MS vs MBA in USA Difference – Apply for MS or MBA after (B.Tech) Engineering ?

In Study in USA by KumarUpdated : 257 Comments

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 ?


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Comments ( 257 )

    1. administrator

      Yes, you can. Typical program is about 2 years. But, there are schools that offer fast track programs where you can complete in 1 year as well.

  1. komal

    Hello sir ,
    I am komal and i am still studying in (physics) and i really want to do research in my own field & that is my subject physics in abroad.plz suggest me what will be good for me after Msc .how i pursue my dream.

    1. administrator

      If you are keen on research, PhD would be a logical step. Try to look at schools that offer your area of interest for PhD and then look at the requirements at such schools and start to plan for the same.

    1. administrator

      You typically need about 16 years of education for studying MS and it always depends on the school you plan to apply. You can always check with the school, if they require 16 years of education or not. Some schools recognize 15 years of education. So, it all depends on school.

  2. Rohan kamdar

    sir I recently completed my BE in mechanical engineering…Now I m very much confused.. should I directly prepare for CAT or should I take work experience..I m not able to take decision..pls sir help me..

    1. administrator

      It is usually recommended to work for few years before doing MBA. You can always prepare for CAT as you work. They can be done at the same time.

  3. Rakesh yadav28

    My name is harsha I’m in degree 3rd year my degree is completed in 2017 March
    I’m interested in do MBA in us it’s possible or not
    It’s possible how many percentage is compalsary in degree
    Pls tell me

    1. administrator

      Yes, it is. You will need to do your research and find your schools. The percentage requirements vary by school.

    1. administrator

      You need to make that decision. Read the article again and think about what you like most and then take an informed decision.

  4. Rutuja

    GM’s rutuja here
    I m second year engineering student frm information technology field ..n complete diploma too frm same field….I wana study further but not in india …..I want study abroad n even job over thr which is country n source should I prefer MS or MBA

  5. hs

    Hello Sir,
    My son did btech in ECE from iiit currently working in software company and he got good score in GRE and Toffel.He wants to go for MS in computer science in USA . We are unable to take correct decision about Higher Education that which branch should I select.

  6. Shantnu

    Hello sir,
    I had done btech in computer science now i want to go for masters in US but I have only 2 years and i wanted to do both, masters in computer science and MBA . Is it possible that i can do both within 2 years ? Awaiting for your reply

  7. Ritwik Kulkarni

    Hello Sir,

    I am Ritwik Kulkarni, a 2nd year student pursuing B.Tech in Mechanical Engg. in IIT Jodhpur.I want to be a tech entrepreneur and I want to do MS right after my B.Tech.When should I do MBA , right after MS or put up a gap and then do it ?

  8. Amruta Taksale

    This is Amruta.Iam pursuing my UG in E&TC .There’s a confusion in between MS and MBA.I dont wish to continue with the same trade in my PG’s.Thinking of going for MBA in HR .How fair will it be?

    1. administrator

      it totally depends on what your passion is and where you see yourself in the long run….Getting MBA after working for few years will definitely help you grow in your career…you will need to plan carefully.

  9. manu

    Hi sir,
    Iam doing my engineering 2/4 btech after iam done with engineering is it good to go for ms or mba.I want to mention one thing that whether i opt for mba or ms i will be doing it in us only and i also want tell you that i hate programming i know that ms requires programming skills but does mba need programming skills or not.please suggest me some valuable information.

  10. shweta

    I have completed my education in BE (E&TC).
    I have 2 yrs of industrial experience.
    what is good for me to pursue now MS or MBA.For which masters degree I will get more scope
    Kindly suggest.

