MBA or Masters – What’s Right For You?

Posted July 17, 2018, by Michelle Marshall

In theory, the whole MBA v Masters topic might appear to be the fight of the century – in one corner, we have a popular, medium weight and fast-moving component and in the other, a rare but highly desirable heavyweight master for sure, but is this a real fight or just an illusion?

If you are reading this you are probably starting to consider the prospects of an MBA and Masters, as well as deciding between an MBA or Masters and that is one smart manoeuvre you’ve already made! If you are planning for an enterprising career, then you are considering the right types of qualifications for sure.

Many people think that a Masters and MBA are two different versions of the same thing, and while it would be lovely to have a more ‘affordable’ option both in time and costs for the MBA (ahhh Utopia here we come), they are in fact two different but equally relevant qualifications.

So while relevance, leadership and postgraduate status might be the only the similarities between an MBA or Masters, there is still plenty that you’ll need to find out about each qualification. In short, MBAs seek to develop appropriate skills on a foundation of a candidate’s life or professional experience, while the majority of Master’s Degrees build on the academic background of the student.

Which leads to the question MBA or Masters, which one’s for you?


Masters Degrees are aimed at recent graduates with up to two years of professional experience. A Masters takes around 18 months to two years to complete and can help you to become a real specialist in your field by immersing you in a professional arena to advance your knowledge in your industry. Continuing your studies to do a Masters shows dedication and ambition, and on completion can excel you for roles with some of the best companies in Australia.

  • Masters Degrees are aimed at recent graduates

And you’ll only need one to two years experience depending upon your course provider’s requirements. 

  • A Masters is a great way to kickstart your career

They are targeted towards people who want to pack a punch at the beginning of their career and are useful tools for snagging opportunities at the best companies. 

  • Get specialised

The more specialised nature of a masters qualification provides the students with the precise academic and theoretical framework to tackle a specific area.

  • Theoretical study style

You’ll learn through combination case studies, team projects and lectures with a heavy dose of the basics of business theory thrown in – a lot.

  • Aids you in knowing how to run or build a business

And those are solid skills that will set you up for a bright future, even if we do project our own biased opinion in here.


An MBA is an acronym for a type of Master’s Degree. MBA stands for Master of Business Administration and is a top-notch qualification. It’s aimed at experienced professionals with at least four years of professional work experience, it can take up to two years to complete, however, the cost is often significantly higher than a Masters. An MBA can help you advance your career in business or management, BIG TIME, as well as bring you a high salary too! 

  • Worldwide membership of the MBA club

Ok, so there’s not really a club, but the MBA is known and revered worldwide! Talk about opening doors of opportunity.

  • The MBA is an incredible tool for career and salary progression

Most people study for an MBA because they know that their career and subsequent salary is going to increase as a result. The qualification will also arm you with the confidence to pursue roles in leadership and management.

  • MBA graduates are a mature crowd

You’ll probably be around the age of 27 upwards (27-35 on average to be precise) when you graduate from your MBA studies. But that doesn’t mean if you are over that age you shouldn’t go for it – just saying!

  • MBA provides pots of potential to geek out on some pretty lucrative subjects

MBA’s are comprised of 12 subjects including a select number of electives/ specialist subject. Each specialisation allows you to take units devoted to your field of interest and learn from professors who are specialists in the area. You’ll study, in detail topics such as: Managing a Project Based Organisation, Contract Law for Managers, Entrepreneurship, Managing Consultancy Practice, International Business, Leading for Innovation and Sustainability, Mindfulness and Transformational Leadership, Strategic Organisational Change, Human Resource Management. 

  • Accelerate your career development (rocket style!)

You’ll be taken seriously if you hold an MBA in fact many CEO’s are MBA graduates, or vice versa (an MBA graduate becomes a CEO). Even with less experience, you are still likely to find it easier to pick up a management position with a top-notch company.

  • MBA graduates command a higher than average salary

This is because they know their stuff and they’ve got the experience to match their specialised and profoundly focused knowledge – a lethal combination! Salaries in the 100,000’s are not unusual. In fact, Australian MBA graduates had the top five salaries in the world according to QS Job Salary Report 2018

Masters Vs MBA

So the great debate of Masters Vs MBA is one that remains a draw because ultimately it comes down to what works for you. Your decision should depend on two important factors. Firstly, what are your goals? If you are 100% on your career path and hope to develop in this specific field than a Master’s is your pick as it outweighs the more generic, business-focused content covered in an MBA. Secondly, do you meet the prerequisites? Highly regarded MBA programs require specific entry qualifications and the right amount of experience, so before you lose sleep over the decision, make sure that you’re correctly qualified. 

Michelle Marshall

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