What’s the difference between an MBA, an MBM and an MSc Business?


06th Nov 2019



So you want to study postgraduate business? Excellent choice! If you’re keen to get ahead in business, a postgraduate qualification is a sure-fire way to set yourself apart from your peers.

But with so many options out there, how do you decide which course to study, never mind who with?


Something career-specific

The biggest deciding factor when starting a postgraduate qualification is often how it will affect your career. Do you plan to enter into a financial role in the future? Or has a high-flying role in marketing always been your end goal?

If you have a definitive plan for your future that aligns with one of our MSc Business pathways – business analytics or finance – that’s probably a good place to start. These courses all feature specialist modules on the topic in question, alongside generalist business modules that will give you a good grounding in management topics.

Similarly, if you hope to go into project management, marketing or human resource management, our MSc Project Management, MSc Global Digital Marketing and MSc International Human Resource Management are clear winners, as they will introduce you to important techniques and theories within those fields and also developing your overall business acumen.

Whatever your future plans are, our MSc pathways will help you to develop the skills and knowledge that you need. Every module is taught by an expert tutor with years of experience in their chosen field, so you’ll have the perfect opportunity to improve your career prospects and earning potential with a mix of key skills that are directly transferable to the workplace.

It’s also important to remember that these pathways don’t limit your future career development; they just help you to focus certain specific skills. For example, a role in human resources might still be open to you even if you choose our financial pathway.


Something more general

Suppose you want to improve your business skills across the board. That’s where our MBM and MBA come in!


Master of Business Management

A Master of Business Management degree, or MBM, is designed for candidates who are at the beginning of their career, or for graduates who want a higher level qualification before entering the job market.

An MBM builds on the skills gained at undergraduate level. The modules are less vocational than the MBA and students are not required to have any former work experience. An MBM will look at the theory of management and use case studies to illustrate the business theory.

Our MBM enables students to develop their knowledge across multiple areas of business. The syllabus will focus on developing analytical and technical skills rather than leadership and managerial. Typically a full-time MBM is taught over one year, but our online course has an indicative duration of two years, allowing you to fit your study around your existing commitments.


Master of Business Administration

An MBA is an executive-level business course designed for students with executive or management level experience. MBA degrees are designed to develop leadership skills and offer professionals the opportunity to formally recognise their business expertise.

The MBA is widely regarded as the most prestigious professional degree programme in the world, especially when it’s an AMBA accredited MBA like ours. MBAs are often favoured over other business qualifications as they are recognised globally and as such are a branded programme within the world of academia.

A prerequisite for studying an MBA is that candidates must have work experience, usually a minimum of three years at a strategic level. This creates a rich learning environment as students come from a range of industries and bring their different experiences into the course. It is important for students to have practical experience as MBA programmes require students to think strategically and use workplace evidence within assessments.

There are a number of different types of MBA – full-time campus-based courses, campus-based “executive” MBAs that are delivered part-time, and online MBAs like the Essex Online MBA, which allow students to study from anywhere in the world and fit the course around their current role.

MBA programmes have evolved in order to keep up with the demands of modern business; most courses will focus on international business and global management challenges. Undertaking an MBA provides fantastic networking opportunities and connections within new industries.


Something shorter

Unsure whether you’re ready to commit to a two-year course? If you’d prefer to start with something more accessible, a PG Cert or PG Dip might be right for you.

Our PG Cert Business Management is just 8 months long, and fully customisable so you can choose the modules that appeal to you most. You can also progress from this course onto many of our full MSc course or our MBM, so it’s a great pick if you want to keep your options open.

Or you might prefer a PG Diploma, available in any of the subjects we offer a full Masters in. This 16-month course is a highly respected qualification which will impress on a CV and also allows progression onto our full degrees.


Which one is right for you?

It really depends on your circumstances. If you’re already an experienced business practitioner, then an MBA will consolidate your experience and can help you climb the career ladder.

If you’re just starting out or working in a non-business role, then an MBM can develop your business skills and help to open doors to new opportunities.

And if you have a specific career in mind, then an MSc degree can allow you to deepen your knowledge in your area of interest.

University of Essex Online offers a range of postgraduate business qualifications. If you’re unsure which pathway is most suitable for you, please contact our Admissions team who will be happy to guide you through the options.

And don’t forget to download our prospectus to see full details of all your options.