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MS vs MBA in USA – Fees, Funding ? How to Decide ?

This is the second article on MS vs MBA in the USA. If you have not read it, please read the first article:  Should I apply for MS or MBA in the US ? difference ? It talks about the differences between MS vs MBA and what each of the degrees focuses on. In this article, we will look at aspects of funding, fee and other aspects.

Fees  MBA vs MS? Which is cheap? State University Vs Private Schools

MS tuition fee is typically much cheaper than MBA.  Business schools have their own course fee structure. Also, in terms of fees, US State schools fee is always cheaper than Private Schools. For instance, MBA at private school like University of Chicago will cost you ONLY the tuition for NINE MONTHS is $74,919 as of year 2022.

As a non-resident, MBA at a state school like University of Wisconsin will cost you $47,013  for a 9 months for the year 2022.  Also, fees at University of Houston Masters program for MBA is around $1397 per credit in 2022, which comes to $12,573 per semester if you take 9 credits. Not going into specifics, but if you look at MS fees as well, it is cheaper to study in state schools.

The summary is that state schools always have a lesser fee as they are state-funded. For more details, read Cost of MS / MBA in US – Apply for Cheaper Schools

Funding – TA, RA, GA for MBA and MS ?

Funding is a big thing for students and most common types of funding as we have explained are in the form of Teaching Assistantships(TA), Research Assistantship(RA) and Graduate Assistantship(GA). Check the post about what are TA, GA and RA for more info if you do not know with funding info.   

Let’s think logically first, MS is more technical and research oriented, logically speaking if the University has more research funding then, there is more funding for MS. On the other hand, MBA, it is not tied very much to research, where do funds come from?  The only source for MBA funding is Fellowships, scholarships, or TAs for Undergrad Business students. 

If you notice, for MBA, the research part is almost not there unless you are in Ph.D. Guess what, if you are MBA and applying for funding in Business school,  MS people of Marketing or Finance are competition to you for that too.  So, your option is to work in other departments or have no funding at all.

But for MS, you have many options like working as RA, TA or GA in your department or other department based on your background.  Not only logically, but in reality too, there is less funding for MBA than for MS due to the research focus and other related aspects. You may get in-state tuition in state universities if you stay long enough like year or so and pay taxes in that states by working on a work visa, but in private schools forget about funding…

Should you study MS or MBA? How to decide ?

I know most of you want to be managers and entrepreneurs in future by jumping into MBA right after B.Tech, B.A or B.Com… Let me tell you the truth folks, You will learn very little if you go to MBA without two to three years of work experience. You have to work in an organization setting to fully comprehend and appreciate the full potential of MBA.  For this reason, most of the business schools have a requirement of 3 to 5 years of work experience as a major factor. 

Think about this, “if you were never a team member, how will you understand the team member’s problems and their perspective if you were never a team member and directly have become a manager”. So, start at the base and then climb up ! My recommendation is if you are starting your career, then do not go for MBA, work and then go. Read MBA after B.tech or With Work Experience ?. As of MS is concerned, as I said in previous posts there are many types of students who would like to come to the US for education and some for jobs only.  Depending on your situation, you may pick one of the below.

  • Typically, MS is done for anyone with career path of PhD  or research.
  • If you want to do Ph.D. someday and be professor, then MS and PhD integrated program.
  • If you worked for two years, and have money to support your MBA financially, then MBA
  • If you are not sure what you want to do, then take time to think about what you really like and where you see yourself in next 10 years and take a decision on what makes sense for your career path.

Overall, it is up to your passion on where you want to be in the next 10 years, try to do something that will help you get there…it is your decision, plan well and go for your passion… I am not trying to discourage anyone to do MBA right after B.Tech, but just telling you the facts I have learnt.  Good Luck ! Make an informed decision….It is your future !

What are your thoughts ? Anything to add that I have missed ?


