MBA vs. MSc in Management

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by kruemeli, Feb 5, 2001.

  1. kruemeli

    kruemeli New Member

    Hi All,

    well, I am new to the American College System and planning to obtain an 'international' degree by distance learning. Currently, I am a bit confused about "American" degrees and I wanted to know if someone would be so nice and explain to me the different lerning subjects / targets of MBA vs MSc in Management?
    Or is there perhaps something like a study guide describing degree options for management subjects? (Well, I already read the 100 Best Distance Learning MBAs by John Bear, but I am still confused and not sure what the diffrence is)


  2. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    In my experience, there is little consistency in American business Master's -- either in degree title (MBA, MS in (something), MPM (professional management) and others -- or in requirements. The MBA can range from 24 semester units to 72. The content can be virtually math-free, or can require two years of calculus. Different strokes different folks. Incidentally, for years, the MBAs at Yale and MIT were not called MBAs, but some other comparable degree title, but the world pretty much knew them as MBAs. Go figure.

    John Bear
  3. mcqueary

    mcqueary New Member


    The MBA is sort of a "generalist" business degree for business executives or those who want to be business executives (e.g. entrepreneurs). It generally, but not always, coveres a range of topics such as Quantitative Analysis, Management, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, and Statistics.

    The MS/MA in Management and/or MS/MA in Organizational Behavior is usually targeted more at professional people managers, and does not usually cover the broad range of business management topics that an MBA does.

    That being said, of course John is right - there is no "standard", necessarily, and there are lots of Management MS programs that look an awful lot like MBAs. However, the guidelines I point out above, namely that an MBA is for business managers and that an MA/MS in Management is for people managers, is a pretty good rule of thumb. It's the vast gray area in between that gets tricky.

  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Sometimes the non-MBA master's programs are a little narrower (but deeper) in focus. A Master of Science, Management program will often concentrate most of its coursework in management, whereas an MBA is going to cover management, finance, accounting, economics, statistics, etc. This distinction isn't universal, but common.

    Another common difference is in the use of quantitative methods. There was a time when the MBA was almost always math-heavy, requiring courses in quantitative methods (like operations research) and inferential statistics. But with so many MBA programs targeting mid-career professionals, a lot of them have dropped much of the quantitative stuff. Most programs still have a stats course, but even that will sometimes be spread over both descriptive and inferential statistics. The Robert McNamara-style of bean-counting MBA programs are being replaced with programs that heavily emphasize leadership and communicative skills.

    Rich Douglas, who gots one o' dem MBA things.

  5. kruemeli

    kruemeli New Member


    that's exactly what I have been hoping for, as I am looking more for the management part and don't plan to go to deeply into finance and accounting (although, I know 'they' will follow me everywhere in daily work:).
    Well, it looks like there is a 'MBA mania', at least on the web, and I find it hard to believe that this is the degree to have.


  6. JRP

    JRP New Member

    You should consider Thomas Edison's MSM program:

  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It depends. I think two factors contributing heavily to the "MBA Mania" you mention are:

    1. "Compartmentability." In an MBA program, each course can be delivered separately from the others. (Some programs have a "capstone" course at the end, synthesizing what was learned.) This fits many different distance learning styles, from pen-and-paper correspondence courses to on-line seminars.

    2. Universiality. The MBA is the "Type-O" management degree. When in doubt, just get an MBA. There aren't too many employmnet situations where, say, a master's in management is called for but an MBA wouldn't do. But in the past, other business-related master's were often considered inferior to the MBA. When I earned my MBA in 1985, this was certainly the case. There was a groundswell of part-time programs emerging in my hometown (San Diego). Many students wouldn't attend the M.A. in Management offered by Loma Linda University, for example. But they would go to National University for the MBA (as I did, for much the same reason).

    Rich Douglas

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