MBA vs specialised Masters programmes

There are pros and cons to both Masters programmes

MBA vs specialised Masters programmes

What do you really need?

You have decided you need more education to advance in your career. But what should you choose? An MBA or rather a specialized Masters programme in your field? Answers to such questions may not be obvious and should be reflected upon with care. A specialized Masters degree will certainly give you the insights you need in the area of your interest. An MBA (and let’s be clear, we are talking about a general Master of Business Administration, not a specialized MBA, which is often just another degree disguised as something ‘more impressive’, when in reality it is not) lets you explore management challenges on a much wider scale. A good MBA will give you a holistic view to management of business and its challenges.

This is not to say that you cannot study the field of your interest – quite to the contrary. A good MBA will let you look at your specific needs in and around your area of business and helps you to analyse and build the toolkit you require to not only find more inspiration in your field, but advance you as a person onto the next level of leadership on your chosen careerpath.

Should you still require specific knowledge, a specialized Masters degree or a certificate thereof can then be the adequate add-on at a later stage. What is important is to make sure to understand that no particular university degree will give you all the knowledge and experience you require from the start of your career to the day you retire. You will need to invest in further education at some point, be it as part of experiential learning and gathering of experiences or as part of structured programmes. Depending on what kind of learner you are, there are differences, possible short-cuts and aspects to learning that support your specific needs better than others. It pays off finding out more about one’s own preferences when it comes to learning. Talk to a (career-) coach, talk to a business school about their programmes and what they can offer as part of personal development (PD). Not every PD programme is the same and some let you me more ‘you’ than others. Find out how to become fit for your next step in education and thus also in your career. With a good plan you save time and money ultimately.

Christoph Raudonat

Head of Henley Business School Germany