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MBA vs PhD – Which advanced degree is better?

In the ever-evolving professional landscape, the pursuit of higher education remains a popular route to advance your career.

But with numerous options available, how do you choose between an MBA and a PhD?

In this blog post, we dive into the unique benefits and opportunities that each of these advanced degrees offers.

From the practical business acumen and leadership skills gained in an MBA program to the deep expertise and research contributions made by PhD holders, the choice ultimately hinges on your long-term goals and personal ambitions.

We’ll explore these two distinct paths, and learn how to make the best decision for your future success.

MBA VS PHD – the debate

A quick summary of a PhD vs MBA:

What Does a PhD Get You? Pros and Cons

A PhD, the highest academic degree achievable, can open numerous doors in the job market, enabling graduates to advance in their careers.

Unlike an MBA, which primarily focuses on corporate and management aspects, a PhD offers expertise in a specific field through rigorous research and study.

As a PhD student, your goal is to contribute new knowledge to your field, be it economics, finance, accounting, or any other discipline, by crafting a thesis that contains original research.

Through the PhD program, you not only earn a valuable qualification but also gain opportunities to publish your work and present at conferences.

These activities can enhance your reputation, making you more desirable to potential employers. The salary of a PhD holder often surpasses that of someone with only an undergraduate degree, as their expertise is in high demand.

From my personal experience, obtaining a PhD can be challenging yet rewarding. It allowed me to explore my chosen field, chemistry, in depth and opened up new avenues for career growth.

However, it is crucial to consider the potential drawbacks before embarking on this journey.

Pursuing a PhD entails a significant time commitment, typically around 3-4 years, and can be quite expensive, as tuition fees for these programs can be steep.

Acquiring a PhD can provide numerous benefits, including expert knowledge, a higher salary, and opportunities for advancement in your field. However, carefully weighing the pros and cons is necessary to determine if it’s the right path for you.

Should you earn an MBA instead for the business world?

Choosing between an MBA and a PhD is a crucial decision that depends on your career goals and personal preferences. While both are advanced degrees, they offer significantly different paths.

I asked an MBA graduate and this is what they said:

Having experienced the MBA program myself, I can vouch for its practical benefits. An MBA focuses on business acumen and managerial skills, enabling you to climb the corporate ladder more quickly than a PhD. With a two-year duration, it’s a faster route to increasing your earning potential and offers a significant return on investment. Business schools emphasize teamwork, entrepreneurship, and ethics, providing graduates with a well-rounded skill set for the business world.

On the other hand, a PhD, such as a PhD in economics or any other discipline, is ideal for those passionate about research and academia. It requires several years of dedicated study, with graduates becoming experts in their niche.

PhD holders often pursue careers as researchers, professors, or consultants.

When considering whether to pursue an MBA or a PhD, weigh the pros and cons of each degree and reflect on your long-term career aspirations. Both options can be rewarding, but they cater to different ambitions and provide distinct opportunities in the professional world.

Is an MBA equal to a PhD and doctorate?

An MBA and a PhD are both advanced degrees, but they are not equal due to their differing purposes and career outcomes.

As someone who has interacted with both MBA and PhD graduates, I’ve seen firsthand the unique benefits of each degree.

An MBA is a professional degree, taking one to two years to complete, and equips students with practical business skills.

This degree is popular among those aiming to climb the corporate ladder in industries like finance, marketing, or consulting.

On the other hand, a PhD is a research-focused degree, requiring several years of dedication and original research contributions.

A PhD in economics or other fields often leads to careers in academia or research. PhD programs are highly competitive and demand an intense commitment to writing a dissertation and advancing knowledge in the discipline.

The debate between MBA vs. PhD highlights the significant differences in their focus and career paths.

While both degrees can be obtained at a business school, they cater to different ambitions and provide distinct opportunities. The choice between an MBA or a PhD depends on one’s end goal, work experience, and personal preferences.

So What’s Better, a PhD or MBA?

When considering whether to pursue a PhD or an MBA, it’s essential to evaluate your:

  • personal interests,
  • career goals,
  • financial commitment involved in each degree.

A PhD offers the opportunity to deeply explore a specific subject, contribute to the advancement of knowledge in that field, and establish yourself as an expert.

However, the process is often lengthy and demanding, taking up to five or six years of intense research and dedication.

The payoff might not always be immediate in terms of career prospects, as academia and research can be fiercely competitive arenas.

On the other hand, an MBA equips you with practical business skills and knowledge, often leading to a broader range of job opportunities and potentially higher salaries.

The program’s duration is considerably shorter, usually taking one to two years to complete, and offers a faster return on investment.

An MBA is particularly well-suited for those seeking to climb the corporate ladder, transition into a managerial role, or even launch their own startups.

It’s important to note that some individuals choose to pursue both degrees, combining their research expertise with practical business acumen to excel in various fields.

Does anyone earn both a PhD and an MBA? Why?

Yes, there are indeed individuals who choose to earn both a PhD and an MBA, although this path is less common.

Combining the two degrees can create a unique skill set that is valuable in various fields.

For instance, a PhD holder in a specialized discipline may opt for an MBA to gain practical business skills and a broader understanding of the corporate world, which can be valuable in leadership roles or entrepreneurial endeavors.

Pursuing both degrees also allows for building diverse networks, connecting with professionals in academia and the business world.

Despite the significant time and effort required to obtain both degrees, those who undertake this ambitious path often find themselves well-equipped to navigate multiple career paths and excel in their chosen fields.

MBA vs PhD Career Options

Both advanced degrees can lead to successful careers, but they differ significantly in terms of their focus and job prospects.

An MBA degree, with its emphasis on business administration, prepares graduates for roles such as:

  • management consultant,
  • marketing manager, or
  • finance director.

MBA holders are more likely to climb the corporate ladder quickly and enjoy higher salaries. The MBA program equips students with practical business skills, making them suitable for leadership positions in a wide range of industries.

In contrast, PhDs are more likely to become professors or researchers, with a focus on deepening their expertise in their chosen field. In science that is a very common career goal. 

While the earning potential for PhD holders may not be as high as for those with an MBA, they often find fulfillment in their academic pursuits.

Getting an MBA might be the better option for those eager to advance quickly in the corporate world and who possess a strong passion for business. 

On the other hand, getting a PhD might be more suitable for those who wish to delve into research and contribute to academia.

Wrapping Up

The decision between pursuing an MBA or a PhD is a highly personal one, hinging on individual career goals, personal interests, and the level of time and financial commitment one is willing to make. Both advanced degrees offer unique benefits and opportunities, but they cater to different career paths and ambitions.

An MBA is an ideal choice for those seeking to climb the corporate ladder swiftly, transition into management roles, or launch their own businesses. With a focus on practical business skills, MBA graduates find themselves well-prepared for leadership positions across various industries.

On the other hand, a PhD is geared towards those passionate about research and academia, providing an opportunity to become an expert in a specific field and contribute to the advancement of knowledge. While the journey may be more demanding and time-consuming, the satisfaction of making an impact in one’s chosen discipline can be deeply rewarding.

The best choice depends on your long-term goals, professional aspirations, and personal preferences. Reflecting on these factors, researching each degree thoroughly, and seeking advice from professionals and peers can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your ambitions and aspirations. Whichever path you choose, both an MBA and a PhD can be instrumental in unlocking a world of possibilities and shaping your future career.

mba or phd which is better

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.

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Mba vs. phd: choose your advanced degree path.

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In 2021, it is practically conventional wisdom that an advanced degree like a master’s degree, an MBA, a PhD, a JD or an MD is a necessity if you want to give yourself the best chance of a successful, meaningful career. While professional doctoral degrees like JDs and MDs will lead you down very specific career paths, it can be harder to envision the career outcomes associated with more versatile degrees like the MBA or the PhD.

People pursue these two advanced degrees for a variety of reasons, and no two journeys through higher education and into professional excellence are quite the same. If you are internally debating the merits of earning an MBA vs. earning a PhD, read some of the career pathways you might take with either degree—or with both of them.

Who earns a PhD? And what do they do with it?

People who pursue a doctoral degree typically do so out of a commitment to producing new knowledge at the leading edge of a subject or field that holds deep meaning for them. This can describe an incredibly diverse array of pursuits, from developing innovative new materials for medical devices and developing novel modeling techniques for research applications to examining archival records of media production and scrutinizing the linguistic elements of ancient texts.

People often earn PhDs with the goal of an academic career in mind. This is not necessarily the case in all scholarly disciplines, however, and even in those that tend to be more academic focused, recent trends may be demonstrating a shift. Those who earn PhDs in STEM fields or in the data-driven social sciences may do so with the end goal of a professional career in mind, specifically one where their skills at designing and conducting research will be rewarded with heightened responsibility and increased pay. And even in humanities disciplines with seemingly few analogues in the professional world, graduate students are increasingly envisioning their futures outside of the classroom as tenure-track and full-time professorships grow scarcer by the year.

How can a PhD help you in the business world?

The skills and mindset you develop in a PhD program are certainly applicable in the “real” world, regardless of whether your subject of choice has a direct pathway to a professional job. If you have earned a PhD in a STEM field, you will likely enter the professional workforce at a higher pay grade than you would without your degree. You may find yourself fast-tracked toward a management role as well, as your experience designing and overseeing research projects can position you well to lead a team of employees, manage workloads, and successfully meet deadlines.

PhD holders in the social sciences and humanities may also find their skills in high demand in the business world, even if they might need to spend a bit of time learning how to convey their value on a resume and in a job interview. Research in social sciences fields like sociology and political science often requires analysis of large and complex data sets; the skill set they develop in completing this work can translate easily into a business analytics role. And the persuasive writing, editing and organization skills humanities graduate students develop are well-suited to roles in strategic communication or marketing.

Should you earn an MBA instead?

If you are considering whether to earn an MBA or a PhD and you know your eventual goal is to obtain a leadership role in a business organization, the MBA is likely the right path for you. An MBA can make an immediate impact on your earnings and on the career opportunities available to you. It is also an extremely versatile degree, and can lead to advancement whether your career already seems to be heading down a relatively narrow path in a specific field or whether you intend to keep your options open for a potential pivot.

Additionally, an MBA might also be your best bet if the kind of fulfillment you get from your work comes less from successfully completing your assigned task or from navigating the day-to-day challenges of your particular area of technical expertise and more from positioning your organization for success. If you would rather dedicate your time and energy toward strategizing your company’s business goals and the best ways to achieve them, and to truly leading rather than simply managing , you should strongly consider enrolling in business school.

The most significant difference your choice to earn an MBA instead of a PhD will have on your life is on the amount of time and energy you have to dedicate to it. A PhD is a full-time commitment in which work typically balloons well past 40 hours per week, with little respect for evenings or weekends. It will take an absolute minimum of four years to complete, and more likely five to seven. An MBA, conversely, will typically be attainable in just two to 2.5 years and can be completed while you keep your full-time job—and your full salary. Seek out a top-tier online program if you would like your MBA studies to fit most conveniently around your existing schedule and responsibilities.

Does anyone earn both a PhD and an MBA? Why?

It is not unheard of for a single person to earn both a PhD and an MBA, but the order in which one does so is often determined by their eventual career goals, including by the way these goals might evolve over the course of their career. PhD holders who are working in fields that are directly related to their research may, after some years, opt to return to school for an MBA to help them prepare to climb the corporate ladder at large technical organizations. In smaller companies, such as engineering or biotechnology startups, the org chart may tilt heavily toward people with technical backgrounds rather than business ones; adding an MBA and the skills that come with it to your resume in an environment like this can benefit the entire organization.

Or, if you earn your MBA and spend time working and advancing in a professional field only to eventually realize your true calling is to teach others, you may choose to earn a PhD in economics or a business discipline to help you transition into a professorship in a business school. Preparing the next generation of business leaders can be extremely meaningful work, and many successful professionals decide the most positive impact they can make on the business world is by taking this route.

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  • Master’s vs PhD | A Complete Guide to the Differences

Master's vs PhD | A Complete Guide to the Differences

Published on November 27, 2020 by Lauren Thomas . Revised on June 1, 2023.

The two most common types of graduate degrees are master’s and doctoral degrees:

  • A master’s is a 1–2 year degree that can prepare you for a multitude of careers.
  • A PhD, or doctoral degree, takes 3–7 years to complete (depending on the country) and prepares you for a career in academic research.

A master’s is also the necessary first step to a PhD. In the US, the master’s is built into PhD programs, while in most other countries, a separate master’s degree is required before applying for PhDs.

Master’s are far more common than PhDs. In the US, 24 million people have master’s or professional degrees, whereas only 4.5 million have doctorates.

Table of contents

Master’s vs phd at a glance, which is right for you, length of time required, career prospects, costs and salaries, application process, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about master's and phd degrees.

The table below shows the key differences between the two.

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mba or phd which is better

A PhD is right for you if:

  • Your goal is to become a professor at a university or some other type of professional researcher.
  • You love research and are passionate about discovering the answer to a particular question.
  • You are willing to spend years pursuing your research even if you have to put up with a lot of dead ends and roadblocks.

A master’s degree is the better choice if any of the following apply:

  • You want to continue studies in your field, but you’re not committed to a career as a professional researcher.
  • You want to develop professional skills for a specific career.
  • You are willing to pay a higher upfront cost if it means finishing with your degree (and thus being able to work) much faster.
  • You want the option to study part-time while working.

The length of time required to complete a PhD or master’s degree varies. Unsurprisingly, PhDs take much longer, usually between 3–7 years. Master’s degrees are usually only 1–2 years.

Length of a master’s

Master’s degrees are usually 2 years, although 1-year master’s degrees also exist, mainly in the UK.

Most of the degree consists of classes and coursework, although many master’s programs include an intensive, semester-long master’s thesis or capstone project in which students bring together all they’ve learned to produce an original piece of work.

Length of a PhD

In the US, a PhD usually takes between 5 and 7 years to complete. The first 2 years are spent on coursework. Students, even those who choose to leave without finishing the program, usually receive a master’s degree at this point.

The next 3–5 years are spent preparing a dissertation —a lengthy piece of writing based on independent research, which aims to make a significant original contribution to one’s field.

Master’s degrees tend to prepare you for a career outside of academia, while PhDs are designed to lead to a career in research.

Careers for master’s graduates

There are two types of master’s degrees: terminal and research-intensive. The career prospects are different for each.

Terminal master’s degrees are intended to prepare students for careers outside of academia. Some degrees, known as professional degrees, specifically prepare students for particular professions; these include the Master of Public Policy (MPP), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees.

Other master’s degrees, usually Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Sciences (MS or MSc) degrees, do not necessarily lead to a specific career, but are intended to be a final degree. Examples include an MS in Communications or MS in Data Analytics.

In research-intensive master’s programs, students take coursework intended to prepare them for writing an original piece of research known as the master’s thesis . Such programs are usually intended to prepare for further study in a doctoral program.

Careers for PhD graduates

As research degrees, PhDs are usually intended to lead to an academic career. A PhD can be thought of like an apprenticeship, where students learn from professional researchers (academics) how to produce their own research.

Most students aspire to become a university professor upon the completion of their degree. However, careers in academia are highly competitive, and the skills learned in a doctoral program often lend themselves well to other types of careers.

Some graduates who find they prefer teaching to producing research go on to be teachers at liberal arts colleges or even secondary schools. Others work in research-intensive careers in the government, private sector, or at think tanks.

Below are a few examples of specific fields and non-academic careers that are common destinations of graduates of those fields.

  • Computer Science
  • Lab Sciences

Many government jobs, including economists at a country’s central bank, are research-intensive and require a PhD. Think tanks also hire economists to carry out independent research.

In the private sector, economic consulting and technology firms frequently hire PhDs to solve real-world problems that require complex mathematical modeling.

Graduate students from the humanities are sometimes hired by museums, who can make use of their research and writing skills to curate exhibits and run public outreach.

Humanities PhDs are often well-suited to research and grant-writing roles at nonprofits. Since so much of research is funded by grants, PhD students often gain a lot of experience applying for them, which is a useful skill in the nonprofit sector.

