Master in Management vs. MBA - 6 Ways to Decide Which Business Degree Fits You Best

Everyone has heard of MBAs and their incredibly versatile skills they offer to future managers and business leaders. MIMs (Masters in Management) on the other hand, have not been so popular until recently.

According to the 2016 GMAC Survey, the number of students applying for Masters in Management has increased by over 50%. With their growing popularity, MIMs are becoming a considerable business study alternative to the long-established and highly sought after Masters of Business Administration (MBAs).

However, the two types of degrees don’t necessarily compete. In fact, one could regard them as complementary since they cover different market segments of students and have different goals and contents.

Find out more about the similarities and difference between MiMs and MBAs so you decide which option suits your needs better.

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1. Target groups for MiMs vs. MBAs

Masters in Management target mostly recent graduates who have little or no professional experience. MIM candidates can have less than one year of full-time postgraduate corporate work experience or less than two years in a non-business position. Thus, MIM students are typically younger than their MBA colleagues, with an average age of 23 years.

Universities also don’t require students to have completed a business-related undergraduate degree.

By contrast, MBAs address professionals, ranging from 27 to 32 years old. The average age is higher because MBA candidates are usually required to have three to five years of work experience in a business environment. Many business schools prefer MBA candidates with an international experience, whether related to their higher education studies or career developed in a multinational setting.

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2. Career start vs. career development

Different targets point to different destinations. While the MIM increases the career start options for young and relatively inexperienced students, the MBA is a degree for professionals who already progressed beyond their entry-level job.

MBA scholars aim at developing their career. Whether they need to qualify for a leadership position or they need to acquire entrepreneurial knowledge for their own personal business, a degree in business administration will offer benefits in more ways than one.

Although MIM graduates should not expect to land in a managerial position immediately after completing their studies, they get the chance to enter the business labour market more easily.

Popular destinations for a MiM programme:

3. MIM vs. MBA curriculum

MIMs provide general and introductory management knowledge

Although both MIMs and MBAs are postgraduate programmes in general management, their content can vary considerably. The MIM is officially a Master of Science, hence, it is prone to more in-depth theoretical knowledge, and can even become research-oriented.

  • MIM students may focus more on theory and also use statistics and other methods to understand and apply it
  • MiM provides more introductory and general knowledge and regardless of the study destination and university you choose to study, MIM programmes are more or less the same in terms of content
  • MBAs focus on real-case business studies

While somewhat general in terms of academic knowledge, MBAs have always been a more hands-on experience, with integrated teamwork and case studies. Generally, MBAs focus on developing problem-solving skills, enabling students to find innovative solutions for diverse business issues.

Apply to an MBA or an MiM

Additionally, for MBAs, you have a much wider and diverse palette to choose from, especially since many MBA programmes are specialised. 

4. Differences in tuition fees between MiMs and MBAs

This is a definite plus for Masters in Management which are usually two to three times cheaper than the average MBA. The lower price-point of MIMs opens up a wider range of options to students who would otherwise have a more difficult time financing their business studies abroad.

Tuition fees for a MIM can range from 2,000 to 30,000 EUR/year depending on the university, specialisation, and even the location. MIM provided by schools from the UK and the U.S. usually have higher tuition, but even the most expensive ones are usually half the price of an MBA programme offered by any school worldwide.

The average fees for a regular MBA range between 20,000 and 40,000 in business schools from Europe whereas reputed business schools in the U.S. would even charge over 90,000 EUR/year.

Find out more about how you can finance your MBA.

5. Programme reputation and recognition

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is the traditional and most famous degree for a postgraduate education in general management. Hence, it is well-known, particularly among international firms, and the specific reputation of an MBA depends primarily on the reputation of the business school you attended.

The Master in Management is a relatively young programme and some HR departments may be a bit uncertain about the capabilities of MIM graduates. Nevertheless, the growing supply and demand of MIM programmes worldwide are sure to make companies more aware of the capabilities and skill sets of future graduates.

Compare MBAs worldwide

However, a MiM could be the precursor of an MBA and often times, you will increase your chances of being admitted to a stellar MBA programme after having graduated from a MiM. Additionally, you are also a more valuable candidate when it comes to being offered a scholarship or some type of financial aid for an MBA.

Here are some of the top business schools worldwide:

6. Large offer of MIMs and MBAs at international universities

Over 80% of Masters in Management are offered at European universities, followed by Asia, Australia and Canada. In the U.S., the MBA remains the most established form of postgraduate education in management.

Until recently, there were more MBA programmes taught in English than MIMs. However, more universities have started to introduce MIMs and they are mostly taught in English, simply to draw a large number of international students and to nurture a multicultural environment.

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Master in Business Administration (MBA)