MBA Vs Masters. Which One to Choose?

How to choose between an MBA and Masters

If you are wondering what is the difference between an MBA, and Masters look no further. In this article, we will summarise what an MBA is and what a Masters is. Then, we will help you to clarify the differences, and choose between the two.

MBA Vs Masters – The Showdown

Before we get into the details and begin to compare the two qualifications, let’s first clarify what each one is:

Technically an MBA is, in fact, a Masters. The full name for the program is Master of Business Administration. The course typically helps people who are already experienced in business deepen their skill set and knowledge.

Whereas a Masters could be any other course available at the appropriate level. For the purpose of this article, and the most relevant comparison, we will focus on business-related Masters. For example, you could enrol on a Masters in management, business, finance or Economics. In fact, the options are endless. Within all those options you can find specialised and more generalised courses.

The Overarching Differences

At the initial glance, we can see how you can tailor a Masters to your specific interests or industry. For many people wanting to embark on a career or those people who want to focus on attaining a particular job role, a Masters could make the best choice.

The MBA contains modules to give a core set of more generalist business skills. Then, the MBA follows up by including modules within the course structure which enables their students to specialise.

Herein lies the attraction of the MBA. Actually, the course prepares students for high-level management positions. The providers achieve this by teaching broad in-depth business knowledge. Students can then apply this knowledge to their industry. This is instead of preparing students for a skill-based role.

In short, managers don’t necessarily need to be experts in a particular skill or subject. Rather, they need to be experts in business itself and have enough knowledge in the other areas to guide and lead employees.

Quick Comparison

Now, let’s compare some of the attributes of both the MBA and Masters.


MBA stands for Masters of Administration. The course intakes experienced professionals and helps them to deepen their knowledge and skill set. Moreover, they include the possibility to tailor the content towards the student’s interests. For example, an MBA could offer optional modules on consulting, finance, HR or for entrepreneurs.

What Industries Best Suit an MBA?

Traditionally, the most popular industries for graduates to target is consulting, finance, engineering, government/public sector, and technology.

However, 2018 graduates also show considerable interest in starting their own company. MBA’s have a good reputation for preparing their graduates well for entrepreneurship.

In the 2018 Qs Top MBA survey, they discovered female applicants consider a wider range of opportunities. They lean more towards HR, Media/ Advertising, recruitment, and training as well as the traditional fields.

Where can an MBA lead?

Generally speaking, an MBA can lead to mid-level and high-level management positions. Opportunities usually present across a wide range of industries. Yet the common theme shows graduates are aiming for plum management positions. Often, they are aiming to become a CEO or director.


You can choose a Masters from a wide range of subjects. Each Masters will then prepare their students in a very specific way particular to the course. For example, a Masters in Consulting will focus on consulting, while overlooking other topics like finance or HR.

What Industries Best Suit a Masters?

Every industry has a Masters suited to it. However, within the business world, you may find recruiters give preference to MBA graduates. For example, in consultancy, many agencies will prefer graduates with an MBA.

Where can a Masters lead?

A Masters can lead in a huge variety of directions but notably in the direction of the Masters you choose. Therefore, Finance will lead to finance, consulting to consulting, HR to HR, and so on. In short, the subject of the Masters can limit your opportunities.

MBA or Masters – The Conclusion

Lastly, an important factor to consider is the value employers give to graduates of MBA programs. In the GMAC corporate recruiters report for 2018, they state 4 in 5 employers plan to hire MBA graduates in 2018.

The report also brings good news for us Aussies. In the Asia-Pacific region (APAC), the trend for companies planning to hire MBA graduates in 2018 is at 90%. This is higher than any other world region.

The MBA gives you in-depth learning focused on providing a overarching training for high-level management jobs. In addition, you have the opportunity to study focus topics of your own choosing. Finally, the recognition and value placed on the MBA might just tip the balance in favour of an MBA.

However, if your passion is for a particular industry or role, then choosing a Masters for that subject can still be a good move.

The Winner

Lastly, in the MBA Vs Masters contest, the winner has to be the MBA. But of course, there are always exceptions!

It is always worthwhile spending some time to research a Masters specific to your area of interest. Then go ahead and directly compare the syllabus with an MBA before you make your final decision.

Good luck to you all!