Recent Graduates )
Top MBA colleges have high requirements and require their students to pass through its stringent criteria such as having a certain amount of work experience, strong professional achievements, academic distinctions etc. and though this improves the quality of the MBA applicants, it also leaves a lot of young smart people disgruntled because now they will have to work and accumulate years of experience before they are eligible to apply for the MBA.
This work experience requirement is one of the key differentiators between the Masters in Management and the MBA. The Masters in Management (MiM) realizes the importance of work experience but due to the nature & goal of the degree, work experience is not a major deciding factor in the admission criteria.
Some work experience is of course appreciated and up to 6 months is also encouraged by several schools. But if one accumulates too much work experience they are urged to apply for the MBA. Most US MiM schools have a cutoff at 1 year of work experience, after which they are disqualified from applying.
So, while the MBA is targeting the experienced class of people having 3 or more years of work experience on average , the MiM is meant for fresh graduates or people having less than 2 years of work experience, who want to have a fast track career growth plan.
For example, if we consider the case of LBS MBA vs MiM, we see an average work experience of 5 years for the LBS MBA while an average experience of less than a year for the MiM.
Average Age of applicants ( 27+ vs <24 )
As a result of the extra years of work experience, MBA candidates tend to be older than MiM ones.
Usually, the average age of MBA applicants is around 28 years, ranging between 25-32 years. Of course, there are some applicants who are younger or older, but they tend to be very few.
For the Masters in Management, the bar on the work experience limits the age range to about 25. So, usually MiM applicants have an average age of 23, and the age range varies between 21 to 25.
Some schools such as LSE accept applicants with up to 5 years work experience so, in such cases, the applicant age tends to be higher, but in 98% of cases, applicants are within this age range.
Goals of the applicants ( Career Progression vs Kick Starting their career )
The MBA is an ideal degree for people who want to take the next step in their careers, this can be in the form of switching career fields, boosting their chance for a promotion, switching to get a high paying job or becoming more qualified for a leadership or management position, among other things.
Hence an MBA is ideal for people who are looking to take their game to the next level.
MiM or MSc in Management, on the other hand, is aimed towards people just entering the job market or who have been working for a little time. It is ideal for people who want to gain some advanced business skills or want to change from a non-business field to a business one.
It allows students to equip themselves with relevant skills that the job market desires and put their career on a fast track. Many applicants enter the Masters in Management with the goal of breaking into the consulting or the financial fields, which most are successfully able to do.
Ultimately it’s about career start vs. career development. The Masters in Management provides a way for graduates to increase their career entrance options, while the MBA, in contrast, is a degree for people seeking career development .
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MBA vs MiM: The Degree Structure
Tuition Fees ( High vs Medium-Low )
Another major difference in the MBA vs Masters in Management comparison, is the amount of tuition fees charged by the two degrees, the MBA with its strong and rich background has proven its ability to get students placed in top level companies, & hence charges premium tuition fees ranging anywhere from 50,000$ to 100,000+$ per year, this amount may vary but this range seems to be constant in the top ranked colleges.
On the other hand, the Masters in Management tends to be an attractive alternative for youngsters by offering top quality education at costs about half of that of the Average MBA. One can easily get a Masters in Management degree with an investment of anything between 18,000$ to 35,000$ per year. The cost varies from school to school with German schools being the most cost effective, while schools in the US and the UK make the upper end of the tuition fees range.
The cost may be a deciding factor for young students and recent graduates who don't have the resources stored up or do not want to drown themselves in student debt. In this case, MiM packs a lot of punch for the buck , and the ROI can be great with average salary packages of top schools ranging around 50,000$ per year.
Both MiM and MBA offer significant scholarships which students can avail to lessen the financial burden.
Teaching style ( Practical orientation vs Theoretical focus )
The MBA tends to emphasize a more 'hands on approach' and is dominated by case studies & real world examples of business issues, which students explore and work on, while in groups. This kind of experiential learning gives students a chance to use their years of work experience and logically analyze & investigate business scenarios.
