Which Program is Right for You?

Management and leadership are two of the most in demand skills in today’s job market. The ability to manage yourself and a team, especially in today’s remote world, have become essential for anyone looking to advance their current position. Both of these are skills that one can learn in a graduate degree program. The challenge is finding the degree program that is the right program for you. Both the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Master of Science in Management and Leadership (MSML) are available to you if you are looking to increase your skill set and your career prospects.

Of the two, the MBA is much more common and consistently ranks as one of the most popular graduate programs available. The MSML is a newer program that offers an equitable alternative to professionals who might not want an MBA or who are looking for a degree that has the potential to help them differentiate themselves. Both degrees prepare you to lead, manage, and grow diverse organizations.


An MBA degree is designed to further prepare professionals to advance their careers into more managerial roles. Approximately 63% of MBA applicants specifically choose to pursue an MBA in order to improve their career prospects.1 And pursuing an MBA does help with this goal. According to a Statista survey, 83% of companies plan to hire MBAs in the near future.2 Starting salaries for MBA graduates also tend to be higher than for graduates of other programs. The median starting salary for an MBA graduate is around $115,000.3 Generally, MBA applicants are required to have some business experience before applying to a program, which may also contribute to the higher starting salary for graduates. MBA degrees typically focus on core business skills, but most programs allow students to select an emphasis that resonates with them and their career goals, which can help personalize it.


The MSML degree is much newer and therefore not quite as common as the MBA yet. However, given the leadership skills that it focuses on, it can still help lead to improved career prospects and a higher salary. The median starting salary for someone with a Master’s in Management is around $75,000, which is over 15% higher than the median starting salary of someone with only a Bachelor’s degree.4 The MSML attempts to find a more balanced approach to business and seeks to find a way for management and leadership to work hand in hand. Rather than primarily focusing on core business functions, it also aims to look at the more personal side. This degree focuses more on developing the knowledge and skills that are needed to manage daily activities, to lead people, and to strategically develop yourself, your team, and your organization.

Salary and Career Outlook

While there is some career overlap between the two degrees, here is a break down of some of the most common career differences:

Career Median Salary
Job Outlook
(Growth from 2020-2030)
CEO $107,680 8%
Business Analyst $78,388 6.28%
Marketing Director $95,997 6.67%
Management Consultant $87,660 14%
Sales Director $121,926 3.55%

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Next Steps

As long as the programs are from accredited schools, the programs should be equivalent in terms of quality. The program you choose should depend on what works best for you and your career goals. However, timing can also play a factor in the decision. Most MBA programs take at least two years to finish, whereas, depending on the program, it’s possible to finish the MLMS a little quicker. For example, CityU’s MBA program requires 48-54 credits to graduate, whereas the MLMS only requires 42 credits, which can be completed in as little as 15 months depending on your schedule.

Both programs are excellent ways to enhance your skill set and increase your job marketability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees with a Master’s degree earn a median of $1,545 per week and have an unemployment rate of 4.1%, compared with a Bachelor’s degree which has a median weekly earnings of $1,305 and unemployment rate of 5.5%5

Ultimately, you have to decide which program is the best fit for you. Research the programs and schools, determine the mode of instruction and program specializations that you prefer, and decide whether you want to go full-time or part-time. CityU’s Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Management and Leadership are both available in different modes of instruction and can be accommodated to fit your schedule.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about either program, fill out this form today or call 888.422.4898 to speak with an enrollment advisor.



Published November 30, 2021



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