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29 June 2023

5 minutes read

MBA After MS in the USA

Key Takeaways

  • Strategic Edge: An MBA after an MS combines technical and business skills for a competitive advantage.
  • Career Growth: This path leads to higher management roles and diverse industry options.
  • Earning Potential: MBA graduates typically earn more than those with only an MS.
  • Global Insight: International experience enhances the MBA’s value, offering a broad business perspective.
  • Personal Growth: Pursuing an MBA develops strategic thinking, leadership, and adaptability.

In the realm of higher education and professional advancement, the decision to pursue an MBA after obtaining an MS degree has become increasingly popular.

This pathway is especially prominent among students and professionals aiming to blend technical expertise from an MS degree with the comprehensive business acumen offered by an MBA.

Notably, prestigious institutions like London Business School have set benchmarks in offering programs that cater to this growing trend.

This article explores the various facets of pursuing an MBA post-MS, particularly in the USA, highlighting the benefits, challenges, and opportunities that come with this educational journey.

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Can I Do an MBA After my MS?

can i do an mba after my ms?

The pathway to pursuing an MBA after completing an MS degree is not only feasible but also increasingly common.

Candidates with an MS degree, especially those with a few years of work experience, are often seen as attractive prospects by business schools.

  • Academic Background:
    • Must hold a Master of Science (MS) degree from an accredited institution.
    • Strong academic record in the MS program, demonstrating expertise in the chosen field.
  • Work Experience:
    • Minimum of 2-3 years of professional work experience, preferably related to the MS field or desired MBA specialization.
    • Some top business schools may require more experience or consider leadership roles favorably.
  • Standardized Test Scores:
    • GMAT or GRE scores are required, with competitive scores significantly boosting admission chances.
    • Business schools often publish average scores of their admitted students as a reference.
  • Professional Recommendations:
    • Letters of recommendation from supervisors or academic mentors that highlight leadership potential, teamwork, and professional achievements.
  • Essays and Personal Statements:
    • Well-crafted essays or personal statements explaining the candidate’s motivation for pursuing an MBA, career goals, and how their MS background complements their MBA aspirations.
  • English Language Proficiency (for international applicants):
  • Interviews:
    • Personal interviews, either in-person or virtual, to assess the candidate’s communication skills, leadership qualities, and overall fit for the program.
  • Extra-Curricular Activities and Leadership Roles:
    • Involvement in extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, or leadership roles can enhance an application by demonstrating a well-rounded character.
  • Global Exposure and Cultural Experience (advantageous but not mandatory):
    • Experience working in multicultural environments or international exposure can be beneficial, reflecting a global outlook and adaptability.

Admission Requirements Snapshot

RequirementDetailAdditional Information
Work ExperienceMinimum 2-3 years, preferably in a related fieldLeadership roles and impactful projects are highly valued.
Standardized TestsGMAT or GRE scoresA score above 650 for the GMAT or equivalent GRE is desirable. Some schools may offer waivers.
Academic BackgroundMS degree in a relevant fieldStrong academic performance is crucial. Interdisciplinary MS degrees can be beneficial.
Recommendation Letters2-3 letters from professional contactsShould be from direct supervisors or academic mentors who know the applicant’s potential.
Essays/Personal StatementsRequired by most programsShould discuss career goals, reasons for an MBA, and how the MS background supports these goals.
CV/ResumeDetailed professional and academic historyHighlight achievements, leadership experiences, and career progression.
English Proficiency TestTOEFL/IELTS for non-native speakersNecessary for applicants whose prior education was not in English.
InterviewOften part of the application processAssesses interpersonal skills, leadership potential, and program fit.
Extra-Curricular ActivitiesInvolvement outside of work and studyLeadership in volunteerism, sports, arts, etc., can strengthen an application.
Global/International ExposureWorking or studying abroad experienceDemonstrates adaptability and global outlook, but not mandatory.

Did You Know ?

Graduates with an MBA tend to reach executive-level positions faster than their counterparts with only a technical or science-based MS degree, illustrating the MBA’s impact on career trajectory.

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Is Doing an MBA After an MS a Good Idea?

Pursuing an MBA after an MS degree can be a transformative decision for many. It opens up avenues in leadership roles and managerial positions that may not be as accessible with just an MS degree.

For instance, an Indian female with a technical background may find that adding an MBA to her credentials broadens her career prospects significantly.

