MS vs MBA Degree | Facts you need to know (2019)

Confused about whether to pursue an MS or MBA degree? Worried about meeting the eligibility criteria? Wish to know the top universities for MBA or MS programs in countries like the US, UK or Australia? Read more to learn about the major differences between an MS and an MBA degree, job prospects, career opportunities and pay scale for both of these programs overseas.

Difference between MS and MBA degree

A masters program allows you to acquire in-depth knowledge about a particular subject while an MBA program allows you to acquire general management skills. The MS programs provide specialized skills and knowledge in a particular domain. If you wish to develop a new area of expertise and also add professional credential to your skill set in a short span of time, then an MS program is the ideal one for you. MBA programs are ideal for working in managerial positions in an organization.

While a masters program focuses on in-depth advanced academic knowledge in a particular field, an MBA program is suited to students from any academic or professional background who want greater career flexibility, management roles, or business ownership,

Benefits of pursuing an MBA program

An MBA graduate degree will help you to avail a plethora of advantages in this competitive era. Opting, for an MBA from a top business school, has its own set of benefits.

Management skills

If you are looking forward to developing exceptional management skills, then an MBA program is the right one for you. An MBA program and its connected specialization will teach you the following skills-

  • Manufacture, advertise and also sell your products or services
  • Maintain a positive image of the company
  • Keeping the company’s finances healthy
  • Gather and interpret all the acquired industry data
  • Hire the right people and also keep them motivated
  • Create hierarchies in an organization that will help the company thrive
  • Taking the right decisions at the right time

Access to an extensive business network

You will have excellent networking opportunities when you interact closely with your fellow students. You will be able to closely interact with the professors, fellow students, and also people with more significant management experience. Apart from the industrial experience that you will acquire, you will have a better understanding of the business environment.

Higher pay scale

The average income for an individual with an MBA program is much higher than a person with an MS program. You can expect to earn a lot when you have an MBA degree. Some of the popular career choices for an individual with an MBA degree is management analyst, market research analyst, HR manager, top executive, business operations manager, and others.

Average salaries for MBA graduates

  • In the U.S. – 84,650 EUR/year
  • European countries – 100,000 EUR/year

In two-three years, you cover the investment made with your MBA education.

Average two-year MBA costs at top business schools

  • In the U.S. – 101,200 EUR/year
  • In Europe – 9,800 to 35,600 EUR/year

Expands your career opportunities

Most of the MBA graduates either wish to go for entrepreneurial positions or else opt for managerial positions in reputed organizations across the world. An MBA degree would open the door of opportunities for you for higher level administrative positions. Over 50% of MBA graduates worldwide are senior managers or board directors. This type of job brings a higher salary, but also more significant responsibilities.

Enhance your entrepreneurship skills

If you are the one wishing to run your business someday, then an MBA program is the ideal one for you. An MBA will help you acquire new business practices to start a new business or also to improve the existing ones to grow. Those who do not prefer to work for top-level managerial positions prefer to start on their own. If this is something on your mind, an MBA is the most suitable degree for you.

Benefits of pursuing an MS program

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18% of all jobs require a masters degree by the end of the year 2022. In this competitive era, a masters degree will help you to stand out and also remain as a valuable employee.

Specialized domain knowledge

One of the most important things that you acquire is specialized knowledge in a particular domain. A graduate degree shows that you are determined to enhance your industry experience and also become more competitive in a specific field. Focusing on a specific area of study, a masters degree will help you to become more competitive in your field.

Career growth

If you are looking for career advancement, a masters degree will help you to make a smooth transition to senior positions. Most of the organizations not only recognize the benefits of a masters degree but also encourage their employee to get one.

Greater earning potential

When it comes to earning potential, a masters degree can help you to get the required increase in your salary significantly. It is said that on an average, a bachelors degree can help you get $50,360 per year while a bachelors degree can help you get approximately around $68,064, which is a 35 percent increase.

Lifelong learning

If you are looking for a path for lifelong learning, then a masters degree will help you to research, write, and also analyse the skill sets. You can become a better problem solver and also handle complex project as you obtain a masters degree. A graduate degree will help you to expand your wealth of knowledge.

Professional networking

Whether you take courses online or also a full-time course, your fellow classmates would come from a wide variety of backgrounds. You will be able to connect to numerous professionals who are very successful in their careers.

Which program (MS or MBA) has more value in the following countries?

USA:

Generally, people with less than 2-3 years of experience opt for MS programs and those with more experience and higher budgets go for MBA. MS is the US is a much better choice than an MBA program owing to the comprehensive course structure and immense career prospects.

UK

Masters and MBA program in the UK are of shorter duration than other countries. Both MBA and MS programs in UK are comprehensive owing to short duration yet provides practical knowledge and insights along with offering research facilities. Both programs have equal career prospects.

