What Are the Different Business Master Degree Types?

Laurie Garrison picture
Laurie Garrison
Updated June 3, 2021

While the MBA may be the first degree that comes to mind when you think of graduate business school, there are several types of master’s degrees in business offered across most academic institutions and the list is constantly growing. In general, earning a graduate business degree is an excellent investment for business professionals attempting to enhance leadership skills with the aim of progressing into positions with added responsibilities, according to the GMAT website.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of students earning a master’s degree in business has skyrocketed from 26,490 in 1971 to close to 200,000 in 2019. One year after the pandemic, graduate programs in business are seeing high application volume despite the nature of 2020’s economic downturn. 

Business master's degrees are highly versatile; and can help you develop a competitive edge in the market, as well as garner a strong professional network. If you earn a business master’s degree, you could potentially negotiate a higher salary as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median weekly salary for people with a master’s degree is $1,497 ($77,844 a year), compared to those with a bachelor’s degree, $1,248 ($64,896).

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Career Outlook and Salary for Business Graduates

Many of the careers you can enter with a master’s in business are projected to grow over the next nine years according to the BLS.

Occupation% Growth from 2019-20292020 Median Annual Salary
Budget Analysts3.4%$78,970
Computer Occupations5.7%$92,870
Financial/Investment Analysts5.5%$83,660
Financial Examiners7.3%$81,430
Financial Managers15.5%$134,180
Management Analysts10.7%$87,660
Market Research Analysts/Marketing Specialists17.7%$65,810
Marketing Managers6.7%$142,170
Operations Research Analysts24.8%$86,200
Project Management/Business Operations Specialists5.9%$77,420
Purchasing Managers2.6%$125,940
Sales Managers3.5%$132,290

What Can You Do with a Master’s in Business?

While there are many business sectors you could work in with your business master’s, three of the fastest growing occupations are operations research analyst (24.8% growth), market research analyst/marketing specialist (17.7% growth) and financial manager (15.5% growth).

Industries with the most operations research analysts are finance and insurance (29.5%), professional, scientific, and technical services (24.4%) and insurance carriers (13%). Using advanced analytics and mathematical methods, as an operations research analyst, you would help executives at your company decide how to allocate resources, manage the supply chain, set prices and develop production schedules.

Because market research analysts are involved in every industry, there’s no single business sector where the vast majority are employed. However, the industry with the most employed business graduates is advertising and public relations with 6.2%. As a market research analyst, you’ll study the market conditions specific to your product or service by collecting and analyzing market data.

Not surprisingly, the majority of financial managers can be found in the finance and insurance industries (30.1%). Responsible for your company’s financial health, as a financial manager, you’ll develop your company’s long-term financial goals, direct the company’s investment activities and create financial reports.

If you are ready to transform your career in the business world and position yourself for executive roles, read on to learn about the four most popular types of business degrees that can help you achieve your goal.

Different Types of Master’s in Business

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

As one of the most popular graduate programs in any field, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) is designed to develop the leadership, communication, decision-making, and organizational skills that are required for upper-level management positions. Most MBAs build upon a broad-based major business core to allow students to tailor their curriculum with a concentration in a specialized business discipline. Traditional MBAs require two years of graduate studies beyond the baccalaureate level, but there are now many different options available for earning an Accelerated MBA, Online MBA, or even an Executive MBA.

While an MBA can prepare you for a number of occupations, the median salary for several top professions are: marketing manager, $142,170; management analyst, $87,660; and computer occupations, $92,870.

Master of Accountancy (MAcc)

After earning an undergraduate degree in accounting, many students choose to enroll in a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program to fulfill the 150-hour requirement needed in most states to pursue credentials as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). MAcc programs are specialized master's degrees that focus on the knowledge and skills needed to create financial reports in the accounting profession, according to Business Week. Typically, the one-year program will include coursework related to auditing, accounting information systems, corporate governance, taxation, monetary policy, financial reporting, risk management, securities law, and financial management. Accountants and auditors have a median annual salary of $73,560.

Master of Science in Finance (MSF)

The Master of Science in Finance (MSF) is another specialized master's degree in business that has been designed to train graduate students for working as financial analysts or managers, who can develop an expertise in analyzing market conditions. Most MSF programs take between one to two years of full-time graduate studies to prepare you for meeting the financial modeling, planning, and forecasting needs of diverse clients. If you are enrolled in an accredited MSF program, you should expect to have plenty of coursework devoted to actuarial science, derivatives, investments, banking, portfolio management, statistical analysis, and business valuation.

Occupations in the financial sector are typically high paying, including financial managers, $134,180 median annual salary; financial analysts, $83,660; and financial examiners, $81,430.

Master in Management (MIM)

The Master in Management (MIM) is a popular one-year master's degree in business that is traditionally a practical step for current professionals or career changers seeking to enter managerial positions in the business world. In preparation for management, MIM degree programs are structured to cover topics in ethical decision making, business law, global business, workplace security, corporate crime, business culture, entrepreneurship, human resource management, employee motivation, and marketing. Many accredited MIM programs include a required internship so you can obtain valuable hands-on experience working with company executives.

If you graduate with a MIM, among the occupations you might consider are sales manager, $132,290 median annual salary; purchasing manager, $125,940; or project manager, $77,420.

If you’re seeking to advance your skills for leadership positions in your chosen area of expertise there are many business master’s degree options available. In addition to these popular types of master’s degrees in business, there are also many opportunities available to specialize in other areas like real estate development, healthcare.

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