What's the difference between an MBA and a Master in Management (MIM)

Published: 28 August 2017 | by Thomas Graf

MBA programs and Master in Management (MIM) programs are sometimes confused - probably because both are postgraduate programs in general management. There are, however, some important differences to consider.

Target group

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) targets young professionals and professionals. A fulltime MBA for example requires a minimum of 2 years work experience and often MBA students have about 3 to 5 years. In contrast, the Master in Management (MIM) is a program for graduates or recent graduates. Hence, they are younger and less experienced than MBA students.

Content: Theory or Practice?

The MBA is a pure practical program. Following the case-study method, MBA students are set into the position of managers and need to solve practical business problems. In contrast, the MIM contains more theory, particularly when it is a Master of Science program. For MBA students it is not relevant where a specific formula comes from - it only matters how and when you apply it. For MIM students, the origin of a formular as well as statistics or methods may also be part of the curriculum.

Title: Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master in Management (MIM)

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a special title that eventually will be on your degree. In contrast, MIM programs are either Masters of Science (MSc) or Master of Arts (MA). At the end of the day, all three degrees are official university degrees. The reputation may differ, however.

Recognition: Established degree or emerging trend

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is the traditional degree for a postgraduate education in general management. Hence it is well-known, particularly among international firms, and the specific reputation of an MBA depends primarily on the business school where it was acquired. The Master in Management is a relatively young program and some HR departments may be a bit uncertain about the capabilities of MIM graduates. Nevertheless, the supply of MIM programs and the demand for MIM programs is emerging as the Global Master in Management (MIM) study found out.

Goals: Career start vs. career development

Master in Management (MIM) usually do not have work experience or they have only few work experience. Hence, the MIM is a way how they increase their career start options. The MBA, in contrast, is a degree for people who have their job entyr already behind them. They aim at developing their career - for instance they want to qualify for a leadership position or need the knowledge after having been promoted recently. They also may increase their options outside of their emloyer or gain entrepreneurial knowledge. In sum, the MIM helps to start a career and the MBA helps to develop a career.

Specialized Masters

In addition to MBA and Master in Management programs, business schools also offer specialized Masters, with a specific focus, e.g.:

By Thomas Graf