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  1. Hello,
    I am a Graduate with 7 years of Experience in Software Engineering, Currently working as a DevOps Engineer. I am more of a technical person and can’t decide what should I pursue MS or MBA in the USA.
    1. Many said to me that it is difficult to get a visa stamped(visa officer will not be convinced) for MS with such experience
    2. If I do an MBA, Can I work on the technical side rather than the MBA field
    3. If I do an MBA, will I be eligible to apply H1B under Masters students Quota
    4. Where can I check which colleges offer which Masters Courses or MBA Courses
    5. What do you think is the better option for people like me MS or MBA?

  2. Shruthi
    I have completed my B.E. Electronics and Communication Engineering. Currently I am working in an IT company.I am planning to do my MBA in either 2018 or 2019 intake. I am not sure if i could do it in India or Abroad? Could you please provide suggestions on it?

  3. Sir, I’m a student pursuing B.tech from a Govt. College in Computer Science. I”ll be completing my degree in June 2018. I’m planning to do higher education in Computer Science from India. Although my college is a Govt. college, it just provides a degree, not Knowledge. I am doing whatever I’d to improve my technical skills. I want you to suggest me “Which stream should I choose for M.tech and what are the things I need to prepare for it??”

  4. hello Sir, I am a Btech graduate 2014( CS-59%). I have no work experience. I am on H4 visa in US. I am planning to take up MBA as I am interested in that and don’t want to go into technical field. But seeing your advise, its better to do MBA after work experience. So should I take up MS to get work experience? or is there any other way? is there any field in MS which is atmost similar to MBA? if I take up MS, then I will not be doing MBA.
    Please Guide me.

  5. i am in a great confusion right now . i have done my btech 2016 passed out .i planned off to do my ms in us in this spring but due to few reasons i have to postponed it . Currently i am doing my certification course on digital marketing for time being but it turned out to be very interesting for me . i want to pursue something related to it .so,could you suggest me whether ms or mba will fetch me more for salalrywise and work opportunities wise ? thanks in advance

    • Darsi,
      We do not advise on specific areas, you will need to do your own research. In general, you need to look at your long term plans and see what makes sense for you. Everything is relative in life, especially salary and opportunities… and you need to take an informed decision.

  6. Hello Kumar,

    I am a Team lead with a good brand and on H1B from last 3 years. My total IT experience is 10 years. I was always on technical side of work, and my company leads want me to be technical, which I am not interested. I want to move in management side. So, is this right that I add MBA to my education graph to jump in management side in the same or different company . I am Btech(Electronics) from India.

    • Rashida,
      I think it is a good idea. MBA will help, but you will need a plan to make the transition. One of things you can do is to look at internally and see, if they would consider you for a position, if you get MBA…One of the other things you can do is to find an internship in the area of your interest and make the switch once you are done. While, MBA will help, but it will not guarantee you anything, unless you plan well.

  7. Hello Kumar,
    I appreciate your work towards advising the people to claim their career.
    About me, I have 10 years exp in Automotive brake design in India , with full time diploma & part time B E from Madras Institute of Technology.My work is 75% technical & 25% time line management. Currently in organisation i may get 10% hike every year & i didn’t feel that i will reach heights because with this 10% increment. So have planned to do MBA course in US, so that i will get a job opportunity.I am having few question about this , which i have listed here
    1.What is your pinion on part time MBA for me.
    2.Shall apply for PR in US & i can earn more .
    3.Shall find a consultant & get H1B Visa & i can work in US. So that i can do my part time MBA in US.
    4.What is the value for Full time MBA & Part time MBA. Which is better & pay me more.
    5. My intention to come to US is that i can earn more money than India is that true?
    6.After a some 10 years of experience i can go back to India, so that i can be recruited in height management position, since i have overseas experience.

    Request your advice for the same.