This practical learning means that in an MBA you may be required to work with different financial tools, but you won't be required to know or be taught the origins or the derivations of those tools, rather focus will be put on the application part.
The Masters in Management also shares a considerable amount of syllabus with the MBA, and has anything between 40-60% of course similarity, but the focus here is more theoretical, and critical thinking is encouraged.
Via classroom lectures, case studies & group projects, a fine mix of both theoretical knowledge and practical soft skills are instilled in the students.
The course is fraught with team projects which nurture public speaking, team building, and leadership.
Almost every classroom course has a team project built into it which caters for a high percentage of the final mark.
Apart from this, exams test the theoretical elements and a strong grip on fundamental business theories and elements is expected.
Some schools also have a final research thesis or a company project requirement.
Popularity of the degree ( Worldwide recognition vs Growing Popularity )
The MBA continues to be the most sought-after degree in the world - and for good reason. It offers a truly international experience & strong post-graduation opportunities.
Most of us know by heart, the names of the top 10 schools which dominate the MBA rankings. Schools like Havard, Stanford, Wharton, HEC, LBS are brands in their own right and people prepare for years to get an admit into these top schools. Further a strong alumni base, strong exchange opportunities, good recognition worldwide and strong recruitments, make MBA a truly global phenomenon.
The MIM, on the other hand, is more regionally based. The MiM started out mostly in European universities and has in recent years grown exponentially, with a number of universities starting to offer it in English.
With an MIM the location matters; it is much more recognized in countries where it has been prevalent for long, such as France, Germany, Italy to name a few. Hence most of the MiM schools are located in the EU region.
But, as the MiM is gaining popularity many schools have taken notice and adopted the degree in their offerings portfolio. Well-known colleges such as IE, LBS and LSE recognized the potential of the MiM and have been offering it for the past 6-7 years, giving high-quality education via it.
The US business schools are still staunch supporters of the MBA, though in recent years famous schools such as Duke Fuqua, Michigan & Kellogg, have started offering the MiM and are attracting a huge number of students from all over the world because of it. Even schools in Asia such as NUS, Fudan University and the University of Melbourne, to name a few, are renowned schools which are offering the MiM.
Hence with such renowned schools offering the Masters in Management now, its popularity is bound to go up.
It is already gathering momentum as an internationally recognized degree and is seen as a very attractive alternative to the MBA, with the number of students enrolling in it increasing year by year.
Below you can see the top 80 MBA & MiM schools (FT Rankings) split by their location
The regional dominance of the MiM's in Europe is very visible here.
Course Curriculum ( Specialized Knowledge vs Building a Foundation )
MBA's are focused towards building on top of the existing practical knowledge of its students, it expects students to bring to the course the vast amount of experiences and learnings they have accumulated.
After having covered core subjects on managerial functions such as finance or accounting, students concentrate on more integrative courses and analyze business cases from the practical position of managers. In-company projects, business plan competitions etc are also common parts of courses.
Further a wide range of specializations and electives are available to students allowing them to dive deep into an area of their interest.
MiMs on the other hand, focus on building a business foundation for their students, most of whom are from different backgrounds.
Via a set of core business courses such as accounting, finance, project management, strategy and marketing, a strong theoretical business base is built and via team projects, leadership, teamwork & other important soft skills are fostered which are necessary to manage people and engage stakeholders.
Most Masters in Management's don't offer many electives and concentrate on the core courses. This does not allow students to dive deep into specialized areas like MBA students can.
For example, while the MBA program at the University of St. Gallen offers almost 30 electives in 5 functional areas, students in the school's Master of Arts in Strategy & International Management (SIM) program can choose from fewer than 10 electives.
Likewise, students in Duke's MMS program study many of the same core topic areas as those in the Fuqua MBA program but lack the ability to focus on specialized areas.
Also, many MiM schools have built in internship programs or encourage internships, to put the business fundamentals learned into practice.
Another minor difference can be seen in the form of the duration of the course.
