Master In Management Vs. Specialized Master’s

Breadth or depth of knowledge? Recruitment expert Shani Pearson explains the difference between Master in Management vs. specialized master’s programs

Master in Management vs. specialized Master's. In this Applicant Question, Shani Pearson, part of the international recruitment team at BI Norwegian Business School, sheds light on which program is best suited for you.


The last decade has seen a significant increase in the number of business schools expanding their program portfolios to include Master in Management (MIM) degrees as well as specialized master’s programs. 

Early career professionals benefit from this trend as they now have more options when seeking to kick-start their careers. Applicants can compare MIM programs through tools such as the Financial Times rankings, but specialized programs cover so many disciplines that it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between them and MIM degrees.


Master in Management vs Specialized Master's overview fe658c0dea59a48a50c8a0065c5ad195708837f7.jpg

Both options are launch pads for prospective students with little or no work experience (zero to two or three years).

MIM degrees provide fresh bachelor graduates with the opportunity to gain a breadth of knowledge covering all major disciplines of management in an international context. 

Students can fill their toolbox with knowledge of management, leadership, accounting, marketing, finance, and strategy. As management generalists, they are poised to enter the workplace with fresh perspectives, leadership potential, and a global outlook. 

Fresh graduates choosing a specialized master’s can expect to take a deep dive into a specific knowledge area. These programs accelerate learning and acquisition of a depth of knowledge in specific disciplines such as finance, marketing, and business analytics, to name a few. These students will become experts in one specific category of tools, applicable to a certain niche. 


Which program should I choose?

Applicants need to reflect on their aspirations, passions, and career goals when deciding which route to choose as a fresh graduate. Looking for a career in consulting? Have a burning desire to learn about all aspects of an organization with the aim to eventually move into the C-suite? A MIM degree is for you.   

Maybe you want to learn more about your favourite subject from your bachelor’s degree? Or, are you certain about your job interest? Then a specialized master’s is the route for you. For example, if you want to be a CFA, a MSc in Finance can help you achieve your goals. Or maybe your passion for finance is related to ethical investing and corporate Responsibility. Then, look for a master’s specializing in sustainable finance.

Applicants also need to look to their bachelor’s degree to see what options are open to them. Perhaps you have an engineering background and want to turn towards business. A Master in Management will give you the general management knowledge needed to transition into an organization that will value your STEM background and your recently acquired business acumen. Or, you may want to build on a quantitative education background and choose an MSc in Data Analytics.


What can I do with my degree?

Applicants pursue a master’s to improve their employability and expand their career opportunities. Both degree options lead to good entry-level opportunities in the labor market and graduates are in high demand.

MIM graduates are attractive to employers who seek moldable young talent. As a recent graduate, you’ll rotate positions in the company, continue to grow as a professional, and be assessed for your career potential. Graduates start their careers as consultants, business development managers, account executives, and project managers, for example. All are roles where your broad knowledge of management functions gained from a MIM make you an asset for your employer.

The graduate of a specialized master’s degree is put to work immediately in a functional area of the business. Specialized programs are often developed in consultation with business leaders and in response to employers’ need for a specific skill set, so graduates can land jobs in new and rapidly changing industries such as data science or AI, for example.


Weighing up your options

Need help deciding? Check out the this quiz, put together by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC): Should I do a MIM or a specialized master’s?

But rest assured, whichever program you choose – MIM or specialized master’s – you will be challenged personally and professionally and, most importantly, you will move a step closer to kick-starting your career.


Read another Applicant Question: 

How Can I Reduce My MBA Loans?

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