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MBA vs MIB (Master of International Business)

To an untrained eye, both the Master in Business Administration (MBA) and the Master in International Business (MIB) are management programs with similar outcome. After all, what is International Business but business as usual in a foreign dialect.

The trained eye, however, has learnt to distinguish the two with a gap wide enough to fit a room. While it is true that there are many common flavours that they share between them, there are a healthy number of differences as well.

These differences are inherent to their nature and needs to be understood before one decides one over the other. Let us explore them.

MBA needs no introduction. In India, you find lakhs of young graduates, especially the engineering kind, with a terminally overwhelmed look of having spent nights cramming for the CAT exam for MBA admissions.

The more globally ambitious kind, however, can choose to either opt for a work experience or look into graduate school options with a business specialization.

MIB is one such option (Specialized Masters Programs). So, what do students learn in MIB?

It helps to prepare its students to conduct business in a global context.

– What are the expectations of foreign markets and how do they behave?
– What happens to business interests faced with international politics and economy?
– What do companies have to do to conduct business in a foreign soil?
– How do changing foreign economies affect businesses and its international strategies?

…and more

If you are in the position of deciding between sticking around to get into the MBA program or charging ahead with an MIB, now, this article may help you reach a decision. We have gathered information regarding the basic differences between the two degrees so you can decide which one fits your bill the most.

MIB or MBA: Which is better for you?


Work Experience

Much like in the MBA, applicants can have any educational background. The minimum requirement is an undergraduate degree, with a decent GPA. Additionally, most international MBA programs expect at least four to five years of work experience. What does this mean?

The MIB degree is more academic in nature than the professional MBA degree (Read Masters in Management – Requirements, costs, salaries, etc).

Though, a lot of business schools have designed a curriculum that incorporates practical training as a part of the MIB training, it is not as integral as in MBA.

Owing to all the variety of real world work experience MBA students bring to the classroom, the peer experience becomes an added and necessary enrichment.

It also means that MIB class profiles comprise younger students compared to MBA classes where students are typically inching closer to 30 or above.

Younger class profiles mean less worldly experience, fresh out of school, less connected, yet vibrant young students.

In MBA, you get students from various backgrounds, with their own branches of professional networks, and years spent tasting the world outside the academic environment.

Courses and Curriculum

Usually faculty members in the business schools share the courses between the two degrees. Although, professors with more industry experience focus on MBA courses.

There is an overlap of courses, with MIB’s courses aligned along the global business content. The actual difference usually becomes apparent in the way the subjects are instructed.

In MBA, the job experience brings about a peer engagement which is not as crucial in MIB.

Also, the level of understanding among MBA students is expected to be of a higher level as compared to MIB. Hence, MBA courses, on the same (similar) subject matter tends to be more advanced.

Quantitative training is also usually a core part of MIB training, given its affinity to academic research.

In MBA, quantitative training is usually determined by the choice of the specialization. For instance, Finance MBA grads are more adept at quantitative methods as compared to say Human Resource majors.

Typical courses in MIB are (from Leeds Business School MIB Program):

Globalization and Innovation International Strategic Management Controversies in International Business Cross Cultural Management
International Business Theory Quantitative Methods for International Business Professional Skills for International Business International Trade Environment
Foreign Market Entry Strategy Managing Global Logistics and Supply Chains Global Economic Coordination and Governance International Business Finance

…and similar courses with a taste of business in the global environment.
Typical MBA courses are related to MBA specialisations in Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Information Systems, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Operations Management, etc. Details can be found here in this articles on List of MBA Specialisations and MBA Syllabus and Subjects Abroad.

Tuition fees and other ancillary costs of getting an MIB and MBA are comparable. Although, it really depends on where you seek to attend the programs.

Duration of studies are also similar with most programs ranging between 12 months, or more, in MIB. European MBAs generally tend to stretch over a similar timeline.

Career Prospects and Salaries

MIB prepares its students to enter the work market through its training in sustaining businesses in foreign markets through research and strategic management. According to a report published by Burning Glass Labor Insight, nearly 60% of employers prefer advanced graduate degree in international relations roles.

Multinational organizations, with overseas offices, have a preference for individuals who have the necessary education to work across borders in a range of markets. They serve in roles such as business analysts, country managers, product managers, trading specialists, buyers, economists, and policy analysts, among others.

Some of these roles, after MIB, are also very lucrative, with salaries ranging from the healthy side of $80,000 to some even over $120,000, with a lot of promise of growth within the organizations. Overall job growth in these sectors are estimated in the neighbourhood of 10% in the next decade.

