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MBA vs Masters in Management: Which is better?

The big MBA versus Masters in Management fight always gets its fair share of viewers. It is one of the common topics you’d see on MBA discussion forums where fresh graduates preparing for CAT (and GMAT simultaneously) hang out. After reading 20-30 responses you end up more confused than ever. So here’s a simple way to look at the two (MBA vs Masters (MSc) in Business Degrees).

The primary difference is in the timing, that is, when you can start the program. Masters in management can be targeted by students who have just completed their graduation and are looking at continuing their education in the management area (Read MiM after BBA).

The regular 2 year MBA programs in India have traditionally targeted the same (age and qualification) demographic pool. Many of our impatient desi kids set their eyes on international degrees and don’t want to wait for several years. For them the Masters in management degree can be a good option to pursue. Financing a Masters program is relatively easier than a top MBA course. Read List of MiM Scholarships

MBA programs abroad, in contrast, expect students to have some professional experience before they are eligible to apply. We’ve already written a lot on this degree, including why Admission committees insist on work experience. So we’ll just focus on the differences.

Primary reasons for taking up a Masters option would include a change of geography (Bye bye India, hello USA), a better appreciation of management topics (with zero experience, it can be tough to understand and relate to the nuances) and an edge in the race to bag competitive fresher roles in various industries (you only have an undergrad degree? Poor you!). As a bonus, as a younger candidate with an impressionable and flexible, it’s easier to assimilate in the new culture and, er, reproduce a foreign accent more naturally.

Difference between MBA and MiM / Masters in Management

The difference starts off with the kind of folks who get in and then continues in the manner in which education is imparted, the content of the course and the jobs that grads get.

There’s a greater emphasis on theoretical lecture-based teaching and lesser reliance on pedagogies that rely on experience sharing (case studies, for instance).

Masters in Management grads will not compete for the same roles as MBAs, mainly due to the experience levels.

At some point in time, MiM grads might contemplate taking up an MBA degree for all the wonderful reasons that we are all aware of – promotion, career change, working in a different country, a bigger debt etc.

Of course, colleges that figure high on the Masters in Management rankings rake in bigger salaries than the other lower ranked universities.

However, the average salaries for Masters in Management students are generally lesser than the international MBA compensation packages. Read about average MBA Salaries and what they mean.

The main reason being top MBA graduates bring in more experience and can shoulder bigger and tougher responsibilities.

In contrast, MiM students would need to go through the learning curve for a longer duration.

So don’t consider one as an alternative of the other. Usually your background and your post-graduate plans would make the choice pretty clear.

Here are some related posts for you to read:
Is the MiM degree worth it?
Best Masters in Management (MiM) Programs in the world
Masters in Management (MiM) Program Rankings in the world
Career options and average salaries after MiM degree: Management jobs for freshers
MiM in Canada admissions experience
MiM after BCom: How I got into London Business School, ESSEC and ESADE with 690 GMAT
MS vs MBA after engineering: Which is better?
MS in US with full scholarship from MIT: Anamika’s fascinating story.
MiM at ESCP Europe – Indian student’s experience
MBA vs MIB (Master of International Business) – Which is better?

Any Masters in Management aspirants out here? What are your reasons for choosing this over other degrees?

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

14 thoughts on “MBA vs Masters in Management: Which is better?”

  1. hi,
    a) i am a BMS graduate and have a one year of work experience in finance sector. i am currently applying for MBA institutes in india. I wish to join my family business after my master. Should i consider MiM programme? i am willing to work for a year or so after my masters in order to recover my fees.
    b) Can i get scholarship for MiM ?

  2. Krunal,

    Quick clarification first. This blog focuses on GMAT-based international management degrees.

    1. Sure you can consider an MiM program. But after completing it, don’t work purely to recover your fees. Work because you will probably pick up more useful and practical skills during that period that you can then channel back into your family business.

    2. You can get scholarships for all Masters programs (including MiM). But for that you’d have to show that you have a fantastic profile compared to others who are getting into the same program.

    Good luck!

  3. Dear Sameer,

    I am an IT professional with Bachelors of Engineering and work experinece of 3.4 years in the same field and pursuing MS in software Engg (Work integrated program) from BITS Pilani that would be completing december 2012.

    Objective of education: I would like to know about the degree I should further attain to excel and get a job abroad.

    1. Should I go for GMAT, Executive MBA from India, Normal MBA from india
    2. Should I start preparing for MIM.
    3. Try giving a Gre and apply for Phd.

    Thanks and regards,

  4. Divjot,

    You are looking at too many options, each meant for folks with different profiles and career aspirations. Also, getting a job abroad is too generic a gameplan to work on.

    Some more introspection needed here, buddy.

  5. Hi Sameer,

    I was researching for a Masters program abroad and came across this post of yours. I must say it is a very lucid article though I request you to please provide me your inputs on the following-

    I am a B.Tech(IT) guy working for Infosys for the past 1.2 years, had got a campus placement job.

    Objective of education: I wish to pursue a management degree and more importantly switch to a different industry from IT. I desire to have a management designation with a handsome pay. I am in fact looking for a global exposure and want to score a foreign job, not necessarily in the US.

    So far I have written CAT for which the result is awaited. Though MBA in India is not easy to crack and hence I am looking for a MiM from one of the Top 15 Non-US univ. with an internship offering. Though I am confused about the ROI I’ll get out of it.