    • arun,
      1. Well, my personal opinion is that, if you can afford to do full time, you should do full time. The value you get out of full time MBA is quite higher.
      2. You will have options to work for yourself and start companies, if you are green card holder…you can do consulting as well, there is no dependency…but just having green card, will not get you more money.
      3. Well, consultant route is subject to so much of risk and fraud…If the company you work for has operations in US, you should consider doing internal transfer using L1 and then think of options.
      4. Degree wise, it is same…but the experience, your classmates, the network you get, all will vary…Full time MBA is better any day.
      5. Well, you may…but, there are so many unknowns, which are not in your hands…like H1B lottery, risk, hefty fees for MBA, two years of your time, etc. You need to be cognizant of the fact and take an informed decision.
      6. I do not think it matters much…after that many years of work experience, it is only your experience that someone will look at…not at your degree.

  8. Sir, i am in last year of mechanical engineering. .i am confuse about MBA or Ms
    Let me tell you clearly that i want to do MBA …i am interested
    But as a fresher there are chances to get admission in usa ?
    And if not, 3 or 4 month work experience should be sufficient?
    Waiting for reply…

    • Sir, i am a student of Brac University, Bangladesh. I will be graduating on April 2017. Recently i got my green card in USA and i wanted to do MBA. But i have no work experience and i also have no time as i have to shift to USA. can i get myself admitted into a good university for MBA program?

  9. sir I am graduating next year . I am planning to give GMAT and TOEFL for universities in USA and UK . I am doing bba right now and want to do fresher’s MBA right after it from good universities. I want to know that will I get good placement after this MBA in USA or UK . waiting for the answer

  10. Sir, I have completed BSc geology. And after 3 years of education, I am planning to do one year of masters in India so that I get relevant 16yrs of education that will be equalizer to US bachelors degree.
    I want to study MS in geology.
    Can you tell me about job opportunities in US for geology?
    Now speaking about the fact, one would like to invest his money considering the job opportunities in the country. Hence, i was also going through the field of MBA.
    I would like to study in US and do my job in there.
    Speaking about risk factor, what opportunities are more in US?
    Geology,environmental related jobs or MBA related jobs?
    And what do you suggest?

    • Pereira,
      I cannot speak for Geogoly as I am not from that background. Coming to the risk, you need to understand the blatant fact about H1B Lottery Situation in US, read Apply for MS or MBA with H1B lottery . You can search on the internet for the prospects…you need to be clear on your goals and be ready to come back, if things do not work out….

  11. hello sir,
    I am vikas studied B.tech(cse).i’m confused to study MBA or MS .Can u please say me the advantages of doing MBA ,i mean in what field can we do jobs after doing MBA

    • VIKAS,
      MBA is a management degree, it can help you work in Management, Sales, Marketing, etc. more on the business side of things or even on the business aspects of IT. It is always up to you how to use your MBA and get job. I suggest you take time to jot down what you want to do in next 10 years and then pick up something that will help you to reach there.

  12. hello sir…
    I am sowmiya. I am studying B.Tech(IT).
    I want to study MS degree.In MS degree there are many categories.
    In India what kind of category I am select which one is best in India.
    plz give kind of MS categories.

    • sowmiya,
      Why do you want to MS ? Any specific reason ? Best for what ? Best is very relative. You need to know what you are passionate about, not something random. Take your time to think about why you want to study and then look at options. Read the section Decide MS or MBA, we have few articles in that section that talk about it.

  13. Hello Sir,
    I want to be an entrepreneur and I am currently pursuing B.Tech(CompSci)
    So I decided to either get an MBA(Finance) or a MS(MIS) degree after my Btech
    But i am confused between these 2 fields as which field will provide me the required knowledge about finance,Enterprise management,etc.
    So please help me out.

    • Ashwin,
      MBA is a better fit for getting the knowledge you want. Personally, if you were to ask me, you do not need an MBA for being an entrepreneur, you just jump with your idea and learn the ropes of the startup as you go…having an MBA will help for sure, but not mandatory.

  14. Hello Sir,
    I will soon be graduating next year. I am currently doing B.COM here in India. I was planning on going for a Freshers MBA (without work exp.) in Finance in US next year. I have researched a little bit on several universities and colleges but did not manage to find any college with Freshers MBA. Nearly most of the colleges require professional work experience which i don’t have now. After seeing your post I was thinking of doing an MS in Finance rather than an MBA. I just wanted to ask you that if I go for an MS degree now, can i later do an MBA when I will be having a proper work experience? Also will i get a proper job after doing my MS so that I can later do an MBA?