  11. Vandana

    Sir what kind of work ex is required for MBA in abroad?any work ex will do? or just relevant work ex? I am currently working in an IT company

  12. Joy

    Thanks for your articles. i read through few of them. I need a suggestion, probably you would be best. i have exp of 10+ years(IT),have BE&ME from india, stayed in US over 5 years now, have plan to stay for another 3 Years(due to family/parental responsibility/son’s education). Earning USD 100K+ now. Will make my rest of the career/life in India(that’s the plan!). Have a plan to pursue MBA; getting chance from Michigan State Univ( Eli Broad-Executive MBA-20Months-weekend class -$70K total cost ~ 45L INR), the situation will be like, I shall complete MBA (somewhere in 2019)and then very next 2-3 months I will be going back to India(without working in US market with that skill).
    The other option is, grab some minimal certifications(grad certs/master certs) with way less cost(2-3-certs in < $20k) and go back to India, apply IIM for PGPeX type course(1Y fully residential, INR20L+(1Y sal)). Given the fact that I shall remain be settled in India for rest of my life; which option should be better? IIM stamp or MSU stamp?! 🙂
    thanks in advance for your time and thoughtful suggestion.
    (sorry for multiple post of the same question, you can ignore one of two)

  13. vikas

    sir i have done b com in 2008 after that i wasted my time in ca .i m passionate for mechanical engineering , can i go for MS in some other country as i m commerce graduate i can not take any science course in India pls reply

  14. ayesha

    i did BS-IT in which i also study many of management courses . now i m interested in management field. doing MS in management sciences is possible or not .

  15. Riya

    I am pursuing my degree (Biotech,2nd year) from Nagpure. I am interested in management field. I want to do job in forain country what preparation should I do for it. Plz help
    Thank you.

    1. administrator

      It all depends on what you want to do and your choice of schools. If you plan to work in India, I think studying from India based schools will help a lot.

  16. nitika sharma

    hii sir thanks for all ur article. They all are very useful to me . but i m still stuck in a question that after in cs in which field i should do mba . whether i do of my choice/interest or should i prefer the current situation i mean to say i should do mba in that field which gives me best jobs opportunity and a good salary in comparison to other kind of mba.

    1. administrator

      nitika sharma,
      MBA is a management degree, there is nothing you need to choose as a field. You only do some elective classes with an emphasis. I always would suggest to pick something that you like. You can choose your emphasis after you take admission, no need to worry about it too much.

  17. abhishek aror

    Sir ,
    I have completed my bachelor of commerce and get 48 % only from distance education.
    I want to do associate degree in accounting from U.S.A.
    So i can enhance my skills at my level..
    It will right for me or not.
    Plz tell me.

    1. administrator

      ahbishek aror,
      Well, while it sounds rosy to get a degree from US, you need to take a step back and think of why you want to study in US…Read Goals for MS in US You academics are not promising, you will need to really put some effort and get good scores in GRE/ TOEF or GMAT to get admission in good schools. Take some time to think of your situation and then make an informed decision.

  18. Bhargav

    Firstly thanks for the article above, it is really useful.
    I am doing my B.Tech (CS) final year from MSRIT. I am extremely interested in pursuing my masters in any business related fields, and as I’ve heard MBA requires quite a bit of work experience to make a cut into top B-Schools , what are the ways that i can quickly escalate to my MBA degree in a good B-School.
    And is MS in MIS or Technology management a good option ,as i have been placed at deloitte as a business analyst,so i am plannning to do my masters after a year of experience, i am pretty confused as to which path i need to take ,to make the most of my career

    1. administrator

      Yes, work experience always helps in getting more value from your MBA. Read When to do MBA after . In terms of what to study, it all depends…MBA is a general management degree and can work in many scenarios…unlike MS in MIS is very IT centric. Read MS in MIS Career Paths . It is good to take some time to speak to few seniors and understand what they do and where you see yourself in next 10 years…based on that you can make a decision on what fits your aspirations.

  19. Sahil Jain

    Dear Sir, I am having almost 3yrs of work experience…And Now my dream and aim is to do MBA from TOP B School. I am really sorry to say that i do not know how to plan it for and i can’t leave my job as i am supporting my family. Please clarify me for the following:
    1. How can i do MBA without leaving job??
    2. What are the colleges available for doing MBA with work exp?
    3. How well i can use my work exp to improve my career ?
    4. What is the Cost for doing ???
    5. What is the future i can see after MBA ?
    6. What are the exams i supposed to take and prepare for ?