    My questions to you –
    1- What do you think is MiM the right thing for me to pursue if I don’t make it the IIMs this year?
    2- What do you think is the certainty to score foreign job post MiM?
    3- What could be the my pay package after pursuing MiM as per present scenario, comparing to the package I could get from the Top 10 Indian BSchools(approx. 10-12lacs)?

    Thought in my mind as of now-
    – MiM has value in Europe and it will not be too heavy for my pocket and after working for a couple of years, I could still go for a executive MBA maybe from one of the world’s best B-Schools.

    Thanks Sameer.


  6. hi sir
    i have done my msc(biotechnology) i dont see much scope in ths field hence me planing to go to uk for a year since there is no scope of getting visa to work after studing, will do a mangement course . But me confused whthr to go for a MBA course from an average university or a MiM course from an amber accedit university? And after returning to India which course or university from which i have done will matter more? How important are these courses in india?

  7. Hello Sir,

    I currently have two offer letters. One is MiM course at and other for an MBA course (both in UK) . I have a total experience of 2.5 months. I am confused as to which course should I go for. Both the universities are top ranked. I have no experience in management , therefore I was thinking of doing the MiM which will help build the basic foundation. But I feel MBA as a course offers more in terms of experience, network and brand. What
    should be my approach for choosing between these two courses in this context ?



  8. Hello Sir,

    I am in dilemme concerning MiM or freshers MBA, both in US. I have a work exp of one year but since I am currently in my final year of MSc. (US rule of 16 years), I am not sure if it will be counted.

    I have secured 670/800 on Gmat and 116/120 on Toefl. I am very keen on doing MBA itself and in the US. But. since I have just a year of work exp, I have been advised to look at MS-Management/MS- International Business along with freshers MBA. I have no idea about the future prospects of the MS courses in India or in US. Can you please advise me accordingly? MBA or MS? It would help a lot!!

  9. hi sameer,

    I am a dentist by profession .. practising in india. I want to have a career change so I am looking in for mba or msc in management. I have given gre.
    my main aim to do this to be able to get a job globally since my dental degree is only valid in india.
    please give your suggestions and also which country you think has better job oppurtunities.

    thanks n regards

  10. Didn’t realise this post was still getting plenty of attention.

    @Vishal: An overseas degree brings with it several risks. Getting a local job is one of them. If you are planning for an MBA, why spend time on an MiM?

    @Anchal: I’m having trouble understanding your query, and unfortunately the language you’ve used isn’t helping. Informal, sms lingo works fine among friends. But when it comes to requesting professional guidance on a public forum (where many others are reading your thoughts), it’s best to stick to regular, formal English.
    Coming to your query, I don’t think going abroad at this stage for another degree will wipe off the decisions you’ve taken earlier. Consider working in India, maybe in a different field, and pick up some real world experience before you think about any other degree.

    @NK: It would’ve helped if you had shared the univ names. With 2.5 years work-experience, an MBA might work better. But it might be tough for you to get senior jobs after graduating.

    @SK: The concept of ‘freshers MBA’ works in India. Recruiters hire MBA grads without experience from the IIMs all the time. However, with an overseas MBA things are quite different. An MiM may be a better fit for you at this stage. But given the option, I’d suggest not rushing into any management degree (MiM or MBA). With experience, you’ll be able to connect better with the theory they teach in class.

    @Shruti: You could take up a managerial role in the broader healthcare industry. If you graduate from a top brand school, a radical transition (into fields like management consulting) may also be possible. But you’d need to be clear about the target industry and role first before you shortlist any country or university.

  11. Hi Sameer,
    Thanks for the blog post. Its really informative. I have a little over 1 year IT Industry experience in Consulting.
    I want to give GMAT and I am confused between Mim and MBA. which are good colleges which offer MiM and how should I apply for them?

    Is there any major difference in Pay Scale of an MBA and MiM graduate?

  12. Hi Sir,

    I am a computer science engineer and currently working in Infosys. My present work exp is almost 1 year now and I am planning to opt for Master’s in Management from EBS Business School Germany. I have few internships in bag (one non technical one in Mauritius and two technical ones in India). I have worked in two NGO’s in India as well (during my engineering) and thus, I am well versed with the basics of dealing with people. I always wanted to manage things and lead a team as I have done so, at a small scale in the past few years.
    Well, I do not want opt for MBA right now because I know, I don’t have much of the work experience. Also as a good business school always requires people with good and healthy experience, doing an MBA won’t bring the best out of me at the management level. So I will plan to do Executive MBA later in my life (say 4-5 years down the line) as I don’t want rush at the things rather I wanna go step by step.
    Also, I am not targeting countries like USA, Canada or UK not only because everyone goes there but also due to the fact that these countries have very limited options for job seekers.
    Assuming that I am well versed with German( as I am going to start taking german classes very soon) and taking the current Euro recession into consideration, is going for Master’s in Management the right option for me right now???
    Thanks in anticipation

  13. me in 3rd yr want to do msc from abroad is it a safe option to go abroad or search for a job and stay here only and for 2 or 3 yrss then pursue for mba

  14. @Meha: I’m not aware of the MiM domain as much as the MBA. But MBA salary scales in general are higher.

    @Deepak: Going abroad will always carry risks, specially when you have lesser work experience. Also, the language lessons would help, but may not make you an expert to deal with the advanced written and spoken communication in a foreign country. So be aware of them before you take the plunge.

    @Rahul: me answrd smlar queschan jst b4 dis. ‘safe’ opshuns r a mirage. dey all cum wt rsks. so b careful n dnt go wen u r not fully ready.
    Phew! That was almost like speaking another language. Keep it simple for the reader, bro. No sms language when it comes to professional discussions.


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