There are a wide range of non-academic research jobs for lab scientists with doctorates in subjects like chemistry, biology, ecology and physics.

Many PhD graduates are hired by pharmaceutical companies that need to perform research to create and test their products. Government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), also hire lab scientists to work on research projects.

Job prospects after graduation vary widely based on the field. In fields like management, computer science, statistics, and economics, there’s little underemployment—even graduates from less well-known programs can easily find jobs that pay well and use the skills they’ve gained from the PhD.

However, in other fields, particularly in the humanities, many PhD graduates have difficulty in the job market. Unfortunately, there are far more PhD graduates than assistant professor roles, so many instead take on part-time and low-paid roles as adjunct instructors. Even non-academic careers can sometimes be difficult for PhDs to move into, as they may be seen as “overqualified”  or as lacking in relevant professional experience.

Because career options post-PhD vary so much, you should take the time to figure out what the career prospects are in your field. Doctoral programs often have detailed “placement” records online in which they list the career outcomes of their graduates immediately upon leaving the program. If you can’t find these records, contact the program and ask for them—placement information should play an important role in your choice of PhD program.

Although PhDs take far longer to complete, students often receive a living stipend in exchange for being a teaching or research assistant. Master’s degrees are shorter but less likely to be funded.

Both master’s degrees and PhDs lead to increased salaries upon graduation. While PhDs usually earn a bit more than those with a master’s degree, in some fields, the wages are identical, meaning that no financial benefit is gained from going on to a PhD.

Cost of a master’s

The upfront cost of a master’s degree is usually higher than a doctoral degree due to the lower amount of financial aid available. However, increased salaries also arrive faster than with a doctoral degree, because people graduate much earlier from a master’s program.

Some master’s students do receive stipends for their degrees, usually as compensation for being a teaching or research assistant. In addition, many people complete master’s degrees part time while working full-time, which allows them to fund their living costs as well as tuition.

The cost varies significantly by school and program. Public schools are usually cheaper than private ones. Some master’s degrees, such as MBAs, are notoriously expensive, but also result in much higher wages afterwards that make up for the high cost.

The master’s wage premium , or the extra amount that someone with a master’s degree makes than someone with just a high school diploma, is 23% on average. Many universities provide detailed statistics on the career and salary outcomes of their students. If they do not have this online, you should feel free to contact an administrator of the program and ask.

Cost of a PhD

PhDs, particularly outside the humanities, are usually (though not always) funded, meaning that tuition fees are fully waived and students receive a small living stipend. During the last 3–5 years of a PhD, after finishing their coursework (and sometimes before), students are usually expected to work as graduate instructors or research assistants in exchange for the stipend.

Sometimes students can apply for a fellowship (such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program in the United States) that relieves them of any obligations to be a teaching or research assistant. Doctoral programs in the US tend to be better funded than in the rest of the world.

Sometimes, PhD degrees can be completed part-time, but this is rare. Students are usually expected to devote at least 40 hours a week to their research and work as teaching or research assistants.

The main cost of doctoral programs comes in the form of opportunity cost—all the years that students could be working a regular, full-time job, which usually pays much better than a graduate school stipend.

The average wage premium for PhDs is 26%, which is not much higher than the master’s degree premium.

In the US, the application process is similar for master’s and PhD programs. Both will generally ask for:

  • At least one application essay, often called a personal statement or statement of purpose .
  • Letters of recommendation .
  • A resume or CV .
  • Transcripts.
  • Writing samples.

Applications for both types of programs also often require a standardized test. PhDs usually require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), which tries to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative, critical thinking , and analytical writing skills. Many master’s programs require this test as well.

Applying for a master’s

Master’s degrees programs will often ask you to respond to specific essay prompts that may ask you to reflect upon not just your academic background, but also your personal character and future career ambitions.

Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School requires Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) applicants write two essays, one about a recent time they demonstrated leadership and the second about their personal values.

Who you should ask for your letters of recommendation varies by program. If you are applying to a research-intensive master’s program, then you should choose former professors or research supervisors. For other programs, particularly business school, current work supervisors may be a better choice.

Some professional master’s programs require a specific test. For example, to apply to law school, you must take the Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT. For business school, you must take either the GRE or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).

Applying for a PhD

When applying for a PhD, your resume should focus more on your research background—you should especially emphasize any publications you’ve authored or presentations that you’ve given.

Similarly, your statement of purpose should discuss research that you’ve participated in, whether as an assistant or the lead author. You should detail what exactly you did in projects you’ve contributed to, whether that’s conducting a literature review, coding regressions, or writing an entire article.

Your letters of recommendations should be from former professors or supervisors who can speak to your abilities and potential as a researcher. A good rule of thumb is to avoid asking for recommendations from anyone who does not themselves have a PhD.

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A master’s is a 1- or 2-year graduate degree that can prepare you for a variety of careers.

All master’s involve graduate-level coursework. Some are research-intensive and intend to prepare students for further study in a PhD; these usually require their students to write a master’s thesis . Others focus on professional training for a specific career.

A PhD, which is short for philosophiae doctor (doctor of philosophy in Latin), is the highest university degree that can be obtained. In a PhD, students spend 3–5 years writing a dissertation , which aims to make a significant, original contribution to current knowledge.

A PhD is intended to prepare students for a career as a researcher, whether that be in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.

This depends on the country. In the United States, you can generally go directly to a PhD  with only a bachelor’s degree, as a master’s program is included as part of the doctoral program.

Elsewhere, you generally need to graduate from a research-intensive master’s degree before continuing to the PhD.

This varies by country. In the United States, PhDs usually take between 5–7 years: 2 years of coursework followed by 3–5 years of independent research work to produce a dissertation.

In the rest of the world, students normally have a master’s degree before beginning the PhD, so they proceed directly to the research stage and complete a PhD in 3–5 years.

A master’s degree usually has a higher upfront cost, but it also allows you to start earning a higher salary more quickly. The exact cost depends on the country and the school: private universities usually cost more than public ones, and European degrees usually cost less than North American ones. There are limited possibilities for financial aid.

PhDs often waive tuition fees and offer a living stipend in exchange for a teaching or research assistantship. However, they take many years to complete, during which time you earn very little.

In the US, the graduate school application process is similar whether you’re applying for a master’s or a PhD . Both require letters of recommendation , a statement of purpose or personal statement , a resume or CV , and transcripts. Programs in the US and Canada usually also require a certain type of standardized test—often the GRE.

Outside the US, PhD programs usually also require applicants to write a research proposal , because students are expected to begin dissertation research in the first year of their PhD.

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mba or phd which is better

MBA vs PhD in Economics

Read a summary or generate practice questions using the INOMICS AI tool

Every year thousands of economics students decide to continue education, either straight away after graduation or after a year or two of “real world” work experience. Often at this point comes the question: should I pursue a PhD or enroll in a Master of Business Administration program?

MBA and PhD programs have the potential to transform your career. A PhD allows you to become a professor and pursue a lifetime of research while an MBA can open up job opportunities at the top of business and drastically increase your salary expectations. No wonder it’s a difficult decision for many people.

INOMICS as the leading career website for economists wants to help you make the right decision. Therefore, we are going to run through the key factors in this decision: career direction, requirements and cost. For a quick overview check out our video on just this topic!

Requirements

Most Master of Business Administration programs require that you have at least two years of work experience. PhD programs meanwhile normally require that you have already attained a master’s degree or have an exceptional bachelor transcript.

Obviously, your academic past will shape your choice between a doctorate and an MBA. A good tip is to read some actual MBA and PhD program overviews and their requirements. Transform a theoretical question into a practical choice. You can find hundreds or the latest MBA and PhD course right here on the INOMICS website.

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Career direction.

The key question is what ultimate career direction do you want to go in? Ask yourself this question, would you like to end up working in academia or as a researcher? If the answer is yes, then you should start by looking at PhDs. A doctorate is a pre-requisite for nearly all academic jobs. If no, then an MBA or another career training opportunity will be the better choice.

Taking a PhD can be a demanding process. It takes years of hard work with little immediate financial reward. You need to love doing research and have a genuine interest in what you are studying. If you are looking at a PhD purely in terms of future salary maximisation then best look elsewhere. There are a number of pros and cons to a career in research .

But there is more to life than amassing every last dollar, right? Harder to quantify factors such as job satisfaction and independence are often cited as pros of taking an academic route. Also, bear in mind your preference can change overtime. There are job opportunities outside of academia where having a PhD is a plus. Our advice is simply that if your end goal is to work outside academia then a PhD is typically not the best route to take.

MBA programs are designed specifically to teach you about how businesses work and set you up to thrive at the top level of business. They are focused on practical skills and knowledge and often involve group work to mimic the cooperation required by many businesses. On a reputable MBA program, the networking with other students and alumni can often be more important for opening up new and well-paid career paths than the teaching itself. If your goal is to work at the top end of the business world then an MBA is the better choice.

MBA programs are normally very expensive, however. Unlike most PhD programs where funding is often provided, there are few scholarships or funding options available for MBA's aside from expensive private loans. An MBA should be viewed as an investment. How risky that investment is depends on the quality of the MBA program. Check out the quality of the school and the career prospects of graduates before proceeding.

Both MBA and PhD programs involve a degree of risk. Either financial, in time or both. Remember, you might be able to reach your career goal without committing years of your life and potentially loads of cash on an MBA or PhD. There are always  additional courses to improve your prospects in a career in economics . Make sure you consider other routes before committing to either a PhD or MBA. If you plan to start your PhD application this autumn, download our free guide " How to successfully apply to a PhD in Economics "

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Economics students may often wonder if doing a PhD is the right move for them. After all, you can still get a good job in economics with just a Master’s degree. We’ve covered different angles of this topic before with helpful advice about what degree you’ll need as an economist, asking whether you should do a PhD, and even asking what kinds of economists are paid the most. Thanks to INOMICS Salary Report 2023 data, we can look more closely at the pay benefit for an economics PhD in today’s job market. This will help you decide if doing an economics PhD will be worth it for your own career.

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mba or phd which is better

No matter which degree path you take, continuing your education at a higher institution is always an honorable goal. For most people, it’s easy to decide to move ahead to the level of a bachelor’s degree, and then from there, it’s a simple stretch to a master’s. But once you have your MBA, should you stop or continue on to your doctoral degree? There’s where most of us have our debate.

Obtaining your MBA is hard enough, but a PhD requires intensive concentration on a focus area that, for at least two years and sometimes longer, encompasses your entire life. PhD graduates receive an education in which the knowledge they gain is used to make an impact in innovative ways on the world. There are some advantages to both the MBA and the PhD that make them both good choices, depending on what you want in your career.

What Does an MBA Do

The MBA is one of the most popular graduate program degrees. Each program offers a different skill set, but all of them are business-related. There are educational paths offered in areas like statistics, finance, accounting, economics, leadership, ethics, management, and entrepreneurship, among many others.

By obtaining your MBA, you’ll be valuable to industries around the world because you’ll learn your hard skills, but you’ll also have experience with soft skills to make you a better “people person.” Through courses designed to develop leadership, analytics, and critical thinking, you’ll be able to handle teamwork, individual work, and communication in your field of study.

What Does a PhD Get You?

The concept of a Doctor of Philosophy might not sound like what you want to do with a field completely unrelated to that, but it’s actually a professional degree that designates you as a specialist in the field of your choice. Moving away from today’s idea of philosophy, the word originated from the Greek word philosophia , which means “a love of wisdom.” When you are passionate about a chosen subject and love to find the wisdom in it, you can aim for a PhD.

With a PhD, you can teach at any level or obtain work in a specialized position.

The PhD is a postgraduate academic degree that you obtain when you take the required courses and submit a thesis or dissertation on an original topic that shows you’re qualified to be considered an expert on the field. It’s the highest degree you can achieve, in general.

Debating the Pros and Cons of Each

A PhD isn’t for everyone, but if you decide it’s what you want to do, it’s a very impressive goal! Many older learners are returning to school for their PhD today because it’s now the sought-after degree in businesses around the world. They want to advance their career paths, and an MBA isn’t cutting it.

With so many online courses available now, it’s easier than ever to return to school for your PhD. But why would you want to? There are advantages and disadvantage to both, such as:

●      You can obtain many jobs in your chosen career field with an MBA, so it allows you to get started earlier and begin making money sooner, with less student debt.

●      An MBA makes you more valuable in industries because it’s a specialized business degree.

●      An MBA gives you more opportunities to progress further in your field of choice and increases your earning potential.

●      A PhD, however, gives you access to jobs in the research or academic world.

●      The average PhD holder makes significantly more annually than an MBA holder.

●      Obtaining a PhD young gives you an increased return on your investment.

●      MBAs are becoming commonplace, while PhDs are in demand in every industry around the world.

If you want to ensure that you’re held as valuable in your career and have as many doors open as possible, the PhD is the way to go. However, if you are solely interested in business and want to live comfortably without the excess stress of continuing education, the MBA serves your purpose.

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Impactio is an all-in-one software solution designed for and used by expert scholars everywhere. The tools you need to create professional PDF documents and web-based publications are at your fingertips, so you can further your education or continue exploring your research!

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Is an MBA Degree Really Worth It?

  • Liza Kirkpatrick

mba or phd which is better

The right and wrong reasons to pursue one.

Getting an MBA (Master of Business Administration) takes a lot of time, money, and effort. So it’s important to really think about whether or not it is worth your while to pursue one. Here are some things to consider.

  • The right reasons: To hone skills like influence, empathy, and building business strategies; to help you make a career pivot; to accelerate the pace of your professional development; to expand and diversify your professional network.
  • The wrong reasons: You’re looking for a magic pill that will give you more money or power; you’re bored in your current role; you don’t know what you want.

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  • Liza Kirkpatrick is the Assistant Dean of Career Services at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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Is it Possible to Get My PhD After My MBA?

MBA graduate contemplating PhD degree

In academia, numerous accomplishments can be achieved. You can earn a dual degree and have expertise in multiple fields, or further your career potential by going back to school . But what about progressing from an MBA to a PhD? 

In regards to higher education, many consider earning a PhD, or doctorate degree, the pinnacle of success. Usually, due to passion for a particular industry or subject, a PhD candidate will spend years of rigorous research to unpack its intricacies and become a leading expert in the field.  At the end of their studies, they are able to finally see their work come to fruition when they receive their doctorate and join alongside other scholars. However, is it typical for an MBA graduate to move onto pursuing their PhD? And is there a specific purpose? Are there different types of PhD programs? What is the difference between a PhD and DBA?

To answer the budding question: yes, you can pursue your PhD after earning your MBA, and choosing to earn a doctorate is entirely up to you and your aspirations. To help you better understand if getting a PhD is the right choice, we look at the path an MBA graduate can take to earn their PhD, one of the higher purposes of a doctorate, and the different types of academic programs. 

What is a PhD, and What is it Used For? 

By definition, a PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy in a particular discipline, which is why it's also referred to as a doctorate. This focus is typically for individuals highly passionate about a specific subject matter, driven by the pursuit to understand it better through rigorous research. A majority of students seeking their PhD are eager researchers, although there are always exceptions, and each carries out years of highly intensive research to conclude their original thesis and earn their doctorate. 

In terms of translating your education into a career, a doctorate can be used in a plethora of fields, especially if one’s thesis is around a wider subject matter and can be a discipline applied to various industries (take organizational development, for example). For those who are passionate about a career in research, a doctoral degree is a perfect fit. Possibly the most popular field for those with a doctorate is a fruitful career in academia, teaching their subject matter to others interested in the same area. Many graduates become faculty members at business schools upon completing their PhD and provide their expertise to their students. Regardless of which industry you choose, you can be assured that a PhD will provide you with numerous opportunities. 

How Long Does it Take to Progress from an MBA to PhD?

The timeframe for earning your PhD can vary depending on program and location. Many countries have varying timelines of how long the completion of a doctoral program will take. In the United States, the average is around 4-5 years of completion after receiving your Master of Business Administration. 

Do You Need an MBA to Get a PhD?

