Difference Between MBA and MS

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 31, 2023


Difference Between MBA and MS

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Students face uncertainty when deciding whether to pursue a degree abroad. However, both MBA and MS are graduate-level degrees, and their qualifications differ greatly. The comparison of the two graduate courses is motivated by the desire to learn new skills and pursue a high-paying and rewarding career.


The primary distinction between MBA and MS is that MBA is recognized in the education industry's management skills program, whereas MS is recognized in the technical skills program in the pre-determined subject of science. MBA stands for Master of Business Administration, whereas MS stands for Master of Science. The MBA is a postgraduate professional program in business and management. MBA candidates research the theory and application of business and management principles. This degree was developed in the United States during the Industrial Revolution. Companies at the time required scientific vision in their management.

The MS is a post-graduate degree in a specific field of advanced science. It primarily entails writing a thesis or conducting research on a specific topic. Work experience is not usually required for admission to an MS program. Investing two years in this degree program provides in-depth knowledge. GATE, NET, and other similar entrance exams are used for MS courses.

Difference Between MBA and MS in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonMBAMS
Areas CoveredThe MBA program covers all aspects of business.The MS program only addresses one specific area of business.
Expertise Gained.Every business sector gains bits and pieces of knowledge.A thorough understanding of one business sector is obtained.
LengthMBA programs are typically completed in three years.MS, on the other hand, is typically completed in two years.
Pre-RequirementsProspective candidates must have a minimum of three years of experience.Prospective candidates were not required to have any professional experience.
Subjects of InterestMBA studies cover a variety of subjects such as finance, marketing, human resources, and management.MS is primarily concerned with science-related subjects such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

What is MBA?

The MBA is a professional degree that provides candidates with knowledge of business management. Depending on the nature of the stream chosen by the candidate, he can complete his education in 2-3 years. After obtaining this qualification, one can work in large corporations as a top-level manager. This popular course provides new appraisal opportunities for existing corporate employees.

Internships, progress reports, seminars, and conferences with some theoretical concepts for business management are typically included in the course curriculum. Human Resources, Hotel management, Banking, Finance, Marketing, Data Analytics, Computer Science, and many other fields are popular places to pursue an MBA. MBA courses are considered essential for corporate employees because they develop leadership skills. Pursuing this course from prestigious university will provide a good placement opportunity as well as inbuilt confidence in skills and knowledge. Entrepreneurship, Financial Analyst, Data Analyst, Healthcare, and Management Consultant are some career options after an MBA. The course focuses on practical business approaches. People with a more eclectic mindset are more likely to pursue an MBA degree. A Master of Business Administration degree is widely recognized. It provides a student with career options.

Degree Programs

Full-time MBA programs typically last two academic years (i.e. approximately 18 months of term time). In the Northern Hemisphere, for example, they frequently begin in late August or early September of year one and last until May or June of year two, with a three to four-month summer break in between. Students enter with some prior real-world work experience and attend classes during the week like other university students. A typical full-time, accelerated, part-time, or modular MBA requires 60 graduate credits (600 class hours).

Accelerated MBA programs are a two-year program variation. They have a heavier course load, more intense classes, and examination schedules, and are usually compressed into one year. During the program and between semesters, they typically have less downtime. For example, there is no three to four-month summer break, and between semesters, students may have seven to ten days off instead of three to five weeks. Accelerated programs are typically less expensive than full-time two-year programs. Part-time MBA programs typically meet on weekday evenings after normal working hours or on weekends. Part-time programs are typically three years or longer.

Working professionals typically enroll in these programs and take a light course load for a longer period until graduation requirements are met.

Evening (second shift) MBA programs are two-year full-time programs that typically hold classes on weekday evenings, after normal working hours, or on weekends. Students in these programs are typically working professionals who are unable to leave their jobs to pursue a full-time regular shift MBA. The majority of second shift programs are available at Indian universities. Modular MBA programs are similar to part-time programs, but they typically use a lock-step curriculum with classes packaged together in one- to three-week blocks. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs were designed to meet the learning needs of corporate executives, allowing students to earn an MBA (or another business-related graduate degree) in two years or less while working full-time. Participants represent a wide range of industries and come from all types and sizes of organizations – profit, nonprofit, and government. When compared to other MBA students, EMBA students typically have a higher level of work experience, often 10 years or more. The Executive MBA Council was founded in 1981 to advance executive education in response to the growing number of EMBA programs available. Full-time executive MBA programs are a new type of full-time one-year MBA program aimed at professionals with five years or more of experience. They are primarily available in countries such as India, where the two-year MBA program is aimed at recent graduates with no or little experience. These full-time executive MBA programs are comparable to one-year MBA programs offered by universities such as Insead and IMD.

