An alternative to the MBA? Masters in Management (MIM) can be studied by graduates from all disciplines and without work experience

Before the European Bologna Process, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) was the program of choice for everyone interested in postgraduate education in General Management. The MBA, however, requires a minimum professional experience of three years, even though some schools have opened their programs also to less-experienced people in the meantime.

Fostered by the European Bologna Process, however, a new postgraduate Management program found proliferation in Europe: the Master in Management (MIM). As the Master of Business Administration, the MIM provides a qualification in General Management and covers important functional disciplines such as Marketing, Accounting, or Human Resources Management. Many programs also use the case-study teaching method or include in-company projects into their agenda.

In contrast to the MBA, however, most Master in Management programs don’t require professional experience. Furthermore, about 2 out of 3 MIM-programs worldwide do not require a bachelor degree in business or economics as the platform Master in Management Compass [] has found out – some business schools even address their MIM-programs explicitly to people with non-business-related undergraduate degrees. The Master in Management therefore maybe a good option for graduates who are interested in a General Management education and don’t want to wait until they have the required amount of work experience.

But wait… are the two programs MBA and MIM really comparable? It’s true that both programs provide a qualification in General Management and both are postgraduate programs. Nevertheless it is important to also outline the most important differences.

  • First, Master in Management student have no or only little work experience. As a consequence these students are younger than MBA-students, usually being in the early 20s while MBA-students on average range around 28 or 30.
  • Second, the lack of work experience means that in an MIM-program you may not be able to profit from the professional experience of your fellows –a big plus of an MBA.
  • Third, MIM-programs are much cheaper than the MBA with the most expensive MIM-program at the IE Business School taking around 30,000 Euro and the most-expensive MBA-program at the London Business School taking about the double.
  • Fourth, the Master in Management usually is a Master of Science in Management and therefore has a theoretical depth that most MBA programs may not supply.
  • Lastly, the MBA may still have a higher reputation than the relatively new program type Master in Management. In other words, many HR-departments may know what an MBA is but may need more information on the MIM.

To sum it up: Master in Management and MBA programs both cover the field of General Management and usually require an undergraduate degree. They address, however, different target groups and depending on the stage in your career you want to prefer and MIM or an MBA. As a rule of thumb: The MIM helps you starting a career while the MBA is more for developing your career.

Thomas Graf

Further information:

The Master in Management Compass [] provides a database with more than 600 Master in General Management (MIM) programs, research articles, student blogs, and information on rankings as well as another 1,500 specialized Business Masters. The MBA & Executive Compass [] provides information on Masters of Business Administration and the Doctor of Business Administration Compass [] provides information on executive doctorates in management.


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