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MS Versus MBA – Which one do you choose and why?

If you are someone who is planning a post graduate degree abroad, you are likely faced with two choices – MBA and M.S. This is a common dilemma faced by many students, and in this blog we will help you navigate these two paths, and ensure you choose the right one!

Whether you are studying M.S or MBA, you will be able to shift across geographies, gain skills that will place you highly within your industry, and also build a long and rewarding career. And while these aspects of both the degrees are similar, many others are not.

Understanding MS and MBA

M.S stands for Masters of Science degree. This is typically a 2 year degree, and can be pursued by students who belong to the various fields of science, medicine, and engineering. There are also foreign universities who offer the M.S course to students of social sciences and humanities. So, if you do not have a science background, there are still a number of M.S degrees that you can apply for.

One of the major differences between the M.S and the MBA is that the former does not require the candidate to have any work experience in order to apply. It is basically a program of advanced studies within a specific field. Candidates are usually required to prepare a thesis as part of their curriculum or even undergo a research project, but in the current situation many universities are replacing the research project with a written thesis.

MBA, or Masters of Business Administration, is another highly valued program that you can choose. It is the most sought after degree in the field of business and management. It teaches the theory and application of the various principles of business management.

The usual MBA program consists of core courses such as business communication, accounting, business ethics, applied communication, finance, business law, marketing, operations, and entrepreneurship. MBA programs also come in various shapes and sizes, such as 1 year and 2 year full time programs, part time MBAs, and executive MBAs. Each of these MBA programs is aimed to help professionals who are at different stages of their career, and thus their requirements for application also vary.

Career Opportunities

It can be stated that studying either M.S or MBA will provide you with a good job opportunity, based on the location and institute of your choice. The subject you choose to pursue M.S in will also affect your job opportunities. The most sought after M.S subjects include computer science, information systems, and engineering.

M.S is to be looked at as a purely academic and technical degree. So, one of the most popular career opportunities for students of M.S is research. Many students also go on to pursue a PhD and then build a rewarding career as university professors.

On the other hand, an MBA degree is highly applied. It feeds the major chunk of management level recruitments in business professions for industries such as finance, investment banking, technology, consulting, private equity, etc. Some of the best MBA careers lie in the positions of business development, sales, marketing, operations, etc. Once you receive a MBA degree from a reputed business school abroad, you are highly likely to bag a top paying management role!

Take a look at some of the industries for MBA candidates:

Industry Salary
Technology $89,633
Finance $97,100
Consulting $90,900
Other $89,675

Keep in mind that these figures only represent the starting salary of an MBA graduate. Added to this will be various aspects such as sign-on bonuses, and the final figure can land anywhere between $10,000 to $40,000 above these figures!

The reason why an MBA degree usually requires job experience in order to apply is because it builds a foundation and serves as a transformative experience. So, candidates need to be patient and gain a level of understanding of their industry and professional world before learning the hands-on technical knowledge that the MBA degree will provide them with.

So, if you are someone who wants to build a long career and climb up the corporate ladder into management roles then you are most likely suited for an MBA. But, if you want to gain as much technical knowledge as possible before entering your job arena then you should choose the M.S.


As stated before, both these degrees allow applicants to find a high paying job abroad and build a career path. But, there is also the cost to consider. While both these degrees are highly rewarding, an MBA degree is generally considered to have better ROI since it allows you to build up a basic professional foundation before you return to school. In the case of M.S, the learning curve is much longer before you actually find yourself in a high paying position.

And with the availability of 1 year MBA programs, the ROI shoots up much higher than any other such degree. If you are unsure about the differences between 1 year and 2 year MBA programs, take a look at this short video: 1 Year MBA versus 2 Year MBA Program

All the top international B-schools also provide a number of scholarships to help reduce the financial burden on students. If you are considering an MBA in the United States, then you can tap into a pool of $230+ million worth of scholarships provided by the top 25 B-schools.

Have a look at the average scholarship figures for some of the top B-schools:

School Total Scholarships Average Grant % of MBAs on Scholarship
Harvard Business School $31.5 million $32,000 50%
Wharton $16.9 million $30,500 33%
Chicago (Booth) $16.3 million $30,000 60%
Stanford GSB $15.7 million $35,830 52%
Michigan (Ross) $15.4 million $22,360 48%
New York (Stern) $12.8 million $26,400 62%
UCLA (Anderson) $12.1 million $25,860 65%
Northwestern (Kellogg) $11.8 million $22,800 35%
Columbia Business School $10.1 million $20,500 46%
Virginia (Darden) $8.4 million $30,800 43%
MIT (Sloan) $8.1 million $28,220 35%
Duke (Fuqua) $7.1 million $20,950 33%
Rice (Jones) $6.7 million $33,320 94%
Yale School of Management $6.2 million $23,028 31%
UC-Berkeley (Haas) $5.8 million $29,060 50%
Cornell (Johnson) $5.7 million $12,000 33%
Dartmouth (Tuck) $5.4 million $27,550 35%

The final choice

What you need to understand is that both these programs, MS and MBA, are gateways to better career opportunities. But, they are widely different in all other aspects!

So, when you make a choice you need to have already decided on your career path and where you envision yourself in the future. Once you are sure about your career options, the

choice should not be difficult at all!

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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