    P.S. I have to go to US next year and cannot start working now because of certain problems.
    Will be waiting for your reply.

    • Anthony,
      Well, you can do MBA anytime after MS too. But, I see no reason to get another degree, if your goal is to do MBA, my view is that you should get some work experience. I am not sure about your personal situation…If, I were you, I would work and then do MBA.

  15. VIBHA
    Hello Sir,
    I have completed mt B.Tech in electronics and communiaction engg and got placed in a company.My friends who got placed in the same company as mine already got their date of joining and are working whereas iam still waiting for my date of joining.Meanwhile iam very much confused on how to utilize this period..
    I am thinking to join some programming coarses (Iam not much interested in it though) or to go for MS or MBA coaching classes…OR to jus sit and wait for my doj.Please do reply.

    • VIBHA,
      Well, it totally depends on what you want to do in the long run. If you plan to do MBA after couple of years or so, it is definitely worth taking GMAT classes and giving the test. The scores are valid for 5 years and will help you. In fact, my cousin did the same thing. You also have a lot of courses and degrees online on Coursera and Udacity, you can pick up something and go for completing them with a certificate by paying some money, it may help you in the job search in future.

  16. Dear Sir,
    I have two years experienced in telecom as field engineer and now I am sure to do MBA so that after MBA , I can rejoin telecom field but in the management department. Am I in the right direction????

    • Niraj,
      Yes, you can. The trick is in positioning yourself about MBA and making right connects internally or externally to switch to that role. Just doing MBA would not get you there, you need to speak and plan with your boss or well wishers in the company or find a new company that can give you the same.

  17. hello!
    Sir, i m doing BE computer engineering , it will complete on year of 2018
    I read all your articles on ” MS OR MBA” but the question is remain same …that

    Clearly i dont want to do ms in us …but i am damn intrested in doing own business
    but i m confused should i do ME n then go for MBA (after working exp) OR
    After completing BE go for MBA (with proper working exp) ?


    • Raj,
      If you are interested in doing your own business, I suggest that you take a break and work in similar industry as your business for a year or two and then take MBA as needed. You really do not need MBA to run your business. It can help you understand on how to run

  18. Sir I have done my BTech in Computer science. Next year I’m going to US. I would be a green card holder because my wife is an American citizen.
    I never learnt any programming language during my engineering.
    I have a year now before going to US.
    Should I learn any programming language?
    Which language should i go for?

      • I did learn c c++ but I never learnt Java. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to learn any other Language.
        Now that I’m going to US and I have to do MS. What should I do now?

  19. Sir, can you give me some insight into M.S in Finance. I am a B.tech from I.T and don’t want to go into that coding and stuff so i am thinking of M.S in Finance. One of my seniors also applied for M.S in Finance and got admission in TAMU. Would this be the right option?

  20. hello sir
    sir i m going for ms in civil from US next year ..
    i want to knw wat r d chances tht i get a job their on my b.tech degree or else on msaters degree in USA because i dnt want to come bck ?
    is my decision choosing us is right ???

    • kulwinder,
      One thing you need to be clear is that, there is no guratnee of getting job after MS and you need to go through H1B Lottery as well to work in US after studying. You need to be clear on your goals. Studying should not be a backup option to get job. Read goals for MS in US

      • yaa sir u r right …
        study should not be a back up option for job..
        but now i am in the middle or a confusing stage..!
        but frankly speaking sir, suppose if not get a decent job their nd i come bck to my country ..
        did my ms nd experience of US is more valuable when i apply here for jobs in MNC of civil engg..
        how can i find tht which country have a bright future for civil engg ..

        • kulwinder,
          Well, your MS will be considered another masters degree, unless you are from Ivy league. Check Jobs in India after MS in US . Well, I do not know. It is something that you will need to research and make an informed decision. I wish I could add more. Good Luck !


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