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MBA vs. Master in Management: Which should you choose?

April 01, 2021
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You’ve made the decision that a graduate business degree is your best route toward qualifying for today’s most desirable roles and future-proofing your career against any changes that may occur in the job market. Congratulations! This is a big step, and one that is sure to pay off in ways far beyond your paycheck.

But now comes a potentially trickier decision: Which business degree is the right one for you? Should you stick to the tried and true path and earn an MBA that has been changing lives for decades? Or should you explore a more finely targeted degree like a Master in Management (MiM)?

Read on to learn some of the key factors that distinguish a Master in Management degree from an MBA and decide which one can take you where you want to go.

What classes can you take in MBA and MiM programs?

A key difference between an MBA and a specialized business master’s degree is the courses that make up each program. These types of programs are often distinct not only in terms of their core courses, but in any electives they may offer as well. MBA programs typically feature a core curriculum designed to ground students in foundational business skills of value across the professional landscape. The online MBA program at Marquette University, for example, features a “Business Essentials” core to introduce students to key business functions. This core comprises courses in accounting, economics, finance, information systems, marketing, and operations and supply chain. Additionally, students have the opportunity to take elective courses which cover specialized areas of business, allowing them to tailor their degree to their career goals. Elective courses include project management, negotiations, consumer behavior and more.

The core curriculum for a Master in Management degree program like the one at Marquette consists of courses focused mainly on leadership skills and people management strategies. They emphasize not only soft skills, like the management of human capital and best practices for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and throughout the org chart, but hard business skills as well, such as the use of a data-driven analytics approach to human resources management. And like the online MBA, the online MiM curriculum features numerous elective courses that students can choose from to tailor the degree to the issues they expect to face in their own role or industry.

How quantitative is each degree?

There’s no getting around it: You need to have a fair amount of quantitative aptitude to succeed in an MBA program. While some programs choose to enforce this standard by requiring demonstration of work experience in a business setting or undergraduate courses in STEM fields, others prefer to offer a pathway for students to develop the quantitative skills they need to thrive in the professional world. One of the latter programs is the online MBA at Marquette. The “Business Essentials” component of the curriculum is a perfect way to ramp up into fluency with the math skills and tech tools you’ll need both for the duration of the program and throughout your career.

As mentioned above, while the online MiM program at Marquette leans toward soft skills and people management strategies, it still contains a degree of quantitative material. By choosing a management master’s degree program that combines these two elements, you can set yourself apart from the crowd in your future job applications. The savviest managers know how to use data to support important decisions and how to effectively communicate their goals and strategies to their diverse team; the online MiM program prepares you to do both.

How long does it take to earn each degree?

Generally speaking, MBA degrees typically take around two years to earn. Some programs may require a few additional months, while others (particularly those aimed at early-career professionals or recent college graduates) may be completable in a bit less time. The online MBA program at Marquette is notable for its flexible timeline: While it is designed to take two years to complete, students who enter with an undergraduate business background may be able to accelerate their time to completion.

Unlike many shorter-term specialized business master’s degree programs, the online Master in Management program also takes two years to complete at Marquette. This is, more than anything, a sign of its depth and quality, as it combines a robust core of management skills-focused coursework with a broad list of specialized electives. The education students receive in the online MiM program thoroughly prepares them to face any and all challenges that arise in a team leadership role.

What jobs can you get with an MBA or an MiM degree?

MBAs are renowned across the business landscape for both their versatility and as a signal that you are ready to step up to a strategic leadership role. You may find that an MBA helps you land a desirable business analyst or product owner role immediately after graduation, and if you aspire to advance to the executive level, it can put you on the right path. While an MBA adds value in any industry, choosing to earn one that offers a specialization or concentration in a field like marketing or finance can give you a specific leg up in your field.

As the name indicates, the Master in Management degree is designed to help graduates thrive in people management roles. While this might not necessarily mean a track to the C-suite, it still can lead to a multitude of rewarding, lucrative and meaningful opportunities. Those who hold the MiM degree can find success leading functional teams at large companies, managing the office at smaller businesses or performing an HR function in any organization. No matter what industry you work in, if you wish to create a positive work environment and lead an effective and efficient team, the online MiM program can get you where you want to go.

Earn your MBA or MiM online at Marquette.

Both the online MBA and online Master in Management degrees from Marquette University offer top-tier business education, fantastic networking opportunities and nearly limitless pathways toward your dream job. Learn more about the career resources offered by the Graduate School of Management at Marquette, and discover how supportive and personal the learning experience in an online program can be.