Should You Do an MBA, a Master’s in Management or a Specialised Master’s in 2021? |

Should You Do an MBA, a Master’s in Management or a Specialised Master’s in 2021?

By Linda M

Updated July 9, 2021 Updated July 9, 2021

Thinking of doing an MBA, a master's in management or a specialised master's? Here's how each degree can help you fast-track your career.

With an undergraduate degree under your belt, you may be considering going back to school to give your professional skillset a boost and make valuable connections in the business world.

This has been proven to be even more the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, as companies across the globe re-evaluate their operations and seek well equipped leaders to help them navigate recent and future business challenges.

Degrees such as an MBA, a master’s in management (MiM), and a specialised business master’s are a great way to develop the necessary skills to stand out in the job market – especially in 2021, as recruiters continue to hire high numbers of graduates straight out of business school.

But which degree is preferred by recruiters, and which will give you the best chance to fast-track your career after a period of economic crisis?

Recruiters still prefer the MBA

According to GMAC’s latest Corporate Recruiters Survey, the number of recruiters projected to hire MBA graduates in 2021 is significantly higher (91 percent) than that of recruiters planning to hire MiM graduates (54 percent).

These figures are consistent with data regarding specialised master’s too. No more than 62 percent of respondents are planning to hire specialised business master’s students in 2021 across the finance (48 percent), accounting (52 percent) and data analytics (62 percent) sectors.

A recent survey by the consultancy firm MBA Crystal Ball also found that the MBA is still the most popular degree in the eyes of the public.

When asked “In the post COVID-19 world, which degree will be the most valued?”, 59 percent of respondents chose the MBA, followed by a specialised master’s (41 percent), a PhD (eight percent) and ‘other’ (five percent).

This overwhelming preference for MBA degrees is likely due to the nature of the programme. In fact, an MBA programme equips students with the necessary tools to handle complex business challenges, which are crucial to help employers get back on their feet and make their operations more efficient during (and after) times of crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Europe more interested in lower-level degrees than the US

While projected MBA hiring is high across all regions in the world, interest in MiM and specialised master’s programmes appears to be much higher in Europe than in the US and Asia-Pacific.

According to GMAC survey results, while 94 percent of companies in the US are expected to hire MBAs in 2021, only 46 percent are considering recruiting MiM grads in the same year. US figures are similar for candidates with a specialisation in finance (39 percent), accounting (50 percent) and data analytics (62 percent).

On the other hand, 69 percent of recruiters in Europe plan to hire master’s in accounting graduates in 2021, 72 percent are set to hire master’s in data analytics graduates, and finally a whopping 75 percent will likely hire master’s in finance graduates.

This doesn’t mean European employers don’t value MBA degrees – about 86 percent of companies are projected to hire MBAs in the upcoming months. Nevertheless, if you’re committed to working in a European city and don’t feel ready to commit to doing an MBA, studying a MiM or a specialised master’s could be a less costly and more convenient option for your short-term goals.

What if I want to work in a specific sector?

Projected hiring varies from sector to sector. This is because different companies look for a certain skillset in new hires as a way to help them respond to industry-specific needs and challenges.

Let’s take a look at which degree is the most popular within the main sectors in the business world.

  • Consulting: An MBA and a specialised master’s in data analytics are the most popular degrees among recruiters in the consulting sector.
  • Finance/Accounting: An MBA and a specialised master’s in accounting are the most popular degrees among recruiters in the finance/accounting sector.
  • Tech: An MBA and a specialised master’s in data analytics are the most popular degrees among recruiters in the technology sector.
  • Start-up/VC: An MBA is overwhelmingly the most popular degree to land a job at a start-up.

This article was originally published in July 2021 .

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Written by

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 


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