To be accepted into a doctoral program, you must have a master’s degree. It does not have to be a Master of Business Administration, but it does need to be a master’s of some form. Depending on your area of specialization, it could be advantageous to earn your MBA in pursuit of a PhD if you are planning to embark on a career in business upon completion of your doctorate. Additionally, one important aspect to consider is the program itself. It is important to look into a program’s requirements before applying to meet the eligibility criteria. 

The Difference Between a DBA and a PhD 

For those specifically interested in a career in business, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a highly beneficial doctoral program. A DBA focuses on a broader spectrum of business disciplines, dedicating research toward multiple corporate facets, and practical implementation. On the contrary, a PhD narrows into a specific area of discipline and research, emphasizing theory, and it’s potential implications. While both are heavily centered around research and implementation, a DBA sets business executives and leaders on a path to discover new possibilities for their organizations and businesses. In a way, it allows established business professionals to “trailblaze” the way for new and innovative ideas that can disrupt the market and set a precedent for the future of business.

Get Your MBA or DBA at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

At Pepperdine Graziadio, we proudly offer degrees to accommodate business professionals at any stage of their lives and careers. Our full and part-time MBA programs are designed to prepare candidates for a successful career in values-based business leadership. All of our MBA programs offer a personalized learning approach executed by our world-class faculty. Each program is characterized by its top-ranked business curriculum that can be coupled with an academic concentration. 

Our Executive Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program has been carefully designed for the tenured business leader looking to drive groundbreaking innovations. This rigorous program allows candidates to gain in-depth knowledge and finetune their expertise through applied research. Also, executives enjoy learning alongside changemakers in various industries and participating in exclusive opportunities available only to DBA candidates.

Learn more about which programs fit your career aspirations and academic interests.

Learn more about how to achieve your career goals with a degree from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School.

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mba or phd which is better

  • Masters vs PhD – Differences Explained
  • Types of Doctorates

The decision of whether or not to pursue a Masters or PhD (or both) after you complete your undergraduate studies is not necessarily a straightforward one. Both are postgraduate degrees but are different in terms of the academic experience and the career paths taken afterwards.

In short, a Masters degree involves a year of study, primarily through taught lectures and a final dissertation research project, whilst a PhD (also referred to as a doctorate degree) is a three-year commitment of independent research on a specific subject.

There’s more to it than that, however – read on for more information.

What Is a Masters Degree?

A Masters degree is the next level of education after the completion of an undergraduate degree, commonly known as a Bachelors.

These degree levels are often referred to in terms of cycles so that a Bachelor’s is a first-cycle degree, a Masters is a second-cycle and finally, a PhD is the third-cycle of higher education (and the highest).

Masters degrees demand an intense period of study, usually centred around a core series of lectures and taught modules, coupled with coursework assignments and exams, followed by the completion of a contained research project usually taking students 3-4 months to complete.

These types of degrees are attractive to recent graduates who want to delve deeper into their specific field of study, gaining some research experience and more specialised knowledge beyond what an undergraduate degree can offer.

Equally, some pursue a Masters degree program in a subject that is only tangentially related to their Bachelors degree, helping them gain a broader depth of knowledge.

These degrees also serve as a significant stepping stone for those already in employment who want to progress their current career development and earn a higher salary. They can also be an excellent method for helping in changing careers completely by learning new skills and subject knowledge.

What Is a PhD Degree?

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest academic degree that can be awarded and is the third and final cycle in the progression of higher education.

A doctoral degree is earned on the basis of producing a significant, independent and novel body of work (a Thesis) that contributes new knowledge to a particular research topic.

These are research degrees that are a significant investment of a candidate’s time, resources and energy and are all but a pre-requisite for anyone considering a career in academia, such as eventually becoming a professor.

There are some exceptions to this, such as those with a medical background who may earn an MD (Doctor of Medicine), which is the equivalent of a PhD.

Doctoral degrees can also have a significant positive impact on career development outside of academia, especially in fields such as engineering, business and finance that have a high demand for highly qualified and capable people.

A graduate student engaged in PhD study is commonly known as a PhD student, PhD candidate or doctoral student.

What are the Benefits of a Masters Degree?

There are several reasons one might consider doing a Masters degree rather than a PhD in their graduate education. These include:

  • It takes approximately a third of the time to do compared to a doctorate degree and costs less too.
  • It’s a good way to differentiate yourself from those that hold only an undergraduate degree without having to commit to a substantial research degree.
  • The end goal is more career-focused as opposed to research-focused. For example, it is practically an ‘easier’ route to changing or progressing your career if that aligns with your professional goals.

What are the Benefits of Doing a PhD?

You may continue on into a doctoral program after a Masters or you may even dive straight in after completing your undergraduate studies. So, what are the advantages of completing this third-cycle?

  • You’ll have developed a wealth of transferable skills at graduate school, such as effective communication of complex concepts, multi-tasking time-management and the ability to adapt to and solve unexpected problems.
  • A doctorate helps to establish you as an expert within your chosen subject area; your work will hopefully have furthered the knowledge in this.
  • It will open up career paths and teaching positions within academia that may otherwise be very difficult to get a hold in (although these career paths will still be very competitive).
  • You can add the title ‘Dr’ in front of your name!

Which Degree Is More Impactful: A Masters or a PhD?

On paper, the answer should be clear: A doctorate degree is the highest degree you can earn, so has more impact than a Masters, which in turn has more impact than a Bachelors.

The reality is that the size of the impact (if any) really depends on the subject area and the career path you choose (if the measure of impact is how it positively improves your career prospects, that is).

For someone with aspirations of becoming a professor, a PhD will be of greater value than a Masters alone.

Equally, it’s also possible that someone with a PhD entering a different field or one that doesn’t require a PhD may find that their degree has no bearing on their career or in some cases may even be seen as a ‘negative’ with a concern of the person being ‘over-qualified’ for a position. There are many scenarios in which professional experience would be more valuable to an employer than a doctorate degree.

Check out the links below to our interviews with Prof. Debby Cotton and Dr Nikolay Nikolov to read their experiences of when a going through a PhD program has had a clear benefit (Prof. Cotton) and when it hasn’t been helpful (Dr Nikolov).

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Do You Need to Have a Masters to do a PhD?

This really depends on the university, department and sometimes even the project and supervisor.

From a purely application process perspective, some institutions may formally require you to hold a Masters degree relevant to the subject of the PhD project before you can enter their doctoral program.

In another scenario, most universities are unlikely to accept candidates that were awarded below a 2:1 (in the UK) in their undergraduate degree but may consider someone who has ‘made up’ for this with a high-grade Masters.

Lastly, some universities now offer PhD programmes that incorporate an additional year of study in which you would complete a Masters degree before carrying directly on into a PhD project. As you’d expect, even if a university doesn’t formally require you to hold one, a Masters degree can help separate you from other applicants in being accepted on the project.

Check out our detailed guide to doing a PhD without a Master’s .

Why Do a Masters before Your PhD?

Even if you don’t need to have one, it could still be beneficial to begin your postgraduate study by doing a Masters first before you embark on your doctorate journey.

As mentioned previously it’ll help you stand out from applicants that don’t have one, but beyond that, it’ll give you a taster of what research life could be like, especially if you stay at the same university and department for your PhD.

The one-year commitment (in the UK at least) of carrying out a Masters first, and in particular your research project, will help you better understand if this is truly something you want to commit the next three or more years to.

You’ll learn some of the skills of independent research, from performing detailed literature searches to more complex, analytical writing.

At the end of it, you should be in a stronger position to consider your options and decide about whether to continue into a PhD at graduate school.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters Degree?

In the UK, a full-time Masters degrees take students one calendar year to complete: The programme of study usually starts in September, the final research project the following April and final project viva around August. Part-time degrees are usually double the time.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD?

In the UK, most PhD projects take 3-4 years to complete , as reflected by the majority of funded projects offering stipends to cover living expenses of about 3.5 years.

For many reasons, projects may end up taking longer to complete, however. This might be because of difficulties in collecting enough data, or if the project is being done part-time.

Which One is More Expensive to Do?

As you’d expect, as a PhD takes three times as long to complete as a Masters degree, it will cost you more to do as far as university fees are concerned.

Another thing to consider is that many PhD projects come with some level of funding equivalent to a low salary, which may cover the cost of tuition fees and living expenses, whilst it is usually more difficult to obtain funding for Masters study.

Conversely, a Masters graduate may progress into a higher (versus PhD funding) salary sooner whilst a PhD student will endure three years of a comparatively low income.

A Masters vs a PhD: Conclusion

If you’re considering continue further graduate study after your undergraduate degree, the question of doing a Masters vs a PhD is likely to come up. They are both considered an advanced degree, each with their own advantages.

There are benefits to doing either of these graduate programs or even both of them; your decision here can be easier if you have an idea of the career you want to follow or if you know you have a love for research!

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DBA vs. PhD: What’s the Difference?

mba or phd which is better

You’ve tackled your undergraduate business degree, and now you’re feeling ready to take your business education one step further. You might be wondering, “Where do I even begin?” If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. When it comes to upper-level business degrees, there are a wide variety of options. Two popular options are the Doctor of Business Administration, or DBA, and the Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD. Both options can be an excellent fit for students who are eager to dive even deeper into the world of academia. In this article, you’ll get a better understanding of the difference between the two degrees and gain some insight as to which degree program is the best fit for you.

What Is a DBA?

A Doctor of Business Administration, or DBA degree, is considered a “terminal degree.” This designation simply means that the degree is the highest level of education one can receive in the business world. These degrees are centered around business education with a major emphasis on management. DBA programs often entail a research component that focuses on real-life business problems. Throughout their studies, DBA students learn to apply various theories in solving real issues faced by today’s businesses. This degree is primarily geared toward individuals who currently hold a master’s degree in business or another closely related subject.

What Is a PhD?

PhD programs are another excellent choice for those wishing to further their education. This is also considered a “terminal degree,” and it is the highest-level research degree that one can obtain. These programs involve rigorous research and extensive study. While you’re likely interested in a PhD degree in the business field, nearly any subject can provide this research-based degree, from science, to humanities, to everything in between. While DBA programs are typically intended for students who hold a master’s degree, PhD programs welcome students after completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related discipline. They are the ideal choice for anyone who might be interested in carrying out research or teaching in an academic institution.

Coursework and Duration: Comparing the Curriculum

While both DBA programs and PhD programs give students a deep understanding of the theories that drive the world around us, they do so in different ways. In a Doctorate of Business Administration program, you’ll focus exclusively on business and management from a practical lens. Application of theory is a major focus, and coursework often provides students with opportunities to put their knowledge into practice by solving real-world business problems. Alternatively, PhD programs are offered in just about any subject one can imagine. They take a more theoretical approach with their curricula, teaching students to understand the “why” and “how” behind both business problems and their solutions.

The typical timeline of these graduate programs differs as well. Since DBA programs are intended for people who already have both a master’s degree and significant work experience, they tend to take less time to complete. Many DBA programs are offered on a part-time schedule, and students can expect to complete their Doctorate of Business Administration in about two to four years. While PhD programs don’t always require as much experience prior to enrolling, they tend to require more time to complete. These research-intense programs usually follow a full-time course schedule with an average completion time that ranges from three to five years.

Practical Experience vs. Thesis Research

The major difference between a DBA education and a PhD education can be summed up as practical vs. theoretical. Students entering into a DBA program typically come with a master’s degree in hand and multiple years of relevant work experience under their belt. As such, DBA programs are designed to expand upon their students’ wealth of prior knowledge and experience. These programs teach students to understand relevant theories and principles of business management, but more importantly, they teach students to apply those theories and principles. DBA programs equip students to bring their education and experience to the table when solving real-world problems.

While DBA students focus on using existing knowledge to solve problems, students in PhD programs work to add new knowledge to the business world. Instead of researching the application of existing theories and principles, PhD students are expected to work on original research, unearthing and exploring new ideas. Thus, PhD programs take a much more theoretical approach rather than a practical one. To put their newly gained insights on display, PhD candidates are usually required to complete a dissertation. Through these lengthy research projects, students demonstrate their knowledge, expand upon their ideas, and showcase their experience.

Career Outcomes of a DBA vs. a PhD in Business Administration

Following completion of their degree, DBA and PhD graduates typically take two different paths when it comes to employment. Much like an MBA, a Doctor of Business Administration prepares students for jobs in both the private and public sector. DBA candidates often go on to work in senior management roles or consulting. Some even choose to open their own businesses. Their practical, hands-on approach ensures that DBA programs leave their graduates well-equipped for these roles.

On the other hand, PhD candidates typically stick to the world of academia following their graduation. They often find work with universities as professors and can even go on to be program directors. Some graduates may also opt to continue expanding upon their research while they teach, sharing their research methods with the next generation of PhD students.

However, as with any degree, the job you’ll find afterward depends on a number of different factors. Your prior work experience and unique strengths gained from both work and the classroom play a big part in determining where you’ll take your talents. Just like your interests and passions will likely guide your choice between DBA and PhD programs, they’ll also guide your job search. External factors do play a role as well. The current job market will decide what specific jobs are available at one time or another, and demand for your specific skill set can determine how well you fit the profile of those available jobs.

DBA or PhD: Which Is Right for You?

Deciding to further your education with a doctorate degree is a huge decision in and of itself. Having to choose between a Doctor of Business Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy might be an even more challenging decision. Each of these programs is considered a “terminal degree,” offering students the highest level of education possible in the field. They provide candidates with advanced training and preparation for high-ranking roles. Whether you opt for a DBA or a PhD program, you’ll be opening doors to a wide range of career opportunities.

To ensure that you make the right choice between the two degrees, you’ll want to take time to think about your career goals. Consider where you are now as well as what you want your career to look like in 5, 10, even 2o years. Do you hope to hold a title as a C-suite executive of a major corporation, calling the shots and leading the teams around you? Or do you hope to be in the classroom, teaching the next generation of business professionals about both new and existing theories in the business industry?

Be sure to spend some significant time weighing out these options, including any accreditation requirements. Once you feel confident in the goals you’ve set, look for programs that are in alignment with the things that are most important to you. Check out the academic career resources and coursework of each program you’re interested in. Give yourself the time and space to carefully consider each of these factors prior to making a decision.

Final Thoughts

Getting a doctorate degree can be an excellent way to take your career to the next level . No matter whether you opt for a DBA or a PhD, these terminal business degrees can make your application stand out among the rest and open doors to previously unattainable job opportunities. DBA programs are a perfect fit for people looking to grow their base of practical knowledge in the field. They prepare graduates to work in upper-level leadership roles within the business environment, solving real problems that companies face on a day-to-day basis. Alternatively, PhD programs are the ideal choice for anyone with an interest in the principles and theories that guide business decisions and outcomes. These programs equip graduates to take on roles in the world of academia, such as research and teaching.

However, before you take the jump into your DBA or PhD, be sure to take time to thoughtfully consider your decision. Use your career goals as a guide, and take the time to research your options thoroughly. Seek out advice from peers in the field, and learn from the stories of others making an impact in the business world, like one Crummer Executive MBA student who has a strong passion for both business and academia.

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mba or phd which is better

Useful Stuff To Help You Get Better.

MBA vs. Ph.D.: The Important Career Differences Explained

Choosing between MBA vs. Ph.D. can lead to a significant decision in your life and career. As an MBA with few Ph.D. friends, I will provide you with several critical hard truths in this article. I think you should know them before making final decision.

MBA and Ph.D. degrees are not equal. MBA was designed to train managers, and Ph.D. was created to train researchers and scientists. A Ph.D. generally is regarded as an academically higher accomplishment than MBA, but MBA is a quicker way to practical work and career. 

To understand the MBA vs. Ph.D. comparison, we need to do some industry analysis. Then, we will employ some useful MBA and Ph.D. salary statistics and investigate several other vital factors often overlooked by prospective students. Let’s start.

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Is MBA equal to a Ph.D.? 

MBA stands for master’s in business administration degree. Ph.D. stands for a doctor in philosophy. While both MBA and Ph.D. in business study business topics, they are very different degrees.

In terms of equality in a dispute between MBA vs. Ph.D., Ph.D. is the clear winner. 

Whether MBA is equal to a Ph.D. depends on how society and industry view both degrees. MBA vs. Ph.D. is entirely different.