Australia

Australia is one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Studying in Australia is a really good option provided your course is listed in the Permanent Residency List. MS or MBA programs in Australia are good enough to give a major boost to your career. But the MBA programs in Australia are preferable than the MS programs. According to MBA News Australia, the MBA market is worth A$500 million, with more than 20,000 students presently studying at more than 30 Australian schools. Some of the B-schools in Australia like the Melbourne Business School and AGSM are also high in rankings. The programs are acknowledged across countries and by the best of industries across the world.

Germany

MS is always a good career option in Germany, particularly in the field of Mechanical, Mechatronics, Automobile and Biotech. ( Avg salary – Euro 50–60K). The research facilities are immense when it comes to MS programs in Germany.

Canada

When it comes to schools in Canada, the tuition fees are much lower than in other countries for international students. This goes for both MS and MBA programs. Also, you get a work visa that lasts up to three years. Furthermore, the job market is much more secure and opportunities are more when compared to other countries like the US. So, both MSand MBA is a good option in Canada.

Sweden

Despite the small population, the education system in Sweden is ranked as one of the best in the world. Sweden has always offered a student-driven approach toward learning. Be it an MS or an MBA program, if you are looking for creative challenging coursework, you can opt for an MS or MBA program from Sweden.

Best universities for MS program

US

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • University of Chicago
  • Princeton University
  • Cornell University
  • Yale University
  • Columbia University

UK

  • The University of Cambridge
  • The University of Oxford
  • UCL (University College London)
  • Imperial College of London
  • The University of Manchester
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • The University of Bristol
  • The University of Warwick

Australia

  • The University of Melbourne
  • Monash University
  • The University of New South Wales
  • RMIT University
  • The University of Sydney
  • Australian National University
  • The Queensland University of Technology
  • The University of Adelaide

Germany

  • RWTH Aachen University
  • The University of Tübingen
  • Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • The University of Bonn

Canada

  • McGill University
  • The University of Toronto
  • The University of British Columbia
  • The University of Alberta
  • Montreal University
  • McMaster University
  • The University of Waterloo
  • The University of Calgary

Sweden

  • Karolinska Institute
  • Uppsala University
  • Lund University
  • Stockholm University
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology

New Zealand

  • University of Auckland
  • University of Otago
  • Auckland University of Technology
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Waikato
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Lincoln University Canterbury
  • Massey University

Top Universities for MBA Programs

US

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • The University of Chicago
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Columbia University
  • Princeton University

UK

  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • University of Warwick
  • University College London
  • University of Bristol
  • Durham University

Australia

  • The University of Melbourne
  • AGSM at Univ of New South Wales
  • Monash University
  • The University of Sydney
  • Macquarie Graduate School of Management
  • AGSM at UNSW Business School
  • Melbourne Business School

Germany

  • Frankfurt School of Finance & Management
  • European School of Management and Technology (ESMT
  • WHU – Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management
  • TUM Technische Universität München
  • HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

Canada

  • Ivey Business School – University of Western Ontario
  • Schulich School of Business – York University
  • Rotman School of Management – University of Toronto
  • Desautels Faculty of Management – McGill University
  • Sauder School of Business – University of British Columbia
  • Queen’s School of Business Queen’s University

Sweden

  • Stockholm Business School
  • Stockholm School of Economics
  • Gothenburg School of Business
  • Uppsala University
  • Blekinge Institute of Technology

New Zealand

  • University of Otago Business School
  • Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
  • The University of Auckland Business School
  • The University of Canterbury

Is it a good idea to pursue an MS degree after an MBA and vice versa?

MS and MBA are two different paths in the field of academics. While MS focuses on in-depth knowledge in one particular field, an MBA program is for students who seek management roles or pursue entrepreneurship. It isn’t a good idea to pursue an MS degree after an MBA degree.
if you do an MS after an MBA, it clearly means that you were not focused enough on your career path. You started out with a bachelors degree, then went out to an MBA program and then went back to the sector and did a masters again.

Both MBA and MS are very diverse fields. You can pursue an MBA degree after MS if you have the required leadership skills and wish to start a business of your own. However, to pursue an MBA, it is very much important to have at least 2-3 years of industrial experience in the relevant domain.

Eligibility criteria for an MS degree

The eligibility criteria are as follows-

  • Bachelors degree in relevant fields
  • Many of the universities require GRE scores for admission.
  • Work experience is always not required but is always preferable.
  • Language proficiency tests like IELTS or TOEFL
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose

Eligibility criteria for an MBA program

  • Bachelors program or equivalent
  • 2-3 years of work experience
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Proof of English language tests like IELTS or TOEFL
  • GMAT scores

Profile building tips for an MS program vs. MBA program

Building a profile for an MS program and an MBA program has a couple of differences and similarities as well. Some of the most important tips are as follows-

Figure out your unique selling point

When it comes to MS program, one of the foremost things that you need to do as a part of building a profile, is to figure out your unique selling point. Look for instances from your professional and academic life, which can substantiate the strengths that you wish to highlight. This is also very important for students who wish to pursue an MBA program. Your unique selling point would make your profile unique and separate your candidature from a thousand other candidates.

