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Which Business Master’s? How To Choose the Right Business Degree for You

By GMAC
Book open Reading time: 7 mins

Embarking on a business school journey can open doors to a successful career. You’ll learn from top professors, build a professional network, enjoy international study trips, and gain expert career support.

If starting out on your journey, our BusinessBecause Which Business Master’s guide is the perfect place to begin. We break down the business master’s programs on offer for aspiring leaders: in management, finance, business analytics, and accounting, as well as specialist master’s degrees.

Hear from students about curriculum highlights, discover top-ranked business schools, and be inspired by your potential career paths.

The Benefits Of Business School

You’ll enjoy a salary boost

Business school grads can expect impressive starting salaries across industries. According to GMAC data, Master in Management, Master in Finance, and Master in Business Analytics grads can expect a median starting salary of $85k. Master in Accounting grads can earn $75k.

For MBA hires, the median starting salary is $120k in the US.

You’ll gain international experiences

Whether you choose to study at home or abroad, many business master’s programs offer the opportunity to go on international trips and visit companies in key business centers.

You could also choose to study an exchange semester or dual degree which means you’ll study at two business schools in different parts of the world.

You’ll gain skills employers are looking for

According to a GMAC survey, 62% of employers see interpersonal skills as the most important attributes for future hires. During your business degree, you’ll work with your cohort to solve problems on business cases or strategize a new business plan to help develop important communication and teamwork skills.

You’ll also gain business acumen and technical knowledge in your areas of interest.

You’ll receive career support

Business school will prepare you to land your dream role not just by arming you with an enhanced skill set but by providing career support. You’ll work closely with advisors to plan your career path and find opportunities and companies that are right for you. You’ll also be able to take part in resume workshops, build your LinkedIn profile, and learn how to sell yourself in interviews.

You’ll build a valuable network

At business school, you’ll meet people from all around the world. Building strong personal and professional connections will not only enhance your master’s experience but may open doors in your future career.

You could learn to launch your own business

A business master’s degree can help provide you with the framework for setting up your own company from scratch. You’ll learn about everything from finance to marketing and how to manage a team of employees.

Master in Management

A Master in Management (MiM) is a generalist degree covering all the fundamentals of business such as strategy, finance, marketing, economics, and human resources. MiM programs are typically targeted at recent graduates with less than two years’ professional experience.

The program will pair business knowledge with essential managerial skills in communication, negotiation, teamwork, and responsible leadership. Students test their skills through company projects and case studies.

Many MiM programs also offer elective courses. These are a good opportunity for students to fill in any gaps in their expertise and hone their skills towards specific career goals.

The top-ranked HEC Paris Master in Management offers electives that address today’s business challenges such as Climate Change and Future of Energy, Business Strategy for the Digital Age, and Ethics and Sustainability.

Where should you study your Master in Management?

While you can find high-quality Master in Management programs around the world, 85% of MiM degrees are offered in Europe.

The cost of studying a MiM is also an important factor to consider. Generally, MiMs in Europe cost a lot less than those offered in the US. The best MiM program in the US is at Hult International Business School, according to the Financial Times. This 12-month program costs $55k.

The most affordable MiM degrees include the Master in Strategy and International Management (SIM) program at University of St Gallen which costs around $11,200 for international students. At Tsinghua School of Economics and Management in China, the MiM degree costs around $8,200.

The best MiM program for...

  • Value for money - ZHAW School of Management and Law
  • Career progress - Luiss University
  • Number of international students - Singapore Management University: Lee Kong Chian

Top Master in Management programs

Top jobs for MiM graduates

  • Human Resources manager
  • Project manager
  • Business developer
  • Operations / logistics / supply chain manager
  • Management consultant

Master in Finance

Master in Finance (MiF) degrees are typically geared towards recent graduates with little to no work experience. Applicants don’t need to hold a bachelor’s degree in finance.

MiF courses provide a solid grounding in the key concepts of finance including data analytics, mathematics, and financial accounting. You’ll gain strong quantitative and statistical skills but also soft skills such as communication and negotiation, which are essential for dealing with stakeholders.

Some MiF programs allow you to specialize towards a career track. The world-leading MiF at ESCP Business School offers the choice between specializing in corporate investment banking or financial markets. You’ll also apply your skills to real-world practice. At London Business School, students complete a 10-week live business project with an organization.