In addition to a promising career, MIB also offers its graduates the opportunity to explore advanced research into international business. The academic nature of the degree brings about the possibility of further higher education. Thus, a PhD degree is a natural progression of many MIB grads.

MBA programs usually only focus their energy in gearing up future managers who actively handle business decisions in organizations.

In fact, MBA serves up graduates who are not only qualified to handle management jobs, but can also star in job positions like Accounting, Finance, Consulting, Business Operations, Healthcare, Marketing, Information Technology, Business Analytics, Non-Profit sector, and more.

Average MBA starting salaries depend a lot on geography and the degree granting university. Brand names like Wharton, HBS, etc. can yield salaries upwards of $120,000 in North America.

Whereas, some of the least salaries, after graduating from reputed MBA programs, can be in the order of $70,000. Some of the highest paying majors are Business Strategy, Consulting, Marketing, and Finance.

For more information on MBA Careers, try these articles.

Jobs that require an MBA degree
MBA job opportunities by industry and function
Highest paying jobs for MBA grads

Also try our blogs on MBA Jobs and Careers for a larger repertoire of all things MBA career related.

What are the top universities for MIB?

Most top MIB programs are offered at European B-Schools, since Master’s in Management and its specialisations are essentially a European phenomenon. We have listed some of the top universities, in the table below, with reputed MIB (and its other nomenclatures) according to the Financial Times Rankings from 2018.

Business School Program Name
University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) MA in Strategy and International Management
University of Bocconi, SDA Bocconi (Italy) MSc in International Management
University College Dublin, Smurfit (Ireland) MSc in International Management
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (Netherlands) MSc in International Management
Esade (Spain) MSc in International Management
Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden) MSc in International Business
Vienna University (Austria) Master in International Management
University of Economics, Prague (Czech Republic) International Masters in Management
Nova School of Business and Economics (Portugal) International Masters in Management
Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics (Portugal) International MSc in Management
Eada Business School (Spain) Master in International Management
Maastricht University (Netherlands) MSc in International Business
Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) Master in International Business
Antwerp Management School (Belgium) Master of Global Management
Tias Business School, Tilburg University (Netherlands) International MSc in Business Administration
Queen’s University, Smith (Canada) Master of International Business

…and more here
For top schools in MBA, we would like to direct you to the following articles.

Global MBA Rankings
– Best MBA in USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Australia, India, Singapore
Top MBA Colleges in the world
That essentially covers the basic comparison between the two management graduate degrees. For more questions and queries, feel free to drop us a line at info[at]mbacrystalball[dot]com

Here are some related links to feed your information pool.
MBA vs Masters in Management – Which is better?
MBA vs Master in Engineering Management – Which is better?
MBA vs Master in Finance – Which is better?
Sources: 1, 2,  3

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7 thoughts on “MBA vs MIB (Master of International Business)”

  1. Hi,
    I have done B.E in civil engineering and then pgp in advance construction management from reputed institute in India,thinking I would be in managerial roles sooner or later.
    But even after three years am just a engineer who coordinates with stake holders and site management.
    This was not the job roles I expected.
    I always wanted to be in management side but this isn’t helping me . I did my pgp so that I can be techno manager but here in India I see very less roles are been given in such way.
    Now totally I hold 3yrs of exp in planning ,execution and project management.
    I have even done some certifications which didn’t help yet.
    All I want is I want to shift my sector to total management role sectors and increase my opportunities across all the sectors.So, I want to pursue my mba in top business schools in Canada or USA or ISB.
    Please help me in choosing the best one and throw me some light on the opportunities I will be getting as I come from core engineering background.please help me and suggest some good views.

  2. I want to do MIM in Germany which has zero tution fee. As per my research, there are some public universities that offer such programs. Can you please tell me what should be the profile like and how can I get admissions into those universities?

  3. hi i am planning to take my masters(computer science) in either canada or australia , and after i pass out how much will be the packages for freshers.
    is part time job available for students there?

  4. Thanks for the close to perfect information. I have a query – I have completed my graduation from DU open university with 52.5% matks in 2013. I am appearing for CA final exam and working since in CA firm since. Can I get admission in good B-School in Canada?

  5. @Syed: Here’s how to select the right business school:

    @Vartika: All the good, ranked MiM programs will have fees. Going for something just because it’s free. Remember that your career is at stake here.

    @Eshan: Sure, but it’ll be a highly unusual option. Hope you have a solid reason for thinking of this.

    @Amal: Almost all the reputed MS programs have a section on the placements statistics. Check that out to get the most recent and accurate picture.

    @Akshay: You haven’t mentioned if you have had full-time experience since graduation. If you do, then that helps. Also not all MBA programs accept correspondence and distance degrees. Read this for more details:


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