Statement of Purpose

A powerful statement of purpose is also one of the most important parameters of building your profile for an MS or MBA program. The statement of purpose should have a brief introduction of yourself, your academic background, and also talk about your long term and short term goals. You need to do extensive research about the program you wish to pursue from the university website and mention why you chose that particular university. You will need a statement of purpose both for your MBA and MS program. Apart from a powerful SOP, letters of recommendation and a resume is also an integral part of profile building for your MS program. This is also required for your MBA program.

Work experience

Work experience is always preferred when it comes to admission into an MS program. Experience in an industry-oriented environment is always preferable as that would give you a better idea about the real-life applications of the curriculum you wish to study.
Work experience in relevance to the field you wish to pursue the MBA in is an integral step of building your profile for an MBA program. A major part of the reputed B schools does not grant admission if you do not have suitable work experience in the same domain.

Research Publication

Publishing your research work always gives you a competitive edge over other candidates in the same domain. It speaks volumes about your academic interests. If you have written any sort of research paper or dissertation for your undergraduate program, you can always showcase that to highlight your strengths in academics. This is an integral step to build your profile for MS program, but research work publication is not required to pursue an MBA program.

Diversifying profile

Diversifying your profile is also an important step of building your profile for a master or an MBA program. If you have opted for any sort of extra certification courses apart from your technical domain, this is a great way to diversify your profile and showcase the admission committee that you have an all rounder personality, A holistic personality is something admission committee members look for while they consider your candidature for admission into a particular program.

Language proficiency

Finally, proficiency in English language and expertise in the local language of the country you wish to pursue your program will give you that competitive edge over other students in the same field. This is required both for MS and MBA programs.

Networking

Networking is an important part of the profile building for MS or MBA program. Networking with your peers will always help you to know more about job prospects and also get valuable insights about your career. It would help you to get that global exposure that you have been seeking to share and exchange ideas. Network with your professors from college, friends, seniors, and alumni to gain valuable knowledge and also acquire skills for the program.

Enhancing your leadership skills

Building your profile for an MBA program needs you to focus more on enhancing your leadership skills. You should actively take part in voluntary activities and also try to become the leaders of a big project. It can be volunteering with NGO, working with a startup or being an active participant of the rotary club. This would instill the leadership and entrepreneurship skills in you and prepare you for the MBA program. This is something exclusive for pursuing an MBA program and not an MS program.

Demonstrate your ability to lead by stepping forward and lead wherever you can. Learn how to manage people, budgets, and also projects. One of the important reasons people pursue an MBA is to opt for a management position at a reputed MNC or start a business of their own. By showcasing some experience in leadership, you’ve already got your foot toward the door of opportunities.

Job prospects (MBA vs. MS program)

MBA program

MBA – Job prospects comparison until the year 2026

Management analyst—14 percent growth, faster than average growth for all occupations
Budget analyst—7 percent growth, as fast as the average growth for all occupation
Human Resources Management—9 percent growth, a little faster than average growth for all occupations
Financial Management—19 percent growth, faster than average growth for all occupations
Translator/Interpreter—18 percent, much faster than average growth for all occupations
Marketing Management—10 percent, a little faster than average growth for all occupations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the constant demand for individuals with an MBA degree is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations. But, as corporations are establishing operations overseas or seek to strengthen their bonds with existing global partners, demand for those with specialized skills, like business management, ethics, advising and people management—will likely increase.

How would an MBA impact your earnings?

Salaries for MBA graduates have reached an average of $142,000 in the year 2017, up 12 percent increase from the year 2014. Data analysis from the year 2018 ranking indicate that salaries are still increasing for MBA graduates. The average alumni salaries have increased year after year for about three-quarters of business schools.

A salary survey by NACE’s Winter in the year 2019 shows that a class of 2019 graduate opting for a bachelor’s degree in business administration is predicted to earn a starting salary of approximately $57,133. However, a class of 2019 graduate with an MBA degree can expect to earn $84,580 for a difference of nearly $27,500.

MS program 

When it comes to job opportunities, an MS program will help you get into the research field and also in specialized areas in any particular domain. It can be anything like a teacher, an IT consultant, a software engineer, or a nurse practitioner. Job prospects are quite diverse and also at a higher rate when it comes to MBA and MS candidates.

In a 2016-2017 report, PayScale.com posts the highest paying jobs for MS graduates. For example, all chemical engineers have made a median salary of $72,829. However, those with a master’s degree made approximately $73,100 and $125,000. Similarly, the median salary of an average nurse anesthetist, $135,925, when compared to the one with a master’s degree making approximately around $140,000 to $156,000. The same can be said of electrical engineers, who made approximately around $72,602 when compared to a master’s range of $79,900 to $127,000.

On average, individuals with a master’s degree make $17,000 more annually than a person with a bachelors degree.

How would an MS degree impact your salary?

the difference between average starting salaries for a class of 2019 computer science majors is still vital. A graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science is predicted to earn a starting salary of approximately around $68,103, while a computer science major earning a master’s degree this year is expected to earn approximately $82,275, which is a difference of more than $14,000.