While MBAs as a rule of thumb have a 1-2 year course structure (owing to the comprehensiveness of the degree)
The MiM offered by most business schools is much more fast paced, aimed towards giving you the necessary skills and helping you enter the job market fast.
Though the average course duration is about 10 months, there are Masters in Management schools which offer a more comprehensive curriculum with core courses, varied electives & specializations, such schools have MiMs which last between 1.5- 2 years. Examples- HEC, LSE, ESSEC, ESCP
From the comparison below we can also notice that while MBAs in the US are much longer compared to the MiM, the trend is reversed in Europe.
MBA vs MiM: Post Graduation Opportunities
Kind of jobs applicants get ( Mid-level jobs vs Entry level jobs )
In the MBA vs Masters in Managemnt battle, there is a clear demarcation in the types of jobs applicants get.
While an MBA implies significant work experience and can pave the way immediately to a higher-level position, an MIM often leads first to an entry-level position.
So while an MBA program, lets you take your career to the next level, an MIM program makes you more competitive as you enter the business job market and helps you accelerate the initial stages of your career.
Hence MBAs are usually considered as "experienced hires" for companies and apply for more advanced jobs, for example, leadership or management positions.
MiMs are ideal for starting level positions such as analysts or graduate program trainees. Being highly skilled and new to the job market, companies then pick them up at this stage to groom them into future managers and embody the companies values, something which is hard to develop inexperienced professionals.
Salary upon Graduation ( High vs Medium )
The MBA vs MiM salary difference is another very important question everyone wants to know about.
Owing to the different positions MBA & MiM students are hired for, there is a very visible difference in the salary. Further, the country you work in also dictates the salary to a considerable extent, for example, salary in the US is comparatively higher than that given in the EU.
The difference in salary upon graduation, between the two can be very clearly noticed, by comparing the average salary of some top-ranked MBA and MiM schools.
Reception by companies ( Very High vs High-Medium )
MBA as a degree is recognized by the HR departments of almost all global businesses. Further, MBA degree holders are present everywhere in companies big and small, and usually, have respectable positions, this further improves the recognition and value of the degree.
MiMs on the other hand, are especially popular with European firms, as the Master in Management is often thought of as a European concept. Outside of Europe, the MiM is still relatively new and MiM students may have to give a formal introduction to what their degree is all about, especially if they are targeting a job outside Europe.
But as the number of students is increasing year per year and the alumni network is getting increasingly diverse with graduates penetrating all areas of society, the time is not far when the name MiM will register similar recognition and respect that is associated with the MBA. Additionally, as MiM colleges are making partnerships with universities all over the world the MiM name is gaining a formidable reputation.
Further, statistics show that MiM awareness is growing at a rapid pace among HR departments, and they are recognizing the MiM as a source to attain high-quality individuals & groom them for future upper management roles.
Big names from every industry such as BCG, Mc Kinsey or Strategy& in Consulting, L' Oreal , LVMH, P&G in Marketing to BNP Paribas, KPMG in Finance are preferring MiM graduates because of the multi-disciplinary skills they attain during their course.
In the end, it will turn out that both MiM and MBA have their legitimacy because they attract different target groups with different needs.
The MBA has a more experienced candidate profile while the Master candidate has a younger profile, and companies have a place for them both.
In conclusion, the MBA vs Masters in Management comparison has no clear winner.
Both MSc. in Management(MiM) & MBA are phenomenal degrees having their own target audience & unique selling propositions.
We at MiM-Essay, having been MiM students ourselves can definitely vouch for the degree and the opportunities it opens up.
But at the end of the day, it is up to the applicants to determine which degree would be a better fit for them.
Irrespective of the choice, the future is bright for the applicants.
One thing to remember, though, is that both MBA and MiM are very competitive and require a strong profile, a good GMAT (think 700+) and well-crafted essays which talk about your strengths and how you will be a valuable addition to the school.
So make sure you get these basics right once you zero in on a degree.