What Is the Difference Between an MBA and a Masters Degree

Nov 01, 2019

In a difficult job market, professionals often attend graduate school in order to compete with other job-seekers or increase their skills for a current position. Both master's and MBA degree programs offer attractive options, including part-time and distance learning. View article »

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Video Transcript

MBA and Master's Degree Programs

The MBA program is a common type of master's degree, which focuses on business skills. Master's degrees in general may be a good stepping stone for students to advance their careers after completing an undergraduate degree.

Master's-level programs may include programs in business, engineering, education and healthcare. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is a kind of master's degree program that concentrates on refining general management competencies with an emphasis on business skills, such as accounting, finance, leadership, and economics.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Requirements for entry into a master's program vary greatly, depending on the program. Generally, an undergraduate degree in a related field is required. Good scores on any applicable standardized tests, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and demonstrated English proficiency might also be required.

Master's degree programs often demand undergraduate degrees within the same field of study for admission, while a student pursuing an MBA may complete undergraduate studies in a major other than business. In a 2006 Bloomberg Business article, it was noted that graduate schools encourage students to seek liberal arts or science bachelor's degrees before enrolling in an MBA program. Some of the best business schools in the U.S. do not include a business major for bachelor's degrees, instead advocating a broader undergraduate education.

MBA programs may also require applicants to have high scores on the GRE and GMAT standardized tests. Having post-undergraduate full-time work experience may also help students gain acceptance into an MBA program.

Options for Program Graduates

Typically, students treat MBA degree programs as terminal degrees, using the program to further a career or seek higher wages. Some graduates continue on to complete a Doctor of Philosophy program. Professionals starting out in a particular career may find pursuing a master's degree in the field more advantageous to their jobs than an MBA.

A graduate degree program can provide greater knowledge and advanced training, and those with a master's or MBA may demand a higher salary than an employee with just an undergraduate degree. Depending on the student's career path, returning for an MBA degree to learn specialized management skills may lead to more career opportunities.

An MBA is a type of master's degree, with a specialization in business administration. An MBA or a master's degree in a different topic are typically pursued after completion of an undergraduate degree in a related field and can serve to further the student's career and professional goals. Some MBA programs offer additional credits to include a specialization to complement the general management courses.

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