MBA programs have come a long way since appearing in the U.S. at the start of the 20th century. But what developed from a few accounting and bookkeeping courses is now one of the most complex and sought after degrees for aspiring business managers, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking for a higher salary and better career opportunities in the business world. And it’s not just the MBA these folks are after. When the first MBA program began, concentrations were non-existent. Today, MBA degree-seekers have some of the most innovative concentrations and focus areas from which to choose. Areas such as Sustainability, Global Leadership, e-Commerce, Sports Business, Entrepreneurship, and Information Technology Management are options and they best reflect the world’s ever-evolving business landscape. This means, graduates of these programs are better equipped to meet modern-day challenges in the business world.
In addition to an MBA with just about any focus area imaginable, today’s business students have another option—the Master of Science in Business Administration or MSBA. Although not as popular as the MBA (growth was just two percent between 2011 and 2012), the MSBA might be a viable option for graduates of a traditional MBA program who later decide to specialize in a (or another) specific area of business. Besides this, MSBA programs (not to be confused with Master of Business Analytics MSBA programs) typically take just one year to complete versus a traditional MBA, which takes two years to complete. A traditional MBA is also a broader, general program in business management. However, it is important to note that many B-schools offer accelerated programs with an opportunity for specialization. These special programs also take just one year to complete.
Next, as mentioned, many MSBA programs are designed for students who have completed a traditional MBA from an institution accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). As such, students are typically working professionals, so schedules are flexible. However, many B-schools also offer flexible scheduling, as traditional MBA students are often working professionals as well.
Two of the biggest advantages of MSBA programs are (1) unlike most MBA programs, specialized master's degree programs do not require years of work experience, and (2) graduates will leave the program with a second master’s degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that people with just one master’s degree already enjoy higher salaries and lower unemployment rates than those with a bachelor’s degree or less. Those with a doctoral or professional degree enjoy the highest salaries and the lowest unemployment rates. Take a look at the figures below:
Earnings and Unemployment Rates By Educational Attainment, 2015
Median Usual Weekly Earnings
Some College, No Degree
High School Diploma
Less than High School Diploma
All Workers: $860
All Workers: 4.3%
In addition to better earnings and lower employment rates, even one master’s degree has a certain effect on potential employers. But two? Some employers view two master’s degrees in the same way as a PhD, while others may see a candidate with two master’s degrees as a more compelling applicant.
At the end of the day, the decision to earn a MSBA is up to you. But it’s good knowing that there really are no disadvantages to earning this valuable degree.
MSBA programs to consider:
California State University, Sacramento, School of Business Administration
California State University-Stanislaus State, College of Business Administration
Colorado State University, College of Business
San Diego State University, College of Business Administration
San Francisco State University, Graduate College of Business
Texas Tech University, Jerry S. Rawls College of Business
University of British Columbia, Canada, Sauder School of Business
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, College of Business
University of the Incarnate Word, H-E-B School of Business & Administration
USC Marshall School of Business
"Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor, 15 Mar. 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
"Master of Science in Business Administration (M.S.B.A.)." Master of Science in Business Administration. USC Marshall School of Business, 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
Smith-Barrow, Delece. "Decide Between an MBA and M.S. at Business School." U.S. News & World Report Education. U.S. News & World Report, 25 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
Staff. "The MBA-some History." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 17 Oct. 2003. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.