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MBA vs. Specialized Master's

Which one is right for you?

Choosing a Graduate Degree

The MBA has been the most popular master’s degree in the United States since the early 2000s. However, applications for non-MBA business master’s programs, such as Master of Accounting (MAC) and Master of Management (MM) programs, are on the rise. So, which one is right for you? And what are the pros and cons of each?

When deciding between the two, you should consider: 

  1. Your career objectives
  2. Your interest in specialization 
  3. Your ability to fulfill program requirements (duration, cost, etc.)

It’s also important to note that you can reach corporate leadership positions with either approach. You can also be successful with either degree regardless of whether or not you have a background in business. 

Comparing the two

Here are some of the most considerable benefits of each type of degree program:

MBA ProgramsSpecialized Master’s Programs
✓ Focused on key business and leadership skills✓ Focused on a specific discipline
✓ Typically 2 years, if completed full-time✓ Often 1 year or less if completed full-time
✓ Often requires several years of work experience✓ Accepts students with less work experience
✓ Versatile careers, suitable for various industries and roles✓ Targeted toward specific job roles within a specific field (especially in in-demand fields)
✓ Leadership development embedded in the program✓ Optional leadership development opportunities
✓ Extensive alumni network✓ Smaller, industry-specific networks
✓ Often more expensive✓ May be more cost-effective

Specialized Master’s Degrees at Poole

The Poole College of Management offers specialized degree programs in accounting, marketing analytics, risk management and economics.

Interested in a specialized master’s degree and an MBA? Check out our dual degree options.

Interested in talking through your options? Let’s talk!

Our admissions team will guide you through the decision-making process to choose a degree that fits your professional and personal goals.