What the difference between an MBA and Masters

So, you’ve decided to dip your toes into postgraduate study, but you don’t where to start or what course to choose? You know postgraduate study will give you the edge you need to drive your career forward and you’re contemplating an MBA or Masters… But what’s the difference? Here’s a clear breakdown on an MBA and Masters… 

What is an MBA?

Ultimately, an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) is a variation of a Masters degree. The qualification focuses on mastering the expertise needed for business management. This course can be taken full-time or part-time, on campus or online and is generally completed over a two-three year period. In this rewarding degree, you will learn a high level of problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills required to succeed in the corporate world today.

What will I learn in an MBA?

The aim of an MBA to prepare you for mid-level to high-level management positions. An MBA is made up of mandatory units that will teach you the fundamentals of what it takes to have a career as a business manager:

  • Leading, Managing and Developing People
  • Managing Financial Resources
  • Marketing for Managers
  • Managing Operational Improvement
  • Managing, Developing and Implementing Strategy 
  • Economics for Managers
  • Business Decision Making and Analysis
  • Business Research Methods
  • Corporate Strategy and Responsibility

You also have the choice to choose a couple of electives from a more specialised area such as entrepreneurship, consultancy or human resource management. 

What kind of job can I get with an MBA?

Companies both locally and internationally strongly recognise an MBA qualification in possessing the kind of qualities attractive to their operations. The main industries in 2018 currently headhunting MBA graduates are in the financial, health, marketing and IT sectors and the kind of salaries on offer from these companies is substantial. Here are a few job prospects to consider when completing your MBA:

  • Marketing Manager
  • General Manager
  • Chief Executive
  • Managing Director
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Management Consultant
  • IT Manager
  • Senior Management 

What is a Masters?

A masters degree is the next level of study after graduating with a bachelors degree. It generally takes around 12-18months (full time) to complete, and like an MBA can be undertaken on campus and online. A masters degree is less broad in teachings and more focalised to a specific industry or area of expertise within your field. 

What Masters qualifications are available?

A Masters is all about mastering your understanding on a specific area of knowledge and is aimed at qualifying students to apply an advanced body of knowledge. There are many more specialised areas a Masters Degree can cover – it boils down to what industry you are keen to crack and what areas of expertise you are interested in.  Find a course to suit you here 

So, what’s the difference between an MBA and Masters?

The same industries still apply when doing either an MBA or a Masters. Other than the different types of teaching styles and programs on offer and the variety of candidates administering for either, the difference between an MBA and a Masters is that the master’s qualification is more specifically tailored to one industry than that of the broader management options available in the MBA. 

A Masters qualification is also a postgraduate study meaning usually you would need to possess an undergraduate degree to be allowed to commence this course whereas an MBA requires you to have either an undergraduate qualification or so many hours of professional experience to be accepted into the program. The decision for either will come down to what your future career aspirations are and if you have an industry you are set upon working in. 

Jane Utting