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Differences Between a Master’s and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Degree

Higher Education Articles June 16, 2015

Professionals usually earn graduate degrees to enhance their skills for current positions or to compete with others. Both MBA and master’s degree programs offer appealing options, such as distance or part-time learning.

Degree Overview: Master’s and MBA Degree Programs

Programs in health care, education, and engineering may be in master’s-level programs. The Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is a specialized type of master’s degree program. The program features a focus on refinement of general management skills through a stress on various business competencies, including employee relations and accounting.

Requirements for an Undergraduate Degree

Admission criteria related to master’s degree programs often require incoming students to hold undergraduate degrees within the same field of study. The criteria for admittance to an MBA may allow the completion of undergraduate studies in a non-business major.

An article published in 2006 in BusinessWeek observed that students seeking enrollment to graduate schools are encouraged to hold science or liberal arts undergraduate degrees. A bachelor’s degree in a business major is not a mandatory requirement for enrollees to some of the best business schools in the United States, which instead recommend an undergraduate degree in a broader field.

Program Graduates’ Choices

Students typically treat an MBA program as a terminal degree; they use the program to enhance their career prospects or income levels. Many graduates pursue continuing education by completing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program. Professionals employed in entry-level jobs would benefit more from pursuing a master’s degree in the field than an MBA.

Advanced training and greater knowledge may be available through a graduate degree program, and a higher wage may be available for holders of a master’s or MBA degree than by an undergraduate degree holder. Depending on the career path of a student, specialized management skills gained from an MBA degree may result in more career opportunities.

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