Difference between MBA and MS


In today’s super-competitive era, a good education is essential to earn cutting edge credentials. If you are serious about your career and have big ambitions for yourself it’s imperative that you acquire a higher degree. But it’s important to choose the right course if you want to make the most of this decision.

The option of pursuing post-graduate studies in the US has always been popular, with lucrative job opportunities following for most students who obtain their higher qualifications there.

However, one of the questions that students of a science background interested in studying abroad often face is whether they should purse an MS course or an MBA program.

It all boils down to what your long-term goals are.

Both MS and MBA are two very different courses. In fact, the only thing common between them is that they are both undertaken at a post-graduate level.

An MS degree is desirable if you are interested in academics or research, and are interested in job opportunities in your area of specialization. An MBA degree, on the other hand, would be suitable for those who are interested in climbing up the management hierarchy.

But that’s just broadly speaking. Here are some of the major differences between these two courses:

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The MBA degree has attained wild popularity in the past decade, mainly due to the astronomical pay packages several graduates from leading business schools have bagged in campus recruitments. But there are several points to be considered before you opt for one yourself.

  1. MBA is primarily an executive-level business course for professionals with a certain level of work experience. It is designed to hone their leadership qualities or help them see their area of expertise from a wider business perspective. A leader is responsible for the overall profitability of the business and not just his area of expertise.
  2. An MBA graduate is expected to be a leader of people and take critical business decisions. This sort of business acumen is gradually developed in a professional as he works his way up the career ladder overcoming obstacles, troubleshooting key problems, working towards team cohesion and productivity as well as striving towards realizing professional goals.
  3. In an MBA course students from various work backgrounds come together, thus creating a rich learning environment. They are required to think strategically and bring their own work-related learning into assessment.
  4. A fresh graduate may not have the maturity to assimilate all that she has learned in a desirable or optimal manner.

MBA courses offered in leading international institutions give much importance to live projects and industrial training. Business leaders and change-makers are regularly invited for lectures. The colleges also help students get summer placements in leading companies. But in many institutes prior work experience is a pre-requisite for MBA admissions.

Master of Science (MS)

This master’s course is typically suited for young people who are trying to enter the job market or are at the beginning of their career. No formal job experience required for this course. More than 40 universities in the US, including Stanford, Purdue, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, and UCB offer MS courses which are highly valued and can get you a job in middle or senior management in leading companies.

  1. This master’s course aims to build on the skills acquired in under-graduate courses. It gives a more in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of your chosen subject.
  2. MS courses take a theoretical and case-study based approach. They aim to build student expertise in specific areas within their targeted subject.
  3. The course focuses on developing the analytical and technical skills of students, and less on honing leadership skills. It does not specifically prepare students to be managers who are leading teams. It does not teach the “art of getting things done through others”.
  4. It arms a young person with sufficient knowledge to confidently tackle the demands of a fledgling career. It also helps him anticipate the challenges he may face later on. A well-educated young person is also well aware of his job prospects and can make informed choices.
  5. Thus we can see that MS and MBA serve two very different purposes. To put it simply, MS is for those who like the idea of specializing in a science-based subject, and MBA is for those who have entrepreneurial or managerial ambitions. If you are confused which degree you should pursue, professional counselors can help you with this.

If you are planning to study abroad, the cost of a renowned MBA degree from a reputed college is almost double of that of an MS degree of the same stature. Both the qualifications, however, add considerable value to your resume so it is very important that students evaluate themselves, their background and requirements before making a decision.

About Shahina Khan

Shahina Khan has more than 16 years of experience in higher education consultancy. She is recipient of multiple awards and renowned expert for international education, visa and culture. Ms. Khan continually explores new study destinations for Indian & South Asian students, and works on promotional strategies with a number of trusted institutions of higher education in various countries.

2 thoughts on “Difference between MBA and MS

  1. ny 2yrs post graduation diploma cousre in alberta .

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