MBA program vs. Master's program

November 03, 2016

Understanding the difference

Global Executive MBA students

For students looking to enroll in an advanced degree program to gain a new edge in their business career, two of the options available include an MBA, and a specialized Master's degree in a subject relating to business. Both require hard work and dedication, and both can open new doors in the world of business. There are, however, a few differences between them that both current and future business professionals should be aware of.

For prospective students wondering how these two courses of study differ in terms of culture, content, and future possibilities in the world of business, here is a breakdown.

MBA students are seasoned professionals, Master's students have less job Experience

Though they touch on similar subjects, MBA programs and specialized Master’s programs attract different types of students.

A student who enrolls in an MBA program, such as those offered at WU Executive Academy, for example, has worked in business for several years, and is interested in developing a broad range of practical skills for advancement to higher executive positions. On the other hand, students pursuing their Master's degree in business-related subjects tend to be younger, and often do not have much or any industry experience. Instead of using their advanced degree to further a career, these students are often looking to use their education to help get their career started.

If you are used to the working world and are looking for a program filled with likeminded individuals, where you’ll be encouraged to push yourself toward accomplishing your goals, an MBA program will likely be a better choice for you than a Master's program.

MBA schools offer broad advancement, Master's degrees tend to be more specialized

MBAs are meant to impart many practical business skills. At WU Executive Academy, our MBA programs offer great education in things like effective leadership, data analysis, and financial accounting. The goal of each MBA program is to prepare you for a steady rise to the upper levels of the business world, as well as all the different responsibilities that journey requires.

Normally, more practical skills are developed in MBA courses than in master's programs

Master's degrees in business-related areas of study generally focus more on theory than practice, and usually explore a particular area in depth. A Master's degree in finance, for example, will likely go deeper into financial theory than you would expect an MBA to do, and can be a good avenue to specific, specialized careers in business. It also likely won't touch on some other subject matter—like management or accounting—as much as an MBA would, or at all.

While there is value in the theoretical knowledge you can get from a Master's degree in business-related areas, if you are an experienced professional, you will likely find more to be gained through developing multiple practical abilities by studying towards an MBA.

MBA programs do not require a business education, but Master's degrees often do

Students enrolled at WU Executive Academy's MBA school come from many different backgrounds. Provided they have adequate professional experience, students with an undergraduate education in anything from sciences to computer technology to liberal arts can be welcomed into an MBA program in order to expand their business knowledge and improve their workplace ability.

By contrast, many Master's degrees in business-related topics require prospective students to have an undergraduate degree in the same area of study. While this does mean that all students in these programs should have a solid level of familiarity with concepts learned about in a business education, this kind of policy does limit the pool of potential applicants. Many experienced professionals might find themselves barred from advancing themselves through this kind of a degree.

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Students of many educational and professional backgrounds can enroll in an MBA program

Since WU Executive Academy’s MBA programs are made up of students with diverse educational backgrounds, they can be a better option for many professionals, compared to a different type of Master's degree.

Though both a Master's program and an MBA can impart useful business knowledge and skills, professionals looking to develop a broad set of abilities en route to a career in higher executive positions will find an MBA is the better choice for their needs.

Interested in studying in a part time MBA program?

Contact WU Executive Academy to learn more about our offerings.

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