MBA is not equal to a Ph.D. (doctorate) in any way, shape, or form. MBA is a graduate professional master’s degree, while a Ph.D. is a post-graduate research academic degree. 

Ph.D. is still regarded higher than MBA for many reasons, including deepness of study and research required for Ph.D. students. In addition, Ph.D. is the most advanced degree one can obtain in any field in the USA. 

MBA was designed to train managers who can manage the human and material resources of the company. Managers must make business decisions, recognize trends, have a vision. MBA manages processes, sometimes exploiting gut feeling based on experience, or works as analyst. 

Ph.D. was designed to train researchers and scientists who research and analyze data to extrapolate trends. Ph.D.’s recognize problems, and figure out solutions to them based on complex data instead of gut feelings. 

Companies and the public generally regard a Ph.D. as significantly more advanced than a master’s degree, including MBA. PhDs are considered subject experts and authorities on the topic of their Ph.D. research. 

There are many more MBA than business Ph.D. graduates each year. MBA is a commodity nowadays, while a Ph.D. in a business topic is still a unique qualification. 

The caveat is that an elite business school MBA is still more likely to be regarded higher than a Ph.D. from a low-ranking business program. 

Is MBA harder than a Ph.D.? The difficulty of MBA vs. PhD

Between Ph.D. and MBA, Ph.D. is more complicated. Ph.D. in business is harder to obtain degree compared to MBA. 

MBA is shorter, and students can complete a full-time MBA program in 2 years or less. Ph.D. may take longer than 5-7 years to complete. 

You should look at those years of studying as an opportunity cost.  Meaning, you lose the opportunity to get a job and work on your regular business industry career because you are pursuing MBA or Ph.D. instead.  

MBA is a general overview of most common business areas, and MBA students primarily learn about core business concepts in an overview form. 

The curriculum for most business MBA subjects has pretty much been established. Thus, MBA students have more structured studies with understandable steps, goals, and expectations.

As a result, MBA does not involve too much math and is generally straightforward on most occasions. 

On the other hand, Ph.D. is a narrow, intense, and deep research focused on a specific aspect of an area of the business subject.

Ph.D. research focuses on some unique and new theory or part of the previously not so profoundly researched business topic. Ph.D. in business often involves lots of math. 

Essentially, a Ph.D. is a deep immersion into unknown and unresearched theoretical depths of business. And if Ph.D. is in statistical, financial, economics, or some mathematical areas of business, then Ph.D. students must perform a heavy volume of advanced mathematical calculations.  

Plus, the Ph.D. program has much higher knowledge and analysis expectations from its students compared to MBA.

In a Ph.D. in business, a researcher spends multiple years studying, analyzing, and interpreting various data and extrapolating trends, rules, consistencies, and conclusions. 

Ph.D. work must prove a new point or theory by supporting it with heavy volume or research and plenty of arguments. MBA students do not have to do it. 

Usually, a Ph.D. must complete two years of coursework, teach for a couple of years, and then write a dissertation within another 1-3 years. So, Ph.D. can take seven years to complete. 

Ph.D. requires more heavy volume work than MBA. 

Which degree is better, MBA or Ph.D.? Is an MBA or Ph.D. better?

What is better – MBA vs. Ph.D. – is a very tough topic because Ph.D. is narrowly focused on some aspect of business, while MBA simply is an advanced overview of many business topics. 

Which degree is better, MBA or Ph.D., depends on personal goals.  MBA is better if one wants to obtain a degree and start looking for a job sooner.  MBA is more like a sprint.

But if someone wants to get into academia and teach or spend many years researching a specific topic and become a super-focused specialist, then Ph.D. is better. Obtaining a Ph.D. is a challenging marathon rather than a sprint. 

The MBA vs. Ph.D. outcome also depends on the rank of the business school where MBA or Ph.D. students obtain their degrees.

Either MBA or Ph.D. from elite top business schools like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Wharton, or Columbia will be in demand, and good quality employers will be happy to hire such graduates.

On the other hand, neither MBA nor Ph.D. from low-ranking business schools by themselves will not result in a good job.

Except for when such MBA graduate either has previous relevant work experience or can obtain additional skills after MBA to become more marketable. 

Ph.D. in quantitative disciplines like finance, economics, or statistics, even from low-ranking business school may find a job as an analyst because of hard quantitative skills. But such a Ph.D. should not expect a high starting salary. 

MBA vs. Ph.D. and Employment Decisions

One note about MBA is as follows. While it limits employment opportunities, it is still a general degree that can lead to different career paths unless a person chooses some strong MBA specialization or concentration. 

Usually, MBAs are considered generalists suitable for entry-level or middle managerial positions, depending on their previous work experience.

However, MBAs without work experience may have a hard time finding jobs and may face the necessity to obtain additional skills or even more education to become employable. 

On the other hand, MBA is sufficiently enough for those who simply want to jump into a practical application of MBA knowledge by working in the business world.

MBA is better for an entrepreneur than Ph.D. because MBA has a more significant focus on practical aspects of managing and running a business. 

Ph.D. essentially limits employment opportunities even more than MBA. The limitation of job opportunities is inherent in the narrow-focused nature of Ph.D. research.

For example, doing a Ph.D. in finance or economics essentially narrows down employment opportunities to areas of finance or economics. 

On the other hand, a Ph.D. is considered an expert researcher in the chosen business topic. Still, most PhDs work in academia or research institutions and not in real-life business positions. 

Besides open teaching careers in education, some companies may want to hire such Ph.D. in analytical, consulting, or managerial positions because they understand that they have deep knowledge of business theory and practice. 

Ph.D. and MBA salary. Who earns more MBA or Ph.D.?

Mba salary statistics.

Let’s talk about Ph.D. and MBA salary and who earns more – MBA or Ph.D. I want you to take this statistical information about pay and who makes more with the grain of salt. Because average numbers must be interpreted only as average among a large pool of MBA’s or Ph.D.’s.

Some MBAs or PhDs earn more and change average numbers, but others will make less. You need to understand that media, academia, and everyone else interprets numbers in their self-serving way. 

College associations publish that $80,000-$90,000 is the average starting salary for MBA in 2020-2021. But that MBA salary number does not include those who dropped off the labor force because they could not find the work. And that salary number is affected by graduates from elite business schools who earn high salaries. 

A graduate from the Stanford MBA program, for example, may expect up to a $100,000-$225,000 average annual salary per year plus bonuses and benefits. Often that graduate already had prior successful business work experience to land a position in a good company. 

Example (hypothetical): 9 PhDs or MBAs get a $30,000 annual salary after graduation. 1 Ph.D. or MBA receives $200,000. What is the average wage among this pool of 10 graduates? That’s right. It is $47,000. 

OK, for starters, you would think by looking at the average. But nobody from the pool gets this salary. Most get only 30K per year. So, therefore, all the numbers out there are misleading. 

The Problem With MBA Salary Statistics

The majority of statistics focus on graduates from the top 100-150 business schools. That data is not representative because, in the USA alone, whooping 1190+ MBA programs are producing about 200,000 MBAs each year.

Even though about 9% of MBA programs in the US were shut down after 2014 for lack of enrollment, so many MBA programs remain. And only 132 of those business schools provided those earning numbers. 

And what about the other 1000 MBA programs which never supplied their statistics? They were not counted, so elite high-salaried MBA programs statistically swayed away average post-graduate salary upwards, and numbers look deceptively better than they are.

Still, some data suggests that the average salary for MBAs graduating from lower-ranking MBA programs is about $52,000 annually. I estimate the post-MBA salary average range to be from $50,000 to $70,000 annually. And that is with several years of previous relevant work experience.

Otherwise, MBAs will have to get an entry-level job with low pay and work their way up as professionals. 

And when MBAs graduate and cannot find a job, they are simply not included in salary statistics. For example, in 2008, there were about 100,000 MBA degrees awarded annually.

Now the number of graduates is closer to 200,000 each year. As a result, competition for jobs among MBAs is stiff.

But do not get discouraged. For those who have previous work experience and or can land a job after graduation, the average increase in salary for MBAs can be up to $20,000 compared to the average graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business (USA). Again, these numbers were affected by the earnings of elite MBA graduates. 

While that number does not seem like a huge jump, it adds up over the years. And with potential career growth, MBA salary prospects may be even better if you can find a relevant job after graduation.

In addition, fewer MBA enrollments mean less competition between MBAs in the future.  

Ph.D. Salary Statistics

Ph.D. statistics probably are more accurate because there are fewer PhDs in business produced each year. For example, there were only about 3630+ PhDs awarded in business areas in 2018-2019.  

In comparing Ph.D. and MBA salaries, we should also note that a Ph.D. degree still stands out compared to a commodity MBA with much fewer PhDs awarded.

So, who earns more, MBA vs. Ph.D.? When researching this blog post, I saw many cheerleading fantasy-world salary data in many different articles.

Unfortunately, it seems like some prominent media outlets either have no clue about the state of the job market in the real world, simply ignore it or focus only on some exceptional cases. So, I must extrapolate data piece-by-piece again. 

Well, Ph.D. was designed to work primarily in academia, and academia is not paying these days very much. First of all, a person pursuing a Ph.D. in academia usually makes around $30,000-$35,000 annual stipend. That is meager pay for 5-7 years of hard work. 

Not so many PhDs get into the business world doing practical work. So, for example, there is no need for a company to hire a Ph.D. in marketing when hiring an MBA with previous marketing or analytical work experience.

Let’s define which Ph.D. is beneficial. First, there is no doubt that Ph.D. in STEM majors can lead to a very lucrative salary. For example, browsing through job sites, I saw job postings where employers look for PhDs in robotics, AI, machine learning.

Employers are offering hundreds of thousands of dollars annual salaries because those are booming fields.

PhD Salaries After Graduation

PhDs in business do not enjoy such demand. Still, PhDs in various topics, on average, make more than 15%-20% salary upon graduation. Average Ph.D. may get anywhere from $50,000 to $120,000 or more annually, depending on the chosen field.

Social sciences pay the least, and math, analytics, or tech PhDs sometimes pay even more than $100,000 on average. 

Said that many starting salaries for PhDs on Payscale.com are as low as $44,000-$50,000, without experience. The lower-paying fields are education, human resources, some research institutions. 

The higher-paying fields for PhDs are where complex calculation and analysis are required – finance, economics, business analytics, statistics, and so on. Such quant PhDs starting as analysts can land anything from $70,000 to three figures, depending on the level of experience.  

Specifically, according to PayScale reports, Ph.D. in statistics or computer science may make over $100,000 annually.

On the other hand, ph.D. working as an analyst in operations, marketing, business research, probably realistically will make about $70,000-$90,000 annually upon graduation. 

Those PhDs who eventually make it into management generally will see three-figure salaries mid-career after 5-6 years of work. 

Conclusion about MBA vs. Ph.D. salaries. 

A significant problem with all these data, statistics, and attempting to figure trends is that the business world is now changing so fast that much of this data may be obsolete five years from now.

For example, Tech may replace whole industries with robots, and new high-paying industries may appear. So, this blog post intends to see the current situation in MBA vs. Ph.D. debate. 

Generally, Ph.D. in business does not yield a much higher salary than an MBA from one of the top 50 business schools unless Ph.D. is from an elite business school.

Pursuing a Ph.D. requires many years of demanding work, dedication, and sacrifice while forgoing potential work experience you could obtain by starting to work after an MBA. 

Let’s talk about specific examples of different types of MBA vs. PhDs.

MBA vs. Ph.D. in finance (with salary comparison)

MBA vs. Ph.D. in finance is an incorrect comparison because these are two drastically different degrees. As mentioned above, an MBA is a generalist degree even when an MBA student chooses concentration or specialization in finance.

In contrast, Ph.D. in finance is a degree issued after research focused on a specific new topic in finance. 

Ph.D. in finance involves learning and research in the following areas: finance, financial markets, economics, corporate finance, investments, statistics, advanced math, econometrics, risk management, and other relevant topics. 

Ph.D. in finance can take 5-6 years to complete vs. two years for MBA. Most PhDs in finance work in education or research institutions.

Deep knowledge of finance may allow a Ph.D. in finance graduate to obtain a research and analysis position within the financial industry. 

I think that Ph.D. in finance from a low-ranking institution is likely to yield a research or education job. But a Ph.D. in finance from top-ranking elite business schools is more likely to open doors in the business industry.

Consulting firms, banks, hedge funds, securities firms, investment research, and similar entities will likely hire elite Ph.D. graduates with good salaries. 

Such industry professions as a financial manager, financial analyst, actuary, finance teacher are often cited as prospective growth careers for those with Ph.D. in finance. But majority of PhDs end up in academia or research institutions.

I also think large financial institutions, such as investment banks or hedge funds may hire elite Ph.D. researchers to research macroeconomic and financial trends. And such institutions probably pay the most. Policy research institutions hire PhDs as well but for a lower salary. 

How much can you make with a Ph.D. in finance?

There is little data on Ph.D. in finance as most hirings go in confidence. Colleges will advertise $180,000-$220,000 post-graduation salary for Ph.D. in finance but remember that they promote their Ph.D. programs to prospective students and puff the numbers. 

First, a teaching job for Ph.D. in finance will pay around $60,000-$90,000 annually because the education industry generally pays less. The business industry will probably pay on average $80,000-$100,000 to start with, depending on the school rank. 

Some firms and companies may pay more, but those are rather exceptions.  And Ph.D. must be from one of the top business programs in the country to obtain more than $120,000 starting salary after graduation.  

My research on jobs sites revealed that it is not uncommon for Ph.D. in finance to make around $100,000 in a quantitative analytical position in the finance industry.

And with career progress and proven success record Ph.D. in finance can make more than $120,000-$150,000 or more by moving into a managerial position.

Why is MBA better than Ph.D. in Finance?

It is tough to get into Ph.D. in finance program because only about 0.3%-2% of applicants are accepted. It is a very long and challenging process until graduation. In addition, ph.D. in finance requires hardcore math skills. 

It is tough to get published in top financial research publications. And if you do not get published often, then after Ph.D. in finance, you will not get that tenured teaching job. 

Additionally, large financial institutions like to hire PHDs from elite business schools rather than ones from lower-ranking colleges. The finance industry is snobby.  

I also have read about Ph.D. in finance who went into marketing analytics instead and excelled there as a marketing analyst.  

Conclusion about MBA vs. Ph.D. in finance

Do not go into Ph.D. if you want it for a career or job because a Ph.D. is essentially a teaching and research degree. 

Overall, Ph.D. in finance will not yield a much higher salary than MBA from a reputable business school. However, ph.D. in finance may bring substantial career benefits if it is from one of the elite business schools.

On the other hand, a ph.D. in finance from a low-ranking business school may not even result in a suitable teaching position.

A ph.D. in finance is worth only if you plan to work in academia and be an academic researcher in the field of finance. Still, there are possibilities for switching to private industry jobs for Ph.D. in finance.

But long and tedious Ph.D. process may not be worth the hustle just for getting a career in the finance industry.

MBA with a concentration in finance is easier to obtain in the top 50 MBA program and generally is a significantly faster process. Then in two years, you can start looking for a job. 

Financial institutions also like to hire people with MBAs or MS in finance. Because of that, I think MS in finance is a much easier route to break into the financial industry than Ph.D. in finance. Plus, financial institutions like to hire advanced math or statistics majors rather than Ph.D. in finance. 

Go for MS in finance or MBA from a top business school. But, frankly, Ph.D. in math or economics may be an even better route to break into the world of finance than Ph.D. in finance. 

MBA vs. Ph.D. in economics (with salary comparison)

When deciding on MBA vs. Ph.D. in economics, we must remember that Ph.D. in economics is as much a teaching research degree as any other Ph.D.

I like economics because it studies society and consumer behavior as much as complex numbers. Economics degree is number 2 among people with degrees who got rich (number 1 is engineering). 

I guess this success has to do with economists studying and forecasting industry and economic trends. As a result, they develop an astute understanding of where things are heading in the economy. 

