Getting An International Career: Should I Do A Business Masters Or An MBA?

Jessica Dowling, MBA admissions manager at University College Dublin: Smurfit Business School, answers your Applicant Question of the Week

It's time for another Applicant Question of the Week at BusinessBecause!

Every week, we give you the opportunity to ask one of our chosen admissions experts anything you want to know about getting into business school. One question each week is chosen for our expert to answer.

This week, the question comes from an anonymous BusinessBecause reader.

Their question is answered by Jessica Dowling, manager of MBA admissions and recruitment at University College Dublin: Smurfit Business School.

Applicant Question of the Week:

Dear BusinessBecause, 

I would like to do a graduate business degree in order to launch a career in an international corporation, but I'm unsure which degree to do. Is a business Masters or an MBA better for a career in international business? 

The Answer:

Having either an international business Masters or an MBA can help you launch a successful career in an international corporation. The answer to this question really depends on your academic background and your professional experience to date.

A Masters is ideally suited to an individual with little to no work experience. For an individual with more work experience, an MBA would be better suited to you to help you achieve your goals.

A business related Masters with an international focus is aimed at applicants with limited or no work experience in the field. Applicants, therefore, tend to be in their early 20s having recently finished their undergraduate degree. The modules which make up the Masters focus solely on international business, with topics such as International Business Management, Cross-Cultural Management, and Global Marketing being covered throughout the year. Students graduate from this Masters with a solid understanding of international business and strategy and go on to work in international corporations around the world.

For most Masters in international business or masters with an international business/strategy focus, an undergraduate in business or a related field is required.

On the other hand, MBAs are aimed at individuals who already have several years’ work experience and who want to take the next step in their career, either moving forward into management roles in their current area or diversify and move into a new career.

The typical profile of an MBA student is someone in their late 20s with several years’ work experience, and is open to applicants with any degree and from any professional background, as long as they meet the admission requirements and have a strong application.

An MBA will give you a full grounding in all aspects of business, from Global Strategy to Managing Teams, as well as giving you access to a fantastic alumni network which can help you build your career in many international cooperations around the world. MBA students may also take part in international trips as part of their MBA which will help you prepare for working in any international corporation. MBAs may also get access to one on one career coaching, a leadership development programme, and many more supports and opportunities.

So ultimately the best answer is up to the individual applicant. Think about your background, both academically and professionally, and consider what is important for you to achieve from your graduate degree. Whichever route you decide to pursue, having a recognised qualification from a top business school will only help enhance your business career. 

Ask an Admissions Expert a Question!

Next week, BusinessBecause readers will have the opportunity to ask their burning application questions to Kelly R. Wilson, executive director of MBA and Masters admissions at Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business.

Kelly has spent almost seven years at Tepper, and previously was the assistant dean and director of MBA admissions at Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. She also has an MBA herself, so she'll certainly be able to tackle any queries you have about pursuing an MBA!

You can submit a question on our TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn pages, send us an email to, or simply post a comment below! 


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