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Making the right career decision closes the gap between where you are right now and where you want to be tomorrow. It’s a daunting task for aspiring graduates to choose between an MBA or MS degree. Both programs give you an edge in the competitive job market by offering you valuable skills, a highly rewarding career, and an opportunity to move across the globe. However, the focus areas of each are quite different.

Master of Business Administration Degree Program (MBA)

An MBA program offers an overall generic business knowledge across various subjects, including finance, accounting, marketing, organizational behavior, and management. Students go through these wide breadths of disciplines to become good enough and see the ‘big picture.’

An MBA helps you boost your career if you’re someone with professional work experience. MBA graduates often manage teams, projects and make decisions that affect the entire organization.

Master of Science Degree Program (MS)

On the other side, a Master of Science degree takes a more specialized approach and allows students to focus entirely on a particular specialized subject. You become a master in your specific field of interest. The MS program turns you into a valuable asset to various business operations.

The program works for you if you have limited or no work experience and are early in your career. It’s ideal for switching fields as well.

But, hold your horses before you decide on which program to pursue and start applying for grad schools, ask these six questions to yourself.

  1. What is my career goal?
  2. What is your future career path? How do you intend to utilize your degree? If you long to gain expertise in a specific area, an MS degree is a no-brainer as it gives you in-depth knowledge of your chosen subject like no other program can supplement. The MS program complements engineering students better than an MBA.

    If you have got 3 to 5 years of work experience under your belt and seek a career in management and administration, then MBA may be the right choice. The program enriches you with the skills and knowledge to work in different industries.

  3. What sort of opportunities are available?
  4. An MS degree offers many opportunities based on your specialization and the country you’re studying in. Most popular degrees are:

    • MS in Computer Science
    • MS in Information Systems
    • MS in Mechanical Engineering

    Master’s degree students often enroll into PhD programs, which can get you into rewarding careers of research and teaching.

    An MBA degree, on the other hand, serves various business professions such as consulting, finance, investment banking, technology, and private equity. Occupations that MBA graduates are often involved in include marketing, sales, operations, business development, strategy, etc.

  5. What about coursework?
  6. Both MS and MBA programs are on par with each other when it comes to complexity. However, MS programs are exclusively designed for you to become an expert in a specific discipline and thus are more academically oriented. It involves a lot of traditional classroom-based coursework and focuses on hands-on research. Ask yourself if you’re willing to put the time and effort to grasp a specific area, and more importantly – are you passionate about the subject?

    MBA students go through quality academic course time as well. But they also learn through internships, live case studies and out of class experiential training.

  7. What sort of school would I best fit in?
  8. Consider various aspects before choosing the right university for MBA or MS programs. Carefully inquire about the research opportunities the MS program offers or the business internships provided by the MBA program that you’ve your eyes upon. Many business programs are held from time to time, allowing students to learn entrepreneurship and start their own business.

    If you’ve already made up your mind to study at a specific desired school, check out first if they’ve got the MS or MBA program of your choice in their curriculum.

  9. What is the Return on Investment?
  10. Do look at the opportunity cost for pursuing either of the programs. If you’re already employed this includes the loss of salary that you’ve to incur for going back to school and studying.

    MBA programs have significantly higher returns on investment after 4-5 years post-graduation. Additionally, business schools often offer merit-based and need-based scholarships to reduce your financial burden further if you opt to study abroad.

  11. How would it impact my earnings?
  12. As per TopMBA salary report, following are the salaries for MBA graduates across different industries.

    Industry Salary
    Technology $89,633
    Finance $97,100
    Consulting $90,900
    Other $89,675

    Additionally, MBA graduates are offered anywhere around $10,000 to $40,000 in yearly compensation as sign-on bonuses.

    As per a survey made by the National Association of Colleges and Employers following are the salaries of MS graduates:

    Category Salary
    Engineering $82,589
    Engineering $81,466
    Math & Sciences $75,737

    While most students go for popular programs like MBA in Finance or an MS in Computer science, there are others who pursue unconventional degrees such as MBA in Biotechnology or an MS in Finance. The latter gives a blend of both administration and sciences.

    Now that you have decided whether you are an MBA or MS person, call our counselors for a 15 minute free session. They will help you chalk out your personalized MBA or MS roadmap that will delineate your entire study abroad journey into simple achievable monthly milestones. Or you could fill out the form on the top of this page and have us call you back.

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