Should You Get a Business Master’s Degree or an MBA

Master's Degree

You want to succeed in business, and you’re thinking of going to graduate school. Many people think MBA when they think about graduate study for business, but is this the right choice? You could also get a master’s in a specific field, such as marketing, statistics, entrepreneurship or taxation, to name just a few. Which one is the right choice? Should you go with the MBA, which gives you a good generalist overview and strong management skills, or should you go with a regular master’s, which can help make you more of an expert in one subject? You should consider all of the points below.

Your Job Experience

You would arguably benefit from some work experience after your undergraduate degree and before starting on any kind of graduate degree in business, but this is particularly true when it comes to an MBA. MBA programs generally do not accept people who have not spent at least a year or two in the workforce. Therefore, if you’re determined to go to graduate school immediately after your undergraduate degree, a business master’s degree is the right choice.

Your Field

The field you are working in is also important to consider. Different degrees will be appropriate for each one. For example, in accounting, you may need additional schooling to get advanced certifications, such as becoming a CPA. However, this does not have to be an MBA. Your time in graduate school might be better spent getting a master’s in finance or accounting. In other fields, an MBA is a requirement before you can hope to move into that corner office. If you are not sure about your career goals at the moment, it’s probably best to put graduate school on hold for a little while until you have a clearer picture of what you want to do.


If most other things are equal, you may want to look at the cost. If one program you are looking at is significantly cheaper than the other, the cheaper one might be the right choice. However, be careful as you make this decision. Cost is not always correlated with quality, but you don’t want to choose the cheapest option if it really isn’t the most suitable. Remember as well that you can take out graduate loans from a private lender. If you’ve built up a credit history, you might qualify for low interest rates. The process of checking your eligibility is usually as frictionless as possible when you’re dealing with online lenders.


Another thing to consider is the flexibility of the programs. You’ll find some people who say that an MBA is only worthwhile if you are able to devote yourself to doing it full-time and in person, with the networking you gain from it a large component of its value. A subject-specific master’s may allow for more flexibility, such as taking some classes online in the evening, and going part-time. Courses like the Carroll University Masters in Business Analytics offer just that. As with cost, while flexibility should be a factor, you still need to ultimately make sure you are going for the degree that will best suit your career plans.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.