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Masters in Management vs MBA: 11 Key differences you need to know

Did you know that both MBA and MiM courses have students from almost all walks of life? Be it Business and Management or Engineering, or Humanities or Law, these management courses attract students from diverse backgrounds. So, what really makes them so popular? There are quite a number of reasons as to why management degrees are becoming more and more popular. A premium management degree, be it an MBA or a MiM equips you with the necessary skills that are required to be successful in a company on a global level. Apart from helping one to shift gears and explore a completely new career path, it also gives an opportunity for one to broaden their intellect by interacting with students from all over the globe. It helps one to be more productive in a team, gives a holistic knowledge as to how to work in a multicultural environment, equips you with all the necessary skills, making you get a strong foothold of all the business skills required. The 2 most popular degrees to pursue a management course are MBA(Master of Business Administration) and MiM(Masters in Management). Let’s dig a little deeper to understand the key points that differentiate the two degrees. This will help you improve your understanding of Masters in Management vs MBA phenomenon.



The average age of an MBA candidate would be around 28 years. This is because MBA schools require one to have at least 4 to 5 years of work experience to be eligible to apply. The traditional MBA colleges demand one to have strong professional and academic achievements and are meant for those who already have a couple of years of work experience. Only after one has at least 3 years of work experience, they can think of aiming for the top business schools for an MBA.


The average age of a MiM candidate would be around 23 years. Candidates with absolutely no work experience to candidates with around 1-3 years of work experience apply for a MiM degree. Here in Masters in Management, the top schools look at a candidate’s profile holistically. Internships, global exchange programs, online courses are done, extracurricular activities participated are all given equal weight while evaluating the application. These extra activities serve as a measure to rank candidates and act as substitutes for professional work experience.



Doing an MBA degree abroad would cost you anywhere around $100,000 to $200,000 for the entire program. One of the reasons why MBA programs are expensive is that students get placed in top international companies with lucrative salaries. They get middle-level positions in companies, giving them enough job security as well.


The MiM degree is much cheaper as compared to an MBA program. The average tuition fee is about $40,000. German schools are the least expensive schools as the government funds the education there. Meanwhile, schools in USA and UK have the most expensive tuition fees. Also, as graduates have little work experience prior to MiM, they are offered entry-level jobs in international companies.



MBA remains the undisputed king when it comes to a professional business course. This is mainly because an MBA is prevalent for years and has gained worldwide recognition. Schools like Harvard, Stanford, LBS are popular for their MBA programs. These schools have a strong alumni network, career-altering placement opportunities topped with international recognition. That is, an MBA from top-tier schools is recognised globally.


A MiM program is mostly a European program, aimed at fresh graduates or those starting out in their career to have a management degree. Off late, the top schools such as ESSEC have started to have a strong foothold in the Asian region as well, thanks to their Asia Pacific campus in Singapore. The CEMS program is also popular in the Asian region, having schools in Australia, India, Singapore etc offering the MiM program. MiM degrees are the most popular in the EU region in countries like France, Germany, Italy, Spain etc. Hence, the top-ranked MiM schools are mostly in the European region as they have started out the MiM program much before the schools in USA, Canada, Singapore or Australia.



The average course duration for an MBA degree would be around 1 to 2 years.


The course duration entirely varies depending on the school you choose. Some MiM programs are only for about 10 months. Some offer an 18-month course. Some schools offer a comprehensive degree of about 2 years, giving you enough flexibility to take time off from the course to get some professional experience.



MBA graduates receive a higher amount of salary as they would have already decked up quite a number of years of work experience under their belt. The average salary of an MBA graduate can be around $100,000.


As MiM graduates have less work experience, they end up working in entry-level jobs, with an average salary of around $50,000. But, as they get a couple of years of work experience, their position also changes from entry-level to mid-level.



As the MBA is aimed at candidates already having sufficient work experience, the aim of an MBA program is to allow for the enrolled students to specialise in a particular domain like marketing, finance, consulting etc. Also, as MBA students already have a sufficient number of years of work experience, the curriculum is designed in such a way that skills are taught in a much more practical way. Specialisations and electives are a part and parcel of MBA programs, allowing students to dive deeper into the subjects of their choice and interest.


The Masters in Management program caters to students who have less or no work experience at all. Hence, the aim of this degree is to build a foundation for students about the realm of management. The curriculum of MiM programs starts out with core business subjects like accounting, finance, marketing etc, along with the building of soft skills such as leadership, communication, teamwork amongst others. Schools such as Grenoble, ESSEC, ESCP etc have multiple campuses, allowing students to explore different ethnicities and societies, giving them a much more global experience. Also, internship programs are a part of most MiM programs, allowing students to gain professional experience and get a taste of the corporate world before they actually get a job.



