Students are often faced with a dilemma on which course to study post their graduation.  One of the usual debates aspirants have to deal with is whether to pursue an MS or an MBA?  There are many factors which influence this crucial decision. From the parent’s perspective some major doubts would be what would the ROI( Return on Investment) be once their child completes the course, How much would their children earn after they graduate?. From the student’s perspective some aspects which are causes for concern are – What would the requirements be for getting admitted to a course of one’s choice?, Which is the best course to study to get certain employment opportunities?, How long would the program take to complete, Will there be any funding options which one can benefit from? This article aims at answering most of these questions so that each candidate gains better clarity before reaching a conclusion.

Job prospects, Salary, and Fees

The MBA graduates are most sought after by all companies since the demand for a well-qualified professional is always high. Customarily the positions offered to the MBA grads are mid to high-level posts. This is mainly because these graduates already have several years of experience under their belt and hence organizations are aware of their caliber. Therefore the compensation which these candidates receive is also equally great. According to Payscale, the average salary an MBA graduate receives is between – $61,021 to $138,063. The opportunities for growth in the career ladder are also immense after completing an MBA degree. The Fees for an MBA degree could be a bit expensive since it is a high-value program. However, this is again dependent on the country you wish to study in since universities in certain European countries offer free education. Therefore a candidate only needs to shell out money for his/her living expenses. The average fees for an MBA at USA could be anywhere from : (Insert figures from admission team here).

The MS program graduates are equally in high demand since they are skilled candidates. Companies always have a need for individuals who have technical expertise in their chosen fields. The roles offered to these candidates are entry-level positions because MS graduates are usually freshers with not much experience. Although this does not impact the salary they receive, Since they bring with them niche skills developed over their course of study. Employees with high competence are the need of the hour and companies recruit on this basis as well. The average salary earned by an MS graduate is in the range of-  $81,787 to $173,440, according to Payscale. These graduates also enjoy a fruitful career graph. The course fee for MS is determined again by the country you wish to study in. As mentioned above universities in Germany, Ireland and several other European countries offer free education. The cost for MS in US could lie in the range between – (Insert figures from admission team here).

Requirements and course objectives

An MBA degree expects candidates to submit their GMAT scores although recently certain universities have also started accepting GRE scores for MBA programs. This opens up opportunities for candidates who would like to apply for both MS and MBA programs simultaneously. MBA degree is a multi-subject degree and it covers an extensive range of topics. The course is aimed at enhancing the knowledge of experienced candidates. They should be able to solve real-world problems by applying the skills they learned in management science and other subjects. MBA programs mainly focus on experiential learning rather than theoretical knowledge. This will ensure these candidates adapt quickly to rapidly changing scenarios. The candidates will develop lifelong skills that will assist them in any employment in advanced areas of management related fields. The course also aims at nurturing and promoting leadership skills in MBA candidates since this is an essential attribute for Managers. Another crucial element in the MBA program is the capability to communicate clearly and effectively. These candidates should also be able to work across multiple teams and build a good rapport with team members. They should be constantly updated on current happenings and be receptive to any new changes being implemented around them. MBA candidates are also taught to be innovative and develop their critical thinking & decision-making capabilities.

The MS degree, on the other hand, requires students to  complete their GRE exam and then submit their scores for admissions into the universities of their choice. It also needs students to submit supporting documents like LOR (Letter of Recommendation), SOP (Statement of Purpose), a well-drafted CV and consolidated CGPA. It is not mandatory that all of the above have to be exceptional. If a candidate is lacking in one category he can make up for it by excelling in the others. MS is usually elected by freshers who have just completed graduation. Therefore this program necessarily acts as establishing a foundation for the students. Since each MS program has a different specialization the course objectives will differ accordingly. However, the common premise is to make sure that the students gain appropriate knowledge and acquire the mandatory proficiency in their chosen field. Since the need for such skilled employees is on the rise it is recommended that candidates pursuing their MS do adequate research before finalizing on the department they would like to study in.

Program Structure

The MBA programs are applicable for experienced candidates who have been working for 3-5 years. The aspirants complete their graduation and then acquire a few years of work experience before pursuing their MBA degree. MBA is either a 1 or 2-year program according to the specialization one opts for. The program uses a more practical way of learning since it is for seasoned professionals. The course is recognized worldwide. In case a student who does not have the required years of experience wishes to do a Management course, then he/she can choose to do a MIM (Masters in Management) Program. The MIM does not demand for many years of experience and hence is preferred among freshers. This program has its origins in Europe and is, therefore, more prevalent in many European universities although it is now offered at many other universities across the world as well.  MIM helps a candidate kick-start a business career.

In comparison, the MS programs are sought after by freshers with little or no experience. These programs are spread over 1-2 years as well. There are a variety of fields of interest which a candidate can opt for while studying for MS. The programs can be the same specialization which one completed his graduation in or it can be a completely different department as well. MS allows a candidate to equip himself better in his chosen field. It allows students to do their thesis or research during the course of their study as per their interests. MS is also internationally recognized and is offered by universities across the world.


One can note that while pursuing MS the candidates have an option to either select :

  1. Engineering related specializations or
  2. Management related specializations

Engineering related specializations are available in plenty and there are a wide number of subjects from which one can select. This is mainly for candidates who would like to become skilled individuals in their respective fields or would like to do research in their domain.  Such candidates who undertake research often go on to do their Ph.D. as well thus adding to their repertoire.

If a candidate would like to do a management-related Masters degree he has numerous options to choose from like :

  • MS in Finance
  • MS in SCM
  • Business Analytics
  • Marketing
  • International Business
  • Corporate Finance
  • International Construction Management
  • Technology Management
  • Global Business Management

This is particularly of great advantage to candidates who do not have enough experience to satisfy the requirements to do an MBA. Such students can select to do one of the above-mentioned courses which are also of considerable significance. It helps secure relevant knowledge in Management for the candidates willing to do so.

An advantage which an MBA degree gives a candidate is the possibility to switch careers or domains. If one wishes to pursue a different specialization when compared to his undergraduation he can do so while pursuing his MBA. The MBA enables any individual to study his/her preference of subject. This equips them better in management related studies which eventually assists in developing their managerial qualities.

Scholarships and Financing

The scholarships available for both the MS and MBA degrees are dependent on many factors inclusive of CGPA, candidate’s profile etc. There are several scholarships which are offered and can be applied for on the basis of a candidate’s eligibility. For example some scholarships are granted to candidates who have an exemplary academic record while others are offered exclusively to women candidates etc. However, candidates need not despair in case they don’t have a stellar academic record since there are other factors like your GRE scores, your ethnicity, submission of research papers, etc which also influence the universities while awarding a scholarship.

Each university has a different deadline for applying for scholarships and the candidates should be well informed on the same. There is a common misconception that both the admission deadlines and scholarship deadlines are the same. This is not the case in most universities and students should be wary so that they do not make this error. It is wise therefore to do appropriate research regarding scholarships and make sure to send the applications on or before time so that you have an upper hand over other applicants.

Funding is offered for the MS candidates in the form of RA (Research Assistantship)/ TA (Teaching Assistantship) as well. Students can make use of this opportunity to gain finances to support their studies. However for MBA candidates, the sole form of funding is through Fellowships.

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