The accurate average starting salary for Ph.D. in economics is probably also around $70,000-$90,000. However, PhDs from elite universities are yielding higher wages between $100,000 and $200,000. 

Ph.D. in economics is a more popular degree than Ph.D. in finance but suffers from the same limitations. Ph.D. in economics is essentially an academic research and teaching degree. 

Getting a Ph.D. in economics is as challenging as getting a Ph.D. in finance and maybe even harder, according to Ph.D. graduates. It is a highly rigorous program with all math and calculations and lots of personal sacrifices.

Minus, pay is low while you pursue it for 5-6 years. After graduation, you must have published papers, or you will lose the possibility to land a suitable teaching position. 

PhD vs MBA For Jobs in Private Industry

Among the advantages of a Ph.D. in economics vs. MBA is that Ph.D. in economics is a heavily quantitative degree and good quants are always in demand in the business industry.

Ph.D. in economics studies much deeper theoretical and practical application economics to the real-life business world than MBA. And Ph.D. in economics knows advanced math very well. 

A ph.D. in economics may open some private business industry research and analysis positions. Still, the salary level is not likely to be higher than the one obtained by MBA graduates from one of the 50 top-ranking MBA programs in the country. 

Therefore, I think MBA from a top 50 business school is a better practical career choice than Ph.D. in economics. 

My take Ph.D. in economics is worth it only if you are not just a fan but a fanatic of economics and would love to teach and research it day and night and on Sunday.

Otherwise, MBA with a concentration in economics may be a better choice for a quicker career start. Alternatively, you may obtain MS in applied business economics or MS in finance. 

I said that Ph.D. in economics is generally a more popular business Ph.D. choice because it looks like such PhDs can find industry jobs more quickly than Ph.D. in finance.  

One good news is that PhDs in economics have one of the lowest unemployment rates among all types of PhDs. So, at least, Ph.D. in economics is very likely to obtain a job.  

However, pay may not be necessarily better than that of MBA or MS in Finance, MS in applied economics, or MS in Math or statistics. 

And Ph.D. in math or technology is still the best for a three-figure salary. Keep in mind that all quantitative PhDs often compete for the same quantitative or analytical jobs in the business industry.

Conclusion: Better Ph.D. in business or MBA?

41% of MBAs are underemployed, and almost 90% of MBAs report working in positions not related to their MBA. I also went into the legal field despite having top As in my finance and economics classes. 

Other reputable reports suggest that MBAs are employable mostly when they already have 5-6 years of relevant work experience. Thus, MBA serves just as a career booster, not a career starter, unless MBA is from an elite business school. 

On the other hand, a Ph.D. takes 3-7 or even ten years to complete while underpaying. And even upon graduation, often PhDs salaries are not much higher than those of MBAs. In fact, on average, no more than 20% higher. 

The majority of Ph.D. business jobs are in teaching or consulting. Therefore, a Ph.D. will make you overqualified for most entry-level positions. Even MBA can make you overqualified for many jobs. 

Is a Ph.D. worth it? Is it worth spending 5-7 years of hard Ph.D. research work just on getting paid a little more than MBA after two years of master’s degree? You tell me. 

It is a bad idea to obtain Ph.D. just for a job and career. But the following are exceptions. First, Ph.D. is great if you love doing research, writing research papers on the super-favorite topics so much that you can consistently keep working on your Ph.D. for so many years without quitting. 

And, if the topic of your Ph.D. is in some field with challenging practical applications, like quantitative or Tech, you may even enjoy a great paying career after obtaining a Ph.D. 

People with solid quantitative skills will always find analytical jobs in the business. The salary Ph.D. in the quantitative discipline may initially not be much better than that of a regular MBA.

Still, the long-term job security and career growth may be as good because Ph.D. is a specialist with quantitative skills like nobody else in the job market. 

Overall, I think that Ph.D. is not better than MBA in Ph.D. vs. MBA debate. Instead, I believe MBA is better than Ph.D. because it takes less time and effort to complete.

In addition, MBA is a significantly better choice if you can practice GMAT and get into MBA at one of the higher-ranking business schools. 

But PhDs in Tech or quantitative disciplines may be well worth the long marathon for those who genuinely enjoy doing that type of work. 

This article’s information and opinions represent only my opinion based on some data, some research, and work experience. In no way is this education or career advice.

Said that, hopefully, you now have a little more information to work with when deciding about MBA vs. Ph.D. paths, their flaws, and benefits.  

Source 1 , Source 2 , Source 3 , Source 4 , Source 5 , Source 6 , Source 7 , Source 8 , Source 9

Which MBA Is Best for Me?

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Genevieve Carlton

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated October 17, 2023

Which MBA Is Best for Me?

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Are you ready to discover your college program?

The best MBA specialization depends on your personal aptitudes and career goals. However, some MBA specializations are more in-demand and higher paying than others.

Deciding whether to specialize in an MBA program ultimately rests on each student's unique interests and professional aspirations. One benefit to choosing an MBA specialization is that you will receive focused training in a particular area of business like consulting, project management, strategy, or finance. By specializing during an MBA program , graduates can build the knowledge and skills required for specific career paths. A specialization can also help professionals who don't yet have relevant work experience. This article explores that data, helping MBA students make informed decisions about their specialization options.

What type of MBA Specializations Are There?

Business schools often offer dozens of MBA specializations, allowing students to focus their coursework on areas that interest them. Depending on the program, MBA enrollees may even be able to select more than one concentration.

However, most programs cap their specialization options. Smaller programs, for example, may combine their small business and entrepreneurship concentrations . Other programs focus on a few core specializations rather than offering a dozen options. Here are a few of the most common MBA specializations.

Most Common types of MBA Specializations

  • Business management
  • Cybersecurity
  • Engineering management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • General management
  • Healthcare management
  • Human resource management
  • Information systems and technology
  • International business
  • Logistics management
  • Management consulting
  • Nonprofit business
  • Operations management
  • Product management
  • Project management
  • Real estate
  • Resources and environmental management
  • Rural management
  • Small business
  • Supply chain management
  • Sustainability

MBA Specialization vs. Concentration

What's the difference between an MBA specialization and a concentration? Essentially, there isn't one. Specializations and concentrations both refer to focused curricula that trains MBA students for particular fields. Regardless of whether a business school uses the name specialization or concentration, they both provide targeted skills for specific career paths.

Why Specialize in an MBA Program?

A general MBA degree strengthens decision-making, leadership, and analytical skills. Meanwhile, a specialization provides focused coursework in a specific subfield, such as finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, information systems, or healthcare management. This prepares graduates to pursue specific career paths after graduation, and may improve qualifications for certain roles.

Before selecting a specialization and submitting MBA applications , prospective students should carefully consider their academic strengths and professional goals, and weigh those against what specializations their program offers. The following sections explore how to choose an MBA specialization, along with data about the highest-paying and most in-demand MBA specializations.

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What are the highest-paying mba specializations.

The top-paying industries for MBA professionals include finance, healthcare, and technology. According to a 2019 corporate recruiters survey , the finance industry offers a base median starting salary of $125,000, compared to the general MBA median starting salary of about $115,000. Graduates who work in consulting report the highest median starting salary, with $135,000.

Other industries offer lower earning potential for MBA graduates, though salaries are still higher than for students with only a bachelor's degree. In manufacturing and products/services, new hires make a median salary of $105,000, while the nonprofit and government sectors pay a median salary of around $65,000. Bachelor's degree-holders earn median starting salaries of about $55,000.

Keep in mind that salaries vary widely depending on industry, job title , and location, and what business school you attended can also affect your salary.

What MBA Specializations Are in Demand?

Many MBA specializations report high demand, and a specialization demonstrates focused training to prospective employers. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council 2019 business school hiring report , corporate recruiters primarily look for MBA graduates specializing in strategy, finance, and business analytics. Other in-demand areas include consulting and project management.

Location and local industries can also affect demand. While financial managers see high demand across much of the country, healthcare managers rank among the fastest-growing jobs in Portland, Oregon; meanwhile, computer and information systems managers take the top spot in Colorado Springs. When choosing a specialization, consider what fields are most prominent in the place where you want to build your career.

In-Demand MBA Specializations to Consider

A finance specialization emphasizes portfolio management, investment strategy, and risk management. Enrollees explore corporate finance, securities regulation, international finance, and capital markets. The concentration prepares graduates for careers as financial managers. MBA professionals who work in finance earn a median starting salary of $125,000 per year.

An entrepreneurship specialization emphasizes innovation, business planning, and securing capital for new ventures. Entrepreneurship programs also strengthen management and leadership skills. The concentration prepares graduates to become entrepreneurs or pursue venture capital roles. Professionals with entrepreneurship MBAs earn an average salary of over $100,000 per year, according to PayScale .

An information systems MBA — also called an IT MBA — trains students in the intersection between business and technology. The concentration builds tech skills and familiarizes graduates with information systems, which they can use to improve efficiency and profitability at future companies. Learners also learn about information security, business intelligence, and communication technologies. MBA professionals who pursue careers in technology earn median starting salaries of $115,000.

An international business specialization examines global business development, international trade, and international supply chain management. Students learn about international corporate strategy, negotiation techniques, and economic development. Other core areas include global finance and entrepreneurship. PayScale reports that international business MBAs earn an average salary of over $95,000.

An MBA in project management emphasizes leadership and strategy, especially in team settings. These managers must guide projects from the planning stages to completion while always working toward organizational goals. This specialization includes MBA graduates who specialize in products and services — one of the most in-demand skills — earning a median starting salary of $105,000.

A sustainability specialization emphasizes innovation and business strategy from an environmental perspective. Learners examine environmental challenges and explore sustainable ways to innovate, add value, and earn a competitive advantage. The average salary for an MBA graduate with a sustainability specialization exceeds $80,000 per year, according to PayScale .

Which MBA Specialization Is Best for Me?

Which MBA specialization is the best depends on your unique strengths, interests, and career goals. When narrowing down your options, start by carefully considering what specializations align with your personal and professional aspirations.

For example, some industries offer higher salaries, while others provide an opportunity to make meaningful contributions in a particular field. Some MBA students thrive in data-driven business analytics concentrations, while others excel in healthcare management or marketing concentrations.

Which specialization you choose may also come down to what's offered by your preferred program. Many top online MBA programs offer multiple specializations, including high-demand areas like consulting, finance, and project management. If you have yet to choose an MBA program , available specializations is a good metric to use when narrowing down your choices.

How Do I Choose an MBA Specialization?

mba or phd which is better

A Real MBA Grad on Choosing a Specialization

TBS sits down with MBA grad, Silvi Saxena, to discuss how she decided her MBA specialization.

What advice do you have for students who are deciding on a specialization?

Specialization is great if your industry has the special niche interests, but think about your industry and how relevant a specific specialization may be. Talk to those who are in those areas where you'd like to work and set up informational interviews for yourself to learn about the position and how different specialities could fit into those positions.

At what point in your career did you get your MBA, and why then?

I got my MBA six years after getting my first master's, which was an MSW. Working in healthcare as an MSW had its limits, and an MBA plus my work experience would set me apart for certain job opportunities.

What advice do you have for someone pursuing an MBA?

Think about where you want to be and what will be the best fit for you. There are a lot of speciality programs that work in conjunction with businesses and within the MBA program. Talk to others who have gone through an MBA program, look at the bios of those in positions you'd like to be in, and consider all paths.

Portrait of Silvi Saxena

Silvi Saxena

MBA, MSW, LSW, CCTP, OSW-C

Silvi Saxena (preferred pronouns she/her) has worked as a medical social worker/clinician for 10 years doing home visits, hospice care, and hospital work. She has experience with patients of all ages with a wide variety of complex medical and psychosocial concerns. She has a dedicated passion for end-of-life care, palliative, and chronic care. She chooses to work with those who are the most vulnerable in the healthcare system.

Currently, Saxena works in a corporate education role at a national hospice company. Additionally, she has a special interest in and commitment to healthcare-related employee wellness and supporting direct care providers so they can provide the best care for their patients.

Saxena received her MBA from Quantic School of Business and Technology.

Common Questions About MBA Specializations

Which mba specialization is best for consulting.

Management consulting and strategic management are the best MBA specializations for consulting professionals. Prospective consultants may also earn specializations in finance, marketing, or entrepreneurship.

Which Type of MBA Is in Demand?

The highest demand is for finance, project management, consulting, strategy, and business analytics specialists, according to the 2019 corporate recruiter survey . However, employers hire MBA graduates with many different specializations, as each degree type is suited to different roles.

Does Your MBA Specialization Matter?

Yes. An MBA specialization offers focused training in a particular field, signaling to employers that a graduate can succeed in that business area. However, most programs also offer general MBAs without specializations, and employers look favorably upon those degrees, too.

What's the Most Affordable MBA Specialization?

A general MBA is often the most affordable MBA specialization because it requires the fewest credits. However, it's a good idea to research whether your choice of specialization affects cost before enrolling in any MBA program.

Portrait of Genevieve Carlton

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University. After earning her doctorate in early modern European history, Carlton worked as an assistant professor of history at the University of Louisville, where she developed new courses on the history of science, Renaissance Italy, and the witch trials. Carlton has published five peer-reviewed articles in top presses and a monograph with the University of Chicago Press. She also earned tenure with a unanimous vote before relocating to Seattle. Learn more about Carlton's work at genevievecarlton.com .

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Jd vs. mba/phd: which is better.

Many college students and graduates debate between law school, business school and doctorate (PhD) programs. So, which is better, a JD, MBA or PhD? The most important consideration is the type of work you want to do in the future. Nevertheless, there are some definite benefits between one choice vs. the other. (Spoiler alert: I do think you get a lot more “bang for the buck” with a JD!) Please see my thoughts below.

  • To begin with, you may NOT need to choose between a JD and an MBA: many Universities offer a joint degree, allowing you to graduate with both a JD and an MBA in four (4) years, if that is of interest to you.
  • Assuming you are not going the joint degree route, a JD will take you three (3) years, an MBA typically will take two (2) years, and a PhD typically will take you four to seven (4-7) years.
  • A very significant factor to consider is that a JD is required  if you want to be a lawyer, judge or law school professor. In contrast, you do not need an MBA if you want to run a business. Some employers  may arbitrarily require an MBA for certain jobs, but a JD is mandatory if you want to be a lawyer, judge or law school professor.
  • Because a JD is a requirement to practice law, to be a judge or to teach law school, the  supply  of available candidates for these jobs is dramatically reduced. That provides you a significant benefit when it comes to securing one of these jobs and/or demanding a higher salary.
  • Normally, a PhD is required to be a college professor at most Universities. However, you also can teach as a college professor or law school professor with a JD, which also is considered a “doctorate” degree. In addition, the salaries for teaching law school with a JD typically will be higher than the salaries of most college professors with a PhD.
  • Bottom line: you likely will get a lot more “bang for the buck” with a JD vs. an MBA or PhD, but it still depends upon what type of work you ultimately want to do!
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mba or phd which is better

In honor of ScoreItUp’s 10th year in business, the first 50% of students who enroll in each of my 2018 live (classroom) ScoreItUp course will get a 10% discount off the course fee. Online students are eligible for a 10% discount too – email me at [email protected] for details.  No tricks, no gimmicks, no asterisks – just a nice discount off of ScoreItUp’s already excellent value for those who plan ahead and enroll early. Also, if you qualify for an LSAT fee waiver, please ask me about ScoreItUp’s need-based scholarships. Please email me at [email protected] if you have any questions!

Here’s the short version, if you are pressed for time: if you are one of the first 50% of students who enroll enroll in any live (classroom) ScoreItUp course in 2018 (or at any time for ScoreItUp’s online video course), and you get a 10% discount in honor of ScoreItUp’s 10th year in business.

Please email me at [email protected] for any questions. Thank you – I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope to share a very exciting 10-year LSAT Prep anniversary with you!

The Problem: Like other future lawyers, Ashley knew she needed to get a solid LSAT score to achieve her dream of attending law school. She had a different issue, though – she wasn’t absolutely certain that law school was the right choice for her. The Solution: When Ashley found out about ScoreItUp on her college campus, she realized that taking a LSAT Prep course would be a necessity. After looking into it futher, she realized that ScoreItUp was an easy choice for her.

