Comparing MSM vs. MBA

MSM vs. MBA: Comparing Business Master's Degrees

Two graduate business students pay attention during a business class.

When it comes time to level up in your career, it’s important to analyze your current skill set and consider the various ways you can build upon it. Pursuing a graduate degree in business is one of the most effective ways to gain a versatile suite of new competencies, making yourself a more competitive candidate for advancement.

But, as you begin to research business master’s degrees, you’ll quickly learn that there are numerous choices.

If you’re interested in cultivating your potential as a leader in your business career pursuits, two prominent options for graduate education are a Master of Science in Management (MSM) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA). While they may appear similar on the surface, these degree paths can lead to distinctly different career outcomes.

Join us as we compare MSM vs. MBA programs to discover which master’s degree track will align best with your personal and professional goals.

Why pursue a master’s degree in business?

Generally speaking, a graduate degree will help enhance your opportunities in just about any industry. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) indicates that those with a master’s degree see higher employment rates than those who have only obtained an undergraduate education.

In addition to significantly lower rates of unemployment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that master’s degree-holders see on average an 18 percent increase in weekly earnings over bachelor’s-qualified employees.

Business graduate programs can be the perfect opportunity to accelerate your advancement, helping you master many of the in-demand skills organizations are looking for in qualified managers and leaders. In fact, a recent corporate recruiter survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) revealed that overall demand for new business school talent is expected to increase significantly over the next five years.

MBA hiring projections are continually high, with 92 percent of GMAC survey respondents reporting their intentions to hire newly minted MBAs in the coming year. MSM hiring projections boast similar results, with 88 percent noting their plans to hire management grads.

MSM vs. MBA: Which is right for you?

It’s clear that the knowledge and skills you can gain in business master’s programs are in-demand. Now you just need to determine which post-baccalaureate business path is the right fit for your specific career goals.

When analyzing the differences between an MSM and an MBA, it’s best to focus on factors related to course offerings, career outcomes, and even eligibility criteria for applicants. Consider the following breakdown:

Master of Science in Management (MSM)

Students in an MSM program can expect to encounter a curriculum filled with courses that are specific to management theories and skills. These programs can be a great fit for professionals who are looking to qualify for management positions, as they’re designed to provide individuals with a non-business background with fundamental knowledge and competencies related to finance, accounting, marketing, data analytics, and management.

Those who have recently completed a non-business undergraduate degree, for example, can gain the business management skills they’ll need to take the next step. The MSM program at Fairfield University, for example, is designed to complement students’ undergraduate degrees in order to provide a bridge to increased career opportunities in the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors.

This makes MSM programs a great fit for budding business professionals with little-to-no active industry experience. This is where they can develop the sharp business skills and gain the fundamental knowledge they’ll need to eventually progress into management positions.

Typically, master’s programs in management take approximately one year to complete with online learning options, making them an attractive option for professionals looking for a high-quality business education in an expedited time frame.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

The typical curriculum of an MBA program, on the other hand, will be more expansive. Courses cover a broad range of different business topics, exploring subjects like marketing, communications, management, strategy, ethics, and finance.

MBA programs are typically designed for students who have already amassed a healthy amount of business experience, whether in a professional capacity or in a relevant undergraduate program. This degree path can be a great fit for those looking to secure advanced management or executive-level leadership positions.

Despite the broad scope of the typical MBA curriculum, students often have the opportunity to pursue industry-specific concentrations. At Fairfield University, for example, students can tailor their MBA curriculum by selecting one of the following in-demand concentrations:

  • Accounting
  • Analytics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Marketing

Most MBA degree programs take about two years to complete, with an increasing number of institutions offering them in a 100 percent online or hybrid format.


Related Articles

What Do You Learn in an MBA Program?

Read the Article

Search Results