Whether you are a seasoned professional in need of a graduate degree, a recent undergraduate looking to further your education, or anything in between, you may have considered the possibility of pursuing an MBA (Master of Business Administration) or a related M.S. (Master of Science) degree. For some, deciding between either of these options can be difficult. If this describes you, learning a bit about what makes each degree program distinct can help guide your decision.
Traditionally, an MBA is known to provide students with broad, integrated skills across all major business functions and activities, including economics, finance, accounting, operations, and marketing. In comparison, an M.S. in a specific area like Management and Leadership will delve deeper in scope with regard to leadership principles and strategic management, including change management and innovation. Essentially, an MBA degree program can provide a general business education that touches on various aspects of business while an M.S. will usually focus on one aspect, such as accounting, analytics, finance, etc.
In making your decision, reflect on your interests and goals. With the above differences in mind, what are you interested in learning and what are your career goals? If you wish to focus your career around business and data analytics, perhaps you would be best served to pursue an M.S. in Data Analytics. If you hope to get a better feel for all aspects of business, an MBA would be a good choice.
Weigh your return on investment. Judge whether you will be able to earn back the resources (money and time) that you invest in your education after you’ve earned your degree. In other words, if you forgo work for two years to study full-time, how quickly will your degree be able to pay itself off, after you use it to leverage better employment?
Determine which degree program will fit into your lifestyle. Whatever area(s) of study you decide to focus on, you must next choose where you are going to study them. Above all else, make sure that your choice is regionally accredited—regional accreditation is the highest form of accreditation and signifies educational quality and institutional effectiveness. Also, determine how flexible you need your program to be.
Known for its flexible, competency-based education model, Western Governors University (WGU) is a regionally accredited nonprofit university with students and graduates in all 50 states. If you’re interested in earning a cost-effective business credential, consider whether any of the online university’s degree programs may be for you.
Who is WGU’s 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.
Who are WGU’s M.S. programs for?
- Experienced professionals and managers seeking upward career mobility in a people leadership, accounting, or data analytics positions.
- Technical managers who need to strengthen their technical or human capital and change management skills.
Individuals who are moving into greater management responsibilities in their organizations and want to enhance their effectiveness.