Where should you study your Master in Finance?

European business schools, especially French business schools, have long dominated the Financial Times Master in Finance rankings.

The top business schools—including ESCP Business School, HEC Paris, and ESSEC Business School— consistently report impressive alumni outcomes and careers services.

If you’re looking to earn an impressive salary after studying your degree, business schools in Asia boast the highest salaries for Master in Finance graduates. At Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, MiF graduates earn $205,387 on average after three years. The next highest salaries
are earned by grads from Peking University: Guanghua in Beijing, and Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The best MiF program for...

  • Value for money- University of St Gallen
  • Career progress - Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI)
  • International course experience - Skema Business School

Top Master in Finance programs

Career paths

Top jobs for MiF graduates:

  • Investment banker
  • Salesperson and trader • Asset manager
  • Venture capitalist
  • Financial analyst

Master in Business Analytics

A Masters in Business Analytics (MSBA) can set you up to enter one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world.

When looking to do an MSBA, there is a wide range of programs to choose from. The STEM-designated Master of Science in Business Analytics at University of California Riverside (UCR) School of Business is renowned and provides core modules on management, data mining, and statistics, as well as intensive training in coding. Other courses, such as the Masters in Business Analytics and AI at Vlerick Business School, focus on the accelerating development of artificial intelligence in the corporate sphere.

Although some MSBA programs require you to have a degree in a quantitative discipline like mathematics or computer science to apply, there are many that accept any bachelor’s degree. The key is to be interested in technology, and to have an aptitude for solving data-based problems.

Where should you study your Master in Business Analytics?

You’ll find top-ranked Master in Business Analytics programs all over the world. However, for international students wanting to tap into the US job market, choosing a STEM-designated MSBA comes with added benefits. STEM-designated programs are focused on highly technical, quantitative elements.

Studying a STEM master’s grants international graduates eligibility to stay in the US for three years without an H-1B visa.

STEM MSBA programs are offered at top US business schools such as MIT Sloan, University of Texas at Austin: McCombs School of Business, and UCLA Anderson School of Management.

MSBA programs in the US are typically more expensive than elsewhere, but with high starting salaries, the return on investment can be worth it.

The best MSBA program for

  • Value for money - University of Cincinnati, Lindner College of Business
  • Diversity - IESEG School of Management
  • Alumni outcomes - MIT Sloan

Top Master in Business Analytics programs

Career paths

Top jobs for MSBA graduates:

  • Machine learning engineer • Data scientist
  • Technology consultant
  • Business analyst
  • Project/program manager

Master in Accounting

For those looking to enter the lucrative world of accounting, a Master in Accounting (MAcc) will provide you with not just the specialist knowledge, but the problem-solving and managerial skills required to succeed in the industry.

MAcc programs typically cover core modules such as financial reporting, advanced management accounting, and research methods. There are also degrees designed to prepare students for the Certified Public Accountancy (CPA) exam, which is a globally recognized certificate allowing holders to practice accounting.

The MAcc programs you can apply to will depend largely on your level of experience. While many programs accept students with little or no accounting experience, others—like the Executive Master of Accounting at Cambridge Judge—are tailored towards building upon existing knowledge of those have spent at least two years in the industry. There are also skill conversion courses available, such as Durham University Business School’s MSc Accounting, which don’t require applicants to have a background in math.

Where should you study your Master in Accounting?

A Master in Accounting can open doors to top careers wherever in the world you choose to study.

In 2023, 78% of employers globally plan to hire Master in Accounting graduates, according to the GMAC Corporate Recruiters survey 2023. In 2022, the regions that hired the most Master in Accounting graduates were Central and South Asia (92%) and East and Southeast Asia (83%).

Studying a Master in Accounting offers a potential route to pursuing a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification. Some degrees contribute towards your credit requirements for the qualification so if this is a route you want to pursue, make sure to do your research. For example, in the US,
most states require a minimum of 150 credit hours to become a licensed CPA.

Top Master in Accounting programs*

BecauseBusiness

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Whether you’re considering an MBA, EMBA, or master’s degree, on BusinessBecause you can:

  • Keep up-to-date with the latest business school news—rankings, reports, and the rest.
  • Uncover the personal stories of business school students and grads.
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