Business professionals who want as many career options as possible, as well as high compensation, frequently earn a master’s degree. While the most common type of graduate business degree is a Master of Business Administration or MBA, there are other business-related master’s degrees to consider.
A more popular alternative to an MBA today is a master’s degree in business. This is usually a Master of Science in Business. While there are similarities between an MBA and a masters in business, there are a number of differences also. We will discuss the differences and similarities more below.
Master in Business Alternative
A master’s in business is becoming a more viable alternative to the MBA with every passing year. According to the dean of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, ¾ of the student body is choosing specialized business programs rather than a regular MBA.
Regardless of the type of master’s degree you earn in business, you will discover that you will have many more jobs available to you. The business and finance field generally is experiencing a lot of growth in the United States today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the field will see 8% increase in growth by 2024, and will add 632,000 new jobs.
Also, the general median wage in the business and finance sector is $65,000 per year. You can expect to earn a higher salary than that in many cases if you have a master’s in business. MBA programs with 100% Online AACSB accredited are also popular with professionals.
Why Earn a Master’s in Business?
If you have decided to earn a master’s degree in the business field, you should know that there are options other than an MBA. While an MBA is an excellent degree, a master’s in business also can be a great choice.
The similarities between these degrees are many. Both degrees will spend much of the two or three year program studying the following subjects:
- Project management
- Law and ethics
The primary difference between the master’s in business and an MBA is usually one of scope. A master of science in business will usually focus more deeply on certain areas of business, such as a deeper look at the finance side of business. Other master of business degrees will focus on IT, HR, taxes or accounting.
Essentially, the master of business in one of these areas will teach you to be a detailed expert on that particular area. This can be a great idea if you are certain of the specific area of business you wish to focus on for your career.
If you think that you will want to work only in the tax area of business for most of your career, a master in business focused on the tax area could be a good choice.
Bear in mind however that a more specialized business degree may not give you the career flexibility you might get with a more generalized MBA.
Most master of business programs are highly competitive for admissions. For example, the University of Southern California has the following requirements for its master of business taxation program:
- Completion of classes in financial accounting, micro or macroeconomics and statistics at the bachelor’s or master’s level
- GMAT scores
- Personal statement
- Two letters of recommendation
- Updated resume with relevant business experience of at least three years
- Official college transcripts
Curriculum and Courses
The curriculum for your master of business program depends upon the area of study. As noted earlier, you have the option of focusing your master’s degree in business on many business and finance related areas.
The USC master of business taxation program is popular with many students who have an interest in the tax side of business. The learning outcomes of that program are as follows:
- Students will be highly competent in the fields of taxation and accounting, and will have an understanding of strategic roles that are vital in business organizations and society.
- Students will be able to communicate strategically and clearly in the areas of business and taxation.
- Students will have a high degree of skill in using research databases and academic and professional literature to attain new knowledge in business scenarios.
Required classes include the following:
- Tax Research and Professional Responsibilities
- Tax Theory and Ethics
- Taxation of Partnerships and S Corps
- Corporate Taxation
- Ethics for Professional Accountants
- Global Accounting Experience
- Taxation of Transactions in property
Career Outcomes and Job Titles
Earning a master’s degree in business can result in many types of jobs and career opportunities. These can vary widely depending upon the area of business that you study. Some of the job titles for which you may qualify include the following:
- Chief financial officer
- Chief operations officer
- Director of operations
- Securities analyst
- Financial services manager
- HR manager
- Insurance underwriter
- Personal banker
- Project manager
- Tax advisor
- Tax auditor
Employment settings where you could work also vary widely:
- Consulting organizations
- Local, state or federal government
- Manufacturing companies
- Insurance companies
- Small business
- Colleges and universities
- Nonprofit organization
Job and Salary Outlook
Some of the occupations for which you could be well qualified with a masters in business are:
- Management Analysts – These business professionals often are referred to as management consultants. They are experts in helping to improve business profits and efficiency. A management analyst can be an independent contractor, or can work for a consulting organization. The job outlook in this field is outstanding; there will be a 14% increase in job growth by 2024, and the median salary is $81,320.
- Tax Auditor – A tax auditor prepares and examines financial records for companies and individuals. They are responsible for making sure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly. Jobs will increase by 11% in the coming years, and the median salary is $67,190.
- Financial Managers – Financial managers are experts on the financial health of an organization. They are mainly responsible for doing financial reports, overseeing investments, and developing better financial strategies for meeting financial goals for the organization. Financial managers will see 7% employment growth in coming years, and the median salary is $117,000 per year.
- Financial Analysts -These finance professionals are responsible for offering expert guidance to individuals and businesses in making their investment decisions. They handle the assessment of performance of stocks, bonds and many other investments. This field will grow by 12% by 2024, and the median salary is $80,300.
Scholarships and Grants
Some of the master’s in business scholarships and grants to consider are:
- University of Texas at Austin – For business students at the bachelor’s and master’s level at UT, there are several scholarships available.
- University of Southern California – The Marshall School of Business offers numerous master’s in business and MBA scholarships that are given out based upon merit.
If you are considering a master’s in business, keep these additional resources in mind:
- National Business Association: This is one of the largest associations in the country that serves the interests of small business owners, and those who are interested in working in various areas of the business world.
- National Association of Tax Professionals: For those who are interested in a career as a tax professional, this is one of the most important organizations that you should belong to.
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