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MBA vs MS. Which one to opt for?

A comparative overview of MBA vs MS to help you decide what’s best for you

If you are planning to pursue a master’s abroad, it is alright to be confused between MS and MBA. With both being popular options that provide ample career opportunities, you must learn which alternative is the right choice for you.

There are many factors that come into play while choosing your preferred course like eligibility criteria, availability of the program, future growth, career opportunities, and most importantly your interest.  Let’s start with one course at a time before drawing a comparison chart and deciding which one is better for you.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. As the name suggests, it teaches a person the nuances of running a business from both macro and micro perspectives. An MBA program typically lasts from 10 months to 24 months – a 10-month to 15-month MBA is usually referred to as accelerated program while a 24 months program is referred to as a full-time degree course. Some broad specialisations in an MBA course include Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, Operations, etc. There is also an executive MBA program which requires prior work experience and is shorter in duration. 

Institutions that are not affiliated with universities also offer programs that are equivalent to an MBA in nature. These which are usually referred to as diplomas/programs in management. 

The structure of an MBA program is designed in a way that it directly enhances your strategic thinking, communication, time management, networking and creativity besides building you an impressive resume.

Eligibility criteria 

An MBA degree is of many types. Some popular choices are full time i.e. two-year MBA programs, post-graduate diploma in management, flexible MBA, part-time MBA, executive MBA (EMBA), etc. You can choose to pursue the kind that best suits your purpose and eligibility.

Every institution has its own minimum eligibility criteria, so it’s best to visit their website and find out whether you fulfil the criteria or not. Most commonly, you’ll need documents like your past merit certificates, resume, LOR (Letter of Recommendation) and experience certificates. Some institutions may also ask for a certain GRE/GMAT scores to shortlist you for an interview. For an EMBA, you’d need to show a work experience of 2-4 years.

Career scope

An MBA degree opens door to various opportunities. It focuses on your overall development and provides a scope of specialisation, making MBA graduates the first choice of all employers. Given the dynamic environment of today where most jobs want candidates to be a multi-tasker, MBA graduates always have an advantage over others. 

MBA vs MS

What is the Master of Science (MS)?

MS stands for Master of Science and is also referred to as MSc in many countries. It is a degree course that majorly pertains to subjects in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (popularly known as STEM).The curriculum of MS degrees is a combination of both physical and practical application of learnings and thus, usually requires completion of a project, thesis, or research paper, to obtain a degree. The typical duration of this course for a full-time program is 1-2 years (also depends on the time spent on research projects.)

In many universities, MS may also be available for subjects like business functions including communications, finance, human resource, and marketing. 

Eligibility criteria

To pursue MS, you’d need a bachelor’s degree, though not particularly in a specific stream (in-total 16 years of education), your test scores, English language certification (such as IELTS - 6.5 or above), GRE/GMAT scores, SOP (Statement of Purpose), LOR (Letter of Recommendation), etc. However, there may be certain institutions who’d have specific requirements, so it is best to check with your preferred institution’s website to know the exact requirements before making your application. For a smoother process, you can also get in touch with international education experts at IDP who can help you out with the entire process.

Career scope

Students who pursue MS are in high demand by industries that specialise in specific sectors. Pick up any fortune 500 organisations like Microsoft, Google, Accenture, Capgemini, Cisco, Amazon, you’d find many MS professional there in top demand with hefty salaries.

Despite all the similarities and dissimilarities, both MBA and MS offer great career choices. If you are confused between both and can’t decide the best option, you can always reach out to us at IDP and our experts can help you find the path to your dream career. 

Updated on October 27, 2020

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Ask IDP

For an MBA in the UK, is my GMAT score required along with IELTS?
by Mahi
GMAT is not a mandated requirement for admission in all UK universities. Some universities ask for it whereas other do not.
What is eligibility to study a Masters in the UK?
by Ajay
For masters the minimum eligibility is 2:2 in Bachelors degree but varies depending on university and degree.
What are the best universities to study a Masters in Data Science?
by yash
Some of the top universities are Monash, RMIT, Swinburne, University of Adelaide, University of Sydney and University of Western Australia.

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