    1. administrator

      Sahil Jain,
      1. You can do it part time by taking evening classes or by taking executive education weekend programs. Most of the top schools offer such options.
      2. There is no restriction as such with school, I would say most or all of the schools offer this option. If you are looking for specific executive education, then you will need to do some research, we do not provide such list.
      3. You need to articulate that as part of the essay or statement of purpose. Your experience will help in every aspect from admission to taking classes.
      4. Check cost of MS/ MBA in USA
      5. It is up to you how to plan it…MBA can be a big plus on how you use it…you need plan for it.
      6. Usually it is GMAT or GRE, along with TOEFL. Again, every school has its own requirements, you need to check with the school.

  20. Priyanka

    Hi satyam,
    I have finished my BE comps in 2014 from Mumbai University.
    Currently working in Capgemini as a Software Engg(8+ months exp only).
    Can you suggest me any good trusted consultancy agent as I am unsure about applying in the US for MBA colleges.

  21. Satyam

    i have 4.5 years of work experience in in indian IT industry. My wife is also in IT industry. She is currently in USA on H1B visa. Can you please suggest some course in USA so that i can apply for work visa and work permit in USA.


    1. administrator

      I do not think you should just pursue education for getting work permit. If your goal is to work in US, start to work for an MNC and try to work with them to apply for H1B visa, thats a better path. Also, there is no course as such that will get you work visa. You can only apply for a program that offers you degree like MS or MBA.

      1. Satyam

        Thanks Kumar for quick reply. I am currently working with one of the biggest indian MNC but no chance of getting visa at least this year. Can you please give some idea about getting admission to MBA.


        1. administrator

          If your goal is to be with your wife and then maybe study and work, you can go to US on H4 Visa and start your education there…you may not be able to work though, unless you qualify for H4 Visa EAD or on F1 visa status. Think about all options. Admission process is pretty straightforward, check out any university website, it is pretty clear…take GRE, TOEFL or GMAT and then apply to schools…

  22. MB

    hello sir..
    I am a Btech graduate in CSE. Completed my btech in june 2015.
    I was preparing for mba exms like cat n others. I want to do MS+MBA. But m really confused now. Should i do mba first or ms first?
    Some people advised me that mba is done after ms and you should go for a job, prepare well and then do ms and afterwards mba. Please help me.

    1. administrator

      Why do you want to do MS and MBA ? There is no need to do both…Both are very different and serve different purpose. If you want to get into technical areas or do PhD and become professor, then MS is a good choice. If not and you want to grow in Management side, then MBA is a better choice….
      We have many articles on this on the blog, read Decide MS or MBA section.

  23. Nitin Karthikeya

    Sir ,

    I am a CS grad of 2014 , i am now pursuing MBA from a college affiliated to university , i am quite confused whether to opt for MS or choose to do any specialization in MBA , since what i am pursuing an MBA is a basic degree from a college not even a b-school
    p.s : i cant code , i am good with management .

    1. administrator

      It totally depends on what you want to do. MBA has only emphasis on some aspect. MBA is a typical management degree…the emphasis just gives more focus on those areas to pick and enter that field in management…

  24. durga

    I completed computers degree in Indian and I want to study MBA in America is there any possibility to study in America I am very interested to study

    1. administrator

      Durga, Yes you can study MBA. All you need to do is take standardized tests like GMAT and TOEFL and then apply to schools in the US.

  25. Rohit

    Hi Sir!
    I am studying engineering third year and am confused what to choose after my I have planned for doing in banks for 2-3 years and then go to US for MBA.. Will it be useful ??
    Waiting for your Reply! 🙂

    1. administrator

      Rohit, Any work experience before MBA would be of great value to your business degree. You will learn a lot more and appreciate the value of MBA degree, if you work for few years.

  26. Prashant

    I’am doing in manufacturing Technology currently in 7th sem . i want to study abroad. i belong to a lower middle class family and want to do my masters on loan which i’ll pay after with my job .
    i am not sound in core subjects of my branch and interested in MBA but i can’t afford MBA and more because i don’t want to lose my 2-3 years , I want to do my masters in Industrial engineeing and after job will be my top priority. Considering this and my profile (10th-86% , 12th – 80%, grad – 65 %, 1 project in IIT bhu, working with 2 ngo’s) how much should i score in gre to get an admit in a state university with low tution fee and funding also 😛 if possible. I ‘am very confused what to do . please help me ,
    PS- is work exp. also required for MS ??

