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MBA Vs Masters: Which Should You Choose?

The MBA is world’s most sought-after graduate management degree, but specialized business masters are eating into the MBA market

In the fall of 2018, King’s Business School opened at a brand-new, dedicated site at Bush House in central London. Emerging from King’s College London’s School of Management and Business, the revamped business school hosts 2000 students, from 80 countries, who are taught by over 100 academic staff.

King’s offers a wide array of undergraduate, post-graduate, and executive education programs. But, trawling through the glossy pages of the school’s brochures, there’s one glaring omission: there’s no MBA program in sight.

Instead, King’s offers specialized masters degrees—shorter, more affordable, more concentrated post-graduate management courses. King’s is launching new master’s in digital marketing and entrepreneurship and innovation this year. It offers a Masters in International Management as the closest alternative to a traditional MBA.

The school’s dean, Stephen Bach, says the decision was taken in response to employer demand. “The MBA market is changing,” Stephen explains. “Employers and students tell us that the appetite for MBAs has softened, hiring trends are moving towards earlier career graduates with strong analytical and inter-personal skills, an entrepreneurial mindset, and a well-developed sense of personal responsibility and resilience.”

Specialized master’s programs are eating into the MBA market. Emerging program types—masters in data analytics, business information technology, and entrepreneurship—have seen a surge of interest.

While the MBA remains the number one graduate management degree sought by prospective students, now, according to the latest research from GMAC, nearly half of business school applicants consider a business master’s program alongside an MBA; 38% prefer the business master’s program type.

The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business offers eight specialized masters programs, across topics like business and marketing analytics, as well as finance, accounting, and supply chain management. Five of those are...

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