Graduate Business Degrees: 3 Questions to Help You Decide Between an MBA and an MBM

In today’s highly competitive business environment, graduate business degrees can help prepare you to make the most of your career. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a graduate business degree could boost your annual salary up to 89 percent, depending upon your career.

But no two business master’s degrees are the same. Some emphasize academics while others focus on real-world experience or blend the two. Every program is unique.

Take, for example, Azusa Pacific University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Business Management (MBM) degree programs. At first glance, they look similar—even down to the one initial that separates the acronyms. Both prepare students to solve 21st-century business problems and lead in the workplace as well as in life. However, the programs are quite different and prepare individuals to excel in different fields.

If you’re looking into these graduate business degrees, consider the following three questions.

1. What Are My Skill Sets?

At APU, an MBM degree prepares students to be leaders who manage people and projects ethically. If you’re the kind of person who likes working with others regularly, the MBM would likely fit you well.

On the other hand, if you excel in math and enjoy working with numbers, you might want to consider the MBA degree. While an MBA will prepare you to manage people and lead just like the MBM, it emphasizes the ability to make decisions based on data.

2. What Career Would I Like to Pursue?

Because the MBM program focuses more heavily on managing people and projects, it prepares leaders for jobs that emphasize interpersonal skills. For instance, if you’re looking for jobs in business operations, human resources, organizational development, change management, sales, or retail, then an MBM degree could be for you.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to go into more analytical roles, an MBA degree will likely serve you better. An MBA is an ideal choice for students planning to pursue a career related to accounting, data analyst, or financial planner.

3. What Degree Concentration Interests Me?

Several of the concentrations available through APU’s School of Business and Management overlap. You can choose to focus on entrepreneurship, marketing, or organizational science in either degree program. But you can only pursue some concentrations within each program.

For example, you can select a concentration in accounting or finance only as an MBA student. Likewise, you can participate in concentrations such as human resource management or organizational development and change solely within the MBM program.

You Can’t Go Wrong Either Way

The differences between the two programs aren’t as vast as you might think. Students enrolled in the two programs will take many of the same courses and graduate well-versed in areas like leadership, ethics, and decision-making.

“We routinely have students in one program get jobs that should be reserved for people in another program,” said Roxanne Helm-Stevens, chair of the Department of Management, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and International Business within APU’s School of Business and Management. “You really can’t go wrong. Both are ethics-based. They present a good leadership framework. It depends on what you want to emphasize. If you really feel comfortable with numbers and that’s your background, you may want to choose the MBA program. If you really enjoy working with people, you probably want to go into the MBM program.”

Curious to learn more about both programs and their associated career paths? Explore more information on Azusa Pacific’s School of Business and Management.