Most MBA students are looking for that salary hike that comes along with an MBA tag. Here, career progression is the primary objective. Candidates may also be looking for a change of stream in their workplace. For example, a person working as a software engineer for around 4 years might have acquired a truckload of technical knowledge, but is now interested in looking at managerial jobs and hence wants to get an insight into business and management roles. For such a person, an MBA would be the ideal choice.


MiM students are just kickstarting their career. MiM is a great option if one wants to get entry-level jobs in top companies, hence giving a great start to one’s career. MiM is a great place to fast-track one’s career. With top companies recruiting MiM students, it is a great opportunity for students to work in top tier companies at an early age with entry-level positions. Ultimately, when a MiM graduate reaches the age of 28 to 29, he/she would be eligible to be promoted to mid-level positions in the company. Hence, at the age of 28 to 29, MiM graduates would be at almost the same level as MBA graduates would be, right after college.



Almost all the top MBA schools require a GMAT score as per the admission requirements.


MiM programs are slightly flexible. Most schools accept management aptitude tests like GMAT, GRE or CAT. There is also a list of schools that don’t require one to give any of the management aptitude tests and just English language proficiency tests would suffice. Do remember that there are schools that mention quite specifically if only GMAT scores are accepted. Hence, be sure to check out the application requirements of the school.



MBA schools are not particularly known for their flexibility. You do have some flexibility in doing some professional internships or choosing your electives. But, this is more of a professional course, giving more importance to the curriculum taught and placement opportunities, rather than exploring different cultures or taking gap years to find out where your passion lies.


MiM schools are well known for their flexibility. From taking gap years to studying different semesters in different countries, students have a range of options to choose from. The curriculum can be truly customised according to the needs of the student. For example, in ESSEC Business School, 80% of the curriculum is chosen and tailored by the student. It is truly in the hands of the students whether they want to take a gap year, or specialise in certain subjects or take tracks and study a list of core subjects to get a holistic knowledge.


Here are a few case studies that might help you take the right decision.

  • John has been working as a software developer in Company X for 4 years now. Off late, he is inclined more towards leading his team and managing the resources assigned efficiently, rather than using technical skills to develop a software product.

An ideal choice here would be to shift from a technical to a managerial field as John is more interested in the management side of working in a company. As he already has 4 years of work experience, he can opt for an MBA.

  • Ava is working as a Design Engineer at Company Y for 3 years. She has pretty much-gotten everything out of the job and has been feeling stagnant professionally. The idea of doing something new and different excites her.

A MiM degree would be ideal. The 3 years of work experience she has adds tremendously to her profile. She can opt for exchange programs and take up double degrees to give an extra boost to her profile post her masters. Through exchange programs, she gets to travel to different countries and meet people from different ethnic backgrounds.

  • It’s been 2 years since Alice started working in a start-up as a software tester. She finds her job boring and wants to do something completely new, within a fixed budget, as she does not want to spend a lot of money.

The perfect choice for Alice here would be to enrol herself in a MiM program, which allows her to participate in different clubs, competitions, hence building her skills outside of the classroom walls. Also, if she is looking for schools within a particular budget, she can focus on schools in Germany as they have fewer tuition fees. Another option would be to look at scholarship opportunities, both in the school and in the country that she wants to go study in.

  • Rahul is starting his 2nd year in his professional life. He does not the like the idea of doing something robotic and wants to travel and work with people of different nationalities.

MIM would be perfect for Rahul as most MiM courses can be personalised according to the student’s interests. Rahul can also take a gap year and explore new job opportunities or even apply for an apprenticeship in certain MiM schools, which allow students to both works and attend college. This way, Rahul gets to do both, hence getting a break from his monotonous work life.

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business USA
2. INSEAD France/Singapore
3. University of Pennsylvania: Wharton USA
4. London Business School UK
5. Harvard Business School USA
6. University of Chicago: Booth USA
7. Columbia Business School USA
8. Ceibs China
9. MIT:Sloan USA
10. University of California at Berkeley: Haas USA

1. University of St.Gallen Switzerland
2. HEC Paris France
3. IE Business School Spain
4. London Business School UK
5. ESSEC Business School France/Singapore
6. ESCP Europe France/UK/DE/ES/IT
7. WHU Beisheim Germany
8. ESADE Business School Spain
10. University of Bocconi Italy
As you see, there are stark differences between MBA and MiM and choosing the right degree for you becomes extremely important as it will affect your professional life significantly. Still confused as to what to choose? Or, do you need help in choosing the right schools for the degree you have chosen? Contact us at… to help gain better insights!