Off-campus classes are held for distance learning MBA programs. These programs can be delivered in a variety of formats, including postal mail or email correspondence courses, non-interactive broadcast video, pre-recorded video, live teleconference or videoconference, and offline or online computer courses. These programs are available at many schools.

Blended learning programs combine online and face-to-face instruction. MBA dual degree programs combine an MBA with another degree (such as an MS, MA, MEng, or a JD, for example) to allow students to save money (dual programs are typically less expensive than pursuing two degrees separately), save time on education, and tailor business education courses to their specific needs. Generally, this is accomplished by allowing core courses from one program to count as electives in the other. Some business schools offer five-year programs that allow students to earn both a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA. Many non-profit and for-profit institutions use the term "mini-MBA" to describe a training program focused on business fundamentals.

Mini-MBA programs have traditionally been offered as non-credit-bearing courses with a total learning time of fewer than 100 hours. However, in response to the criticisms leveled at these certificates, many schools have shifted their programs to offer full-credit courses that can be applied to a traditional MBA degree. This allows students to verify business-related coursework for employment purposes while also giving them the option to complete a full-time MBA degree program later if they so desire.

Criteria for admission

Many programs make admission decisions based on a combination of undergraduate GPA, academic transcripts, entrance exam scores, a résumé with significant work experience, essays, letters of recommendation, group discussions, and personal interviews. Some schools are also interested in extracurricular activities, community service, or volunteer work, as well as how the student can contribute to the school's diversity and the student body as a whole.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the most widely used entrance exam for MBA admissions. Almost all MBA programs accept the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to fulfill any entrance exam requirements they may have. Some schools do not place as much emphasis on entrance exam scores as other criteria, and some programs do not require entrance exam scores for admission. Business schools consider the target male-female ratio as well as the local-international student ratios in order to achieve a diverse class. Some MBA programs do not require students to have an undergraduate degree and will accept significant management experience instead of one. Some programs in the United Kingdom, for example, accept an HND (Higher National Diploma) or even an HNC (Higher National Certificate). The type and duration of work experience, depending on the program, can be a critical admissions component for many MBA programs.

For admission, many leading programs involve 5 or more years of work experience. MBA admissions consulting services are available to help MBA applicants improve their chances of admission to their preferred Business Schools. These services include assessing a candidate's profile, GMAT preparation, recommending schools to which they can apply, writing and editing essays, conducting mock interviews in preparation for MBA admission interviews, and post-MBA career counseling. 

What is MS?

The MS is a post-graduate program designed for students who have recently completed their undergraduate studies in the same subjects. Candidates pursuing MS degrees are expected to gain in-depth knowledge of the subjects for which they have enrolled. Major universities around the world confer a Master of Science degree. This degree includes a wide range of science and technology topics such as mathematics, behavioral science, computer science, physical science, and applied sciences. MS degrees also include business functions such as communication, finance, marketing, data, and so on. This post-graduate program focuses on in-depth knowledge of a specific field. For engineering candidates, it includes classroom instruction, lab research, a thesis component, or applied research. The following subjects are included in the Master of Science common curriculum: Pre-admission requirements include biology, chemistry, math, statistics, social work, and many others.

Because it is a research-based program, it is not as popular among students as the M.Tech or MBA degrees. Software engineering, biochemical engineering, quality and management consultants, and other professions are available after earning an MS. MS course examinations are typically semester-based. Candidates with this qualification are in high demand as college professors and government research institutions rather than in corporate jobs.

Main Differences Between MBA and MS In Points

  • Median Pay: The median income scale bracket for an MBA degree is usually higher than for an MS degree.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees are focused on business, whereas Master of Science (MS) degrees are focused on science.
  • Specialization: After completing the MBA program, one will be specialized in various areas such as leadership, management, finance, and human resources, whereas after completing the MS program, one will be specialized in Computer Science, Engineering, Biomedical, or statistics, among others.
  • Recognition and growth: An MBA will provide you with global opportunities as a professional, whereas an MS will provide you with fewer overseas opportunities and less acceptability among companies.
  • Flexibility: After completing an MBA, the candidate has more work flexibility in general areas of a company, whereas after completing an MS, the candidate is restricted to working only in specific areas.


An MBA degree is accompanied by a solid business and management foundation. Admission to MBA programs is notoriously difficult due to multiple university entrance exams. MS courses, on the other hand, are extremely competitive. The prestige associated with the MS program is less discriminating than compared to the MBA program.

Both courses are somewhat difficult to complete in terms of difficulty, but in terms of education, business administration only provides a breadth of knowledge. Both are necessary for this technologically advanced era to have good job opportunities. In recent years, MBA has expanded its wings in healthcare and sports management.


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"Difference Between MBA and MS." Diffzy.com, 2023. Sat. 30 Sep. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-mba-and-ms-1147>.

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