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Master's in Business Management Vs MBA

Students may have trouble deciding between a master's in business management or a Master of Business Administration degree program. Here we discuss some of the differences, common coursework and admissions requirements.

Although there is a lot of overlap in coursework and even possible careers, a master's in business management and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) are two distinct degree programs. A master's in business management program is generally shorter and may be a better fit for students who do not have as much of a business background, whereas an MBA tends to be longer and further develop leadership skills in business professionals. Compare and contrast more factors of these degree programs below.

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Comparing a Master's in Business Management to a Master of Business Administration

Master's in Business Management

A master's in business management program is more general and can be found as Master of Science or Master of Arts degree program that can be completed in as little as 10 months. These programs can be found in online, hybrid and on-campus formats. They may offer students the chance to get a head start on their MBA or earn additional graduate certificates in areas like nonprofit management, business economics, organizational behavior, accounting, business communication, innovation and entrepreneurship and marketing management.

Students often attend guest speaking events to hear from business professionals and participate in consulting and learning projects for hands-on learning. Most master's degree programs in business management include core courses in organizational behavior, business communications, economics, financial management, business strategy and legal issues in business. Graduates of degree programs are qualified to work leadership roles in various areas of business, such as marketing and finance, as well as general business managers or consultants in additional industries, like healthcare and IT.

Master of Business Administration

Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree programs are more specific degree programs that are available in accelerated formats that can be completed in 1 year, but generally take 2 to 3 years to complete. They are also available in online and on-campus formats and typically have multiple concentrations for students to choose from, including areas like human resources, real estate, entrepreneurship, accounting, finance, organizational behavior, analytics, supply chain management, project management, media management, information systems and environmental management.

Students are usually required to complete an internship and/or capstone project to apply their knowledge to real-world situations. They are also required to take several elective courses for their specialization, but common core courses discuss topics in ethics, financial accounting, information management, statistics, organizational behavior, business strategy, operations management and international business. Graduates of MBA programs work as consultants, managers, administrators, analysts, executives and other leadership positions in a variety of areas, including the government, investment banking, businesses and more.

Common Entrance Requirements

Most applications for a master's in business management or an MBA program require students to submit official transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement/essay and/or a resume. However, some master's in business management degree programs only accept students after they have completed some core courses with a 3.0 GPA or higher, while other programs may instead require students to complete an interview process.

Some business management graduate degree programs may require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in the liberal arts, sciences or engineering disciplines if they are specifically designed for non-business majors. Although it depends on the school, some MBA programs have as low as a 2.0 GPA requirement for applicants. These programs may require students to have some professional work experience prior to admission into the program.

The biggest differences between a master's in business management and MBA program is the length, hands-on learning requirements and admissions requirements. Both programs usually provide students with the necessary skills to take on leadership positions in the world of business, but an MBA may provide further development and specific training in a particular area.


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