The Result: Ashley’s practice LSAT score went from a 149 (slightly below average) to a 167 (top 5%) while taking ScoreItUp’s course with Mark. That 18-point score increase compares her initial practice LSAT score to her highest practice LSAT score (taking real LSATs under timed and proctored classroom conditions designed to simulate the official LSAT), and represents an improvement of approximately 50 percentile!

Ashley’s Words: Your LSAT course lived up to all of the raving reviews and I couldn’t be more satisfied. Thank you for making what could have been a grueling, miserable experience an engaging and enjoyable one. The critical thinking skills we learned in your course have transcended beyond the LSAT – I just got an A+ in a challenging course (average grade was a low B) as a direct result of the Logical Reasoning skills that were so helpful on the LSAT. In addition, your course helped convince me that going to law school is clearly the right choice for me – thank you!

The Problem: Paul was an intelligent UC Davis student, but (as you can see from his photo!) he needed a fun and motivating LSAT Prep course to help him achieve his potential on the LSAT. Paul knew the importance of the LSAT, but he also was working as a lifeguard and found it difficult to prioritize the LSAT when surrounded all day by bikini-clad women! [Editor´s Note: just being honest, here!]

The Solution: Paul was referred to ScoreItUp, and he quickly understood why. He appreciated the guarantee that all lectures would be taught by Mark, and not by an instructor who may not have a law school degree, teaching experience, or independently verifiable student evaluations. The cost savings by cutting out the “middlemen” didn’t hurt either. Paul also realized that ScoreItUp actually made studying for the LSAT…fun!

The Result: After taking ScoreItUp’s live Summer course, Paul got an impressive 174 on the LSAT – higher than over 99% of the people taking the LSAT nationwide. His actual 174 LSAT score was 16 points higher than the mock exam he took before starting ScoreItUp. Paul parlayed that LSAT score into a huge scholarship to attend USC Law School, after receiving numerous offers from top law schools throughout the country! Paul´s Words: After being extremely disappointed with a sample class hosted by a national LSAT prep company I decided to ask around for a better option. I got referred to ScoreItUp and couldn’t be more thankful I did. Mark’s lectures are engaging and infinitely useful. As strange as it sounds, going to LSAT prep class was not a chore. However, the best part of ScoreItUp is the personalized attention you receive. Mark is exceedingly approachable and genuinely wants each of his students to reach their full potential. Mark and ScoreItUp were instrumental for me to achieve the great score I knew I could get. I couldn’t be happier with ScoreItUp and I know you will be too.

mba or phd which is better

Pease contact me directly at [email protected] or (949) 355-1413 .

~Mark Sacks ScoreItUp Company Owner

ScoreItUp’s Fall course calendars will be posted soon. The courses will end shortly prior to the November 17, 2018 LSAT. For more details, please email [email protected]

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The Problem: Chris was a bright, fun-loving UC Santa Barbara student (go Gauchos!) planning on going to law school. He knew the LSAT was complex, and felt he would benefit significantly from an excellent LSAT Prep instructor.

The Solution: While coming home from a vacation, Chris attempted to impress the woman next to him on the plane with his UCSB charm. The scintillating conversation naturally turned to LSAT Prep. She told Chris that ScoreItUp was the best course out there, and she planned to commute from Los Angeles to Orange County to take it. After seeing what ScoreItUp offered, Chris was convinced.

The Result: The most challenging section on the LSAT for Chris was Logic Games (Analytical Reasoning). After three weeks of training with Mark Sacks, Chris got a perfect score on Logic Games using a real LSAT exam in a timed classroom setting. In the next week’s class, Chris did it again! [Editor’s Note: after reviewing Alex’s Story, it makes one wonder: were Chris and Alex twins separated at birth?!] Chris’ Words: Not all test prep companies are created equal. What sold me on ScoreItUp was it offers more hours at a cheaper price, and Mark Sacks is guaranteed to be the teacher. But what makes this class worthwhile is not just the quantity, but the quality of the service and the attitude with which it is rendered. Mark’s effective communication, detailed explanations, thorough analysis, successful strategies, and enthusiasm for the LSAT have empowered me to make substantial improvement. Mark is also really encouraging and cares about your progress. The guy has a sense of humor too!

The Problem: Ben was a strong student with very specific and very high law school aspirations.

The Solution: Ben recognized the tremendous opportunity (and value) offered by ScoreItUp LSAT Prep. After finishing ScoreItUp’s Summer LSAT Prep course, he was scoring in the 98th percentile – an increase of 58 percentile points (and over 20 LSAT points) over his initial diagnostic exam score (comparison based on official full-length LSAT exams taken in timed and proctored classroom settings). Ben´s tremendous improvement on the LSAT ultimately became a law school life-changer.

The Result: Ben received a slew of law school offers, but the decision for him was a no-brainer. One of his many law school acceptance letters came from the University of Virginia, a “Top 10” law school in the exact location (near Washington D.C.) where he wanted to be.

Ben’s Words: There’s no one I’d trust more than Mark when it comes to preparation for the LSAT.

The Problem: Randy took a LSAT Prep course from a large test prep company. He prepared thoroughly and got a good score on the LSAT. However, Randy’s aspirations were set high. He was not at all satisfied with the training he got, and he knew that other large companies would have the same problem. The Solution: After going through the experience once, Randy knew that his instructor’s ability to train him effectively was what truly mattered. Randy saw ScoreItUp’s significant advantages, and liked the reassurance that Mark Sacks would be teaching all of the lessons.

The Result: Before ScoreItUp, Randy took a full course with another company, trained extremely diligently, and took the LSAT. He then took ScoreItUp and saw his actual LSAT score increase nearly an additional 10 percentage points (from his prior LSAT score) and land him in the top 5 percent of test takers in the nation. Randy’s critical improvement on the LSAT after ScoreItUp allowed him to achieve his dream of attending USC Law School, an opportunity he never otherwise would have had.

Randy’s Words: If you’re looking for a quality LSAT class, ScoreItUp is hands down the best in Southern California. Mark’s dedication and enthusiasm in helping his students excel is unparalleled.

The Problem: Shadee was a bright UC Irvine student seeking a LSAT Prep instructor who could assist her in maximizing her LSAT score.

The Solution: Shadee previously took an undergraduate law course at UC Irvine with Mark Sacks, which left her confident in his ability to guide her through the challenging LSAT. She also knew that ScoreItUp´s LSAT Prep course with Mark would provide her with exceptionally high quality, a very fun and entertaining learning environment, and a terrific value for her money.

The Result: Shadee´s score on her actual LSAT exam was a whopping 20 points higher than the score she received when taking an official full-length LSAT exam in a timed and proctored classroom setting prior to her ScoreItUp training.

Shadee’s Words: Scoreitup, overall is a great LSAT Prep Course to take! It improved my score by 20 points! Mark Sacks, the instructor is very easy to understand and more than willing to help clarify anything you did not understand both inside and outside of the class. He makes the material a bit more interesting and fun to learn! The learning environment is great! His tips and learning techniques were very helpful. He is also very educated about the law school process…he himself scored in the 99th percentile and graduated from Harvard law! Overall, it was a great choice for me…especially since his rates are not as high as all of the rest of the LSAT Prep Courses…and I improved more than most of my other friends!

The Problem: Chris wanted to attend law school in Southern California, but getting into a very good law school and the cost were both concerns, and he knew that the LSAT was absolutely critical to achieving his goals. Chris knew that he would benefit from a proven and experienced LSAT Prep instructor.

The Solution: Chris took a serious look at ScoreItUp LSAT Prep and compared it to the competition. The decision was an obvious one. Right off the bat he saved money by avoiding having to pay for all of those “middlemen” used by national test prep companies (advertising executives, part-time hourly instructors, recruiters, paperwork processors, etc.). More importantly, he felt the quality assurances and instructor guarantee at ScoreItUp far surpassed anything the competition offered.

The Result: Chris´s final, actual LSAT score on the official LSAT exam was 19 points higher than the score he obtained on a diagnostic exam (using an official LSAT exam in a proctored classroom setting) when he started with ScoreItUp. He received multiple offers and, with Mark´s guidance, selected a great law school in Southern California providing a 70% scholarship! Chris spent less than $1,000 for his ScoreItUp course and plans to save potentially over $87,000 in law school tuition. Now that´s a return on investment that would make even Warren Buffet proud!

Chris´s Words: “Mark´s amazing teaching style and proven test prep strategies are powerful and will provide you with necessary resources needed to realize your full potential on the LSAT exam. Plus, ScoreItUp is 1/3 to 2/3 less than other test prep companies out there. I highly recommend it!!”

The Problem: After realizing the positive impact that lawyers can make in society, Carlos decided he wanted to enter into the legal profession. He then enrolled in a LSAT Prep course with a national test prep company. Unfortunately, he was very disappointed with the quality of the LSAT Prep teaching he received.

The Solution: Carlos then enrolled in ScoreItUp LSAT Prep, knowing that ScoreItUp´s unique “instructor guarantee” would eliminate any concerns about getting an unknown instructor who did not have a law school degree, solid teaching credentials, and/or extensive teaching experience.

The Result: Carlos´s mock LSAT exam score increased 19 points the first time he took ScoreItUp´s course. He got so much out of the course that he took it again and bounced up another 4 points… a total increase of 23 points (comparing first exam at ScoreItUp to best exam, using real full-length LSAT exams in proctored classroom settings). In other words, Carlos improved 23 points on practice LSAT exams compared to where he was after taking a major national test prep company´s course! He was so pleased that he got his girlfriend to enroll in ScoreItUp the next year.

Carlos’ Words: I paid over $1400 for one of the big name prep courses and was very disappointed with the teaching abilities from the staff. I had minimal gains in my LSAT score and was very frustrated. I took ScoreItUp because I had firsthand experience with Mark´s teaching abilities and knew his course would suit me well. The overall structure of the course is what helped me fully understand the concepts of the LSAT, which yielded a much higher score. The quality I experienced at ScoreItUp is definitely unsurpassed by the big name prep courses and I recommend this course to anyone who is looking for a high quality course at a very reasonable rate.

The Problem: Harish was an excellent USC student who did a lot of teaching assistant work himself. He was interested in law school, but knew that he was going to need to prepare thoroughly for the LSAT in order to achieve his potential on the challenging exam.

The Solution: After meeting Mark at USC’s Law Fair, Harish sensed that ScoreItUp would be ideal in helping him achieve his goal of living up to his potential on the LSAT. Although it was a longer commute to attend ScoreItUp’s live course in Orange County, Harish knew that he needed to prioritize the LSAT to achieve his law school goals.

The Result: After taking ScoreItUp’s course with Mark, Harish got a 178 on his official LSAT (substantially better than over 99 percent of all testtakers), the first time he took it. Harish’s 178 score certainly was no fluke, as he consistently scored in the very high 170’s during timed practice LSATs after learning the basics of ScoreItUp’s course. Harish isn’t sure where he will be attending law school, but one thing is clear: his future options are limitless!

Harish´s Words: “Taking this class could help anyone with the LSAT. Mark knows the test so well that even if you only need to make small improvements, he can help with that. And he will always take some time to focus on what you personally need in order to improve.”

The Problem : Brenna´s long-time goal has been to become a prosecutor and eventually a judge. Of course, law school had to come first, and the LSAT had to come before that.

The Solution : Brenna recognized how she could get a superior quality LSAT Prep course and save money. ScoreItUp guaranteed Brenna that the founder of the company would teach her course, and she felt confident in Mark´s teaching experience and effectiveness. In addition, by eliminating the “middlemen,” she saved a lot of money!

The Result : Brenna´s actual LSAT score when she sat for the official LSAT exam was 17 points higher than her original mock exam score before taking ScoreItUp’s course. She succeeded beautifully in her first step in her ultimate quest to become a prosecutor and ultimately the future “Judge Brenna”!

Brenna´s Words: “The materials provided were extremely helpful and the instruction was always intriguing and enjoyable. With each practice exam I took, I watched as my score increased every single time. I felt extremely prepared when I took the LSAT and wouldn´t change a thing about how I prepared. Mark is a great instructor whose test techniques I even continued to use throughout my college career.”

The Problem: Ever since Melissa realized her love for debate, she knew she wanted to become a lawyer. However, her first obstacle was the challenging LSAT.

The Solution: Melissa chose ScoreItUp because she knew that Logic Games was her weakness, and she very much appreciated that Mark guaranteed that he would teach all of the lessons in the course.

The Result: Melissa’s practice LSAT score went from the bottom ¼ of test takers nationwide (initially) to the top 15% – an improvement of 18 LSAT points on practice LSATs (comparing her initial practice LSAT score to her best practice LSAT score, using real LSATs under timed and proctored classroom conditions designed to simulate the official LSAT).

Melissa’s Words: There is not a moment wasted during Mark’s class. I truly felt that I learned worthwhile information and had ample opportunity to practice new problems during each session. He is an extremely helpful guide for anyone who is interested in taking the LSAT. His personal experience and stories also gave me hope that being a lawyer was the right career choice.

The Problem: Shane was preparing for the LSAT on his own, but the highest score he achieved on timed practice exams (using real LSATs) was a 145. Unfortunately, that score was not going to get him into law school or any scholarship money.

The Solution: Shane received a glowing recommendation from one of Mark’s prior ScoreItUp LSAT Prep students, and decided to enroll in ScoreItUp’s Summer course with Mark. He would not be disappointed.

The Result: Shane’s actual LSAT score after taking Mark’s ScoreItUp course was a 161 – an enormous 16-point difference comparing his actual LSAT to his highest practice score before the course (and after self-studying). Even more significantly, with his new and drastically improved LSAT score, Shane received multiple law school offers (some with full-ride scholarships). He is now in the envious position of contemplating a variety of excellent options that he never would have received otherwise!

Shane’s Words: Looking back, enrolling in ScoreItUp to prepare myself for the LSAT was the best decision I could’ve made. It was truly an investment in my future that has already paid off. I found the course schedule, materials, and most importantly, the instructor, Mark, all extremely helpful and I owe most of my success on the actual exam to ScoreItUp. After all of the stress, days spent studying, the classes, and the mock exams, I found that I was more prepared to do well on the LSAT exam than I had thought. Now, not only am I in position to fulfill my dream of attending law school, I will most likely be doing so while also receiving some scholarship money! I would definitely recommend ScoreItUp to anyone who is serious about improving their LSAT score and attending law school.

The Problem: Rena was at the point in her college career that she needed to decide what to do after graduation. Law school was a very serious consideration, but she wasn´t absolutely sure of her future direction.

The Solution: Having previously seen Mark Sacks work through sample LSAT problems, Rena knew that her ability to improve on the LSAT would benefit significantly from a ScoreItUp LSAT prep course. Rena also really liked the idea of a guaranteed instructor with extensive teaching and legal experience, knowing that Mark also could provide her with firsthand insight into the legal profession.

The Result: Rena´s actual LSAT score leaped 16 points compared to her original “mock” LSAT exam score prior to her ScoreItUp course. She also developed far more clarity about the various opportunities provided by a law school degree. Rena is now attending Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, thanks to her dramatic LSAT score improvement.

Rena’s Words: Mark somehow makes preparing for the LSAT fun! The time flew by and every minute of class time really helped me understand the material more and more. I definitely would not have improved as much as I did if it weren’t for ScoreItUp!

The Problem: Tyler was a UCI student with good grades who set ambitious goals for himself. He wanted to go to a top law school, but there was one significant hurdle in the way: the LSAT.

The Solution: After seeing a direct “battle of the test prep companies” comparison between ScoreItUp (with Mark) and the corporate test prep companies, Tyler could see why ScoreItUp was better suited towards preparing him to excel on the LSAT.

