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MS or MBA…Which Degree is Right For You?

Are you a prospective student weighing whether you should pursue an MBA or MS degree in finance, accounting, marketing or another field? The latest entry in the Admissions Blog at Simon Graduate School of Business takes a looks at the strengths and similarities between both degrees while pointing out these three key differences to consider.

Here, edited excerpts from blogger Lilly Testa's post:

Program Length

Simon's MS programs require only one year of full-time study to complete the degree in its entirety, and the full-time MBA takes two academic years to complete.  Those on the MBA path typically pursue internships between the first and second year, while those in the MS programs are pursuing an internship that would lead to full-time hire or a full-time position on its own at the conclusion of the program.

Course Content

An MBA provides the candidate with a generalized business education.  This includes an understanding of a variety of subjects that shape a future manager's ability to successfully manage either her own enterprise or serve in a managerial role in another company.

The academic coursework is more concentrated when one pursues the Master's of Science. For example, students in the Master's of Finance program will take mostly finance coursework, Master's of Marketing will take mostly marketing coursework, the Master's of Accounting will take mostly accounting or the relevant finance coursework, et cetera.

Post-Graduation Employment

The program that you select will affect the type of positions you will target for full-time employment post-graduation, says Testa.  Internship and entry-level positions that require more in-depth industry knowledge are best suited for those who have gone directly from their undergraduate study to the MS programs.

Those who have previous full-time work experience in a particular industry and pursue the MS degree to deepen their knowledge base often pursue mid-level roles.  Some students pursue the MS degree as a starting point for their business education with the knowledge that they will return for the MBA at a later time when they have gained additional work experience.

An MBA degree is typically used as a tool to assist with a career change, or to jump start a position in the mid-management level.  Many students seek employment from the company that sponsored their summer internship, or use that experience as leverage within their targeted industry.

About the author: Stacy Blackman
Stacy Blackman

Stacy Blackman, has been consulting on the Master of Business Administration degree application process since 2001. She has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stacy has worked with the admissions committees at both schools, conducting alumni interviews and evaluating applicants.


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