AspectMS DegreeMBA Degree
Primary FocusDeep technical expertiseBroad business and managerial skills
Approach to LearningResearch-oriented and specializedStrategic, leadership, and holistic
Industry RolesSpecialized roles in specific sectorsDiverse opportunities in various industries
Skill DevelopmentAdvanced technical and analytical skillsLeadership, communication, and strategic thinking
Career ProgressionExpert roles within technical fieldsManagerial, executive, and leadership positions
Networking OpportunitiesAcademic and research networksWide-ranging corporate connections and alumni networks
Entrepreneurial OpportunitiesFocus on technical innovationEmphasis on business development and entrepreneurship
Global MobilityOften industry or research-specificHigh adaptability across global markets
Typical EmployersResearch labs, tech companies, academiaMultinationals, consulting firms, startups
Salary TrajectorySteady growth in specialized fieldsRapid growth potential in managerial roles
Long-term Career ImpactDeep expertise in niche areasVersatility and adaptability in various roles
top business schools for mba abroad

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Top Business Schools for MBA Abroad

Business SchoolLocationNotable MBA ProgramsSpecializations
Harvard Business SchoolUSAFull-Time MBAGeneral Management, Entrepreneurship, Finance
London Business SchoolUKFull-Time MBA, Executive MBAFinance, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Economics
INSEADFrance/SingaporeFull-Time MBA, Global Executive MBALeadership, Finance, Entrepreneurship
Stanford Graduate School of BusinessUSAFull-Time MBAEntrepreneurship, Global Management, Social Innovation
Wharton School, University of PennsylvaniaUSAFull-Time MBA, Executive MBAFinance, Marketing, Real Estate
IE Business SchoolSpainInternational MBA, Executive MBAInternational Business, Digital Innovation, Finance
University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessUSAFull-Time MBA, Executive MBA, Part-Time MBAEconomics, Entrepreneurship, Finance
Columbia Business SchoolUSAFull-Time MBA, Executive MBAMarketing, Media and Technology, Social Enterprise
HEC ParisFranceMBA, Executive MBAStrategic Management, Entrepreneurship, Finance
MIT Sloan School of ManagementUSAMBA, Sloan Fellows MBAData, Systems, and Society, Finance, Entrepreneurship

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Who Earns More: MBA or MS Graduates?

When it comes to earnings, the debate between MBA and MS degrees is nuanced.

While MS graduates possess technical skills highly valued in certain industries, MBA graduates often have the edge in leadership roles, which tend to command higher salaries.

who earns more: mba or ms graduates?

Salary Comparisons and Market Trends

CriteriaMS Degree GraduatesMBA Degree Graduates
Average Starting Salary$70,000 – $85,000$100,000 – $120,000
5-Year Salary GrowthApproximately 20-30% increaseApproximately 35-50% increase
Industry DemandHigh in technical and research-oriented sectorsBroad across various sectors including finance, consulting, tech, and management
Salary PeakMay plateau after a certain level of technical expertiseContinues to grow with management and leadership roles
Salary VariabilityLess variability, more dependent on technical skills and specializationHigher variability, influenced by leadership roles, company size, and performance
Bonuses and Additional CompensationTypically includes standard performance bonuses and stock options (in tech industries)Often includes substantial bonuses, stock options, and profit-sharing (especially in executive roles)
Global Salary TrendsConsistent with industry standards and expertise levelCan vary significantly based on international business roles and market conditions
Impact of Further Education/CertificationsIncremental salary increase with additional specialized certificationsSignificant increase in executive education and advanced management programs
Role in Salary NegotiationMore emphasis on technical skills and experienceLeadership experience and business impact carry more weight

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Pursuing an MBA after an MS degree offers a strategic blend of technical expertise and business acumen, essential for today’s dynamic corporate world.

This dual degree approach not only promises higher earning potential and diverse career opportunities but also equips you with leadership skills crucial for professional growth.

As you embark on this journey, consider your career goals, industry trends, and personal circumstances. With thoughtful planning and the right mindset, this path can lead to significant career advancement and personal development.

Ready to take your career to the next level? Discover how an MBA can complement your MS degree and open a world of opportunities.

Empower your professional journey by joining Ambitio Pro. Our holistic approach to career advancement offers a blend of personal development, skill-building, and strategic planning, ensuring you’re not just advancing in your career, but thriving.


Can I pursue an MBA immediately after completing my MS?

Yes, you can pursue an MBA immediately after your MS, but most top business schools prefer candidates with some work experience.

Do I need to take the GMAT or GRE for MBA admissions after an MS?

Yes, most business schools require a GMAT or GRE score as part of the MBA admission process, even if you have already completed an MS degree.

Are there any specific benefits of doing an MBA after an MS?

An MBA after an MS can provide broader career prospects, enhanced managerial skills, and potentially higher earnings, especially in leadership and management roles.

How do I choose between a full-time MBA and a part-time MBA after my MS?

This depends on your career goals, financial situation, and time availability. A full-time MBA is intensive and suitable for a complete career shift, while a part-time MBA is better if you wish to continue working while studying.

Can an MBA help if my MS is in a non-business field like engineering or science?

An MBA complements technical MS degrees by providing business, management, and leadership skills, making you well-rounded for diverse roles.

Is international work experience valued for MBA admissions after an MS?

Yes, international work experience is highly valued as it demonstrates adaptability, global perspective, and cross-cultural communication skills, all of which are important in modern business environments.

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