MBA or Specialised Masters – Which Is Best For You?

MBA or Specialised Masters – Which Is Best For You?

Chances are you’re reading this article because you’re been contemplating studying a postgraduate degree, which is a fantastic decision within itself. With so many options, it can be difficult to know which programme will be the best choice for you, your goals and ultimately your long-term career.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a highly valued business degree, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best choice for everyone. Both the MBA and specialised master’s degrees have their advantages, offering the knowledge a professional can use to progress their career greatly. But which option is best? We take a look at the facts and consider the pros and cons to both options.

Becoming a Master

A master’s degree expands a candidate’s career options significantly – so much so that more than half of the global alumni surveyed last year by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) are employed in an industry or job function that they did not have prior to entering business school.

It’s clear that a master’s degree can help you take your career to the next level, opening doors to new opportunities. It’s likely that these outcomes will occur with both the MBA and a specialised master’s degree, though it is dependent on the exact role you are seeking. Either way, postgraduate education is an esteemed addition to your personal offering, and is certain to teach valuable lessons for career progression.

What are employers looking for?

When it comes to employers, every organisation will differ slightly in the type of people they are looking to recruit. One thing that remains constant, however, is a desire for skills such as communication, strategic thinking and teamwork – all of which are practiced in the MBA.

GMAC’s Corporate Recruiters Survey Report revealed that demand for MBA talent is strongest in Asia Pacific, where 90% of corporate employers surveyed plan to hire MBA graduates in 2018. Globally, that percentage sits at 81%.

Across the most commonly studied specialised master’s degrees, 53% of companies surveyed plan to hire Master of Management graduates, 46% plan to hire graduates of the Master of Finance, and 41% plan to hire Master of Accounting graduates. Regionally, hiring projections across all three of these degrees have remained steady in Europe, decreased in Asia Pacific, and there’s mixed results from US employers, with a decrease in Master of Management and Master of Finance, and an increase in Master of Accounting hires.

There is clearly demand for both MBAs and specialised masters, and this fluctuates depending on industry.

Read more: The Top Skills That MBA Graduates Possess

Who is an MBA best suited to?

The MBA has a longstanding reputation as a high quality business degree that provides a holistic education on all things business. Graduates of the MBA know how to start, manage and sustain a business from the ground up, with a detailed understanding of how each business function works with one another. The MBA is also one of the few postgraduate degrees that is applicable across a multitude of industries and roles – from aviation and banking, to entrepreneurs and marketing. The MBA is perfect for business leaders looking for a competitive edge – one that will see them offer strategic and innovative solutions to challenges. It’s most suitable for those driven by a desire to succeed in a business environment, but that’s not to say MBAs can’t work in specialised roles. In fact, the MBA is often the key that many specialists need to move into management, as they finally understand all areas of business.

Read more: How the MBA Complements Technical Professionals

Who is a specialised masters best suited to?

If you’re in a specialised field and want to have a bigger impact, a specialised masters could be the best option for you. It’s a good choice if your goals aren’t at all business or leadership driven, but are focused solely within your field, rather than the overall organisation. A specialised master’s degree is often necessary for the more technical fields where an in-depth background is required, such as psychology – where a Master of Psychology is a prerequisite. If you’re looking to excel in a specific field, why not reach out to established leaders in the area and ask what qualifications they would recommend. As with any commitment to education, it’s important to know that you’ve chosen the most applicable degree that will benefit you most after graduation.

Blend the best of both worlds

If your field of speciality or the field you’d like to work in is in the area of marketing, logistics and supply chain, finance, HR or entrepreneurship – why not consider a specialised MBA? At AIB, this is where the first eight subjects of the MBA cover core business areas, followed by three subjects and a final project in the specialised field of choice. If your specialisation still has a strong business focus, but you require that element of technicality in your degree, this could be a very strong option for you. It allows you to blend the best of the MBA with a touch of your chosen specialty.

Read more: Should I Specialise My MBA?
Do you find yourself considering the MBA or a specialised master’s degree? In this case, it’s not about one option being better than the other – it’s more about what best fits your career goals. If you find yourself unsure, consider chatting with an AIB Course Advisor to discuss your career goals.

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