One of the most asked question by students applying for US is Should I study MBA or MS ? In countries like India, with the hype of all IIMs, ISB and other premier MBA institutions the shift in pursuing higher education has been slightly changed towards MBA in recent times. With all the lavish salaries MBA students get right after their graduation, many are tempted to jump the bandwagon… Students applying to US are thinking in the same direction as everyone in India and plan to land in Ivy league schools, University of Chicago, Kellog School of Business, etc. But the reality is, many do not know the implications and what it all means between MBA or MS. This article is based on my experience after doing MS and MBA in USA. You can count on what I write here J
What is MS ? What do you study in MS ?
MS as it says, it is “Master of Science”, your focus is primarily on the advanced topics in a particular subject, you will study topics in depth. MS courses are more technical/ deeper in nature in that particular area you are pursuing MS. Just to compare, it is like doing M.Sc or M.A back in home country . The emphasis is more on advanced topics in that particular area. Lets say you pick MS in Computer Sciences, you study classic courses like Advanced Database Management Systems, Advanced Operation systems, Research Methods, Design and Analysis of Algorithms, Advanced programming languages…sorry if you are not a computer science major and you did not get it. Overall, what I was saying is, you study the technical aspects of a subject to another level and more deep. To get into MS program, it is ideal to have same background in Bachelors. For instance, lets say you have B.Tech in Computer Sciences, then it is ideal to take MS in Computer Sciences or if you have BA or B.Com with focus on Economics or Finance, then you can do MS in Accounting or Finance. If you are from different background, then you would have to do lot of foundation classes to change the major.
What is MS good For ? What can I do with MS ?
As MS is more technical in nature, it is good for doing further research by enrolling in PhD or to work in technical positions in your job. It can be like Database Architect, Marketing Research Director, Advance Tax & valuation expert, etc. It will give you edge in the technical area you are working or research. Typically, many people who wish to become researches, professors one day, choose this path so that they can go to PhD and then become a professor or researcher some day. Some just take because they love the subject and want to know the details to an advanced level.
What is MBA ? What do you study in MBA ?
MBA as it says, it is “Master of Business Administration”, clearly we can see it is an Administration or Management degree by name. It is no way technical in nature. You are not trying to explore the depth of a particular subject; you are trying to learn various aspects of a business and learn management skills to administer company’s or organization’s resources and people effectively. Typically, 2/3rd of the classes will be fundamental courses of Business and administration like Accounting, Corporate Finance , Organization behavior, IT for Managers, Marketing Strategy, Economics, Operations strategy, Leadership and Negotiation, etc. Rest of the 1/3rd of the classes with be electives and you have the choice. You can pick Marketing, Finance, HR, etc based on your choice or your current industry. When someone says, I got MBA in Marketing, it means that they only did this 1/3rd of the classes related to Marketing. But, when someone says, I have MS in Marketing, it means they had around 80 – 100% of their classes in Marketing ONLY. You see the difference ? Based on university it changes, but generally you can do your own set of classes that you like for the 1/3rd of classes in MBA with variety of mix, then you will not have a degree in specialization. It will be called General Degree in MBA.
What is MBA good for ? Where can you work with MBA ? What is career path ?
MBA is for those of you who want to work in a management or leadership positions in an organization. The degree teaches you all about Business and how to effectively manage people, resources to make logical and better decisions for the business. It is ideal for anyone with few years of experience and willing to grow up the ladder in their company. It is for aspiring managers…If you want to grow to higher level in a company and one day dream of becoming a CEO or opening your own business, then MBA is for you ! You can do specific courses of Entrepreneurship to become an entrepreneur of a Business. There are people who do PhD too, but most of the people with MBA become managers and based on their emphasis and experience, they can be end up in titles like Director of Marketing, Global Sales Manager, Project Manager, etc. There are some people who do PhD too, it is because during their MBA some specific course got their attention and they got plugged in… Also, it is recommend to do MBA after few years of work experience, read When should you do MBA after B.Tech or Bachelors Degree
Now that you know the difference, you need to know the aspect like Fee, Funding, experience, etc… Check out second part of MS vs MBA after B.Tech – Fees, Funding .
Any thoughts to add on the differences of MS vs MBA ?