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Part of Western Governors University

November 30, 2017

MBA vs. M.S. Management and Leadership.

What are the differences, and similarities, between the MBA and M.S. Management and Leadership degree programs?

The MBA (Master of Business Administration) degree program at WGU provides broad, integrated skills across all major business functions and activities, including economics, finance, accounting, operations, and marketing. 

mark-miranda speaking at graduation.

The MBA focuses more on hard skills (technical skills such as math and writing) and their application. Graduates tend to find employment in the private sector.

Who is the MBA program for?

  • Experienced business professionals and managers focused on advancing their careers.
  • Anyone who wants to further develop their knowledge of business, management, and strategy.
  • Individuals who are moving into greater management responsibilities in their organizations and want to enhance their effectiveness.

The M.S. (Master of Science) in Leadership and Management (MSML) degree program at WGU is deeper in scope with regard to leadership principles and strategic management, including change management and innovation. The MSML focuses more on soft skills (such as teamwork and leadership). Graduates tend to find employment in the public sector, such as with non-profits and governmental agencies.

Who is the MSML program for?

  • Experienced professionals and managers seeking upward career mobility in a people leadership position.
  • Those focused on leading people and teams.
  • Technical managers who need to strengthen their human capital and change management skills.
  • Individuals who are moving into greater management responsibilities in their organizations and want to enhance their effectiveness.

While these degree programs have their differences, they also share a few similarities. For example, both programs share five courses (see Standard Paths below), making it enticing to earn both degrees, as you only need to complete an additional six courses after earning one; both target working professionals who want to advance into a leadership position; and both degrees use a mix of objective and performance assessments, although the MSML relies more heavily on performance assessments.

The standard plan for a student in either the MBA or MSML program who entered WGU without any transfer units would look similar to what you see below. Your personal progress can be faster, but your pace will be determined by the extent of your transfer units, your time commitment, and your determination to proceed at a faster rate. Courses highlighted in yellow are found in both programs.

MBA

Courses, Term 1 CU's

Managing Organizations and Leading People

3

Managing Human Capital

3

Global Economics for Managers

3
Courses, Term 2 CU's

Management Communication

3

Marketing

3

Accounting for Decision Makers

3
Courses, Term 3 CU's

Ethical Leadership

3

Financial Management

3

Data-Driven Decision
Making

3
Courses, Term 4 CU's

Operations Management

3

MBA Capstone
 

4

MSML

Courses, Term 2 CU's

Managing Organizations and Leading People

3

Becoming an Effective Leader

3

Managing Human Capital

3
Courses, Term 2 CU's

Business Acumen

3

Management Communication

3

Leading Teams

3
Courses, Term 3 CU's

Ethical Leadership

3

Data-Driven Decision Making

3

Change Management and Innovation

3
Courses, Term 4 CU's

Strategic Management

3

Management and Leadership Capstone

4

A few top facts for each program are highlighted below.

MBA

    Top Jobs

  • Owner
  • President and CEO
  • Vice President
  • Executive Director
  • Chief Strategic Officer

    Top Industries

  • Private companies
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Government
  • Colleges and universities

    Top Employers

  • American Airlines
  • Yahoo!
  • Edward Jones
  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • Mayo Clinic

MSML

    Top Jobs

  • Owner
  • President and CEO
  • Vice President
  • Executive Director
  • Chief Strategic Officer

    Top Industries

  • Private companies
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Government
  • Colleges and universities

    Top Employers

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Adventist Health
  • HCA
  • Scholastic
  • State of Nevada
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One online university. Four colleges. Flexible degrees.

Our focus on your success starts with our focus on four high-demand fields: K–12 teaching and education, nursing and healthcare, information technology, and business. Every degree program at WGU is tied to a high-growth, highly rewarding career path. Which college fits you?

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