The Result: After taking ScoreItUp’s LSAT Prep course, Tyler got a rock-solid 171 on the LSAT. With Mark’s guidance from the LSAT to the law school admissions process itself, Tyler was able to reach his goals. Tyler’s admissions cycle has been successful thus far, as he has received admissions offers from a number of top law schools, including Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, Virginia, UC Berkeley (Boalt), UPenn, Duke and UCLA, among many others

Tyler’s Words: I was fortunate enough to find Mark’s class and my decision to enroll was one of the best I have made on my path to law school. Mark really cares about his students and it shows. Mark gives you the resources that you need to succeed, from practice sections under timed conditions to admissions advice. Practicing under timed conditions really helped me prepare for the stress of test day.

The Problem: Sherry was a talented UCI student with a strong gpa who needed a very good LSAT score to round out her application. She looked for a LSAT Prep instructor who could help. The Solution: Sherry compared ScoreItUp’s guaranteed instructor, Mark Sacks, to the competition. The decision was clear!

The Result: Sherry began ScoreItUp’s course with a 157 mock exam score (using a real and recent LSAT exam in a timed setting). After two months of training in Mark Sacks’ course, Sherry’s actual LSAT score was a 174 – better than 99 percent of test takers, and a hefty 17 points higher than her original mock exam score! Sherry’s outstanding LSAT score and gpa have already earned her law school acceptance letters from Harvard, Columbia, Chicago (with a full-tuition scholarship and additional stipend), NYU, UC Berkeley (Boalt), Duke and UCLA (with a full-tuition scholarship).

Sherry’s Words: When I first met Mark, it was at a panel where many LSAT test-prep companies came to convince the students why their course was the best. Out of all of them, Mark seemed to be the friendliest and most genuine. After taking ScoreItUp, I found out that my judgment was correct. Mark truly cares about his students and sincerely wants us all to do well. His strategies are useful and made the questions much easier to understand. As long as you are willing to put in the time and effort, Mark will be able to help you reach your goal. Mark is a fun and effective instructor and I highly recommend taking his class. You will not regret it!

The Problem: Austin wanted to get a very strong LSAT score to maximize his law school options.

The Solution: Austin heard about ScoreItUp, and quickly sensed that not only was SIU the best value, but he also would get a more personalized course from an instructor who genuinely cared about his students and their success.

The Result: Austin began ScoreItUp’s course by getting an excellent 159 score on a practice LSAT. However, things got much better for Austin, as he raised his practice LSAT score all the way to a 171 (using real LSATs under timed and proctored classroom conditions designed to simulate the official LSAT). More importantly, his actual LSAT score was a rock-solid 168, helping to earn him acceptance into 4th-ranked Columbia Law School!

Austin’s Words: Mark is a fantastic, seasoned instructor who will prepare you thoroughly for the LSAT with the skills and techniques necessary to do well. His entertaining stories liven up and break up the class into manageable chunks as well.

The Problem: Spencer was an ambitious undergraduate student at UC Irvine, seeking to get into a very good law school with some scholarship money. He knew that a great LSAT score was essential to achieving his goals.

The Solution: Spencer heard about ScoreItUp LSAT Prep from a friend who took the course and got a 174 on the LSAT. After taking a look at ScoreItUp’s website, Spencer was convinced.

The Result: After several weeks of training with Mark in ScoreItUp’s course, Spencer consistently was scoring in the 170’s on mock LSAT exams (using real LSAT’s under timed conditions). He worked his way up to a perfect 180 LSAT score on a mock LSAT exam, 18 points higher than his diagnostic exam prior to ScoreItUp’s course! Even more importantly, Spencer’s actual LSAT score was better than 99 percent of test-takers sitting for the exam!

Spencer’s Words: I came into Mark’s class and was surprised by the difficulty of the logic games portion of the lsat exam. I missed most of the questions for this portion on the diagnostic exam, but through Mark’s instruction I was able to establish a method for solving logic games problems. With this method the logic games portion became the section on which I consistently scored the highest. I don’t think I could have done it without ScoreItUp!

The Problem: Kelsey was a USC undergraduate student with ambitious law school goals. She had a strong interest in international law, and wanted to attend an excellent law school in either Washington DC or New York. Kelsey knew, however, that the only way she was going to achieve her dreams was to hit a home run on the LSAT.

The Solution: After comparing the options, Kelsey noticed that few LSAT Prep instructors had any kind of legal background. She felt it would be advantageous for a wide variety of different reasons for her to get help on the LSAT from a proven instructor who had a law school education and a great deal of LSAT Prep and college teaching experience. Taking ScoreItUp’s course with Mark seemed to be the ideal fit.

The Result: Kelsey started ScoreItUp with a diagnostic exam score of 162 and got all the way up to a stunning 177 on a mock exam she did at home after training with Mark (her highest in-class mock exam was an eye-popping 174). Most significantly, her actual LSAT score hit that magical 170 number the first time she took it. After choosing among a series of outstanding law school options, she is now attending law school at the University of Virginia – a T-14 dream school of Kelsey’s! Kelsey’s Words: The extensive legal experience that Mark brings to the classroom cannot be found with any other LSAT prep course. His unique perspective and knowledge really helped me grasp a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of the test. Also, Mark’s fun personality and genuine interest in his students makes him an enjoyable teacher and valuable adviser!

The Problem : Mark W. was familiar with the general concept of formal logic, having taught courses in that subject himself at UCI. However, the LSAT was a new beast for him, and he wasn’t sure how to best conquer it.

The Solution : Comparing ScoreItUp to other test prep companies allowed Mark W. to see that he would be far better served by having Mark Sacks as his instructor than a part-time instructor from a corporate test prep company. Having taught University classes himself, Mark W. knew just how critical the importance of an instructor is when taking a challenging course like LSAT Prep.

The Result : Mark W. took a practice LSAT before taking ScoreItUp’s course. He got a 151, which is roughly dead average when compared to those who took the same LSAT officially. After completing ScoreItUp’s course with Mark Sacks, he took the official LSAT and scored a perfect 180 on the LSAT the very first time (a spectacular 29-point increase). Mark W. was the second ScoreItUp student that year to register a perfect 180, a score achieved by only approximately 1 in 10,000 students nationwide.

MARK W.´s Words: “it is absolutely crucial that you have quality test preparation and that you take test prep seriously. The thing I like most about ScoreItUp is the ability of the instructor, Mark Sacks, to be able to tailor his instruction to each student’s needs. Mark’s teaching is not formulaic and not one-size-fits all, a feature that I found helpful. He interspersed personal anecdotes and humor into his instruction and was able to connect with students of many different types: men, women, both young and to the geezers like me. Because it is personalized, it is almost like you have your own LSAT tutor, plus, you also get more hours at a better price than other test prep centers.”

The Problem: Alex intended to go to law school, but success on the very difficult LSAT was critical to achieving his goals. In particular, he was completely befuddled and challenged by the “Logic Games” section of the exam. He knew that he needed to find quality LSAT Prep instruction and career guidance, and he wisely realized that what mattered was the LSAT Prep instructor – not the LSAT Prep company.

The Solution: After comparing ScoreItUp to the competition (in terms of both course quality and price), the solution was obvious.

The Result: Alex enrolled in ScoreItUp’s live LSAT Prep course, and achieved what may well be a world-record in LSAT improvement. Before ScoreItUp, he answered 5 out of 24 questions correctly (21%) on the Logic Games section – i.e., a score that was no better than random guessing.* Within approximately three weeks of ScoreItUp training, Alex earned a perfect Logic Games score – he answered all 24 Logic Games questions correctly (100%)! A week later, he earned a perfect Logic Games score again. Alex quickly achieved perfection on the part of the exam that challenged him the most, and still had over a month to train for the LSAT. Wow – it doesn’t get any better than that!

Alex’s Words: I could not have done it without Mark’s help and ScoreItUp’s methods.

* All of Alex’s scores used complete Analytical Reasoning (Logic Games) sections from real, official LSAT exams, and were taken in timed classroom settings designed to simulate the actual LSAT.

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MBA vs. IO Psychology — Which One is Right for You?

Learning more about how these two popular business degrees can move your career in different directions may help you choose the right one for you.

Mary Sharp Emerson

Today more than ever, employee engagement and a safe and productive work environment are critical for success. An advanced degree can help you build the skills you need to promote the right workplace policies. The question is, which degree—MBA vs. IO Psychology—will give you the specific skill set you’re looking for.

Ever since Harvard University established it in 1908, the master’s of business administration (MBA) has been the most well-known and popular degree for a career in business. 

In recent years, however, the variety of business-related degrees has greatly expanded from the traditional MBA, offering business-minded professionals many choices. 

A master’s in industrial-organizational (IO) psychology is one such specialized business degree that has gained significantly in popularity over the past decade. 

There are similarities between these two graduate degrees and both offer significant advantages for career growth. But there are important distinctions as well in what you learn and in your career path.

MBA vs. IO Psychology: What Are Some Possible Career Pathways?

Both an MBA and a master’s in industrial-organizational psychology will prepare you to further your career in business. And both degrees offer a variety of flexibility and opportunities.

However, these two related degrees, MBA vs. IO psychology, offer different career paths.

What is an MBA?

An MBA is designed to prepare you for a management or leadership role in the corporate world.

According to mba.com , the MBA is a general business degree that offers broad knowledge of finance, accounting, management, and strategy. You’ll also learn critical soft skills that you’ll need as a manager and leader. Other business-focused master’s programs, like a master’s in management , also cover such topics. (See Master’s Degree in Management vs an MBA ).

An MBA doesn’t guarantee that you will move into an executive role, nor is an MBA required for executive leadership. However, having an MBA on your resume can significantly accelerate your career path into senior leadership. 

Potential titles for professionals with an MBA include:

  • C-Suite and executive positions such as Chief Finance Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and Vice President
  • Marketing Manager
  • Finance Manager
  • Management Analyst or Consultant
  • Operations Manager

In addition, many MBA programs today also have a focus on entrepreneurship. If starting your own business or running a start-up appeals to you, an MBA is likely a smart choice.

What is a Master’s in IO Psychology?

A master’s in industrial-organizational psychology is a specialized business degree focused on human behavior in the workplace. 

Many companies employ IO psychologists to ensure that their organizations are safe, healthy, and productive places to work. 

A graduate degree in industrial-organizational psychology can prepare you for a variety of different career paths in nearly any industry you can name. Some of the most common paths include:

  • Human resources : create improved hiring practices; develop criteria to evaluate employee performance; engage in conflict resolution; and design policies to improve productivity, safety, and conflict resolution.
  • Learning and development : develop, evaluate, and facilitate employee training programs. 
  • Leadership development and career coach : help employees maximize their potential by facilitating positive transition and change.
  • Behavioral analysis : research behavioral patterns in the workplace to improve safety procedures, increase productivity, examine environmental and biological influences on group and individual actions, and analyze trends in customer behavior.

Industrial-organizational psychology offers career flexibility as well, from research to management. At the senior level, many specialists in this field develop successful careers as independent consultants. 

Explore our graduate degree program in industrial-organizational psychology.

MBA vs. IO Psychology: What Will You Study?

Both graduate degree programs offer courses designed to give broad knowledge of the business world.

In both programs, MBA vs. IO psychology, you’ll master skills such as leadership, strategy, critical thinking, and problem solving that you’ll need for a successful business career.

Despite some overlap, however, the majority of your classes will be unique to the specific degree program you’re in. The biggest differences in coursework will develop as you choose specializations based on your interests and career path.

MBA Coursework

In an MBA program, you’ll take courses that provide a broad overview of key business areas , including:

  • Human resources
  • Business analytics

You’ll also build skills in leadership and management, decision making, ethics, negotiation, strategy, and entrepreneurship. 

In addition to required classes, you’ll have the opportunity to build greater knowledge in areas of interest to you. In your elective classes, you may want to focus on international business or business law, for example. You may choose to take a deeper dive into economics, labor relations, quantitative analysis, or even technology. 

Industrial-Organizational Psychology Coursework

Coursework in an IO psychology graduate program typically focuses on applying the science of human behavior to the business world.

Required IO psychology classes will look at the psychology of human behavior in specific business-related situations, such as:

  • Organizational psychology
  • Engineering psychology
  • Small group theory
  • Personnel psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Work motivation and attitudes

Other required classes will focus on human resources, such as:

  • Employee selection and hiring practices
  • Performance evaluations
  • Labor relations
  • Conflict management and alternative dispute resolution
  • Compensation and benefits

You’ll also be required to study research methodologies, data collection and analysis, statistics, and other quantitative skills. If you’re interested in a career in research, you’ll need to have especially strong mathematical and statistical skills.

As in an MBA program, elective courses allow you to build greater knowledge in key areas of interest to you. In an IO psychology program, your choice of electives could provide greater knowledge of the business world, for example, or enable you to specialize in a specific area. 

In Harvard Extension School’s IO psychology program , for example, potential electives might include:

  • Behavioral Economics and Decision Making
  • Business Rhetoric
  • Future of Work
  • Optimizing Leadership
  • Diversity and Inclusion Management
  • Power and Privilege in Systems

While by no means comprehensive, this short list of examples demonstrates the variety of course options available to you as you pursue your graduate degree in IO psychology. 

For more information on the specific skills that you’ll need to pursue a successful career in industrial-organizational psychology, read our blog post 10 Skills You Need to Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist . 

How To Get Started on Your Graduate Degree

The good news is that you can start either of these degrees at any point in your professional career, whether you are fresh out of college or seeking a career change. 

At a minimum, you’ll need to have an undergraduate degree before you can begin a graduate degree program (unless you are enrolled in a dual degree program). 

Your undergraduate degree doesn’t need to match your current degree goals. You don’t need a BS in business to pursue an MBA. You don’t need a BS in psychology to pursue a master’s in I/O psychology. However, you may find that you need to take some prerequisite classes to build skills and qualify for graduate-level courses.

The first step in getting started is choosing the type of graduate degree you want. Next, you’ll have to decide how you want to pursue that degree. Finally, you’ll need to research graduate programs that will enable you to achieve your goal. 

Researching the many high-quality programs available today in either field will help you understand the requirements, time commitments, cost factors, and other important information you need to get started.

Earning your MBA or your master’s in industrial-organizational psychology will be challenging. But regardless of the degree you choose, it’s a great way to keep your career moving forward in the right direction.

Ready to begin? Find the program that’s right for you.

Start your Harvard Extension School journey today.

About the Author

Digital Content Producer

Emerson is a Digital Content Producer at Harvard DCE. She is a graduate of Brandeis University and Yale University and started her career as an international affairs analyst. She is an avid triathlete and has completed three Ironman triathlons, as well as the Boston Marathon.

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Choosing a graduate program can be daunting. This guide will provide insight on how to get started.

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Which MBA Specialization Should I Choose? [List of Factors to Consider]

Which MBA Specialization Should I Choose? [List of Factors to Consider]

MBA is one of the most sought after higher education programs by aspirants all across the globe. While millions of students pursue an MBA program, there’s one question that seems to trouble every beginner – “Which MBA stream should I choose?”

The first two semesters of an MBA program are crucial for each student since this is the time they must deliberate and choose a specialization stream. In fact, the institution you enroll in and the specialization you want to pursue are the most critical factors that determine your worth after you earn the MBA degree. 

Most institutes in the country (as well as overseas) offer a host of standard specialization streams as their MBA offerings, including:

  • Business Analytics
  • Finance 
  • Human Resources 
  • Digital Finance & Banking
  • Business Management 
  • Information Technology
  • Operations Management 
  • Management Information Systems
  • International Business 

Naturally, choosing only one specialization out of so many is an overwhelming decision. And that’s why we’ve created this simple guide to help you with your selection of MBA specialization!

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If you cannot make up your mind as to which MBA specialization to select, here are X aspects that you must consider:

1. The institution’s ranking.

The first and foremost consideration for an MBA program must be the school’s ranking. Although there are plenty of institutions that offer MBA courses, it is essential to select one that is both well-established and reputed. This is because reputable business schools usually partner with top players in the industry (IBM, TCS, Mahindra, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, etc.) thereby ensuring placement in top-notch companies in the country. 

2. Identify your strengths and interests.

The second most important thing on the list is self-analysis. Look within yourself to figure out what are your core strengths and identify the areas where you excel. Club it along with your interests and long-term career goals to get a more comprehensive picture. Once you get a clear idea of what you want in life and what you wish to achieve through an MBA degree, it will become much easier to choose a specialization.

