MBA vs MIM whats the difference

If you’re considering a post-graduate degree as a way of advancing in your career, congratulations! You’re ready to take the next step towards achieving your goals. If you’re interested in business, you may be wondering, should I enroll for an MBA or a master’s in management? What’s the difference?

Managing people is something you’ll definitely need to learn as you advance in your career. Would it surprise you to learn that, according to a recent Gallup poll, only 30% of employees are engaged at work? An effective manager is the key to increasing employee engagement and productivity levels, so you’re on the right track to want to learn these skills. But which degree is right for you — MBA or MIM?


Similarities vs. Differences

Similarities vs. DifferencesWhile both the master’s in management and the master’s in business administration are worthwhile for ambitious students seeking to get a leg up on the competition, there are some differences.

An MBA is typically a two-year degree sought out by students who have a few years of work experience under their belts and are choosing to go back to school to advance their careers. A master’s in management is often pursued by younger students who are seeking more education before starting their careers. The typical MBA student has six years of work experience, while the typical MIM student has just a year and a half.

The additional real-world experience is important when you consider that many students learn from their fellow students and develop connections with them that will last their entire business career.

According to The Economist, European schools often favor the master’s in management; it’s  a European concept. Typically, MIM graduates are younger and request less money than graduates of MBA programs. Companies in Europe are more willing to hire the less expensive graduate and work with them as they grow.

The MBA is more prestigious, while the MIM is a newer degree and is gaining in reputation. On the other hand, getting an MBA requires more money and more time.

The typical MBA student is someone who has been out in the work world for five to six years and has decided an MBA will help them attain a higher-level job. The typical MIM student has just graduated with a bachelor’s degree and would like more knowledge before embarking on their career.

Let’s examine these one at a time.



The MBA is the degree most searched for in Google, by a wide margin (Olivet Nazarene University). This means there is a ton of interest in MBAs and MBA programs. The MBA has been around for a long time, since 1908, in fact (MBA today). If you tell someone you have an MBA, they sit up and take notice.

As discussed above, the MBA is targeted towards a slightly older student with some business experience who wants to accelerate their career advancement. It focuses on hands-on experience — you’ll work with your peers on projects, which is great because those same peers will be valuable contacts in the business world for years to come.

There are many reasons to pursue an MBA. One advantage is that you’ll learn how to get along and work with Type-A, ambitious people, all of whom think they’re right. This requires tact, skill, and leadership (Forbes). The ability to manage people is as rare as it is valuable. The MBA is perfect for someone who has several years of experience in a specific role and now wants to learn the skills to lead a company. You’ll sharpen your business acumen and your communication skills, both of which are key in leading a company to success.

You can choose to concentrate on different areas of business with an MBA degree. According to The Princeton Review, the most popular MBA concentrations are:


An MBA can also be very valuable for those looking for a career change into the business sphere.

Recent MBA graduates find work as:

If you’re looking at an MBA degree, you’ll be happy to learn that the average MBA graduate at least doubles their salary within three years of completing their degree (Financial Times). That doesn’t hold true for every graduate—those going into nonprofit sectors or education will make less money. However, the MBA can be looked at as a solid return on investment, depending on what you want to do with it. A survey by Indeed shows the average range of salaries for those with a MBA degree, ranging from $63,000 to $140,000.


Master’s in Management

The master’s in management is perfect for a student who has recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree and wants to get a head start on a business career.

The MIM hasn’t been around nearly as long as the MBA (early 2000s), but it’s growing in popularity. It originated in Europe, but it’s becoming more popular here. Business schools have been educating employers about the MIM degree, and now that corporate recruiters are familiar with it, they are more likely to hire the graduates of these programs.

There does tend to be many international students in MIM programs, which is great in today’s global economy.

Students typically take courses in:

There is usually an internship involved as well, so students get some real-world experience.

Like the MBA, the MIM is a graduate degree in business. While the MBA is usually two years of full-time coursework, you can earn a MIM in a year to 18 months. The master’s in management has a more theoretical approach than an MBA, although it does cover some of the same topics. As the name implies, it focuses on management, rather than business as a whole. The breadth of knowledge is narrower than in the MBA program.

After graduation, a MIM student can gain employment in management trainee jobs, assistant managerial positions, financial services analyst, and other entry-level business roles.


MBA vs. MIM Salary and Career Outlook

Because a graduate with an MBA usually has several years of experience under their belts, they command higher salaries once they have finished their degree programs. Those with MBAs can secure employment as finance managers, marketing managers, senior products managers, and more.

According to Forbes, investment banking, health care, and technology are three of the top industries for MBA graduates.

While the MIM graduate typically gets an entry-level role at a corporation, Payscale lists the average salary of a MIM graduate as $76,000, whereas the average MBA graduate earns $105,000 (NerdWallet).


Next Steps

It’s important to realize that both degrees require a fair amount of work. When it comes to choosing your degree program, you’ll want to choose a school that:

The MBA is often the better choice for the adult learner looking to advance, or the adult learner seeking a career change. One such program is the CityU MBA program. An overview can be found here: CityU’s MBA Program. This program offers the flexible scheduling someone with a full-time job and other responsibilities needs, while having the rigorous academic standards of a first class MBA program.

Good luck to you!


Published December 22, 2019


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