MBA-degrees are most valued by employers

08.08.2018 | | Katariina Nuotio

Is a Master’s degree worth your investment?

Selecting the right Master’s programme can be a daunting task. Should you choose an MBA programme, or would an M.Sc. be a better option? No matter which one you choose, you are considering a major investment in yourself and your future. You are considering a major time commitment, challenging yourself outside of your comfort zone, perhaps even foregoing current revenue while paying for the investment in your future. Is it really worth it? And, would an MBA be the right choice?

M.Sc. or MBA?

Most Finnish universities offer only a M.Sc. as an option for the Master’s, whereas in the UK and elsewhere, just as common (or a more common) option for a postgraduate degree is a MBA-degree. Typically, the M.Sc. focuses on a specific discipline of business, whereas an MBA gives you a broad understanding of the various areas of business. Often, admission to an MBA-programme requires some years of managerial experience, as having the contextual background will greatly enhance learning, whereas M.Sc. can be more accessible for fresh undergraduates. Read more about pre-experience MBAs…

Why an MBA?

According to the Financial Times (2018), the main reason that students study for an MBA-qualification is to increase their salary. MBA-graduates at top ranked business schools have at least doubled their salaries within three years of completing their degrees, compared to what they earned before their MBA.

The potential for a salary increase and career advancement is not the only benefit of an MBA-degree. A BerkeleyHaas study (2018) found that in addition to increased job opportunities and re-energised career prospects, students associate surprising non-financial benefits with the degree, such as increased self-confidence and credibility, better communication and time management skills and a broader worldview.

An MBA-tuition fee cost does not necessarily break your bank. While executive MBAs cost about 40.000 euros in Finland, and a lot more in top-ranked business schools, you can find bang for your buck for a lot less. For example, the University of Northampton MBA-degree offered at HELBUS costs just 11.600 euros, or 15.000 euros for non-EU students.

Which do employers value more?

A M.Sc. or an MBA?  We conducted a small survey internally among alumni and our international partners, faculty and agents, deciding if we would start offering an MBA or a M.Sc. degree. We asked which, in their opinion, is more valued by employers globally. Here are the findings:

  • Finnish respondents’ replies varied, with about 50 % perceiving the MBA as more valued by employers than the M.Sc.
  • 85 % of respondents with an international background perceived that the MBA is more valuable, the rest giving equal weight to both degrees.

Other research supports the finding that MBA is the most valued postgraduate qualification:

  • 42 CEOs on the Fortune 100-list have an MBA-degree (Complete University Guide)
  • Over 50 % of MBA-degree holders work in senior management or as board directors (Mastersportal.com)
  • The mean salary of MBA-graduates in Europe is 100.000 euros annually (Mastersportal.com)

An MBA qualification tells the employer a lot about you – not only about your ability to absorb new things and adopt your learning into leading organisations and complex business issues, but also about your commitment to developing yourself and your professional qualities. No matter which is your choice, no degree will automatically guarantee higher earnings. It will, however, help develop it into the right direction if your attitudes and other personal qualities are a match with the expectations of employers.

Katariina Nuotio

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