An MBA isn’t the only masters-level degree out there; there are plenty to choose between. The right one for you depends on your career aims, and other factors, including:
- Course duration,
- Programme costs; and
- Where you hope to work after graduation.
Different types of business masters degrees
Just about everyone in the business world has heard of the Master of Business Administration, or MBA – and there’s plenty of prestige attached to it.
Most other business degrees are comparatively new, including the Masters in Finance (MiF) and the Masters in Management (MiM). You’ll find Prodigy Finance loans for these degrees, as well as MSBAs and other masters degrees that can be completed in two years or less in the business and engineering departments of top universities.
MiM and MiF degrees at a glance
Some might consider the MiM degree as a “mini-MBA”, but this is not the case. While it’s true that MiM courses in the US are often shorter than the standard two-year American MBA, the reverse is true in Europe, where the MiM usually takes two years (which is double the typical European MBA). This is true for both Essec and SDA Bocconi, which both have high ranking MBA and MIM programmes.
Typically speaking, MiM candidates don’t require the same long years of work experience as demanded by MBA programmes.
The MiF degree, on the other hand, focuses on – as you would guess – the financial side of business, not the final decision-making.
Contrary to the MiM, most MiF programmes last about a year in Europe, as you’ll find at London Business School and HEC Paris. In the US, many MiF programmes span 18 months; degrees at MIT Sloan and Carnegie Mellon University are prime examples.
Many of these programmes are geared at students without previous work experience, though at schools like Georgia Tech, internship experience is strongly preferred.
A new rising star: MS in Business Analytics
Though the MiF and MiM are better known, thanks, in part, to the Financial Times rankings of these programmes, there are plenty of others.
One degree that’s becoming increasingly popular is the Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA, or sometimes MScBA). Similar to the MiF, an MSBA focuses its attention towards processing rather than management.
These degrees are available in Europe (at schools like ESADE and Warwick Business School) as well as in the US (at UCLA Anderson, Duke University, and NYU Stern, amongst others).
The length of study does vary, with some programmes reaching 18 months (Carnegie Mellon in the US) or two years (Bocconi in Italy), though most sit around the 12 month mark (as found at ESADE, MIT Sloan, and Chicago Booth). Also read Top STEM MBA Programs
Reduced study time often translates into savings
For the most part, MSBA degrees have a lower price tag than MBAs from the same school. But, be careful; you can’t just slice the price of an MBA in half – depending on the programme, you may pay more per semester hour for an MSBA degree – or you may pay considerably less:
|University (location)||MBA length||MBA tuition *||MSBA length||MSBA tuition|
|Amsterdam Business School||24 months (part-time)||€ 40,000||12 / 24 months||€ 21,010|
|ESADE Business School (Spain)||12, 15, or 18 months||€ 64,900||10 months||€ 27,500|
|Essec Business School (France/Singapore)||12 months||€ 45,000||12-16 months||€ 20,500|
|Università Bocconi (Italy)||12 months||€ 52,000||24 months||€ 26,948|
|Warwick Business School (UK)||12 months||£ 39,000||12 months||£ 27,750|
|Carnegie Mellon University (Pennsylvania, USA)||21 months||$ 132,000||18 months||$ 64,410|
|Duke University (North Carolina, USA)||24 months||$ 136,400||10 months||$ 65,975**|
|Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia, USA)||22 months||$ 84,392||12 months||$ 1,966|
|MIT Sloan (Massachusetts, USA)||24 months||$ 148,400||12 months||$ 77,350|
|NYU Stern (New York, USA)||24 months||$ 151,700||12 months||$ 61,288|
|Purdue University (Indiana, USA)||24 months||$84,368||11 months||$47, 786|
|UCLA Anderson School Management (California, USA)||24 months||$ 119,732||13 months||$ 62,579|
|University of Chicago (Illinois, USA)||21 months||$ 144,000||12 months||$ 58,160|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois, USA)||24 months||$83,276||10 months||$ 44,582|
|University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (Minnesota, USA)||24 months||$ 97,872||12 months||$ 60,300|
|University of Texas at Austin (Texas, USA)||24 months||$ 109,000||10 months||$48,000|
* For US universities, the current one-year tuition cost was doubled to account for the second year and may not be an accurate two-year tuition cost as second year costs have not yet been released in most cases.
** Add $32,500 if you wish to have the (optional) certificate of research to accompany your degree.
Duration and cost aren’t the only differences between MBAs and MSBAs
Besides the obvious difference that a degree in business analytics will cover different ground than one in business administration, as well as the duration and cost of such degrees, there are a few more difference you should really consider if you’re wavering between the two:
- MBAs often require five to seven years of work experience; MSBA programmes often don’t require work experience – and many suggest alternative courses if you have five or more years of experience.
- As a result, candidates are usually much younger, often in their young twenties.
What isn’t so obvious is the possible benefit of the extended three-year OPT visa (read this) for MSBA programmes in the US.
However, you shouldn’t make the mistake of believing every degree qualifies just because it’s a Masters of Science. While only a few MiM and MiF programmes qualify, most MSBA degrees do. That said, if it’s your intention to take advantage of this benefit, you must check in advance.
Another outcome which requires a little more clarity is post-grad salary. MBAs expect (and often achieve) extraordinary salary growth – sometimes as much as 100% or more after receiving their degree. MSBAs may – or may not – achieve these figures.
At the moment, it’s tough to tell; these programmes are relatively new and the data needed to make predictions isn’t readily available (nor uniformly calculated between programmes).
What is available are salary increases for MiM and MiF programmes that have made it to the Financial Times ranking:
|University||MBA rank||Salary increase||MiM rank||Salary increase||MiF rank||Salary increase|
|Edhec Business School||75||79%||16||47%||1*||79%|
|London Business School||4||109%||4||63%||1**||72%|
|University of St Gallen||60||64%||1||67%||10||42%|
|Warwick Business School||41||77%||21||84%||9||104%|
*1st position on the MIF pre-experience ranking.
**1st position on the MIF post-experience ranking.
If you’re wondering why there aren’t more American schools on these lists, it all boils down to the age of the programme; the Financial Times doesn’t look at programmes under five years old (which should tell you just how new these degrees are).
However, a few programmes do provide salary outcomes – especially if they’re housed in the business school (rather than engineering which is often the key determiner of whether it qualifies for the extended OPT visa).
Your best bet is always to do that research and run your figures through the Prodigy Finance calculator to determine ROI.
Luckily, the schools accepting Prodigy Finance loans do so for just about every programme that can be completed within two years – so you may just find that financing your degree is actually easier than choosing the right one for you.Read Jobs after MS in Business Analytics: Salary statistics and Career opportunities
Author Bio: Rishabh Goel is Country Manager for India at Prodigy Finance. He studied Economics & Engineering at BITS and did his Masters in Management at London Business School. He has helped Indians excel at GMAT/GRE and mentored students to attend top schools globally.