One of the most asked questions by many students planning to study in the US is “Should I study MBA or MS ?” Some know what they want, some are not sure, and rely on the hype and general trend in the market based on some factors like salary, branding, etc. If you look at countries like India, with the hype of all IIMs, ISB, and other premier MBA institutions the shift in pursuing higher education has been 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 study in the US are thinking in the same direction as everyone in India and plan to land in Ivy league schools, the University of Chicago, Kellog School of Business, etc. But the reality is that many do not know the implications and what it all means for their careers. In this article, we will cover the basic differences between them.
What is MS Degree? What do you study in MS?
MS means “Master of Science”. As it says, master of science, you are going much deeper than what you studied with a bachelor’s degree. Your focus is primarily to get into the advanced topics in a particular subject, you will study topics in much depth. Just to compare with countries like India, MS is like doing M.Sc or M.A back in that respective country . The emphasis is more on advanced topics in that particular area.
Example : Let’s 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, etc. in much more detail…sorry if you are not a computer science major and you did not get it. Overall, what I was saying is that you study the technical aspects of a subject to another level and more deeply.
To get into the MS program, it is ideal to have the same background or major in bachelor’s degree. For instance, lets’ say you have a B.tech in Computer Sciences, then it is ideal to take MS in Computer Sciences or if you have a B.A. or B.Com with a focus on Economics or Finance, then you can do MS in Accounting or Finance.
If you are from different background, nothing to worry. You can still pursue your dream, it is that that you would have to do lot of foundation classes or pre-requisite courses to change the major. Read Can I study a different major in masters for MS ? Requirements.
What is MS good For? What can I do with MS ? Jobs ?
As MS is more technical in nature, it is good for doing further research by enrolling in a Ph.D. or working in technical positions in your job. It can be like Database Architect, Marketing Research Director, Advance Tax & valuation expert, etc. It may give you an edge if you are in the technical area or research.
Typically, many people who wish to become researchers, and professors one day, choose this path so that they can go to Ph.D. and then become a professor or researcher someday. Some just take it because they love the subject and want to know the details to an advanced level.
What is MBA Degree ? What do you study an MBA ?
MBA stands for “Master of Business Administration”. As it clearly says, we can see it is an Administration or Management degree by name. It is in 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 a company’s or organization’s resources and people effectively.
Typically, 2/3rd of the classes will be fundamental courses in 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. Do 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 a 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 position in an organization. The degree teaches you all about Business and how to effectively manage people, and 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 a 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 in Entrepreneurship to become an entrepreneur of a Business. There are people who do PhD too, but most of the people with MBAs become managers, and based on their emphasis and experience, they can 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 recommended 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 the second part of MS vs MBA after B.Tech – Fees, Funding .
Any thoughts to add on the differences of MS vs MBA ?