  27. sandeep


    I have done in Chemical Enginerring , do i have SHOT in MS programmes like MS in Finance ,MS in Business Analytics?
    Please reply back

  28. vamshi

    i have completed my degree(bcom computers). i have a small doubt? is it better to MS or MBA for my career growth in U.S.A. im totally confused. if i do MS wil it affect my career? as im from degree background.
    please sir suggest me

  29. S.christy

    Hi Sir/Mam,
    I like to my Master Of Science after doing my U.G. I’m the ittlew confusion about the M.S,kindly provide me the pathway for my carrier..

  30. Rajesh

    Hello sir,
    I’m in final year .Can I study Software architecture after completing this course?I googled about this, in most of the sites I saw only science graduates are eligible fr this course .Help me. Thanks in advance

  31. sowmya

    helllo buddy:I am dng my final yr of bachelor degree in biotechnology………from gitam i am confused whether to do masters or mba after bachelors……… which would a better option ……….???????????????.and for which stream the job opportunities are more???????ie easy settlement bcoz i do immediately want to do a job…………..

  32. molly

    hi..I hv done btech from cs and got only 60% also my coding, programming is not good at all..I wish to do MS from USA plz suggest me wat course should I go for dat does not include coding or programming and helps me to get a decent job either in USA or india. plz help

    1. nik

      you want to do MS but you don’t wana code !!
      OMG what are you thinking?
      MS is about advanced level of coding, analysis etc.
      You have to utilize your brain to earn a good salary else work in a supermarket.

  33. Fabiha

    Hello sir,

    I have done M.Sc (Microbiology) from Osmania University in 2010, and worked as a lecturer in microbiology from 2010- 2012. Wasted one year that is 2012- 2013 then I did B.Ed from OU.

    Now I m planning to do MS in US. Can u suggest me the programes for which I m eligible for studying MS. What kind of job I will get after completing MS in USA?


  34. nihal

    Sir i am a btech student…. I hv not done well in my btech…. Got a year back also…. I want 2 improve my academics… So i want to do ms from sm foreign countries…. Since graduation result is not that good… M doubtful that i will get admission in some colleges in uk or US… Can i get loan from bank regarding the tuition fees

    1. kishore

      Sir i am a btech student…. I hv not done well in my btech…. Got a year back also…. I want 2 improve my academics… So i want to do ms from sm foreign countries…. Since graduation result is not that good… M doubtful that i will get admission in some colleges in uk or US… Can i get loan from bank regarding the tuition fees

  35. Bhushan Patil

    I am BE last year apprear student but unable unable to take correct decision about Higher Education, I in US or Uk,,, M interested in MS (masterof science ) so can I apply for MS in US or UK or California and which branch should I select.

    Thank you

  36. santhosh

    Sir I am unable to take correct decision, I hv done looking for higher education in US,,, M interested in MS (master of science ) so can I apply for MS in US. Please advise. Thank you

  37. Ajay

    I have done (ECE) in 2014.
    I am doing job in an MNC as a quality analyst, which is a non-technical job.
    I have been interested in pursuing MBA, but didn’t took a decision. Now, preparing for CAT. Please suggest me some suitable branches for mba and further, advise me the right time to pursue mba and whether my current job will add any value to mba or not.


  38. Balakrishna

    Dear Sir, I am having almost 5yrs of work experience…And Now my dream and aim is to do MBA from TOP B School either it from India or Abroad??I am really sorry to say that i do not know how to plan it for and do the regular MBA. Please clarify me for the following
    1. What are the exams i supposed to take and prepare for ?
    2. What are the colleges available for doing MBA with work exp?
    3. How well i can use my work exp to improve my career ?
    4. What is the Cost for doing ???
    5. What is the future i can see after MBA ?

    K. Balakrishna

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