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MBA vs. MS - Salaries, Entrance Requirements?

Career insights by GGI is a new series by GGI sharing hacks and tips around management consulting, MBA, product management and public policy.

In this GGI career insight, we will be sharing insights into: the different components of MS and MBA degrees.


Have you ever wondered if you should pursue an MS degree or an MBA from abroad?

This is a very valid conundrum faced by most science graduates. Thus, I will be doing a detailed comparative analysis for all of you.

A few unique cases like Sundar Pichai have done both MS and MBA. But, if you have more clarity on what you want to do, you will be able to save the expensive tuition costs.

1. Purpose

People ideally pursue an MBA to pivot into business and management roles. Whereas, MS helps you get into research, technical jobs, PhD, etc.

Your interests, goals and career propositions should help you take this decision.

2. Universities

The most celebrated universities in MBA are Tuck, Stanford, Yale, London Business School, ISB, etc.

The top schools in MS are MIT, California Institute of Technology, Stanford, University of Cambridge, etc.

3. Intention

MBA is more of a generic degree and later you pick a specialisation. These specialisations can be in marketing, finance, strategy, operations, etc.

MS, on the other hand, is a very specific degree in itself. You will go in depth of the topic of your degree like math, accounting, engineering, computer science, etc.

4. Exams

To pursue an MBA you need to take the GMAT or GRE. Here, you have to be in the top most quartile.

For MS, you have to take the GRE or TOEFL.

5. Eligibility

Top MBA programs require a work experience of 3-5 years. But, you can apply for MS even as a fresher. Thus, people tend to go after MS.

Though, I would like to emphasise the importance of work experience to get a job abroad after completing your master’s.

6. Fee

MBA costs about 1 Crore INR. Whereas, MS in the US costs about 20L-40L INR.

7. Kind of jobs

MBA graduates typically get consulting, banking, product management or strategy roles.

MS graduates get into engineering or research roles in maths and sciences.

8. Return on Investment

After graduating from Ivy Leagues or top universities, you can look up to a salary of 130K USD.

Though, MS graduates can earn upto 50K-100K USD depending on the role they get.


If you need more help getting into management consulting and product management, feel free to check out my education venture- Global Governance Initiative. We invite industry leaders to host Masterclasses and teach our students the hard and soft skills required to excel in their careers.

Author: Shatakshi Sharma, Co-CEO Global Governance Initiative, Ex-BCG Management Consultant, Former Policy Advisor, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.

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