MIM vs MBA: Which is better for international students?

master's degree
Confused as to whether you should pursue a Master in Management or Master in Business Administration? These factors can help you narrow down your options. Source: Jason Davis/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

For those wanting to pursue a managerial programme, picking the right master’s degree can be tricky.

While a Master in Business Administration (MBA) remains one of the most popular postgraduate options, a Master in Management may be more suitable for you.

The question: how do you figure this out? Here’s a useful guide to getting you started:

MIM vs MBA: Which master’s degree to go for?

While they are both popular managerial master’s programmes, they cater to different groups of students — and choosing the right master’s degree can help you get the most out of the programme.

Take, Zaid Zafar Farooqui, for example. He is an International Market Analyst Intern at L’Oréal’s Global Headquarters in the Consumer Products Division. Farooqui was drawn to the MIM’s suitability for graduates with little to no working experience. “Many of my colleagues and friends in MIM are engineers — they come from technical backgrounds but are interested in blending fashion and technology with business.” 

Always remember that it is up to you to decide which master’s degree is the better option. However, there are several key factors you can consider to help you make your decision: 

To choose the right master’s degree, start by looking inward at what you want to achieve. Source: Isaac Lawrence/AFP

1. Working experience

MIM: This master’s degree is suitable for fresh graduates or those with less than two years of working experience.

MBA: An MBA benefits professionals who have worked for three to eight years as they can complement their studies with past working experience.

2. Career goals

MIM: MIM students want to break into top companies or kickstart their careers in business. A survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) showed that these students want to travel internationally, work or live outside their home country, and manage people. 

MBA: MBA students are looking to get a higher salary, change their field of work (or a “triple switch“) and climb the corporate ladder. 

3. Teaching methods and curriculum

MIM: Since an MIM is officially a Master of Science, it exposes students to theoretical aspects of the management field.

MBA: An MBA focuses on hands-on experience. Expect to learn via real-case business studies. MBA programmes are also specialised.

master's degree

As inflation drives up the prices of goods and services, cost is a crucial factor you should consider when deciding to pursue an MIM or MBA. Source: Joseph Eid/AFP

4. Cost

MIM: It is cheaper. For example, a nMIM at the London Business School costs just over US$50,000, whereas the school’s MBA will set you back close to US$130,000. 

MBA: If you look at the US, you could pay upwards of US$146,000 for the best two-year MBA programmes. The MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management — which is dubbed the world’s most expensive MBA — cost over US$240,000, according to the BusinessBecause Cost of MBA Report.

5. Return of investment after graduation

MIM: The Financial Times Masters in Management Ranking showed that MIM graduates could earn between US$80,000 and US$115,000.

MBA: Graduates of the best MBA programmes see a high salary spike, according to the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking. They can expect to earn an average salary between US$150,000 and US$200,000 three years after completing their degree.

6. Duration of the programme

MIM: Generally, an MIM lasts between 12 to 18 months.

MBA: Most MBA programmes are two years long.

7. Preferred destination

MIM: Take a look at the Financial Times Masters in Management ranking and you will see European business schools as a popular choice for MIM programmes. France, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and the UK are also popular destinations to pursue an MIM, according to GMAC’s survey. 

MBA: Full-time MBA candidates prefer to study in the US and Canada due to the renowned strength of MBA programmes in these countries, GMAC’s survey shows.