The key is to select a stream that will not only help you grow as a professional but also ensure long-term employability and relevance in the fast-changing industry. 

Get MBA Certifications from the World’s top Universities. Earn Masters, Executive PGP, or Advanced Certificate Programs to fast-track your career.

Read: Career Options after MBA

3. Evaluate the salary figures. 

When choosing an institution, carefully assess and evaluate their offerings, placement partners, and the average salary package promised. Try to find out the minimum and maximum placement package for the past year (for different specializations). This will give you a fair idea of what you can expect after completion. While the salary package is not the sole criterion, it is a pivotal one nonetheless. 

Getting all the necessary information about offered salary packages for each specialization from your preferred MBA institute is vital. Remember that salary must not be the only aspect to consider. The salary packages for a specific specialization may be high. But if you are weak in a particular area, make sure not to choose it.

4. Take a close look at the faculty.

Make it a point to learn about the faculty members of different institutions. Look at their educational background, their qualifications, and their experience. After all, you have the right to know who your mentors will be and what fields they’ll teach you. By assessing the faculty profile of different institutions/schools, you can narrow down your choice to a select few institutes that have the most qualified and experienced faculty.

5. Number of companies:

You can go through the statistics on the number of companies that visited a particular MBA institution to recruit MBA graduates. There are higher chances of obtaining a job in a specialization in which more companies have visited.

6. Subjects in Specialization:

Before selecting any specialization, make sure to do a comprehensive analysis of each specialization’s curriculum. It helps you to select the most appropriate specialization and develop the required skills.   Each MBA specialization comes with its benefits, so choose the best specialization in MBA depending on your skills and interests. Remember that any specialization you select will need significant hard work to excel and be a successful business leader.

Acknowledging the fact that the modern industry is pro-digitalization and highly data-centric, it makes sense to choose streams that are the most relevant in the present scenario. Thus, mainstream MBA specializations aside, here are the two most unique and promising MBA specialization streams that you should consider:

MBA in Business Analytics

The extensive adoption of Big Data tools and Data Science technologies across all parallels of the industry has made Business Analytics (BA) a vital component of business infrastructure. As a result, companies and organizations are always on the lookout for skilled and qualified professionals who are well versed in Big Data and Business Analytics.

An MBA degree in Business Analytics will introduce you to core management skills and teach you how to use business data effectively. Furthermore, you will learn how to apply Data Analytics in diverse areas like Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, Operations & Supply Chain, Machine Learning, and Big Data Technologies. 

Business Intelligence (B.I.) focuses on the strategies and tools used to recognize, obtain, and classify raw data on previous or current events. Essentially, it is a process that reviews historical data to infer how a department or product line in a business performed over a particular period. A few of the best practices in this domain include inquiring, reporting, and online analytical processing (OLAP).

The students of MBA business analytics should learn concepts like marketing intelligence, predictive analysis, data and text mining, data visualization, econometrics, and more. It is the best specialization in MBA for marketing managers acquiring data about customers and financial analysts making investment decisions.

Many businesses have realized the significance of data and are searching for professionals familiar with the usage of analytical tools and data science theories.

There is a rise in the number of employers recruiting candidates skilled in business analytics and a shortage of data-savvy analysts and managers. So, many business schools have now included MBA in Business Analytics courses. It is one of the valuable fields in MBA because it helps students to learn how to sort, gather, and recognize data inferences. Moreover, it teaches how to leverage it to fulfill strategic objectives.

On completion, you can aim for well-paying job roles in like Business Consultant, Management Consulting, and Growth Manager. An MBA in BA will equip you to take on managerial and leadership roles in areas like Data Analytics, Marketing & Finance, Sales, Human Resources, and Business Development. 

Featured Program For you MBA From Golden Gate University .

MBA in Digital Finance & Banking

Much like any other industrial sector, the BFSI sector is also undergoing a digital transformation powered by new-age technologies like Big Data, AI, ML, and Blockchain. These technologies are rapidly taking the place of traditional processes and technologies and encouraging the creation of innovative banking and financial solutions. The influx of modern technologies and tools in the BFSI industry demands a transformation of the workforce as well.

The new workforce must be proficient in disruptive technologies like AI and Blockchain and most importantly, know how to work with them. This is why an MBA program in Digital Finance & Banking can be super beneficial for aspirants who wish to build a career in banking and finance. 

The MBA course Digital Finance & Banking covers issues that are highly relevant to the BFSI sector such as Artificial Intelligence in Business, Data Visualization in Finance, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, Fintech Ecosystems Management, Digital Fraud & Risk Analytics, Financial Management & Valuation, and Design Thinking & Leadership for Business. Students also get to expand their knowledge base and sharpen their skills by working on live industry assignments and case studies.

This specialization offers a solid foundation in finance and accounting. It is primarily intended for those willing to get a professional accountant-related qualification or a postgraduate degree in relevant areas.  Its curriculum trains candidates on how to use financial information and accounting statements to simplify decision-making.

There is a growing need for expert professionals who can use advanced technologies in this field to create inventive financial and banking solutions. So, it is one of those fields in MBA that can facilitate value addition in the BFSI sector.

Who can pursue MBA in Banking and Finance?

It is one of the best fields in MBA for the following types of candidates:

  • Candidates interested in banking and finance and its associated areas.
  • Candidates equipped with a mathematical aptitude, logical & analytical skills, and knowledge of the banking system.
  • Candidates knowledgeable in solving accountancy issues.
  • Candidates with leadership abilities, interpersonal skills, communication skills, and knowledge of computers and related technology.

What is the right time to do an MBA?

Enrolling in an MBA immediately after graduation may seem alluring, but it’s not always recommended. The greatest benefit for somebody who joins an MBA course immediately after graduation is that they may complete it at a young age. So they can enter the job market early, increasing their chances of success.

Many people decide to prepare for an MBA entrance examination after a few years of work experience. This is because gaining a few years of work experience makes it simpler to know the theoretical concepts of the chosen specialization. Furthermore, it boosts the individuals’ confidence when they study various challenging concepts of its curriculum. The only challenging thing is to choose one of the best fields in MBA that matches your interest.

One of the drawbacks of pursuing an MBA after gaining a few years of experience is that you may miss some great growth opportunities that may not come in the future. Some MBA aspirants believe fewer opportunities exist for candidates with more experience. There is a smaller space with each higher step on the corporate ladder. So, gaining more experience may prove to be a limitation for certain MBA specialization courses .

Importance of specializing in MBA

Some of the key reasons justifying the importance of specializing in an MBA are:

  • All industries demand knowledge of a specific domain and a decent theoretical knowledge of industry dynamics. MBA, in general, is about the development of soft skills. But specializing in a specific domain effectively trains students to survive in their chosen career field.
  • All management graduates have their aspirations, and the same defines their choice of MBA specialization. It significantly depends on personal attributes too.  For instance, an introverted graduate is inappropriate for marketing specialization. So, choosing the most suitable one from the best streams in MBA is inevitable .
  • Many domains in MBA have evolved in the last two decades. This has extended the subject base of MBA specializations. Almost all MBA institutes have added new specialization subjects to fulfill the demand for hiring talented management professionals.
  • Certain MBA specialization courses provide dual specializations. They are beneficial for students because dual subjects are complementary to one another. Consequently, it provides a good career push at the start and later stages.
  • The subjects in the best streams in MBA specialization are constantly evolving.  They will determine the need of the corporate sector in the future.

Wrapping up

So, that’s our little effort to help ease your tension and confusion while choosing an MBA specialization!

If you are keen on upgrading your career with an MBA Degree, upGrad is offering an  MBA in Digital Finance & Banking  in collaboration with the Jindal Global Business School and the Jindal School of Banking & Finance. The program has been designed to Future-oriented content suited for those working in or aspiring to work in finance across domains. Be a JGU alumnus and take advantage of continued engagement and networking with the world of academia, policy, and industry

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It depends on your interest. If numbers and money excite you, then an MBA in Finance may be the better choice. The same is also applicable if you wish to pursue a career in finance dominated fields such as banking, trading, and so on. On the other hand, if you are a creative person and love selling ideas as well as products and services to people, an MBA in marketing would be a better choice. Rather than choosing a specialisation which would bring you a better income in the short term, it would be better to choose one which matches your skills and interest to develop a successful and fulfilling career.

There is no such guarantee. An MBA specialization is only a tool which enables you to narrow your focus in developing your career path. Hence, it should be chosen carefully – keeping in mind your existing skills, level of interest, and goals. For instance, an MBA in Finance or Business Analytics is usually one of the best paying MBA options, but if you do not like number crunching or data interpretation, then you may feel frustrated after a few years and yearn to switch profiles. Similarly, the glamour and lucrative income of marketing managers should only be pursued by those who enjoy selling and interacting with clients.

An MBA specialisation should be chosen keeping in mind a few key factors. The most important is your existing skill set. Next comes your area of interest. Your comfort level with technology and interacting with new people is also an important factor. For instance, if you love technology, but are shy and are not comfortable in unexpected social situations, an MBA in Operations or Business Analytics would probably be a better fit for you. Similarly, if you are interested in business strategy and/or wish to pursue a global career, an MBA in International Business or a Global MBA program would be the better choice.

An MBA is a fairly lucrative career option. It helps you increase your professional network and also enhances your marketability as a prospective candidate for jobs. The soft skills you learn during an MBA are useful in other parts of your life as well. For example, communication and interpersonal skills are important no matter what you do. With an MBA, you gain the knowledge to be able to run your own business venture, so choose your specialization wisely. Additionally, there is no right or wrong time to pursue an MBA. It is definitely a good way to revive your career and learn a new aspect of your discipline.

Yes, absolutely. The best part about MBA is that there are no prerequisites to pursuing it. Any person from any academic background can decide to do an MBA. The knowledge and skills you learn are standardised for multiple disciplines and industries. The business knowledge taught can be applied across industries. While having some study experience in business helps you get a head start for an MBA, it is not necessary for you to be able to understand what is taught in an MBA. A good foundation for an MBA is a curiosity for learning new concepts and the willingness to put in dedicated study hours and hard work.

Having a specialization lets your employers know exactly what you are interested in and are good at. This reduces your effort in terms of the time spent looking for the right job opportunities. With a specialization, you can also concentrate on a particular field within the broader domain of an MBA, so your time, understanding, and general working bandwidth are put to use more efficiently.

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  • Masters Programs /

MBA vs MA Economics

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  • Updated on  
  • Jan 5, 2023

MBA vs MA Economics

Students who complete their graduation in the commerce stream and want to continue further often find it difficult to choose between the prominent postgraduate courses. Especially students who wish to make a career in Finance face a dilemma of whether to pursue an MA Economics or go for an MBA . In this segment, we’ll be addressing this common dilemma, focusing on the various features and aspects of both the courses, aiming to provide students with some clarity in the MBA vs MA Economics conflict. 

This Blog Includes:

Mba finance vs ma economics, m.a. economics, subjects offered in an mba, subjects offered in ma economics, top mba universities, top ma economics universities, mba vs ma economics: career prospects , mba vs ma economics: which one to choose, mba & economics salary.

MBA in finance opens a plethora of career opportunities to explore in the finance industry as it imparts students with the knowledge of analyzing corporate reports, gauging economic trends, maximize the stock values, equalizing risk and profitability, amongst others. The course includes several finance-related concepts like beneficial investment strategies, insurance and corporate risk, direct and indirect taxation, principles of local and global economics along with mergers and acquisitions.

MA Economics is a 2-year postgraduate degree that encompasses a detailed study of the nuances of economic development and various branches of economics like Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Public Economics, amongst others. Topics like monetary economics, elementary statistics, International trade are thoroughly taught in this course. Further, you will also get to explore how consumption and production including supply based activities that take place in the markets. A professional degree holder in MA Economics can find lucrative career opportunities to work in both government and private sectors. Banking, financial institutions, labour markets are some of the top working areas graduates can choose from. 

MBA vs MA Economics: Course Overview 

While evaluating the two courses, it is important to note their contents. Here is some comprehensive information about MBA and MA Economics:

An MBA or Master in Business Administration is a postgraduate course offered to all students who have completed their graduation course. A highly popular course among those who are aiming to gain a foothold in the world of business, MBA is deemed to be virtually compulsory for all prospective managers out there. MBA is available in a variety of specializations all around the world. The most common among which are: 

  • MBA in Finance
  • MBA in Human Resource 
  • MBA in Marketing
  • MBA in Global Business 
  • MBA in Fashion Designing
  • MBA in Hotel Management
  • MBA in Event Management

A full-time MBA is generally 2 years old, generally concluding with research or project task that reflects a student’s deep understanding of the subject. 

M.A Economics is a postgraduate degree in the field of Economics, a traditional successor to a B.A in Economics. This course entails the Economic theory, covering all the aspects of the subject in a comprehensive manner. Students generally pursue an M.A in Economics to further their knowledge in the domain, also using it as a gateway into research and scholarly endeavours. 

MBA vs MA Economics: Subjects Offered

To get clarity on the MBA vs MA Economics debate, we must take a look at the type of subjects offered under both courses. While the MBA subjects are more related to operating an organisation and all that ensues the process, MA Economics syllabus is more technical in nature. Most of them deal with advanced concepts in the field of Economics and Finance, making the course more suited for those with a strong foundation in the subject. Here are some of the general subjects from both the courses:

MBA vs MA Economics: Top Universities

For students who consider the educational institution as a differentiating factor while choosing between two courses, we have dedicated this segment to the top universities in the world to pursue both the respective courses. Although, it must be noted that prime universities across the world impart courses in MBA as well as MA Economics. Here are a few of them.

Must Read: Is MBA After Engineering the Right Choice?

Both MBA and MA Economics offer a multitude of career opportunities in the corporate sector. While an MBA is a managerial course, teaching students how to manage the operations of an entire organisation, MA Economics is a more technical course in nature. Students from the field are mostly posted at research and analytical positions, at times heading crucial operation areas relating to Finance and Investment. We have added some of the top job profiles that students can apply for after completing their education in the respective courses. This is a non-exhaustive list, with a lot more scope for students to explore out of there domains. Here are a few of them:

While the above-stated facts may have provided you with the right direction to evaluate the difference between these courses, there are a few more factors which can be crucial for your decision making. Here are some of them:

  • Students who believe they want to make a career strictly directed towards the managerial profiles in the corporate world must pursue an MBA. However, those 
  • Students must note that while an MBA is far more theoretical in its course contents, MA Economics deals with a lot more practical aspects. Students who are not well-versed in advanced Mathematics and Economics concepts must stay clear of the course. However, those who are driven towards these aspects can have a shining career in the field.
  • Students who have completed their graduation in the field of Economics, (with BA Economics Hons.) will find it comparatively easier to transition to an MBA as the course does not have a technical background. However, students from diverse commerce backgrounds may find it difficult to get hold of the economic concepts taught in MA Economics as it draws fundamental knowledge from the undergraduate course.

mba or phd which is better

MBA and MA Economics both have their own aspects; while MBA is more theoretical, MA Economics is more practical.

Doing MBA is a good option. But if you have graduated from a good institution doing MA Economics, we advise you to do MBA from only the top universities.

MBA Finance has one of the highest salaries.

With this, we conclude all the pointers to settle the MBA vs MA Economics debate for you. Both the courses have their niche and the students need to evaluate themselves against the course requirements to pick the best course as per their needs. If you are also unable to make a decision between the two courses, worry not. Leverage Edu is here at your service. With a host of career experts who are adept at helping students find the best course and college choice for themselves. Connect with us through a free e-meeting today to set sails to your success ship right away! or call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.  

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MA in Economics are better than MBA. It cover all aspects of Finance and Banking.

Thank you for your valuable insights. MBA programs are suitable for those who have certain years of work experience and now want to equip the trendiest skills with the intention of a better job opportunity or higher pay scale. Therefore, MA in Economics and MBA do have clear distinctions.

Nice comparison which suitable to analysis between two.

Delighted to know that the blog helped you!

Which one Gets you higher pay on average?? Also wouldn’t students with ba in econ find it easier to do o masters??

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