In the simplest terms, a manager is one who oversees a team of employees and is often responsible for the performance of that team. Managers are an important part of any organization's staff hierarchy whether operating in the scope of retail sales, service, technology, manufacturing, etc. A manager is often called upon to be a large-scale thinker/planner while also having the responsibility of stepping in when smaller and detail-oriented decisions need to be made. An effective manager will often be required to communicate a general manager or CEO's values and instructions to employees while also working to maintain good camaraderie and trust among lower-level employees. In a word, managers do it all.
Since the role of a manager requires a high-level of skill and energy in order to operate effectively within an organization, choosing the right degree in management is an important decision for the future of a manager. There are many routes a manager might follow in order to be the most knowledgeable and effective leader they can be, including pursuing a master's degree. The two most popular master's degree for managers are the Master's of Science in Management and the Master's of Business Administration. There are some commonalities, but also differences between these degrees, and both have certain characteristics which may prove helpful in setting the tone for a business professional's career in management.
Master's of Science in Management (MSM)
Typically considered an introductory master's in business, most pursuing an MSM will have no previous business experience. Like the MBA, an MSM does center on the foundational areas of accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and statistics. The curriculum used within many MSM programs is intended to give the student a solid starting point for a career in management. Students within an MSM program can expect a more affordable tuition rate and a quicker completion time than an MBA. For students desiring to learn more about the theory and philosophy of business, this can be a great choice. One potential downside to a Master's of Science in Management is a hiring organization's potential of viewing the degree as lacking the necessary credentials for a more advanced-level manager.
Master's of Business Administration (MBA)
Unlike the Master's of Science in Management, most business schools which feature an MBA also deliver a concentration in a field of business allowing the graduate student to gain insight as a specialist in business. Because an MBA goes beyond the scope of just introductory theory in business, many business schools require their applicants to have two or more years of professional work experience. While some programs do not require the GMAT, its inclusion within the acceptance process is sometimes preferred. While many MBA curriculums include the analysis of case studies in an effort to bridge the gap between business theory and practical application, an MBA student who currently holds a position in business leadership and management can begin immediately putting the concepts covered in the classroom to work within her organization.
One of the best formats for pursuing an MBA is to find a business school which offers a hybrid or 100% online MBA program. These degrees are often delivered by the same staff members who teach on campus, and in some cases the curriculum is identical as well. The advantages of an online MBA are numerous and include the ability to stay working within the current organization without moving the family to a new community. While some programs are structured within cohort-based models, students all over the country have the opportunity to learn from one another within their unique regions. Like its on-campus counterpart, these programs also offer a myriad of concentrations and specializations for students to choose from in order to specialize their degree. While some students pursue concentrations in Accounting, Supply Chain Management, Hospitality, Information Technology, and Entrepreneurship, many schools offers students intent on pursing the best management practices an online MBA in management as well.
There will always be sound reasons as to why a business professional should pursue a higher education. While the MSM and the MBA may be different in some important ways, knowing how each one can serve your career in management is an important step in the right direction.